First, a word about the introduction by Lansdale himself––a backstage pass to Mr. Lansdale’s writing method and history of The Magic Wagon. There’s a chance I liked it so much because we happen to have the same view on what makes a story and how to have fun writing and how pantsing (for us) is what keeps the fun going. The discovery as we write. Personally, it was like a nice little validation from the man himself that there ain’t nothing wrong with writing words down and just letting them take you wherever.
Sussex Horrors: Stories of Coastal Terror and Other Seaside Haunts by Jonathan Broughton, Mark Cassell, and Rayne Hall
Herbs House (January 2018)
156 pages; $12.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by R.B. Payne
Unlike the common horrors of a typical seaside vacation, this anthology doesn’t involve overpriced hotel rooms or poorly cooked meals— although there is one rather nasty gift shop. Sussex Horrors: Stories of Coastal Terrors and Other Seaside Haunts brings together the combined talents of authors Jonathan Broughton, Mark Cassell, and Rayne Hall to surprise and delight with enough gruesome horror to make us immediately rush for the perceived safety of the big city where things simply make sense. Preying on the fear of life outside the predictable and exploring the seldom-trod back roads of Sussex, this volume presents twelve well-crafted tales of terror.
Speaking to Skull Kings and Other Stories by Emily B. Cantaneo
Trepidatio Pub (May 2017)
203 pages; $13.55 paperback; $3.95 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia
Reading Emily Cantaneo’s short fiction collection Speaking to Skull Kings is a wonderfully surreal trip into the fantastic unknown. The stories collected straddle all sorts of genres. Each take place in their own universes—realms far stranger than our own, or perhaps only slightly askew of our reality—with their own sets of rules, their own logic. There’s plenty of humanity here, however, and that’s what gives them their power.
Mary SanGiovanni is a prolific author and podcaster, and she’s getting ready to add another title to the list: editor. Recently, SanGiovanni announced that she is joining forces with respected publisher Thunderstorm Books to form a new, female-centric imprint. In the following interview, SanGiovanni discusses her approach to creating and curating this new line of horror fiction
And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste
JournalStone (April 2017)
267 pages; $15.93 paperback; $3.95 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia
And Her Smile With Untether the Universe is an amazing collection of speculative fiction by Gwendoyn Kiste which touches on surreal fantasy but never loses its grip on an all too tangible—sometimes painfully so—sense of reality. This is important for me, because I often find that happens with surreal stories of the fantastic. While I admire the world created and the surreal experience rendered, I sometimes feel distant from the characters and their experiences, and the stories fail to really impact me on an emotional level.
Alexandra Sokoloff has never strayed away from the controversial in her work, whether it be in her Stoker-nominated horror titles or in her Huntress stories. Plenty has been written about this, the fifth in that series, and it will be pretty easy to figure out why once the final page is turned.
I’m going to ask you to bear with me here. Indulge your willing suspension of disbelief for a bit, please.
There was once a time when I thought that a novel about flesh-eating zombies was a great idea.
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
Orbit Books (November 2017)
448 pages; $18.57 hardcover; $15.99 paperback; $13.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
Mermaids? Scary? Nope, this isn’t a joke, and if you’re familiar with Mira “Seanan McGuire” Grant, queen of the Feed series, you know she’s capable of some horrific storytelling. Imagine if Michael Crichton and Stephen King mind-melded with someone brave enough to tackle a creature that most readers would not take seriously. The result would be a novel that’s scientifically based, utterly plausible, and with enough rich characters to make you cringe every time a dark corner is turned. Add to that the sheer lyricism of Grant/McGuire’s prose and Into the Drowning Deep is born, a horror novel that’s as frightening as Aliens and mind-bending as Jurassic Park (the concepts, not the dinos themselves).
We’re very pleased to announce we’ll be publishing a signed Limited Edition hardcover of Intro to Alien Invasion later this year!
In this wildly entertaining collaboration, novelists Owen King and Mark Jude Poirier team up with illustrator Nancy Ahn to present a wickedly funny graphic novel about an alien invasion on a college campus.
This OVERSIZED special hardcover edition includes the entire graphic novel, new essays by Mark Jude Poirier and Owen King, along with their previously unpublished script for the book!
Thank you, as always, for your continued support and enthusiasm!
Over the years, the Hellraiser mythology has become something of a hash, combining elements of Clive Barker’s original novella The Hellbound Heart with bits from the Hellraiser movies (mainly the first two in the franchise: Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II). Nowhere is this more evident than in The Scarlet Gospels. In Barker’s 2015 novel, the cenobite known as Pinhead (but not to his face; no, never to his face) was a sometimes confusing mix of the elegant sadist from Hellbound Heart and a bloodthirsty, Hollywood-style slasher.
In last month’s chapter, we examined one of the world’s first examples of horror fiction—The Epic of Gilgamesh. This month, that was supposed to lead into a chapter on Beowulf, Theseus and the Minotaur, The Iliad and The Odyssey, The Oresteia, Dante’s Inferno, Lucian Samosata’s True History, and more.
I’ve decided we will get to those next month.
Instead, I’d like to use this month’s space to remember a mentor and dear friend of mine. I knew him as Dallas Mayr, but I first met him as Jack Ketchum (which is probably the name you know him by).
A few days after Jack Ketchum passed away, his close friend—or, as he calls himself, his “Idiot Bastard Son”—Turner Mojica reached out to Cemetery Dance with the following tribute. It perfectly sums up the sentiment we’ve seen in the days since we lost Ketchum: that, while he’ll long be remembered for his writing, his writing isn’t the only thing that made him special. He forged special relationships with the people around him. This is a glimpse into one of those relationships.
A note from interviewer Mike Noble:
When I got word from Blu Gilliand that Cemetery Dance was going to release an online preview of my interview with Dallas Mayr (known to horror fans the world over as Jack Ketchum), I was excited that I would finally be able to share something with Dallas. We started this interview at Joanne Trattoria in New York city in 2009 and ended it via email on November 11, 2017.
I knew how sick Dallas was and I emailed him often to check and see how he was doing. I stopped getting replies a couple of weeks before he passed. It wasn’t the first time there had been long gap between replies—he kept himself very busy—so I was hopeful his health wasn’t the reason. He had bounced back before.
On January 24th, Dallas Mayr died.
I stood on our rickety old porch, looking out towards the peeling paint on the back shed as the sunset drained like a stuck pig, bleeding out red all over.
In this first-person, coming-of-age novella, a warbler is a winged creature that isn’t welcome. And after young Dell and his family try to ignore the pack of them, it turns out they’re rather dangerous, too–-–even tearing apart poor Dell’s dog. So Dell and his father set out to rid their back shed of the beasts, but the means to which they do so could prove even worse a predicament than what they’re already up against. Not just for their family, but maybe for the whole town.
If you’ve read Paperbacks from Hell, you know that Grady Hendrix is an expert on horror fiction, most specifically mass-market paperbacks produced during the boom of the ’70s and ’80s, with their often eye-popping—some might say “garish”—cover art. What, you might ask, inspired such a fascination for weird, macabre books? In Hendrix’s case, it was a lot of things, but it certainly had something to do with a strange book he discovered while living abroad in England in the late ’70s. A book not intended for kids.
Grady Hendrix is a writer and public speaker based in Manhattan. Along with the aforementioned Paperbacks From Hell (2017), he is the author of the novels Horrorstör (2014) and My Best Friend’s Exorcism (2016). He is currently working on a new novel.