Dreadful Tales Book Club – May 2012 Edition

Banner courtesy of longtime Mortuary member Dark Mark, a.k.a. Mark Brown

Dreadful Tales book club members are still finishing up Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad! and discussing the collection in The Mortuary April 2012 book club thread here. Some of the contributors, including the editor Weldon Burge who put this wonderful anthology together, have stopped by to see how well readers are enjoying the book.

Now that we’re in May, I passed the baton over to my cohort Dark Mark and he’s picked out a highly anticipated read for us this month…

 

Drum roll, please…

 

Greg Lamberson’s Carnage Road (Print Is Dead, 2012)! This is a short zombie road novella, so if you’re buried in books like most of us are, this would be a good one to read along with the group.

As we move through the bodies littering Carnage Road, we will be discussing the book here. This book is available for Kindle or in paperback format.

We hope to “see” you there!

Advertisements

2012 Stoker Awards DT Podcast

Meli did an absolutely kickass wrap up of the Stoker Awards, which you totally should read. Go ahead, I’ll wait. The staff decided to go into literary overdrive and tackle our first ever podcast/Skype chat immediately following the festivities. Be warned, there is cursing, drunkenness, opinionated conversation, and much to my chagrin, a few instances of technical difficulty. Podcasting is something that we plan to continue, and thus plan to get better at.

That said, join Meli, Colum, Pat and myself as we opine on the event that was the 2012 Bram Stoker Award Ceremony.

EDIT: We apologize for any inconvenience, but the file has been deleted to make room for other media. Rest assured, it was epic.

For more on the Bram Stoker Awards, please visit the HWA webpage. If you’d like to keep up with each of us, follow us on Twitter: Meli, Pat, Colum, and Jason. Don’t forget to bookmark Dreadful Tales, follow our Twitter, and “like” us on Facebook.

Women in Horror Month: An Interlude

In my Welcome to Women in Horror Month post at the beginning of February, I made the comment that this is a time to come together as brothers and sisters in blood and guts, so to speak. Some people back the celebration 100%, and some people are publicly against it, men and women on both sides. And that’s OK.

We decided as a team that it’s important to us. I decided as a woman who had, until very recently, woefully neglected the contributions of my sisters in the literary world that this month was important to me personally.

Whether or not someone else chooses to celebrate is not so much a concern to me as whether people give credit where it is due. I had that brief selfish twinge of “why aren’t they into the same thing I’m into!?” Maybe I was looking for validation in the shared support of people I admire and respect. But the truth is I don’t need to be validated.

I’m proud of what we’ve done at Dreadful Tales so far and look forward to the rest of our contributions to the literary community. I’ve got a laundry list of female writers – not just horror authors – poets, artists, publishers, and beyond to check out. I’ve grown, and learned new things about myself as a reader and woman.

Of course, none of that would be possible without my partners in crime, Colum, Pat, and Jason.  I’ve expressed my gratitude to Colum in particular before because without him I wouldn’t be writing this right now. For whatever reason, Colum recognized an untapped creative energy within me anxious to be set free and really encouraged me to let it out.

I also owe much to members in the horror community, many of them men, for recommending great female talents, and supporting our artistic endeavors. We (women) can’t do this alone.

You may be wondering, “what the hell is your point!?” Sorry, I’m getting to it. My point is that you can’t really celebrate Women in Horror without giving credit to the men who champion our artistic endeavors.

For example, I’ve mentioned Greg Lamberson a couple times this month for introducing me to exceptional women in the horror literature world. I could dedicate a couple shelves to his recommendations alone.

But today, I want to give a shout out to John Everson and in particular the brilliant collection of short stories from his own Dark Arts Books titled Sins of the Sirens: Fourteen Tales of Dark Desire, which features four extremely talented, fearless, balls-to-the-walls writers. These writers grab on with red lacquered nails, razor sharp, and refuse to let go without taking ripped bits of flesh with them. And I discovered each one of these authors – Loren Rhoads, Maria Alexander (nominated for a 2011 Bram Stoker Award!), Mehitobel Wilson, and Christa Faust – for the first time in this anthology.

Thank you, John!

Everson so aptly describes the writers of Sins of the Sirens in his introduction to the collection:

They’re all very different writers, yet they each spin tales of power, and obsession, and often deadly seduction. That which we desire makes us… vulnerable. The ability to unveil vulnerability is the greatest siren weapon – in life, and in fiction.

 This week, we celebrate that wonderful ability which is contained so perfectly in this collection through a four day series of mini-reviews and a couple interviews with the Ladies of Sins of the Sirens!

Pictured above: Loren Rhoads, Christa Faust, Maria Alexander. Missing: Mehitobel Wilson (but we will find her!)

Stay tuned for the first lady of Sins of the Sirens, Loren Rhoads, later today!

-Meli

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!

INVOKING COSMIC FORCES: A Conversation With Greg Lamberson

I’ve never made any apologies for the rave reviews I’ve written regarding Greg Lamberson and his novels, and never will. His work is something that sits with me well. Be it the dialogue, the settings, the character descriptions, or the monsters; they all live freely and wonderfully in my head without a single qualm from my picky little brain. The Jake Helman Files is one of my favorite series of books, blending crime fiction with a surreal supernatural element that defies genre trappings, and delivers vibrant, oft times violent stories that satisfy my greedy literature needs. So it was a no brainer that I should sit down with the author and pick his brains on all things Helman.

It also just so happens that the third book in the series, Cosmic Forces, was recently released. A book that I strongly urge you to check out. Not only does it break genre conventions and turn horror literature on its head, but it also tackles everything from giant freaking monsters to religious subtext. Cosmic Forces is, in my opinion, Lamberson’s most ambitious book, but does he think the same of it? Well, you’re going to have to listen to find out.

A little bit more about the man and his work can be found within this chat. We literally talked about everything and anything. I’m honored to be bringing this to you guys. It was a pleasure to speak with the man, and I look forward to doing it again very soon.

INVOKING COSMIC FORCES_ A Conversation with Greg Lamberson

C.

 

 

 

 

Cosmic Forces by Greg Lamberson

I love Jake Helman. I love him, I love Greg Lamberson for bringing him to me, I love Medallion for bringing it to print, and I love… well, everything about this series. And I’m so happy to report to you that this is the best book in the Jake Helman Files to date. Cosmic Forces is full of action, suspense, gore, hilarious one-liners, and a hero that puts all others to shame.

And a really friggin’ big monster.

Oh yeah, this one is huge.

The whole damned book is huge. From concept to characters, action and plot, this whole thing feels like holding a million pounds of creativity packed into a small, book shaped package.

When the wife of New York City mayor Myron Madigan hires private investigator Jake Helman to spy on her husband, the trail leads him to Karlin Reichard. The wealthy industrialist and kingmaker leads to a cabal that has secretly manipulated world affairs for generation. In order to bring these powerful men down, Jake must join them. But at what cost to his own soul?

Battling human assassins and supernatural creatures, Jake pursues a quest to uncover the mystery behind the Order of Avademe and a monster willing to destroy heaven and hell to rule the earth.

In what is definitely the biggest, most ambitious plot in the Jake Helman series, Lamberson dishes out heaping loads of pain, torture, and terrifying situations to (in my opinion) the best damned hero of modern fiction. Not only that, but Lamberson expands upon the world that Helman inhabits, revisiting some of his earlier cases, and setting up more questions about some of the secondary characters that we just knew had something more to them. The year-long wait for this follow-up to Desperate Souls and Personal Demons was well worth every single literary withdrawal symptom I experienced. Unfortunately for me (and you folks, too), we’ll be waiting until 2012 for the aptly named follow-up – Tortured Spirits.

Getting back on track – this time around we find Jake fighting all manner of creepy-crawly nasties in search of information pertaining to his current case. Lamberson has always excelled at creating incredible characters, as Jake Helman’s undeniably strong and larger than life existence will tell, and the folks in Cosmic Forces are no different. From the get-go, Lamberson throws nothing but true, realistic dialogue, and emotive characters into the mix, really fleshing out the story for all it’s worth. From Madigan’s wife to his dwarf-like assistant, Lamberson surrounds Jake and the entire plot with a spectacular cast that showcases his practiced ability to give the reader what they want, and the author’s own incredible understanding of character creation.

Again, Lamberson has given the reader not just a story, but also the literary equivalent of the cinematic experience. It’s not hard to imagine this series as a film franchise, but given the extremely detailed plots, it would hard to believe that Hollywood or any other film maker would be able to do it justice. Not to mention the sheer amount of time it would take to create some of the monsters that Lamberson has dreamed up this time.

Now, earlier I said that this is the most ambitious of all of the Jake Helman books. I said that with good reason. Lamberson has upped the ante in this one considerably. Not only is Jake going head to head with a giant monster, the likes of which I won’t explain for the sake of the spectacularly grand reveal in the novel, but he’s also going up against several very powerful men and the powers of good and evil themselves. The team-ups in this novel are incredible as well, making Cosmic Forces switch from a dark, noir-ish tale to a full on comic book style replete with some of the best action we’ve seen so far. The ending just begs for a huge and triumphant orchestral score to punctuate every Biff!, Bam!, and Boom! that Jake and his fellow renegades deliver to their enemies. I was compelled to read this scene twice, just because it was so damned fun.

There are some incredibly detailed and creative biblical references in this book, as well. All of the mythos draws from some sort of religious background, with under (and over) tones of occult themes thrown in for good measure. Lamberson travels a great distance to create his own mythology in this story, crafting an almost entirely believable back story that could very well serve as a cult belief in and of itself. Like his previous efforts, and his novel The Frenzy Way, Cosmic Forces is incredibly well researched, and will satisfy almost every answer that could pop into your head regarding the information contained herein. The only pieces left untouched hint at a story that would be very welcomed as a follow-up. If I’m right, Tortured Spirits could very well be even better than its predecessor.

This book really has everything I, as a reader, could ever want i a horror/crime crossover story. Apart from Mike Oliveri’s The Pack: Winter Kill, I have yet to find a series that grabs my attention as much as this one does. Lamberson knows exactly what he’s doing, and creates a different, more emotionally charged, and thematically huge story with every subsequent release.

You won’t be disappointed with these books, folks. This series is 100% Dreadfully Approved.

Check out Medallion Books here, and Greg Lamberson’s website here. For a limited time, you can grab a free e-copy of Personal Demons – the 1st book in the Jake Helman Series – at Amazon, and other online retailers.

C.

Desperate Souls by Gregory Lamberson

Usually, after I finish a book, I like to let it sit and stew in my brain so I can gather my thoughts, you know, really get a grip on how I felt about it. When it comes to The Jake Helman Files I find that impossible. Read on and see why.

They’re not breathing. That’s why they’re so still. But that’s not possible . . .

Eleven months after battling Nicholas Tower and the demon Cain, Jake Helman has set up shop as a private investigator in Lower Manhattan. When a woman hires Jake to prove that her dead grandson is dealing a deadly new drug called “Black Magic” on a Brooklyn street corner, Jake uncovers a vicious drug lord’s plot to use voodoo to seize control of the city.

While panic grips New York City, Jake Helman battles gun-wielding zombie assassins, hallucinations, and betrayal at every corner. But voodoo creates more terrors than zombies, and Jake finds himself poised on the edge of insanity as he fights to restore the soul of the one person he trusts.

The first chapter of this novel alone is worth every single moment of aguish that I experienced waiting for the follow up to Lamberson’s first novel in The Jake Helman Files – Personal Demons. The following 27 chapters (plus epilogue) sealed the deal, leaving me utterly satisfied and yet still jonesing for the next installment. Lamberson has really outdone himself this time around, solidifying Jake Helman as one of my all-time favorite characters in horror today.

Seriously folks, cross genre fiction doesn’t get better than this.

Like the previous book, it’s go – go – go from the start, blending equal parts frenetic comic book style, and seasoned police procedural thriller. Lamberson delivers the goods early on, setting up characters that play beautifully against Helman, while hurrying the story along in a quick and dirty way. The way that the author blends the back story in is also remarkable, as it doesn’t detract from the current read in the least. You’ll feel like you already know what went down in the first book, making this one just as good as a stand alone novel. It would be my suggestion that you read the first though, as it has some incredible scenes that you really shouldn’t miss.

Now, I’ve mentioned before that Lamberson has a way with giving the invested reader a severe emotional beat-down of sorts. That is also very much the case with this book. In fact, there was a point where I had to put the book down for a moment – the scene was so shocking and came out of nowhere. Like I said in the Frenzy Way review, when you fall in love with a character in a Lamberson story – something bad is going to happen to them. I’m going to leave it at that. If you’re someone who loves Jake Helman, you’re going to be in for some serious surprises here – but man is it satisfying.

The overall feel of the book is very much the same as the first. The only difference here is that Lamberson has really tweaked his story arcs, tightened up his dialogue, and really given his all to the development of every facet of the story. I wouldn’t be wrong to say that this is the best piece that Lamberson has presented to his reading audience. In fact, the only bad part of the book was the blank page following the end of the story. I walked away from this book completely satisfied and ready to take on Cosmic Forces upon it’s release in October 2011 – from Medallion Press.

You can read more about The Jake Helman Files at the Medallion Press website and on Lamberson’s personal website. If you’re looking to contact Lamberson, check him out on Facebook, Twitter, and on LiveJournal.

Lamberson and Medallion Press are hosting an interactive signing on Saturday, September 11th. The cost is $18 (the purchase of the book) and will include a chatroom and live webcam feed. He will personalize the book, and Medallion will ship it to you on Monday. Readers who take part will receive their copies of Desperate Souls 2 weeks in advance of the public. Register for the signing here.

Also, it should be noted that Audible.com has purchased the rights to both Personal Demons and Desperate Souls for audio books. As a fan of that medium, I really couldn’t be more excited.

Colum