My Summer Reads So Far!

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It’s summer time! The breeze is coming in off the water, the sun is out, and… I’m at work. Bummer. But don’t despair! I’ve had the chance to explore fantastic and horrific worlds from the air-conditioned comfort of my living room. I wanted to put together a post to share all the excellent books I’ve been reading this summer.

Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell by Nathan Ballingrud


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When I was a kid, I spent a LOT of time in the local library. It was nice and cool for one, and for a very big two, it was filled with books.

So it seemed fitting that I start the summer off by borrowing Nathan Ballingrud’s newest collection. Wounds was truly impressive. It may be my favorite collection of the year. The world building and terror constructed here kinda’ blew my mind. I was sad to see it end.

A Collapse of Horses by Brian Evenson


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A Collapse of Horses has been in my TBR pile since late last year. When my wife and I visited Boston, we (of course) had to visit the Harvard Book Store. When I saw this fantastic cover, I knew I had to grab it.

With all the attention on Brian’s new collection, I figured it was time to unearth this book and dive in. I LOVED this collection. I find it hard to describe what I like best about Brian’s works. They are as cold as Aickman’s, but with the twisted logic of Ligotti. Maybe? Just read them. It’s sheer nightmare fuel.

Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson


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And speaking of nightmare fuel… Brian Evenson has a new collection! While I think it’s not as perfect as A Collapse of Horses, Song for the Unraveling of the World is still an incredible read. Reading these back-to-back was like drinking some kind of sweet poison.

The Dream-Quest of Velitt Boe by Kij Johnson


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I decided to reread The Dream-Quest of Velitt Boe because it’s perfect for summer! It’s warm, interesting, and deep. It’s a short book about a long trek through H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreamlands. While I was never a fan of Lovecraft’s Dreamlands, Kij has made them a mysterious delight. I want to hang with Velitt and the cat. Please.

The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey


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And now for the book I’m currently reading! Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim books are favorites of mine, so the promise of a new Kadrey creation made me take note. Though I’m only about mid-way through, I’m in love with this vile Steampunk fantasy world. Kadrey knows how to world-build and make it fun.


Those are my summer reads! Do you have any go to summer reads? Beachside or otherwise? Fill me in below!

Monthly Review: June 2019

We’re 26 days into June, and that means it’s time for my Monthly Review! A semi-busy month for me! E3 kicked off and I managed to experience several streams worth of games. I also got a few submissions in this month and started planning for an important event coming up… But before we get to that!

Story Submissions:

New Submissions: 2

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 2

Acceptances: 1!

Rejections: 1

One acceptance, and one rejection! The acceptance was for a flash story that will be released in a large anthology of themed flash tales. I wrote a fun little vampire story. This has been your Nic Cage story acceptance sighting…

Also…

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I will be attending NecronomiCon Providence this year! Since I’ve first heard about this, I’ve wanted to attend. It will be August 22nd through the 25th in Providence, Rhode Island! I’m expecting an awesome time and I’m beyond pumped to attend.

What else have I been doing?

Interview with Georgina Bruce!

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This month’s interview was with myth-maker Georgina Bruce! We talked about her collection (This House of Wounds) and the dangers of temporal oddities. I loved interviewing Georgina, and I look forward to the rest of her work. Next month’s interview is with horror author Nicole Cushing.

Loading: The Rest of Video Games in 2019

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E3 has come and gone. I decided to not write an article post E3 (this year was just fine) but I wrote this article talking about my intentions for gaming for the rest of the year.


We are out time for the month! Check back again next week for the Author Interview for July!

 

 

Monthly Review: May 2019

April showers bring May flowers. I guess. Here in Ohio, it really hasn’t stopped raining all month. Normally I like the rain, but May showers just bring humidity. Which is one of the items on my ‘No Thank You’ list. Since this cursed month is almost over, it’s time for another Monthly Review!

Story Submissions:

New Submissions: 1

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 2

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 1

As of this, no new Acceptances! I did get a story out the door at the end of last month that I’ve included in the stats for May. As is my custom, I’ll be over here refreshing my Inbox.

What else have I been doing?

Interview with Simon Strantzas!

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This month’s interview was with strange story specialist Simon Strantzas! I enjoyed this interview and I’d like to thank Simon again for joining me! Next month’s interview will be with horror author Georgina Bruce!

My Favorite Horror Films of the 1990s!

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As part of my ongoing series outlining my favorite horror films from each decade, this month’s entry was all about the 1990s! While this was kind of a weak decade overall, there was enough gems to fill about all nine years. If you want to see me do some more decades, click here!

‘The Eldritch Film Club’ was featured in Weird Mask Zine!

My Lovecraftian flash story was featured in Weird Mask Zine’s newest issue! I’m proud of my weird little story, and I’m glad it was able to find a home.


And that’s it for May! Do you think I missed any ’90’s horror classics?

My Favorite Horror Films of the 1990s

Welcome to the second Feature outlining the Decades of Horror. Each entry I’ll be picking my favorite film from each year, and then some runner-ups. The 1990s aren’t in the running for the all time greatest decades, but it certainly deserves a spot at the secondary table. Let’s talk with the year of…

1990:

Misery

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With Stephen King film adaptations all the rage right now, it’s easy to forget about some of the classics. Misery is one of my personal favorites. It’s a nail-biting thriller anchored by Kathy Bates’ unhinged performance. She’s just so wacka-do crazy. Poor Paul Sheldon. How are your legs?

1991:

The Silence of the Lambs

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Thank heavens for The Silence of the Lambs, because this year sucks. Not even any cheesy classics. Just trash from wall to wall. And thank heavens again for The Silence of the Lambs because this is one of the few movies that I see as perfect. Some of the best performances in modern cinema, coupled with a genius script and unstoppable direction from Jonathan Demme. Seriously, SO GOOD.

1992:

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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Big bad Vlad… Gary Oldman does the character some serious justice here. Every frame of Francis Ford Coppola’s horror film is pure Gothic gold. Deep shadows and brilliant crimsons are splashed across every minute. While it does feel a little overlong, it was the best horror film that ’92 had to offer.

1993:

The Dark Half

or Cronos

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And now for the year I was born! A semi-grand year… Cronos very nearly stole the top spot (because it’s very good). But no! Stephen King’s The Dark Half was a childhood favorite of mine. A little pulpy, super violent and kind of gross. Timothy Hutton kills it as both the nebbish author and violent psychopath. Watch this one!

1994:

In the Mouth of Madness

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I love me some John Carpenter… So 1994 was an easy year for me. In the Mouth of Madness is a little cheesy, but it’s a blast of Lovecraftian (cold) air. Sam Neill is excellent, and we get some fantastic creatures along the way.

1995:

Se7en

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Trees worth of paper have been written up about David Fincher’s nihilist serial killer film Se7en. So I won’t waste too much of your time. This film is grim and brilliant, a stark, nasty little masterpiece.

1996:

Scream

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Scream helped make me the writer that I am today. When I was 10 or 11, I watched this movie endlessly. Kevin Williamson’s script and Wes Craven’s able direction helped create what I still view as the perfect slasher film. This earns a spot in my 10 Favorite Movie list. Easy.

1997:

Event Horizon

or Scream 2

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What is it with Sam Neill making cheesetastic horror movies that I love anyway? He makes them, and I watch them. Event Horizon is not a smart movie. It’s a mess from nearly top to bottom. But… this film does have it’s charms. It’s Hellraiser splatter. Haunting set and sound design. Visually, this film is grand.

1998:

I Still Know What You Did Last Summer

or Blade or Urban Legend

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A good year! Finally! Though Blade and Urban Legend are better movies, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer holds a special place in my heart. Dumb, funny, but with a setting and premise that makes me smile. (And Ben-SON is the dumbest twist ever. Fight me).

1999:

The Sixth Sense

or House on Haunted Hill

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The end of the decade! And what a way to end it. The Sixth Sense is remembered for it’s twist. But I’m here to tell you that this film is SO much more. Number one: this film is terrifying. The Mother ghost, the girl beneath the blanket, the closet scene. And it’s emotional and sorrowful. Bruce Willis was rarely better than he was here. I love this movie through and through.


That’s the My Favorite Horror Films of the 1990’s! A weaker list overall, but there is a couple of true gems mixed in with the absolute cheese. What’s your favorite 1990s horror flick?

Want more Decades of Horror?

My Favorite Horror Movies of the 2010s 

Monthly Review: April 2019

Apparently, April was an unofficial Star Wars month for me.

I had two Star Wars specific pieces come out this month, but more on that later. We have other business first!

Story Submissions:

Submissions: 2

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 3

Acceptances: 1!

Rejections: 0

Acceptance! That means it’s time for a Nic Cage GIF!

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My story ‘The Eldritch Film Club’ has been picked up by Weird Mask Zine! Weird Mask Zine is doing a Lovecraftian issue, so I thought I would throw my hat in the ring. And luck has struck again! More information to come as I get it.

I submitted a slasher story for a ‘Axe Murderer’ anthology. It’s a little wild, but I have a good feeling about it.

What else have I been doing?

An interview with game journalist and writer Alex Kane!

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This was a very cool interview. Video games are one of my many passions, and my recent obsession has been focused on the creation of video games. The entire process is completely insane. I spoke to gaming journalist Alex Kane about some of his favorite games and his new book, Knights of the Old Republic. Speaking of which…

I reviewed Boss Fight Books’ Knights of the Old Republic!

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See my thoughts on the link above! I’ll say this: I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan ever, but I found this book fascinating. Bioware went through hell to get this RPG masterpiece made, and this book draws attention to it.


And that’s it for April! Next month I’ll be interviewing strange story author Simon Strantzas. I’ll also be talking about my Favorite Horror Movies Released in the 1990’s! It is… kind of slim pickings.

 

 

Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic’ by Alex Kane

Set an even longer time ago in a galaxy far, far away, BioWare’s 2003 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic wowed players with its compelling characters, lightsaber customization, complex morality choices, and one of the greatest plot twists in both video game and Star Wars history. But even for veteran studios like LucasArts and BioWare, the responsibility of making both a great game and a lasting contribution to the Star Wars canon was no easy task.

Featuring extensive new interviews with a host of KotOR’s producers, writers, designers, and actors, journalist Alex Kane weaves together an epic oral history of this classic game, from its roots in tabletop role-playing and comic books, to its continued influence on big-screen Star Wars films. Whether you align with the light or the dark side, you’re invited to dive into this in-depth journey through one of the most beloved Star Wars titles of all time.

Plot summary taken from Amazon.

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If you made a list of the best RPGs released before 2010, what would be on it? Post-apocalyptic masterwork Fallout 3 late in the decade. Space-opera shooter Mass Effect? Of course. But there is one more RPG that belongs high up on that list. And it just so happens to be made by Mass Effect developer Bioware.

2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (or KotOR) is a masterpiece. Praised by both Star Wars fanatics and the general public alike, it has lived on in the minds of gamers for nearly two decades. Alex Kane and publisher Boss Fight Books have taken a dive into the history and creation of this beloved game. Game development is a tricky business. Developers and studios are hammered by brutal crunch times, budget problems and expectations. Now include the protective gaze of Lucasfilm, and it gets even worse.

With a quote from Ben Kenobi to get the book started off right, Alex Kane puts us directly into the early days of KotOR’s development. From there we are pulled through the day to day, the E3 crunches and different colored light saber drama. If you enjoy the nitty gritty details of game development, this is the perfect book for you. Alex Kane presents the story of Old Republic’s creation in a sharp, clear manner. The new interviews shine light on some of the lesser known aspects of the game’s production.

If you love video games or Star Wars, this book is a fascinating read. Books like this give me a true appreciation for the entire process of video game creation. I think I’m going to have to find more Boss Fight Books to read.

 

 

Monthly Review (March 2019)

March ended up being a busy month for me. Granted, I found time to do things I love, just writing wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t a complete slouch though! I’m editing several stories and hope to have some more out in April.

Story Submissions:

Submissions: 0

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 2

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 0

No new submissions this month. But fingers still crossed!

What else have I been doing?

New story publication!

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My story ‘The Matron in the Wood’ is featured in Pete Rawlik’s new anthology! My story is a delicious mythological blend of Lovecraft/Chambers/Clark Ashton Smith. It’s also set in my home state of Michigan! The link to buy is included above.

An interview with horror author (and birder!) Carrie Laben!

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Carrie Laben’s debut novel came out with Word Horde this month! I enjoyed my interview with Carrie, and kind of learned a lot about birds! Her book is near the top of my TBR pile.

April’s interview will be with game critic/author Alex Kane! We’ll be talking about his book outlining the history of the RPG classic Knights of the Old Republic.


That’s it for this month! Thank you for stopping by!