Dreadful Tales Book Club – November 2014 Edition

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November is upon us, and how better to while away the buffer month between Halloween and Christmas insanity than with a good old yarn? You with me? Let’s distract ourselves with words while we silently dread the snow covered, stress raising, rage inducing month of December. Because Christmas is… just… around… oh god… kill me… please…

WHOA! Okay. Let’s do this properly, folks.

I’m especially excited about this month’s book for several reasons, the most important being that I’m a huge fan of Kevin Lucia’s work. Now, I know a fair amount of you might not know his stories, but you should. You really should. Based on his scholarly achievements (he is currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree, and teaches High School English… *shudder*), his work as a submissions reader for Cemetery Dance, and his Podcast, Horror 101, you can rest assured that this is a man who knows his craft.

Lucia’s released all manner of short stories, some novella length work, poetry, and a bunch more. My first introduction to his work was Hiram Grange & The Chosen One which had so much incredible imagery and action in it that I devoured it in one go and became an instant fan.

With Devourer of Souls, a twofer of novellas, folk are saying that Lucia would be the bastard son of Lovecraft and King, if ever they spent a night together under the stars. I don’t disagree at all. Take a look at the synopsis:

Welcome to Clifton Heights, an average Adirondack town. It’s nice enough, really. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you’re all alone…

Sophan

An ancient game of chance and Fate. One boy’s smoldering hate, another boy’s need to make things right, and a father’s ghosts of Vietnam past. These are the key players in this latest tale of revenge and reparation performed on the stage of the strange Adirondack town of Clifton Heights, NY.

The Man in Yellow
 
Tahawus is a small, isolated Adirondack town just north of Clifton Heights. A quiet place filled with simple people of an ardent faith, nothing much ever happens there…until the man in yellow comes calling. He knows your worst nightmares, and he can offer your fondest wish. All you need is faith…and a mouth from which to scream.

That said, please join us as we blast into the cold month ahead, pick up a copy of Devourer of Souls, and join us at The Mortuary to discuss this cosmic tale of horror.

– C

Dreadful Tales Book Club – October 2014 Edition

October Banner

ROCKtober is upon us, kiddies, and it’s time to get serious about our reading. Personally, when I think about the books I want to read in this, the best month of the year, I tend to cycle back to writers I’m familiar with – people who have scared or affected me in one way or another.

But this month is also a bit weird. The book that was chosen for the club this time around isn’t scheduled to drop until around October 14th (a day before this writer’s birthday… *cough cough* buy me all of the things…)

So the Midwest Monster (Meli) came up with a brilliant plan. Let’s read a novella in the first half of the month, and run out the Halloween season with a novel I know a few of us have been waiting for.

That said, here’s what we have on deck for the October Book of the Month Club at Dreadful Tales:

By Insanity of ReasonBy Insanity of Reason is touted as an unforgettable story by two of the genre’s favorite authors – John R. Little, and Lisa Morton. This little novella clocks in at 107 printed pages, and 74 in its digital format, and was released by Bad Moon Books and Crossroad Press (Digital edition) this past september. It looks to be a great first course to this month’s club reads.

Here’s the synopsis:

By Insanity of Reason is the story of Crystal, a woman whose life has been shattered by a chain of mysterious murders. Her husband, Richard, struggles to help…or is he working against her as she tries to regain her sanity?Told in a unique style, with each scene moving further back in time, secrets and plans are unveiled that have led to Crystal’s unfortunate state, leading to the final shocking origins.

You can pick up a copy at Bad Moon Books, on Amazon.

Frenzy WolvesWhich brings us to the second portion of our monthly meal – The Frenzy Wolves by Gregory Lamberson. This is the long awaited final installment into the Frenzy Cycle Series, and the follow-up to The Frenzy War – a book that Meli called a “…noir upgrade to the classic werewolf tale” and one of a few stories that sees this reader being slaughtered in a harrowing and gruesome way. Ask Desmond Reddick over at Dread Media about his cameo, too. Good times.

Here’s the synopsis:

With the aid of his elite squad of super cops, NYPC captain Tony Mace has defeated the werewolf slayers known as the Brotherhood of Torquemada. But now a new enemy has risen to persecute the peaceful Wolves, and Tony’s loyalty to Gabriel Domini, leader of the pack, places him at odds with his department.

Gabriel’s brother Raphael objects to Gabriel’s efforts to integrate the Wolves into human society, and seeks to start a war against mankind. When Rodrigo Gomez, the Full Moon Killer, escapes from prison, his quest for vengeance draws Tony into a battle for supremacy among the Wolves which could lead to a far greater war for both species.

– from Amazon.com

As I said above, this book drops in October 14th, and will be available from Medallion Press, and on Amazon.

So please join us as we usher in the Halloween season with TWO stories by masters in their field. And don’t forget to join us at The Mortuary to discuss these two stories!

– C

Jake Helman Returns in “Storm Demon” – October 2013

StormDemon_front-1This October, the ever tortured Jake Helman will be facing one of earth’s oldest women, and no doubt a slew of new punishments in Storm Demon, the fifth book in the Jake Helman Files.

Lamberson recently revealed the cover and synopsis for this new, exciting installment into one of my favorite series, and goddamn is it a beautiful one.

Now, I know this post should have gone up… oh… when the Press Release was sent out, but it’s better to be fashionably late than not show up at all. Continue reading

The Frenzy War by Gregory Lamberson

Gregory Lamberson’s noir upgrade to the classic werewolf tale, The Frenzy Way (book 1), burned with action and adventure, enticing characters, and an intelligent bent on the history of lycanthropes. There was only a two year lapse until the release of its sequel, The Frenzy War (book 2), but it felt like several years passed as I waited to reunite with the story’s protagonist and hero Tony Mace. The NYPD Homicide Captain turned paper pusher of the K9 unit was the hero and star of the first book, but there are a number of interesting secondary characters to beef up the mythos of The Frenzy Cycle Series in this sequel. Continue reading

Untraditional Beasts – Panel FoF 2012

One of the last panels of the 2012 Festival of Fear was meant as an homage to literary beasts, spoken of by some of the best writers in the genre today. Monica S. Kuebler once again moderated, this time joined by Kelley Armstrong, Sephera Giron and Greg Lamberson.

DT Invades FanExpo

Holy shit, Fan Expo/Festival of Fear 2012 is in the books, and in a year centered around disappointment, the DT crew had a damn good time. I did, at least. I should explain my statement about disappointment: many things went wrong and many guests did not show up. If you’re an autograph hound, you still had your chances, but you definitely didn’t get the full meal.

I’m not into celebrities, so I can only describe through observation what occurred on “Celebrity Row”. John Carpenter appeared to be in great spirits throughout, and his fans always seemed to walk away satisfied. The same can be said of Jon Berenthal, Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery. Stan Lee‘s lineup was brutal and snaked through the horror section at times. I have no idea how other celebrities faired, except for Tony Todd, who had the biggest smile as he met up with the actors from Night Of The Living Dead.

If you’re still here, we’ll get to the horror literary festivities. The layout was improved over years passed, though vampire fic fans had to stand under an escalator in order to chat with either Karen Dales or Nancy Kilpatrick. Karen told me that she had fun and had sold very well. Nancy was less optimistic, because they put her at the farthest booth possible.

Speaking of Karen Dales, she was on a panel Thursday evening geared toward novice and inexperienced authors called Indie Genre Fiction. Moderated by Rue Morgue Managing Editor/Burning Effigy Press Founder Monica S. Kuebler, the dais included Sass Cadeaux, Stephen B. Pearl and Alan Draven, this discussion focused on topics near and dear to me. Full coverage with video shall be forthcoming.

Day two began with Greg Lamberson presenting his film Slime City Massacre…which I missed due to transit issues. I took the opportunity to wander the floor in search of something to write about here. I found Don D’Auria, a name who many of you should already be familiar with. Don made the trek northward to meet fans and give away books. That’s right, Samhain Horror did hourly giveaways of book prizes, and DT’s own Kendra won Ronald Malfi’s The Narrows. I managed to nab Don for a quick chat and faux pitch-session (as yet, I’ve nothing to pitch, but he graciously suggested that I send my MS to him when it is complete). I focused on very basic topics which are covered below in:

Don D’Auria’s Do’s/Do Not’s of Writing

  • DO – Write. Novels, novellas and the like don’t get written if pen doesn’t hit paper or fingers don’t hit keys.
  • DO – Be confident in what you wrote. “It’s easier to buy a book if the author believes in what they wrote and believes in themselves.”
  • DO – Clean up that manuscript. You’re submitting it for consideration, make sure it’s the best it can be. BUT…
  • DON’T – Hire a pro editor if submitting to any publisher. Don (and I assume most publishers) want to read YOUR book, not the book someone else helped create.
  • DON’T – Be afraid of rejection. This one is universal, and as an author myself it’s something that I’ve gotten used to. But, Don (and I) suggest that you use each and every rejection as a motivational guide to get better.

After stumbling over my words 3 times with arguably the most prominent editor in the genre, I can safely say that if I ever do submit to Samhain, I’ll be extra careful to dot my t’s and cross my i’s. I actually said that as I was walking away from the booth, I hope nobody heard me.

If I may derail this post right here, I have to commend HobbyStar for actually getting decent food into the building. I went for lunch soon after leaving Samhain and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised: the pizza was fresh and the sushi was real. No, I did not eat them at the same time.

Back to surreality, I was called upon to record audio for the Gore, Girls, And God-Forsaken Cinema panel which had absolutely nothing to do with literature, but more to do with having a damn good time enjoying horror. The panelists were: Tal Zimerman, Last Chance Lance, The Gore-Met, John W. Bowen and Aaron Lupton. Unfortunately, also in the room was a malfunctioning dvd player, however our panelists weren’t deterred. Aaron took charge and asked the audience for their favourite “squeamish scene” from a movie…and hilarity ensued. You’ll have to check back with us to see what exactly I did get audio of, I’m kinda excited to find out myself.

Day three was a vacation day for the DT staff, as we were unable to secure press credentials for the “big” day. As a result, I slept in and missed the What Is Goth? panel that included Voltaire, Liisa Ladouceur, Nancy Kilpatrick and was moderated by Tomb Dragomir. I believe our friends at Ottawa Horror did check out the panel, and you’d do well to check out their report.

Day four finished off the festivities in style, as Monica was back to moderating; this time with panelists Greg Lamberson, Sephera Giron and Kelley Armstrong chatting about Untraditional Beasts. Incredibly informative, but not much about beasts. Check back for the coverage and exclusive audio.

Shocked that I wanted somebody out of costume.

I took the rest of the day to wander around Artist Alley, and I’m kinda happy that I did. Not only did I find some incredibly talented paint slingers, I also ran into a young lady that won the Locke & Key collection that Colum gave out last year. It turns out that she and her associate comprise The Avod, a weekly horror podcast based on the fringe of Toronto. After pleasantries were exchanged, they were kind enough to interview yours truly for an upcoming episode. We chatted about the con, DT and my personal projects. (Ahem). I’m very thankful for the opportunity, and look forward to hearing just how out of touch I sound.

What authors do when we’re not writing.

After the good times and goodbyes, DT has to thank Rue Morgue, Fan Expo, Hobbystar and each and every one who made us feel incredibly welcome. To learn more about anyone mentioned, click their name. We will see everyone in 2013, and look for DT to have a presence at Toronto’s Word On The Street and possibly Darklit Durham.

Dreadful Tales Book Club – June Edition & Giveaway!

Banner courtesy of Mark Brown (a.k.a. Dark Mark)June marks the third month of the Dreadful Tales Book Club and while each selection thus far has been darkly sweet we have an extra special month of grim reading ahead.

Gregory Lamberson, author of May’s Book of the Month Carnage Road, scanned the darkest corners of his book shelves to find the perfect title for you macabre maniacs. This month we’ll be hanging out in The Psychopedia Necronomicon forum of The Mortuary message board discussing the literary prowess of the late Michael Louis Calvillo by digging into his novel Lambs (DarkFuse Publications, 2012).

From the DarkFuse website:

Plagued by a trio of murderous ghosts, Arthur has bigger problems than your average teenager. Young love, wild hormones, and The System haunt him, but those phantoms are nothing compared to the concern he has when watching the darkened corners and deep shadows around him. These spaces are now consumed by a spectral evil seemingly hell-bent on destroying everyone he loves.

As the bodies pile up, Arthur distances himself from his roommate, Connor, a pyromaniac crack-baby with destructive tendencies, and his girlfriend, Melanie, an all-American Satanist with a hidden agenda. He embarks upon a grisly odyssey of self-discovery in hopes of burying the past, cleansing his soul, and obliterating the blood-thirsty spirits once and for all.

In conjunction with this month’s book club we have an exciting giveaway courtesy of Lambs publisher DarkFuse Publications. We have 3 paperback copies of Lambs up for grabs. There are several ways to enter and each time you increase your chances of getting a copy. This giveaway will run for the next two weeks, so you’ll have plenty of time to join in the book club discussion if you win.

Here’s what you do:

(1)   Like DarkFuse on Facebook. Not only does this count for one entry in the giveaway, but you can also claim a 25% OFF coupon. You just need to go to the “Special Offers” tab at the top of the page to redeem.

(2)   Follow DarkFuse on Twitter.

(3)   Visit the DarkFuse website and let Dreadful Tales know about your favorite DarkFuse title OR which title is on the top of your wishlist. You can do this by commenting below, telling us on Facebook, Twitter, or email (dreadfultalesstaff AT gmail DOT com).

(4)   Post a review of a DarkFuse title on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads.

Any of the above-mentioned count for an entry in the giveaway, so the more you enter the better your chances. Just be sure to notify us via Facebook, Twitter, or email (dreadfultalesstaff AT gmail DOT com) each time you enter for verification.

Michael Louis Calvillo touched many lives not only with his great words, but also with his humble and gracious character. I hope you will join me in this celebration of his literary legacy for our June reading of Lambs.

-Meli