Books I’m Looking Forward To In 2018

2017 was a banner year for horror fiction. Tons of debuts and new classics came out over those 12 months and 2018 is shaping up to be just as incredible. Here is a list of books I’m looking forward to this year!

1. Blood Standard by Laird Barron

bloodstandard

Laird Barron is one of my favorite writers. His blend of cosmic-horror-noir is more powerful and terrifying than just about anything else I’ve ever read. Laird’s debut crime novel promises to be a thrilling ride into some undoubtedly dark stuff. ‘Blood Standard’ hits store shelves (and my shelf) in May.

2. In The Night Wood by Dale Bailey 

In the Night Wood

Though Dale Bailey is a new author to me, this novel sounds way to amazing to not get put on this list. This one sounds to be a supernatural fantasy stuffed full of Gothic elements. Couple that with a jaw-dropping cover and the endorsement of some big names, and we have a book that looks to be very promising. ‘In The Night Wood’ comes out from the always dependable John Joseph Adams in October.

3. The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp

The-Atrocities-by-Jeremy-C.-Shipp

How about another Gothic with an incredible cover? I’m a little more familiar with Jeremy C. Shipp. I’ve read several of his short stories over the years and I have always been impressed. Tor is releasing this novella in April. With their track record over the last two years (The Dream-Quest of Velitt Boe! Agents of Dreamland!) I’m ready for this to download on my Kindle ASAP.

4. Sefira & Other Betrayals by John Langan

sefira.jpg

This collection was supposed to be released ages ago, but I’m okay with the delays. John Langan writes some of the densest fiction you’ll find anywhere, and I know the extra time he’s putting in will be worth it. There is no official release date on this but I expect to see it come out mid-way through the year.

5. The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste

There is no official cover or release date for this one. Rest assured though, this will be a fascinating read. ‘And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe’ is one of my favorite things I read last year. Gwendolyn’s unique fairy tale-horror deserves a wider audience and I hope her debut novel does that.

These are five books I’m looking forward to in 2018! What books are you excited for? Any obvious ones that should be on this list?

Behind That Mask: ‘The Mask of Black Satin’

It’s the last week of the month so that means it’s time for a little Shameless Self-Promotion. This will be short and sweet. Well. Mostly.

This week we’ll be looking at:

My story ‘The Mask of Black Satin’ published in ‘Spooklights’ from Muzzleland Press, which you can buy here.

spooklights

This story was my first paid sale. I’d had other stories published but it was exposure only. I don’t think much beats out that feeling of getting that acceptance e-mail. Other writers can relate.

Re-reading this story for this piece did make me cringe a bit. The writing is fine. But it’s a little rough around the edges. Am I being over critical? Probably not. Or maybe a little bit.

It’s an interesting thing to look back on. This story was published three years ago. I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve moved across the country. Published thirteen (spooky) more stories. What have I learned since then? I’m going to ponder that for awhile. In the mean time you should check out this anthology. There are a lot of great stories in this anthology outside of mine. Muzzleland Press releases some good stuff.

Thank you for tuning into Shameless Self Promotion. Please follow me on Twitter, Instagram and also check out my Amazon page. I’ll see you all very soon!

My Three Favorite Stephen King Novels

Last week I wrote a post outlining my three favorite Stephen King short stories. While researching stories I got thinking about all of Stephen King’s longer works and all the scares they’ve given me over the years. His books are often cement block sized monstrosities. Stephen King has published 54 novels. I want to take the time to highlight some of my all time favorites. Cool? Hold on to your butts because here we go.

Salem’s Lot

‘Salem’s Lot’ is Stephen King’s second novel. This is the novel that introduced us to so many things that turned out to be King staples. Huge casts of characters. Working class towns. You grow to hate/love these people. When tragedy finally befalls Jerusalem’s Lot, it hurts.

IT

Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The Loser’s Club. Derry, Maine. ‘IT’ is not only one of my favorite Stephen King novels, it’s one of my favorite novels PERIOD. The sheer breadth of terror and imagination poured into this 1,489 page behemoth is awe inspiring. Pennywise is one of literature/films greatest monsters. Derry is a city, that by the time the story wraps up, feels alive. And, unfortunately for our heroes, it is rotten to the core. WE FLOAT. WE ALL FLOAT.

11/22/63

This one got me right in the feels. ’11/22/63′ belongs to his more recent string of novels. This novel may have a lot less supernatural horrors (it does have time travel though), but it’s not a slouch when it comes to the scares. The evils here are resoundingly human and that makes them all the more blood chilling. Watching Jake Epping (a everyman teacher) experience love and loss in a long-gone time is riveting. You know that tragedy is coming. And you can’t help but keep turning the page to see exactly how it plays out.

Those are my three! I love nearly everything Stephen King has written. Making this list was pretty tough. What are some of your favorites? ‘The Shining’? ‘The Stand’? Let me know in the comments below!

My Three Favorite Stephen King Short Stories

If it wasn’t for Stephen King I would not be a writer. I think most horror writers would probably say the same thing. When I was 13 I was drawn in by King’s behemoth horror masterwork ‘IT’. But, when my stepmother saw me pick it up, she suggested I read a less scary book to start me off in the world of Stephen King. She handed me ‘Pet Sematary’. I devoured it and moved on to ‘IT’, then ‘Carrie’, then ‘Salem’s Lot’. I spent the next couple of years scouring local thrift stores for dog-eared copies of King’s bibliography. I loved them all. And as much as I love his novels, I think his short fiction has stuck with me the most.

A podcast I really enjoy (The Lovecraft Ezine Podcast) had a episode recently where they discussed their favorite Stephen King short stories. That conversation brought me back to all those hours I spent going over all my favorites. So, without further ado, these are my three favorite Stephen King stories!

‘One for the Road’ – Published in ‘Night Shift’

For my first story here I wanted to start with one of my first favorites. ‘One for the Road’, published in his first collections, feels like a classic horror story in every sense. A quiet bar. A blizzard. Vampires. It might not be the most original tale, but it makes up for it with pure atmosphere.

‘The Moving Finger’ – Published in ‘Nightmares and Dreamscapes’

Let’s get weird. ‘The Moving Finger’ brings it in spades. This story was my introduction to Weird Fiction as a genre. A simple conceit wrapped around a unforgettable image makes this story a mean little beast. From the little details (the game show) to the maniacal wrap-up, I love every word of this one.

‘1408’ – Published in ‘Everything’s Eventual’

When it comes to haunted hotel rooms, everything does seem eventual. We’ve all heard this kind of story. Shoot, Stephen King has written about these kind of things before. But over the course of this novella (I know, I’m kind of cheating, it’s not a short story) we see receive a legend of a VERY haunted hotel room. The intro takes it’s time before allowing our protagonist Mike Enslin into that room. Paintings change. Demonic voices howl through phone receivers. ‘1408’ is a masterpiece and is one of my favorite Stephen King stories.

There you have it! Those are my three. Am I crazy for loving these? Feel free to yell at me in the comments below or chime in with your all time favorite stories!

Recommends: Horror Writers (And Some Short Stories to Start You Off) Part 1

Horror and weird fiction is in an amazing place right now. With so many great authors doing such awesome things, it can be hard to know where to start. I wanted to write a little post to recommend some writers to check out, as well as some short stories they’ve written to ease you in. This is not an all-inclusive list (that would be impossibly long) and I intend to do follow-ups to this post in the future. Cool? Cool. Let’s jump in!

Laird Barron
The Story to Get You Started: ‘Blackwood’s Baby’ from The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

The-Beautiful-Thing-That-Awaits-Us-All
Laird Barron is my current favorite author. His style is wholly unique. It’s a mix of white-knuckled adventure tales and truly awe-inspiring cosmic/weird horror. I know it’s common for people to say “So scary it gave me NIGHTMARES” but, in my case, it’s true. I was staying at my in-laws and reading my Kindle while my wife slept next me. I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open before shutting my Kindle down. One of his stories from his newest collection leaked into my dreams. It was scary. And I loved it. ‘Blackwood’s Baby’ has all of his trademarks in spades.

Orrin Grey
The Story to Get You Started: ‘Painted Monsters’ from Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

PaintedMonsters_cover_001_FC_small-259x400

Orrin Grey writes monsters. And I don’t think anyone does them better. This collection is chock full of them. My favorite story (though I like them all) is the title story ‘Painted Monsters’. I don’t want to give anything away, so I won’t. I will say this though: It’s crazy, fun, and filled with references to decades of horror cinema. This story is the final story in the collection and I feel like it’s a terrifying wrap-up to all the stories that came before. It’s Orrin Grey’s fiction distilled. Just be careful. It’s a little slimy.

John Langan
The Story to Get You Started: ‘The Revel’ from The Wide, Carnivorous Sky & Other Monstrous Geographies

widecarnivorous-683x1024.jpg

I feel kind of dumb when I read John Langan. Which, if you think about it, is a good thing! His fiction is dense and smart, and he often slices up the genre, usually reveling (pun intended) in all the gooey bits beneath. This collection is solid all around, but I think ‘The Revel’ is a good jumping off point. It, like most of John Langan’s work, is uniquely structured. It’s a werewolf story, a look into the tropes of horror film, and one heck of a story all around. If you like your horror intellectual, this is a great place to start.

That’s all for now! There are plenty of writers that I love that deserve acclaim, and I can’t wait to fill you in! Until next time everybody…

 

Writing Goals for 2017

Hello everyone and welcome to the New Year! 2016, for the most part, was a great year for me professionally. I wrote some great material and had some major successes for publishing. But, like anything in life, there is always room for improvement. Today I wanted to outline a few goals I have for the upcoming year. A few things I can strive for to reach the level in my writing career that I want. Sound good? Okay. First things first…

 

1. Finish a Novel

I think this is kind of a big one. I’ve had false starts too numerous to name and I’m honestly a bit sick of it. My newest project, a Gothic Horror novel, is coming along nicely. I’ve been doing heavy plotting to avoid getting derailed. 2017 will be the year that I finish one up.

2. Publish 5 Stories

You might be thinking to yourself, “Logan, 5 seems like a kind of arbitrary number.” Well, dearest reader, in both 2014 and 2015 I published 4 short stories, which is an even more arbitrary number. My big mission for this year is just Career Improvement. Pushing myself to write more and aggressively submit is the next logical step.

3. Read 50 Books

Another number with ‘5’ in it. Most professional writers would tell you that one key to becoming a better writer is to read a lot. And this is the way it starts. I’m four books in already. Must… keep…. reading….

4. Network

Not social network, though that may be a factor. No, I want to get talking with some other writers! Make some connections! I know there are other writers, just like me, looking for input and support. We all want to improve. Sometimes having a like-minded friend is a good step.

Okay! That’s four goals. Finish a novel, publish more, read more, and network. I hope 2017 will be awesome. As always, please follow me on Twitter @logan_noble and follow this blog! Do you have any writing goals (or any goals for that matter) for the year of our Lord 2017? Comment below!

Until next time…

Next Article: Wednesday the 25th.