Category Archives: Announcements

My Book Review of High Moor 2: Moonstruck is up on Hellnotes

High_Moor_2_cover

Just a note that my review of High Moor 2: Moonstruck is now up on Hellnotes, and you can check that out here.

You can grab the paperback version here ($12.99, Amazon.com), or you can get the Kindle edition here ($4.01, Amazon.com).

And just a reminder that the first book in the series, High Moor, is FREE until Monday! Click here for that promotion. It’s a great opportunity to read the first book and go back to the beginning of this werewolf adventure. Both books will leave you wanting more, and present werewolves the way that die-hard horror fans love them.

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Friday Fright Feature: Support Author Tom Piccirilli–Spread the Word!

When I first heard about author Tom Piccirilli’s diagnosis of brain cancer, my heart sank to my stomach. Not only is he one of the most talented authors to ever emerge, first onto the horror scene, and lately, more on the crime fiction front, but he’s also just such a nice guy. Reading about something like this happening to one of your idols is like getting a sharp punch to the gut. His wife, Michelle, is updating his Facebook account to let his family, friends, and readers know how he’s progressing, and we’re all hoping and praying that he beats this thing and that his treatments go well.

In the meantime, there’s a lot you can do to support Tom. If you haven’t read his work, I urge you to buy as many of his books as you can to support him and his family throughout this intensely difficult time.

Dark Regions Press is promoting one of his books, his new novella, The Walls of the Castle, and I wanted to make it the focus of this week’s Friday Fright Feature.

In the labyrinthian maze of endless corridors, annexes, and wings of the enormous medical complex known as The Castle prowls a grief-stricken man determined to redeem himself and bring justice for those victims incapable of doing it for themselves.

During the four months that his son lay dying, ex-con Kasteel lost his job, his wife, and nearly his mind. He became a fixture at the Castle, a phantom prowling the halls in the deep night, a shadow of his former self until he faded from sight and was forgotten altogether.

Now, without any life to return to, he takes it upon himself to become the Castle’s guardian. He lives off the grid hiding among the hundreds of miles of twisting passages, rooms, offices, and underground parking structures. Despair, confusion, and terror are the natural state and trade of any hospital: Not only must the patients endure disease and infirmity, but others are victims of physical and sexual abuse from the outside world or from cruel security guards.

The Castle was originally a colonial Dutch settlement: a village that grew into a town which grew into a city and at last became a hospital. Kasteel has lost his very identity to this place, taking for himself the original Dutch name for “Castle.”
Kasteel sleeps in empty operating theaters, sneaks food from the cafeteria, hacks into computers, and is privy to both staff and patient files. Using his skills as a burglar he tracks down the attackers, the deceivers, and the killers.

In the psychiatric wing’s day rooms and gardens long-suffering patient Hedgewick is Kasteel’s only friend. Hedgewick sees his father’s ghost and claims to fight in a gladiatorial arena while the hospital guards bet on the winners. Kasteel and Hedge often meet in the Fool’s Tower, a ten-story high steeple once used to quarantine yellow fever victims a century ago, overlooking acres of gardens. A place where family members go to pray for their loved ones, and the distraught often commit suicide.

But a new name is now whispered in the Castle: Abaddon, the ancient name for the angel of death. A brain-damaged woman has visions and speaks only to Kasteel. Abaddon is a killer, a man lost to the Castle like Kasteel himself, wandering the corridors searching out victims. Even as Abaddon hunts the innocent, Kasteel hunts Abaddon, eager for a final showdown that may at last set him free.

An atmospheric yet action-packed, mature psychological thriller that is part examination into the bonds of family and part treatise on the nature of identity, THE WALLS OF THE CASTLE explores the deepest areas of what makes us who we are. With a noir sensibility and complexity of character, the novella is a hybrid psychological thriller that’s part suspense tale, part family saga, and part literate mystery.

About the Author:

Tom Piccirilli is an American novelist and short story writer. He has sold over 150 stories in the mystery, thriller, horror, erotica, and science fiction fields. Piccirilli is a two-time winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for “Best Paperback Original” (2008, 2010). He is a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award. He was also a finalist for the 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Award given by the Mystery Writers of America, a final nominee for the Fantasy Award, and he won the first Bram Stoker Award given in the category of “Best Poetry Collection”.

Find out more here.

Dark Regions Press has also created a dedicated page on their website to let readers know what they can quickly and easily do to support Tom:

1. Order Tom’s new novella The Walls of the Castle, first book in their new Black Labyrinth imprint. 20% of hardcover proceeds will be donated to Tom.

2. Re-tweet this tweet on Twitter.

3. Share this photo on Facebook.

4. Read and share Tom’s blog on Brian Keene’s website.

5. Tell anyone you know who appreciates Tom’s work to hop on his Facebook and send him their thoughts:

6. Download The Walls of the Castle by Tom Piccirilli press kit to get banners, press releases and other information to help spread the word about the book.

Thank you all for your continued support.

HWA Announces our YA Horror Section

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) recently announced that they have just launched a Young Adult Horror section on their website, which they will begin to populate shortly. To launch, they have the input of acclaimed comic strip writer and HWA member Ray Billingsley as they look to use YA horror to improve the uptake of reading and of literacy generally.

All YA material that appears on their ‘Dark Whispers’ blog will be duplicated on the YA section, so that librarians, parents, teachers and young adult readers can find their YA material in one easy place. They’ll soon add last year’s Bram Stoker Award® nominees for Young Adult Novel and the winners of the Award for this category in previous years. There will be a selective addition of ‘iconic’ and notable YA works from past years at some point also.

You can help them to populate the YA section by doing some of these things:

  • If you have a YA blog, particularly with a focus on paranormal fiction, you can submit by following the guidelines (scroll down for more info)
  • If you’re an author and you have a YA book coming out, don’t forget to use the New Release form
  • The intended audience isn’t necessary other HWA members, but rather librarians, parents, teachers and Young Adult readers

Submission Guidelines:
Size limit: 1000 words for articles, 200 words for the bio.
Please keep in mind the HWA administration reserves the right to reject any submission for any reason. Only HWA members may submit directly, but non-members should send a query first to this email address.

They’re accepting 2 types of submissions: non-fiction articles and recommendations. Articles can be about anything related to the horror genre, the horror industry, horror writing, or the HWA. Keep your audience in mind. If in doubt about whether your topic is appropriate or not, you can query at this email address. Word limit: 1000 words; 200 words for bio (total of 1200 words max).

OTHER GUIDELINES:
1. No profanity.
2. No slander.
3. Spellcheck and copyedit for punctuation and grammar. They will reject a sloppy article.
4. No line indents. No tabs. Put a blank line between paragraphs.
5. Indicate links by putting the URL in parentheses after the text you want linked.
6. If you have images, please note that in your cover letter and they’ll contact you about them. Images should be no smaller than 500px wide. JPG format only. They’ll crop it. Images must not be copyrighted by anyone other than you.
7. HTML: If you know HTML and can appropriately format the article, please do, and submit it as a .txt file.
8. You receive no payment for your article or recommendation. It will stay live on the site until you ask them to take it down, until they decide to remove it, or until the site becomes defunct.
By submitting, you agree that the material submitted is your own work and that you have the right to let them publish it on the HWA website and blog. Send submissions to this address.

Author Interview: Mercedes M. Yardley

Beautiful Sorrows
by Mercedes M. Yardley
$13.99 | Amazon.com
Shock Totem Publications
September 5, 2012 | 196 pages

Praise for Beautiful Sorrows:
“Beautiful Sorrows… delicate prose with devastating impact. Mercedes Yardley is a female Joe Hill, and I fear her ‘Broken’ will haunt me to my grave.”
—F. Paul Wilson, New York TimesBestselling Author of The Keep and The Tomb

“Mercedes M. Yardley has the Right Stuff. She demonstrates that in her wonderful collection of short stories: Beautiful Sorrows. Each story is a different kind of gem, the bagful priceless.”
—Gene O’Neill, Bram Stoker Award™-winning Author of The Taste of Tenderloin and Double Jack

Q: You’re regarded very highly in horror circles for your dark, disturbing, but also beautiful fiction. Certainly F. Paul Wilson provided a wonderful blurb for Beautiful Sorrows. I would go even farther than his comparison of “a female Joe Hill” and say you’re like a female Neil Gaiman. How did reading that quote make you feel? How does it feel to get such praise from your peers?

MMY: It makes me want to weep joyful tears of blood. Thank you! What an absolutely wonderful thing to say! And when I heard that F. Paul Wilson said that, I nearly swooned. I adore him, and his book The Keep was really something special to me. To hear such delightful praise come from somebody that I admire so much, and now to hear such a flattering comparison from you, well. Well! I appreciate it. I don’t know how accurate it is, but I will work my best to better myself and my craft and try to live up to such fine comparisons.

Q:Beautiful Sorrows is not only a gorgeous title, but also aptly encompasses the tone of this entire collection; where did you come up with the title?

MMY: We have to thank K. Allen Wood for that. I was originally calling the collection something insanely long like, Tales of the Broken: 27 Tales of Beautiful Sorrows or something like that. I do adore long titles. Ken, who is rather practical, said, “How about just Beautiful Sorrows?” It was short, sweet, and apt.

Q: You mention in your endnotes that your husband doesn’t like to read most of your work but that he enjoyed “Stars,” which was also one of my favourites from the collection. Is it because he finds your subject matter too dark and disturbing? Do you get mad at him for not reading your work?

MMY My husband is a sunshiny kind of guy. Most of my work is a little too dark for him. He doesn’t care for the subject matter, and that doesn’t hurt my feelings. I’m not interested in golf or baseball, which he loves, so we’re pretty even on that. I pick and choose what to share with him. I wouldn’t want to dampen his sparkle.

Q: Tell us a bit about your process as a writer–are you a plotter or pantster?

MMY: I am not a plotter! I literally sit at the keyboard, say, “I’m going to write for 20 minutes” and then I’m surprised at what happens. Crazy characters usually pop up, like a snarky demon or a playboy fish-thrower at the market. My current WIP is the only one that I’ve ever plotted, and it’s a different beast, totally. I think my next novel will be free form after this, just because structure is difficult for me.

Q: Do you have to write with certain conditions, i.e. with music on, without music, in a cafe, at home, etc?

MMY: If I had any sort of requirements like that, I’d never write! Right now I’m typing while my daughter is lying beside me and kicking her feet. The washer and dryer are going. My husband is checking sports scores on the iPad. My son has “Pumped Up Kicks” turned on really loud. We’re not a house of silence. I have to make do and write when I can.

Q: I think I can speak for most readers when I say that I absolutely cannot wait to read anything and everything from you in future. What are some of your upcoming projects?

MMY: Thank you! That’s so awesome to hear! I have a few different anthologies that should be coming out fairly soon. Two are holiday ones, one titled Winter Wonders and the other is Let It Snow! Season’s Readings for a Super Cool Yule! The story in Let It Snow! centers around Peter, the male character in “The Container of Sorrows” from the Beautiful Sorrows collection. It’s nice to have him show up again. I’m also in three horror anthologies that I can’t technically announce yet, and a dark poetry book that will be out later. I also wrote the editorial for Shock Totem Issue #5, so if anybody wants to read my thoughts on “the death of horror”, there’s that.

Q: So much of your work centers on girls and women in horrendous circumstances–kidnapped girls, victims of abuse, anorexics—but that’s on one side of the spectrum, and on the other, you have young girls who share a sweet love with young boys even if they’re in a set of particularly disturbing circumstances. Ultimately, though, whether boys or girls, your stories reflect themes of being an Outsider, and not “acceptable” by society’s narrow standards. Are these types of characters something that come naturally to you or do you deliberately choose to tell your stories from their point of view? In other words, what comes first for you, the plot or the characters?

MMY: Oh, the characters always come first. I’ll think of a woman with white hair, a parasol, and blood running from her eyes, and I think, “Well, all right, my darling, you obviously have something to say.” I don’t find out what they say until later. It isn’t a deliberate thing. I never really felt like a full outcast, in anyway. I feel like I “mostly” fit in. I never fit all the way.

Q: As a female horror writer, have you ever encountered any male backlash from the antiquated “boy’s club” mentality that some men in the genre insist on clinging to? Certainly at least some of the men have embraced you wholeheartedly, as with F. Paul Wilson, but when you were first entering the genre, did you experience any sexism or hostility?

MMY: At first I thought I was experiencing hostility. I later realize that I wasn’t, but I was projecting something that wasn’t actually there. There is a little bit of the good ole boy’s club going on, but it’s more like people already know each other and have already developed relationships. Women aren’t unwelcome, but most of the guys don’t necessarily go out of their way to get to know us, etc. It’s up to us, and any new writer, to introduce and establish ourselves. There are some barriers, I think. As a married woman and a mother of three, I didn’t feel like I wanted to go to the small after parties in individual hotel rooms. That’s where a lot of networking goes on, and I feel that I miss out on that, sometimes, but on the other hand, I have absolutely no embarrassing situations to regret because of it. So that’s cool.

Q: Where did your love of writing come from? Was your family growing up supportive of your foray into dark fiction?

MMY: My parents are exceptionally awesome. They expected a lot of my brother and I. They expect us to be good people and to contribute to society. They expect us to make good choices, but they’d love us regardless. Mom always said, “You can do whatever you really want to do,” and they support us in the paths that we take. Although I’m sure they’d rather I write about kittens and rainbows, they’re still proud. Dad has bought everything I ever put out (thanks, Dad!) and even gave my book to his buddies at work. Mom is a librarian and made signs and bookmarks for my book signing at home. They’re very supportive.

Q: What subject matters do you find most interesting that you try to incorporate into your writing?

MMY: You give me too much credit. I don’t intentionally try to incorporate anything. I read once that a writer writes to find out what his obsessions are, and I think that’s the case with me. I’ll notice unintended themes will pop up during any period that I’m writing. I used to write quite a bit about water. Now I’m writing about people having dear things stolen from them. It’s probably not coincidental that this is after I lost my daughters. I’m more of an archeologist in that I patiently uncover what is hiding beneath my own surface.

Q: Are there any themes or subjects or things that you want to incorporate more of into your work but that you haven’t had the chance to do yet?

MMY: I’d love to write a mystery sometime. They just seem so daunting and for a pantser like myself, it feels nearly impossible. That would be a real challenge. My current WIP has a bit of that in it, so I’m dabbling. We’ll see how it goes.

Q: Who are some of your literary influences within horror and outside of the genre? Are there any authors whose works you consider a “must-read”?

MMY: I’d have to say some of the usuals. Peter S. Beagle was a huge influence. Neil Gaiman, Christopher Barzak, and Lee Thompson all have heavenly, melancholy, gorgeous prose. F. Paul Wilson is a favorite. Everybody should read Kafka’s short story “The Hunger Artist.” It’s absolutely brilliant. He was more of an influence than I realized. I also read Monique Roffey’s August Frost and it was a game-changer for me. I thought, “Wow, it’s so surreal and beautiful, but contemporary. We can write like this?” It’s one of my absolute favorites.

Q: I also read in another interview that you’re into martial arts–do you have a preference for one or do you just like MMA in general?

MMY: I’d love to seriously study martial arts, but I’m not sure how I’d find the time right now. I took karate briefly, and really liked it. I love kickboxing. I’m particularly interested in Kumdo or Capoeria. Two intensely different disciplines, I know, but they’re both intriguing. Maybe it’s something I can pursue more realistically when my littlest is in school.

A huge thank-you to Mercedes for dropping by and answering these questions! If you haven’t already bought your copy of Beautiful Sorrows, you don’t know what you’re missing! ;-)

Congratulations! We Have a 2012 Spooktacular Giveaway Hop Winner!

And the winner of Darkeva’s 2012 Spooktacular Giveaway prize is…

*drumroll*

Marty Shaw!

Congratulations, Marty! I’ll be contacting you shortly to get your shipping details to send you the prize pack of much awesomeness! :-)

Thank you to everyone who entered, and everyone who hosted their own hops–you all did a fantastic job!

Happy Halloween!

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