Category Archives: Books

Book Review: 31 Tales from Hellview Cemetery

61mczpcfmyl31 Tales from Hellview Cemetery is a fantastic collection of creepy stories, most of which are based on urban legends and ghost lore from around the Bay Area of Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida. One might assume that a book of scary stories such as this would be specific for Halloween. While I can easily say that this book is in fact essential for one’s Halloween goodie bag, this is simply a great read for any time of the year. There is a vast assortment of unique and interesting characters, ghouls and ghosts, from the thing hiding under your bed, to the creepy old neighbor.

Meet Emily, the little girl with the red buckled shoes you keep seeing everywhere; doesn’t she seem familiar? Take a doomed walk through Boyd Hill at night; will you dare to face what lies beneath its dark and churning waters? Say ‘Hi’ to The Fangrrl, who takes her Fandoms deadly serious; will she become your new obsession, or will you become hers? Step under the Big Top of a Terror-filled circus; can you survive even a mere glimpse of its final performance? Go camping with Jack; can you begin to imagine the surprise he has for you? These are just a few of the folks you’ll meet throughout this horrifying journey in Hellview.

There is so much to love in this book. The twists are surprising, if not downright shocking. It is extremely well-written, but above all it is thoroughly entertaining. The stories are further accentuated with the accompaniment of the grimly-gorgeous photography of Susan Black.

Kudos to Mark Muncy, A.K.A The Caretaker, and his co-author Elizabeth Abbott! I can’t wait to see what’s next for these denizens of Hellview Cemetery. Highly, highly recommended!


Horror for a Cause: Book Sales to Support Bullying Prevention

imageYou may or may not be aware of this, but October is National Bullying Prevention Month. As the primary theme in my book “Feeding Lazarus” is a message of anti-bullying, during the entire month of October, 50% of the total profits from the book’s sale will be donated to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center in support of this cause and to help bring awareness.

As a personal victim of bullying, abuse, and social exclusion, this is an issue I feel very strongly about. I’ve not only been a victim, but I’ve also been a witness. I’ve seen it happen numerous times. Some of those times, I’ve done something about it. Other times, I haven’t. The latter, well, those are times I’m not very proud of.

Let’s face it, the truth is, we’ve all been there. We’ve all seen it happen in some form or another.  Sometimes, we’ve done something, and sometimes we’ve chosen to look away. We can’t all be Superman, but we CAN choose to be a hero; we can do something about it. NOW. We can all stand up to bullies. We can choose to say something when we see it happening; we can tell them to stop. We have that power. We can also donate, fundraise, or just help spread the word. And please keep in mind, that bullying, abuse, and social exclusion are not just inherent to schoolyard pranks and high-school antics. It happens to adults, in the workplace, in our homes, even within our own families.

Bullying is an atrocity. Lives are lost. Suicides result. It needs to stop. We all need to stand up and say, “The End of Bullying Begins with Me.” Daniel, the main character in “Feeding Lazarus,” represents all the times I looked away; writing his story, that’s me doing something about it. That is me beginning.

I’d like to say thank you to my publisher, Jaded Books Publishing, for their wonderful support of this truly important cause with matching contributions.

Please do share and spread the word. Also, I highly encourage you to visit PACER’s website on Bullying Prevention. While there, consider leaving a small donation if you are able, and also discover many other ways you can help this cause to End Bullying. Thank you for your time.


Feeding Lazarus to be Published by Fat Lip Press!

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So here’s that awesome news I hinted about last week:

On September 2nd I will unleash Feeding Lazarus upon the world. The contract with Fat Lip Press is signed and the gears are in motion. I must say, for such a short book, this has been a long time in the making. What started out as two individual short story concepts that got fused together after I realized they were in fact different parts of the same story, and what then aspired to become a short novelette, but after countless rewrites and revisions over the last five years, has grown into a short novel/extended novella.

I believe one reason I’ve taken so long with this is simply due to the nature of this story. Have no doubt, this is a tale of visceral horror, and it deals with some extremely horrific real world issues, primarily that of bullying and abuse. Though Feeding Lazarus  is a work of pure fiction, I have both witnessed and experienced such atrocities in my own life, and that makes this a very personal story for me.

My hope is that the themes and underlying messages in Feeding Lazarus will resonate with others who have had similar experiences, and perhaps bring to light the severe impact these real life nightmares have on their victims. Perhaps it could also become a catalyst to inspire those who witness such things happening to stand up, stand strong, be the hero and take action to stop the bullying, the abuse, and the social exclusion that torments the lives of so many each and every day.

So mark your calendars, for on September 2nd I bring you Feeding Lazarus from Fat Lip Press! And stay tuned, I’ll post updates as we get closer to the release including excerpts from the book and the all important cover reveal. Oh, and happy Father’s Day!

Cheers!

 


Book Review: Sacrificial Nights

imageThe writing team of Boston-Manzetti is a poetic tour de force that cannot be denied. Sacrificial Nights is a testament to this, grabbing you from page one, dragging you into its dark and seedy world woven with twisted characters, horrific happenings, and powerful, memorable imagery. When these two masters, each themselves Bram Stoker Award Winners, blend their voices together, the result is utterly fantastic!

Sacrificial Nights is a great concept that is not only a collection of poems, but creates a poetic novella when read from start to finish as it is meant to be read. I absolutely love this concept and was more than pleased when reading Sacrificial Nights to discover that Boston-Manzetti realize this concept to an astonishing effect, creating not just a superb collection of collaborative poems, but a truly exquisite work of art.

If you are a fan of Bruce Boston or Alessandro Manzetti then you have likely already bought this or are going to. But if you are new to either of these great writers, buy this, read it, but don’t stop there. Go forth and explore the individual works of both of these fantastic, award-winning authors.

Cheers for Boston-Manzetti’s Sacrificial Nights!

Sacrificial Nights is available now in ebook and Paperback editions.


A Few Things, and a Tease

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So I know it’s been quiet on the blog here lately, the cobwebs are even getting stale, but fear not, I have been quite busy doing all the stuff I usually do, you know, lurking in the shadows, stalking about in people’s dreams, harvesting the Blood of the Dragon, oh and writing of course.

I currently have some sixty-plus new poems written that I’m starting to shop around to various markets. A few of those have hit publication recently or are forthcoming, like my poem From Corn to Sea in April’s Devolution Z Magazine, these poems just published at Tuck Magazine, oh and some reprinted work here on UFO Gigolo. There are a couple of other poetry projects I’m working on like this: In So Many Words: Interviews and Poetry from Today’s Poets, edited by Adam Levon Brown and Claudine Nash.

Now, the title of this post promised some teasing, and I’m nothing else if not a man of my word, so here we go. It appears that I have a pretty AWESOME ANNOUNCEMENT to make, but I’m not going to tell you about it right now (hence the tease).

See, we writers tend to be a sadistic bunch, and I get far too much pleasure out of keeping people in suspense. Well that and I’d like to iron out more of the details first. Honestly, I received this news so recently that it still feels a bit surreal, and I’d like to marinate in it for a bit I suppose. But once a few more things come to light, I’ll make the announcement right here on the blog, so stay tuned (but please don’t hold your breath, there are enough corpses in my writing as it is). I will tell that it has to do with a certain fiction project  I’ve been working on, off and on, for about the last five years.

So until next time, stay thirsty my friends, or stay classy, or drunk, or something. Whatever.

Cheers!


Happy Halloween! Come Fly with Death: Free Days

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - Kindle

Hi folks! Happy soon-to-be Halloween!

As a special promotion for Halloween, the ebook edition of my dark poetry chapbook, Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski, is free for Amazon Kindle starting today, Thursday, October 29th, and lasting through Sunday, November 1st. That’s four days to grab a copy if you haven’t already done so, plus a little extra time to duct tape your friends to chairs and force them politely invite your friends to do the same.

Also, I highly encourage you to visit beksiński.pl to learn more about Zdzislaw Beksinski and immerse yourself in his fantastic, horrific, and truly beautiful works of art.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again for all your support.

Cheers!


Free Today and Tomorrow – No Foolin’

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - Kindle

Hey folks! My little chapbook of horrific poetry, Come Fly with Death, is free today and tomorrow for Amazon Kindle. If you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, now’s your chance!

Here’s the rundown:

Come Fly with Death is a chapbook of 20 poems inspired by the artwork of the late Polish painter, Zdzislaw Beksinski. Up until the time of his murder in 2005, Beksinski created a fantastic collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs, specializing in the field of utopian art.

Like Beksinski’s works, the poems contained here are surrealistic and graphic. They are at times horrific, Gothic, even erotic, and apocalyptic. Above all, they attempt to serve as a rare glimpse into the heart of our most beautiful nightmares.

Contains poems new and collected, including reprints from: The Horror Zine, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Indigo Rising Magazine, Gothic Poems and Fiction, Death Head Grin Anthology Vol. 2, and Fossil Lake: An Anthology of the Aberrant.

Thanks! Now go spread the word.

Cheers!


Free for Halloween: Come Fly with Death

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - KindleNow through Halloween you can grab a free Kindle copy of my horror-themed poetry chapbook, Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski. This promotion is for two days only, so don’t delay!

Oh, and tell your friends!

Book Description:

Come Fly with Death is a chapbook of 20 poems inspired by the artwork of the late Polish painter, Zdzislaw Beksinski. Up until the time of his murder in 2005, Beksinski created a fantastic collection of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs, specializing in the field of utopian art.

Like Beksinski’s works, the poems contained here are surrealistic and graphic. They are at times horrific, Gothic, even erotic, and apocalyptic. Above all, they attempt to serve as a rare glimpse into the heart of our most beautiful nightmares.

Contains reprints from: The Horror Zine, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Indigo Rising Magazine, Gothic Poems and Fiction, Death Head Grin Anthology Vol. 2, and Fossil Lake: An Anthology of the Aberrant. Also includes several poems never before published.

Sample Poem:

COME FLY WITH DEATH

Come fly with Death
and feel the splitting as you come apart
with turbulent screams bifurcating bones.

Flee further from this life–
unfurl your wings and soar
with tangled feathers cutting the night.

Join his skeleton beak,
slicing stabs at airless wind,
and wield its dashing spine.

Stay near to glinting shroud and glide,
knowing tattered wings will guide,
as whispering scars are left behind.

Go now into that hollow abyss,
but do not pass the dark in calmness;
break the barrier with raging clamor!

Do not scrape or merely crawl.
Come fly with Death–
and swoop, and yawp, and bawl.


NaNoWriMo: The 2013 Wrap-up

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The hardest part about National Novel Writing Month was dragging my lazy ass out of bed. That and, well you know, actually writing.

With another NaNoWriMo looming just around the corner, I thought it was time I posted my 2013 Wrap-up:

The Overview

2013 was my first attempt at participating in this chaotic, month-long writing marathon to churn out a 50,000 word novel in just thirty days. Along the way I learned quite a bit about myself, about my writing, and about my own abilities as a writer. I learned that I can write from an outline (granted, an outline thrown together in the week before the event), and still have the freedom to “pants it,” find surprises, and drift from the script now and again. I learned that I can set a writing goal, and I can achieve it. I learned that I can write (almost) everyday.

While I didn’t actually complete an entire novel, I learned that I have the ability to write a “novel-size” manuscript in just thirty days. And I learned (or rather reminded myself) that large quantities of coffee and energy shots can in fact replace sleep.

Overall, it was a great experience (from what I remember anyway, the entire month is all still very much a blur).While I technically “won” the event by hitting the 50,000 word goal on November 30, I’m certain there are some things I could have done differently, not necessarily better, to make the experience even more rewarding. So let’s take a moment to recap my adventures in NaNoWriMo 2013.

The Plan

I signed up mid-October on a whim, and started throwing together a quick outline from a story concept I’d been harboring for some time. I’d never tried to write “fast” before and had never really tested myself to see how many words I could cram out per hour, but I guessed that if I was typing at a good rate and just letting the stream of consciousness flow, just writing whatever came to mind without second guessing sentence structure or word choice, that I could probably hammer out about a thousand words in an hour.

So I planned to give myself roughly two hours per day to write, in the early morning hours before work and before the family started to stir. I hoped to reach two thousand words per day so that I could take Sundays off and not fall behind on word count.

The Process

My NaNoWriMo 2013 Starter Kit

My NaNoWriMo 2013 Starter Kit

Depending on the day’s work schedule, I would wake up anywhere between 4:30-6 a.m. I’d brew my coffee and take my place on the sofa, working on a T.V. tray set up as a desk with my iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard. I had my music of course, ear-buds plugged in to my phone cranking out Pandora. (For some reason I was listening to a lot of Alt-J, Mumford and Sons, and Dave Matthews Band.)

Most days I found it easy to hit my word count in the given time, and I do believe my estimates proved pretty darn accurate. From what I remember, I was averaging right around 1,000 words/hour. There were a few days that I found time to write in the afternoons and those sessions would put me ahead. Me, being the lazy, procrastinating person that I am–instead of using these moments to really take off and up my word count–found opportunity several mornings to only write for an hour or so and then go back to bed for another hour prior to work.

I planned on blogging the whole experience along the way, but became so engrossed that I only managed to poke my head out once for a Week One Update. After that, there was only writing, coffee, and then darkness…

The Aftermath

2013 WriMo Stats
As you can see from the above image, I stayed on track and hit a total of 50,041 words on November 30. I ended up writing every day except for two days, day #10 and #28. Despite that, I never fell behind in the overall word count goal for any given day. I think this is really a good point to take home for anyone attempting the event this year. It is very important to keep your head above water. If you want to write ahead, write ahead, but don’t skip a day if it’s going to put you behind thinking you will make up for it tomorrow. That is, write for credit; don’t write yourself into debt. While I have read a few other writers post about falling behind and then making up for it in a final, glorious surge near the end, writing from a deficit only makes an already difficult challenge that much more challenging.

The Result

2013 WriMo Stats 2
So, what do I have to show for all this, aside from the satisfaction of knowing that I am now officially a WINNER! (With a t-shirt to prove it! Yippee!) plus all that ooey gooey knowledge and creamy-center-filled confidence I gained? Let me tell you: I am now the proud owner of 50,041 words of a half-finished “zero” draft novel that I haven’t looked at since and can barely even recall writing let alone remember what the hell I actually wrote. It is probably complete orangutan puke, but it is mine. It is mine to finish. It is mine to rewrite, edit, and revise. It is mine to turn into something perhaps worthwhile, something that could even one day be yours as well, and if it wasn’t for NaNoWriMo, it might never have existed.

If you have never done NaNoWriMo before, don’t kid yourself, this is a very difficult challenge. By December 1, I was exhausted, burned out. With family obligations and a full time job, there’s no way I could keep that kind of pace going for much longer than a month. Even only writing a couple or three hours a day, it just wears you down, both physically and mentally, trying to keep pace and consistently make your word count. But if you can hang with it for the whole month, win or lose, it is extremely rewarding. And yes, I will be “competing” again this year. (As I’ll discuss here in a few days, this year I plan on cheating. Shhhh…)

How about any of you? Done NaNoWriMo in previous years? Care to share your experiences, good or bad? Or, if you’ve never done the event but are thinking about it, please feel free to share your thoughts or ask questions in the comments below. While I’m still somewhat of a NaNoWriMoNewbie, I’d be happy to chat about the issue, and perhaps we can pull some real veterans into the discussion along with us.

Thanks for reading, and until next time, Just Write!


Come Fly with Death

Come Fly with Death Book Cover - Kindle

Come Fly with Death: Poems Inspired by the Artwork of Zdzislaw Beksinski is available now as an ebook for $0.99 and trade paperback for $5.99, and will also be available to order through your local bookstore in the coming weeks.

Below you’ll find two poems from this chapbook (two because I failed to post yesterday when my iPad became possessed). First is the title poem, ‘Come Fly with Death’ along with ‘Bring the Light.’ You can also sample three additional poems which I’ve previously posted: ‘One in Hell,’ ‘Ocean Eyes,’ and ‘Hell Fossil.’

Thank you so much for having a look at my work, and if you like it, tell a friend! (If you don’t like it, just pretend you never read it.)

 

COME FLY WITH DEATH

Zdzislaw Beksinski

Zdzislaw Beksinski

Come fly with Death
and feel the splitting as you come apart
with turbulent screams bifurcating bones.

Flee further from this life—
unfurl your wings and soar
with tangled feathers cutting the night.

Join his skeleton beak,
slicing stabs at airless wind,
and wield its dashing spine.

Stay near to glinting shroud and glide,
knowing tattered wings will guide,
as whispering scars are left behind.

Go now into that hollow abyss,
but do not pass the dark in calmness;
break the barrier with raging clamor!

Do not scrape or merely crawl.
Come fly with Death—
and swoop, and yawp, and bawl.

 

BRING THE LIGHT

Zdzislaw Beksinski

Zdzislaw Beksinski

What wretched creatures lie before me!
Squealing, squirming in the dark,
enthralled
amidst their feasting orgy.

Gnashing teeth, spattering blood,
festering bone;
their tongues dance along the drips
of other men’s pain.

A cryptic overseer
looms beyond the mist,
his crow shoulders
pecking upon the scars.

A thousand wicked grins
gleam from rubble and from rot,
a pile of waste—
dead men leering in the dark.

A door to freedom is at their backs,
but most will never see it,
long since trading eyes
for sharper teeth and larger maws.

But I bring the Light,
and I wear the shroud.
My candle burns;
my flame never falters.

The Bearer of the Cross walks beside me.
We pass among the throng
and it parts before our steps;
like the splitting seas—

I bring the Light
and the darkness scatters.

 


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