Brian Keene’s podcast is one of my favorite horror literature listens. Great guests and good industry discussion abounds. Give it a listen and grab a copy of the book for only 99 cents!
Richards stood at the top of Carnivale, the tallest and longest ski trail at Snow Pine Resort. Chairful after chairful of tourists paid $8 to ride up the shiny-new lift to the top of the hill, to look down over the colorful hills and valley below, and to down overpriced bottom-shelf Canadian beer.
Land of the Free, Home of the Weird
Sergeant Abraham Richards, Alpha Company, 1-107th Infantry, New York Army National Guard, walked down the armory steps into the cool October afternoon, his rucksack weighing heavily on his shoulders, his duffel bag to his side and straining his arm.
“Let me take that, son.” His father took the duffel and hefted it over his good shoulder.
“You can’t tell your father to be careful, you know that,” Mom said, grimacing and rolling her eyes. She said it as a joke, but she was afraid it sounded like a nag. Everything was tense. Happy, sure, but tense. No one wanted to say the wrong thing, but silence didn’t seem right, either. But maybe saying nothing at all was the best thing for it.
Larry “Bucky” Green was a two-bit moonshiner with a rap sheet as long as a summer afternoon. Petty larceny, public drunkenness, public urination, illegal discharge of a firearm, and various other typical good-old-country-boy degenerate activities. There was one instance of felony assault (charges later dropped) in that thick folder of his. But, if anyone bothered to ask Sergeant Joe Johnson of the New York State Police, the guy on the bad end of that particular ass beating probably deserved it. But then again, nobody ever bothered to ask Johnson.
This was his turf, supposedly—the deep hills and back roads of central Cattaraugus County, New York. Populated by farmers in old houses, hillbillies and rural folk in single- and double-wide trailers, and effete ski freaks; tourists mostly, slumming it up with the locals in faux-rustic mansions scattered among the foreboding forested hills. Rumor was, even famed four-time-Super Bowl-losing-quarterback Jim Kelly had himself a big cabin out this way. The guy may not have had a ring, but he sure as hell had money.
Early in 2015, we released High Strange Horror, which continues to be our best online-selling title. It’s an anthology featuring authors that took on the subjects of cryptoterrestrials, aliens, men in black, UFOs, and government conspiracies. I’m very proud of the work, and consider it our flagship release of 2015. While Spooklights was our first release back in 2014, I believe we upped our professional and editorial chops with this book.
The Devil’s Engine by Robert Stava is a fun YA horror yarn about secret Nazi technology, the occult, and three teenagers unlucky enough to activate a semi-sentient, bloodthirsty locomotive. It’s a fun, short little ride, perfect for the young (and young at heart) horror fan.
I was honored that The War Writers’ Campaign published my debut novel Flight of the Blue Falcon. It’s not horror or weird – but it’s a deeply personal book about the Afghanistan War, based on my time serving with the U.S. Army. If you have any interest in what the Long War was (is) like for so many servicemen and women, please consider picking up a copy. All proceeds benefit the Campaign, which is a nonprofit dedicated to publishing veteran literature and war writing. Communication is the best form of therapy, and writing this novel helped me exorcise more than a few ghosts of my own.
Just before Halloween, Literati Press Comics & Novels released my second novel, The Hillbilly Moonshine Massacre. This is a horror-science-fiction-conspiracy-theory-pulp adventure tale about a war veteran who returns home to find his rural ski town community grappling with UFOs, police brutality, and an outbreak of violence triggered by psychotropic moonshine. Of course, not everything is as it seems, and only the paranoid part-time county sheriff (who happens to be the host of a late night call-in paranormal talk show) knows what’s really going on. It’s X-Files meets Trailer Park Boys; Ghostbusters on magic mushrooms and cheap local beer. It’s a book I had a blast writing, and if secret societies, local crime, and alien abductions are your thing, I think you’ll love it, too.
We also significantly expanded the blog’s content and review catalog. While we can’t review everything that comes out in the horror and weird fields, we covered a lot. My favorite books of the year, in no particular order:
Scott R. Jones edited an incredible collection of stories centered on the resonator device from H.P. Lovecraft’s classic tale “From Beyond.” I loved this book from beginning to end.
Alectryomancer and Other Weird Tales by Christopher Slatsky was one of the best single-author collections I read. I love conspiracy theories and alternative history, but Slatsky’s knowledge and use of the esoteric in horror settings puts me to shame. I can’t wait to see more from him.
Orrin Grey’s end of year collection Painted Monsters blew me away. There was not a single story in here that didn’t keep my attention. No other writer does such a great job of translating the cinematic weird to the page, marrying an obvious love for horror film with literary talent.
As for 2016, we’re staying busy. We’ll continue to do interviews with authors and reviews of horror and weird fiction and film. We have at least three releases slated for the year, including two novellas from first-time authors, and a short story collection from a very prominent new voice in the weird.
Stay tuned, and stay spooky.