Incoming Nocturnal Transmissions

As we near the tail end of January, I thought I’d drop in to update you all on the happenings in my writing world.

The first (and biggest) news is that a podcast called Nocturnal Transmissions will be adapting my short story ‘The Mouth That Opens’ for an episode! It was originally published in the relaunch of Sanitarium Magazine (featured here), so I’m thrilled that it will be published again! Though I don’t have an exact date for the episodes release, I’m excited to see what the talented team at Nocturnal Transmissions can do.

I also have a few pieces out at Signal Horizon. They are not writing focused, instead high-lighting my interests in video games. One is about my favorite games of 2019, and the other is a short review of a comedy-RPG called Cthulhu Saves Christmas! High Fever Books will also be publishing a new book review from me next week, as well as a list of horror books to look forward to throughout 2020. A little reminder: as I publish stories and get more freelance work, my Bibliography will be updated accordingly!

My Favorite Things of 2019

The year that was 2019 has (thankfully) gone away, leaving us to start anew in 2020. While 2019 wasn’t as great entertainment wise as 2018, it still had a lot of incredible things worth checking out. If you want to see what I liked last year, you can click here.

Just like last year’s piece, instead of giving each media form an article, I’m just going to sum everything up in this instead! So buckle up and let’s dive in…

My Favorite Movie of the Year

Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood

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I’m not shocked that this has earned the spot. Quentin Tarantino’s newest feature is a love letter to a bygone era. It’s got a dynamite cast and all the Tarantino style that you could ever want. This is also the director’s most mature work. While it’s violent and loud, we spend a lot of time just hanging out in this world. I could spend another ten hours with Clint and Rick.

Honorable Mentions: Doctor Sleep, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Marriage Story, Us, Annabelle Comes Home

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch a number of well regarded films. Parasite and Little Women being up there. Doctor Sleep was my second favorite, which proves that Mike Flanagan can do no wrong.

My Favorite Video Game of the Year

Pokemon Sword & Shield

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I just hit 100 hours and I don’t think I’m even close to done yet? Pokemon Sword & Shield loved up the promise of our first console entry. Even though it’s release was met with some controversy, I think it has since proved itself as a fantastic entry. The Galar region is one of the best maps in ages, the new Pokemon are instantly iconic, and the Wild Area is extremely inspired.

Honorable Mentions: Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Death Stranding, Control, Days Gone, Super Mario Maker 2.

The moral of the story for gaming in 2019: Nintendo is back in a very big way.

My Favorite Book of the Year

In a year where I devoured short story collections like sinister candy, I found this choice particully diffucult. I read a whole boatload of excellent fiction by authors both new and old to me. I’ve added multiple authors that I will will always be on the look out for now.

Wounds: Six Stories from the Abyss by Nathan Ballingrud

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Wounds deserves the top spot. I’m in awe of this collection. It’s all at once haunting, grotesque, stunningly original. I said in my Goodreads review that it is a testament to what a horror collection should look like. As I acculimate publications and look to build a collection of my own, it’s books like this one. Also: I got a chance to meet Nathan at NecronomiCon Providence, and I can confirm he’s a super nice guy. Read Wounds. You won’t be sorry.

Honorable Mentions: Into Bones Like Oil by Kaaron Warren, Full Throttle by Joe Hill, Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson.

Though I don’t have a catergory for it, I also read a handful of older books that deserve to be talked about as well. The Elementals by Michael Mcdowell is an undersung masterpiece, and is my favorite novel of the year. It released back in 1981, so it did not qualify for the top spot here. In anticipation for HBO’s adapation of Stephen King’s 2018 book The Outsider, I read that as well. It felt like vintage King filtered through his more controlled approach to story-telling.

And that’s it! Happy 2019/2020 everybody!

 

Monthly Review: October 2019

Happy Halloween!!!!

Before we sit down for Silver Shamrock’s giveaway tonight, let’s do a quick Monthly Review!

I put out a lot of awesome pieces to celebrate this month. Two free stories (one in an entirely new format for me!) and a few other non-fiction pieces. But before we get to them, let’s talk submissions!

Story Submissions:

New Submissions: 2

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 3

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 1

Two new submissions this month! The flash fiction story I mentioned in last month’s review was not picked up for the contest, so I’ve submitted it to a flash fiction venue. Fingers crossed on that!

The second submission is a new piece, in a completely new format for me. It’s an Interactive Fiction piece entitled The Crimson Terrors of Delamay House. If you’re unfamiliar with interactive fiction, think of old games like Zork, or even those Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Books that everyone used to love. The market is a thing called ECTOCOMP 2019, where people submit their interactive story to see who can get the most votes. The only stipulation was that the story had to be written in under 4 hours. So, this piece isn’t 100% polished. It’s a great idea, and as soon as I heard about it, I knew I had to participate. The game can be played on your phone or right in your browser. It’s only a few minutes long, so it will be perfect for Halloween! Voting has begun today, so I’m going to cross my fingers! Should be exciting!

What else have I been doing?

The Noble Horror Film Festival (2019)!

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This is the second October that I’ve done this, and it was such a fun thing to write. I tried to dig in a little deeper in order to make my ultimate all-night horror fest this time, and I think I put together a dynamite line-up.

Best Books For Halloween

Best Books For Halloween

Every October I do my best to fill my month with the best that Horror Fiction has to offer. And judging by the other lists I found online, I’m not the only one. So, I thought I would offer up some suggestions on some of my favorite books for these sacred autumn nights. I think there is something for everyone on this list.

The Glowing Dark

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And on to the other free story for this month! I wrote this story specifically for my blog! I made my promise earlier this year that I write a fungi monster story. It’s a monster I haven’t touched on yet, and I figured this was the time. This story features The Harwood Twins, two twins that hunt monsters. I wanted something pulpy and just a little silly, and this story is exactly what I needed. This is also perfect Halloween reading. I hope you enjoy it!


And that’s it for October! It was a wonderful month filled with all the things that make the horror genre so very special. I’ll see you again in November!

Best Books For Halloween

I read horror fiction all year round. I love the genre, and it’s so deep and diverse that it’s hard not to. But October is special. I want to find the stories that put me in that autumnal mood. I want to read about pumpkins on porches and a bitter chill in the air. I want to read about dead leaves and the darkness at the edges of the world.

So where do I turn? What books call out to me? All of these books (while not always tied to Halloween directly) are exactly the kind of things I look for. If you’re on the hunt for something to read in October, I hope this list helps. Let’s get started…

Dark Harvest

 

Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge

Ask any horror fan that’s worth their salt about Halloween reads, and Dark Harvest will be brought up. If you want a pure shot of All-Hallows-Eve terror, this book is where it’s at. It won the Bram Stoker Award, and it deserves it. Norman Partridge has conjured a Bradburyesque tale for the ages.

Poor October Boy… This poor town… You’ll recognize it. After all, you’ve been here before…


 

Robert AickmanDark Entries by Robert Aickman

This was almost a Robert Aickman appreciation post. He may be one of the most underrated authors in our genre. His stories are played so straight, so sterile. But in that formal quiet, horror resides. Aickman referred to his works as ‘strange stories’. It’s unbelievably apt. While his stories sometimes features common tropes (ghosts, haunted houses, evil towns) they are done with Aickman’s own unique style.

I selected Dark Entries because it’s my current favorite Aickman collection. While not Halloween focused per se, this is exactly the kind of unnerving short stories I crave. If you want something a little different, read Robert Aickman.


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Deadfall Hotel by Steve Rasnic Tem

I’ve spilled a lot of ink talking about Deadfall Hotel. There’s a reason for that. Not only is it one of my all time favorites, I think it’s a novel that deserves 1000% more attention. Told over a series of vignettes inside the very strange Deadfall Hotel, the novel focuses on a single father and his intelligent young daughter.

Deadfall Hotel is cold and weird, but it’s also warm and beautiful. Every chapter is a surprise. Every detail is a mystical wonder. It tackles complicated themes such as grief and fear, love and regret. While the book unfolds over many seasons, it just feels right for this time of year.


Dead LeavesDead Leaves: 9 Tales From the Witching Season by Kealan Patrick Burke

I wanted to include at least one more single author collection. I decided this one was perfect for multiple reasons: it’s short. It’s got variety. And it’s all about Halloween! A collection like this one is the perfect way to kickstart the season. While Dead Harvest feels classical, Dead Leaves is contemporary and grand, but somehow coming in under a hundred pages.

Kealan also includes a list of recommendations for the genre, books that he’s found are perfect for Halloween reading. It’s a good list, and it’s made my TBR just a little longer.


Haunted NightsHaunted Nights edited by Lisa Morton & Ellen Datlow

Let’s dig into some horror anthologies. There is an endless wealth of Halloween anthologies in the world, many of which have been haunting me from my TBR pile and may still be on there (looks over my shoulder nervously).

But not many people love Halloween more than Lisa Morton, and Haunted Nights is a tribute to the holiday. It’s co-edited by Ellen Datlow and filled with a list of horror fiction greats. It’s worth your time, and certainly worth the price of admission.


514VESaovlL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgAutumn Cthulhu edited by Mike Davis

 I like it when my collections come with a whole heaping serving of Lovecraftian horror. Thankfully, Mike Davis put out Autumn Cthulhu back in 2016. If you enjoy your Lovecraftian horror a little quieter, this is the perfect collection for you. Over the course of 19 stories, the authors explore the cosmic side of autumn, and all the horrors hiding behind the colored leaves.

I just hope we get an Autumn Cthulhu 2 soon. I need more of that autumn chill in my life.


81zqDem9OvL.jpgSalem’s Lot by Stephen King

I wanted to include at least one Stephen King book on this list. After all, it is a list of horror books. So the question became: which book? Night Shift may be his best short story collection. It may just be my favorite novel ever. But they don’t quite belong on this list. No, I think the honor belongs to Salem’s Lot.

It’s a frightening vision of a regular town that has a truly rotten core. It’s eventual and gradual takeover by vampires is terrifying and ultimately tragic. It’s cold and it feels like it belongs on this list. And a good chunk of the book takes places over the autumn months. King has been good for a long time, and Salem’s Lot proves it.


That does it for some Best Books For Halloween. Have you read all of these already? What are some of your Halloween favorites?

 

The Noble Horror Film Festival (2019)

Welcome to the 2nd annual Noble Horror Film Festival! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here is the post from last year.

But this essentially boils down to putting together the perfect 12 hour horror film festival. From 7 P.M. to 9 A.M. the next morning… Last year I packed it with my favorites, so 2019 is going to get a bit more esoteric…

The lights are dimming. The crowd’s murmurs are dying down… The Noble Horror Film Festival is starting…

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7 P.M: Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

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Last year we started with The Conjuring-Verse entry The Nun. This year I decided to give the spot to the newest film in the massive franchise. I just recently saw this and had a ton of fun. It’s exactly the kind of contemporary horror movie we need in this time slot.

9 P.M: Poltergeist (1982)

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Poltergeist is a stone-cold classic. I don’t care who directed it, I just know that it’s amazing. It’s high energy, it’s beautiful, and it’s thoroughly haunting. It’s one of those horror films that stays quotable always. Say it with me now: They’re here…

11 P.M: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

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As we head into and past the witching hour, let’s spend that time with ole’ Fred Krueger. While Dream Warriors is the most fun of the Nightmare franchise, I think that Freddy was never scarier than he was in the original. The dream imagery on display here is all low-budget goodness. Wes Craven was a boss, and A Nightmare On Elm Street is his first masterwork.

1 A.M: Oculus (2013)

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Mike Flanagan is one of my favorite horror directors. Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House is a masterpiece, but before he made that show, he released Oculus in 2013. His devastating look into a family’s battle against an evil mirror remains underrated.

3 A.M: Hocus Pocus (1993)

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Watch out for the Sanderson sisters… It’s hard not to love this movie. Between the three hilarious/evil sisters and our three young leads, this cast is rocking. ‘I Put A Spell In You’ is simply the best. After Hocus Pocus, we’ve got two movies left…

5 A.M: What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

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When I watched this for the first time about two years ago, it was like a breath of fresh air. Taika Waititi has comedy chops for days. And this film is part The Office and part Interview With a Vampire. It’s funny and irrelevant, and it’s earned the 5 A.M. slot.

7 A.M: Halloween (2018)

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I had to end the night with a Michael Myers film. Last year was the original, but I don’t have a lot of love for the other films in the franchise. But then I remembered 2018’s sterling soft-reboot. It’s everything I could want from a Halloween sequel. Three generations of Strode girls against The Shape once again? It’s the perfect way to end The Noble Horror Film Festival.


The festival is over. Go home and get some rest. And tell your friends. Because The Noble Horror Film Festival will return in October of 2020…

Monthly Review: September 2019

Hello everyone! It’s been a few months since I’ve done a Monthly Review. Life has been a bit crazy lately, and my writing has taken a back seat. I did have a little movement, and once my schedule clears up, I hope to do more.

Story Submissions:

New Submissions: 1

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 2

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 0

I submitted a flash story to a monster contest. If the story wins, I’ll know on the first of October. It’s a fun story, and if it doesn’t get picked up there, I’ll find a new locale to send it out to. I’m also still waiting on another story, and I’m thinking it will still be a few more months.

What else have I been doing?

Interview with Laird Barron!

Laird Barron

Photo Credit by Ellen Datlow

In September I interviewed the king of horror-noir, Laird Barron! Laird is one of my favorite authors, so interviewing him here was a check on my writer bucket list. It was a great interview!

My NecronomiCon Book Haul!

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Back in August I attended NecronomiCon 2019! It was a four day convention in Providence, RI, dedicated to H.P. Lovecraft. It was one of the coolest events I’ve ever attended. I bought a lot of books, and this article highlights some of the cool stuff I got my hands on.


I did want to make one more announcement: I’m Interviews to every other month. It was way too tough to hunt down an author to interview and then get them thoughtful interview questions in a timely manner. While interviewing monthly was awesome, I just don’t think I’m doing it justice! I still want to have an article come out in that first week slot, but I may switch up into something a bit more fun. More information forthcoming!

My NecronomiCon Book Haul!

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Late last month I attended what has to be the most awesome event ever: NecronomiCon Providence! If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a 4-day convention dedicated to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, as well as other giants in Weird Fiction. It’s four days of film festivals, author readings and other events. It’s one of the best parts of the convention is the books! The Vendor Hall is filled with authors and publishers, looking to sell you their extensive back catalog. I left some room in my suitcase and brought some true treasures back. Because I don’t have anything else to write about this month, let’s look at said treasures!

I picked these two books up directly from Jonathan Raab of Muzzleland Press. Muzzleland’s first anthology was also my first real publishing credit, so I’ve been a fan of them for years now. Jonathan is a pretty great guy, and both of these books look awesome. Cinematic Gothic Horror is an excellent idea for an anthology, and Jonathan’s new novel sounds like the meta-slasher tale that I need this time of year.

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I also picked up Ross Lockhart’s Giallo Fantastique. I own this one on Kindle, but I’ve been wanting to add this book to my real shelf for quite some time. If you’re a giallo fan giallo.jpgor a fan of excellent fiction, you should consider grabbing this one as well.

Continuing the theme of excellent publishers, I finally got my hand on Nightscape Press’ Ashes and Entropy.jpgnew anthology of horror noir, Ashes and Entropy. Several of the stories were signed, which looks great next to the lush art inside. I also got a chance to hang out with Robert S. Wilson and his wife, who are really wonderful people.

It’s no secret that I’m a big John Langan fan. I snagged this book from the Lovecraft Arts and Sciences storefront at the Arcade mall. I got to hear John read, and then tried not to geek out to much when I met him. It was the same story with Nathan Ballingrud. Two of the best writers in the genre, and I got personally signed copies of their books. Pretty awesome, and a highlight of my Providence visit.

I treasured my time in Providence, and I hope to have another article coming soon that will summarize my time there. If you love Weird/Horror media, NecronomiCon is worth every penny to attend.