What Screams May Come: Jeff Strand’s IT WATCHES IN THE DARK (EEK!)

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It Watches in the Dark (Eek!) by Jeff Strand
Sourcebooks (April 2, 2024)

The synopsis:

cover of It Watches in the Dark (Eek!)“She glanced over her shoulder. Had the scarecrow moved? It stood there, smile stitched on its face, but now it felt like a smirk.”

Prepare to be scared silly in this creepy middle-grade novel! Twins seek medical help in a remote village after their father is in a canoeing accident…only to discover the scarecrow that stands watch in town may have a stronger hold over the residents than expected. Perfect for fans of R.L. Stine, Dan Poblocki, and Mary Downing Hahn.

Twins Oliver and Trisha love going on adventures with their dad. Canoeing and camping on the Champion River will be their best trip yet! But when they capsize in rapids, their father is knocked unconscious. Alone and without cell phone reception, their only choice is to continue down river for help.

Hours of paddling brings them to an old dock, and a narrow path leads them to a small village. The townspeople are kind and helpful, but strangely focused on the giant scarecrow in the village square. “He watches over us,” the twins are told in whispers. “He keeps us safe.”

An old woman warns the twins not to spend the night in the village. Not if they ever want to leave. But with the sun soon to set and their father not well enough to be moved, how can they escape? More importantly, can they survive?Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: MEAN SPIRITED by Nick Roberts

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Mean Spirited by Nick Roberts
Crystal Lake Publishing (March 15, 2024)

cover of Mean SpiritedThe Synopsis:

An alcoholic teacher and father’s world spirals out of control when a former student is killed and he is left with her dog and the dark presence that follows it.

Matt Matheny teaches during the day, drinks at night, and barely hides his functioning alcoholism from his veterinarian ex-wife, Lucy, and his six-year-old son, Mikey. His world spirals out of control when a former student is killed, and he’s left with her dog, Conehead. But something isn’t right with Conehead. A dark presence follows him, and very soon, people around him die. Matt realizes the only way to protect his son is to sober up and work with Lucy to expose the dog’s mysterious past and face a secret so shocking — an evil so relentless — that it threatens to unleash hell on an entire town.Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Kristopher Triana

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Kristopher Triana

Kristopher Triana is a Splatterpunk Award-winning author of extreme horror who needs no introduction — but I’ll give you a brief one here anyways. Author of such critically acclaimed fan favorites as Gone To See the Riverman (and it’s recent sequel, Along the River of Flesh), Full Brutal, The Ruin Season and That Night In the Woods, Triana is an animal-loving Connecticut writer you don’t want to miss. Although he also writes noir, crime, westerns. literary fiction, and is a columnist with Backwoods Survival Guide Magazine, this conversation centers around the soft spot I have for his particular brand of nightmare fuel. Fans of his work will be taken aback by the scope of his often traumatic, always heartfelt style of bringing us in his full throttle world of terror. Book after book, Triana continues to prove himself as a dependable curator of thought provoking, gut wrenching, ridiculously immersive and frightening stories any fan of this dark thing of ours is thrilled to get caught up and lost in.

Most recently, Triana was kind enough to let me pick about his evolution as an author, his proudest moments and a few morsels on how he does what he does so damn well. Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: Scott Cole’s HEADLESS

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Headless by Scott Cole
Grindhouse Press (March 5, 2024)

cover of HeadlessThe Synopsis:

In the midst of a heat wave punctuated by frequent rainstorms, people are losing their heads. Literally. Not only that, but their bodies are still walking, and attacking others.

And to make matters worse, tiny, translucent, maggot-sized worms are falling from the skies like hail.

As uncanny violence threatens to take over the city, Linzy, Carter, and Joanna become fast friends and leave for points unknown, hoping to stay alive, hoping to outrun the Headless.Continue Reading

Zac Thompson on Catching a DreamWave

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In the new comic Cemetery Kids Don’t Die from writer Zac Thompson and artist Daniel Irizarri, people are obsessed with the gaming console DreamWave, which works while you’re sleeping. But maybe NightmareWave is a better name, as this horror/science fiction story shows friends known as the Cemetery Kids get in over their heads. Cemetery Dance spoke with Thompson about the comic’s inspiration, his interest in horror comics, and how shonen manga (Japanese comics aimed for boys) inspired the artwork. Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: A Conversation with Tim Waggoner

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The Atrocity Engine (Custodians of the Cosmos Book 1) by Tim Waggoner
Aethon Books (April 30, 2024)

The Synopsis:
Men in Black meets Hellraiser in this rollicking mash-up of urban fantasy and cosmic horror from four-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author Tim Waggoner.

cover of Atrocity EngineCreatures from dark dimensions infesting your home? Demonic beings trying to drive you insane? Alien gods attempting to destroy your universe?

Just call Maintenance.

This underpaid and overworked secret organization is dedicated to battling forces that seek to speed up Entropy and hasten the Omniverse’s inevitable death.

Neal Hudson is a twenty-year veteran of Maintenance. A surveyor who drives through the streets of Ash Creek, Ohio, constantly scanning for the deadly energy known as Corruption. Since the death of his previous partner, Neal prefers to work alone, and he’s not happy when he’s assigned to mentor a rookie.

But they better learn to get along fast.

The Multitude, a group of godlike beings who seek to increase Entropy at every opportunity, are creating an Atrocity Engine. This foul magical device can destroy the Earth, and they don’t care how many innocent lives it takes to build it. (Spoiler alert: It’s a lot!)

Just another day on the job…Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Elle Nash

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Elle Nash

Elle Nash’s Deliver Me (Unnamed Press, 2023) burrowed into my psyche deeper than any other book in 2023. The novel’s neglected yet unforgettable main character, Dee Dee, whispers to us, using her perpetual inside voice, offering accumulative clues to the relationship between her environment and her biological delusions; a hushed effect of descent that eventually lands on what is truly growing in her depths. Sometimes the desire is greater than the acquisition; it can block the illumination of what lengths we are going to get it.  

Initially inspired by a bizarre true-crime event, Nash transmutes a headline with nothing left to the imagination into a delicate tapestry of inner hallucination, igniting a divine poetry from ignorance — all of it privileged information from a narrator so unreliable, it hurts. But one must always keep pushing. 

Nash is also the author of Gag Reflex (Clash Books), Nudes (LF/SD), Animals Eat Each Other (Dzanc Books), and is the editor-in-chief of Witchcraft magazine. 

I caught up with Nash in early January to discuss Deliver Me, the miracle and terror of childbirth, the constitution of bloodshed between genders, and the desensitization of horror inside our American nightmare. Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: THIS SKIN WAS ONCE MINE

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This Skin Was Once Mine by Eric LaRocca
Titan Books (April 2, 2024)

cover of This Skin Was Once MineEver since his debut publication, Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke (now in a second edition with bonus stories), Eric LaRocca has been blazing a trail of broken souls and butchered hearts with each new release he unleashes. After a series of highly acclaimed novellas, LaRocca published his first full length novel, Everything the Darkness Eats, with Titan Books. Clearly a match made in horror, Titan is getting set to publish LaRocca’s newest collection of four riveting novellas in This Skin Was Once Mine and Other Disturbances. 

I cornered the author long enough to discuss his latest publication, the importance of being an aggressor to his readers, along with digging into what has caused the floor beneath him to be ripped out plus more!Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: Cruising the HUNTED HIGHWAYS

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Hunted Highways (Dark Tide Book 12) by Carver Pike, Lucas Mangum, and Rowland Bercy
Crustal Lake Publishing (January 26th, 2024)

The Synopsis: 

cover of Hunted Highways“B.I.R.D.S.” by Rowland Bercy Jr.: In “B.I.R.D.S.,” a 2023 reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, a group of friends embarks on a cross-country trip, unwittingly stirring a vengeful avian onslaught. Raquel, Robert, Karen, and David face chaos and carnage, learning that appearances deceive and the price of their actions can be deadly. This bone-chilling tale weaves a narrative of suspense and consequence in a world where birds are not what they seem.

“Dracula and the Devil Walk Into a Bar” by Lucas Mangum: After a team of hunters raid their fortress, Dracula and Lucifer hit the road in search of a new place to call home. They stop at a roadside bar in an unincorporated locale to meet with a vampire named Mina. All three creatures of the night have the potential for violence. And none of them can resist the call of bloodshed. The people in this wood-paneled, neon-lit establishment are about to meet Hell itself.

“Road Wrath” by Carver Pike: For Melanie and her friends, this fun-filled trip to tour their favorite college campus is about to take a violent and macabre turn. If only they’d kept driving, if only they’d stayed far away from that rest stop, if only they’d been more polite when they encountered the creepy old couple. Now, it’s too late for apologies. Road Wrath is coming.  Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: Joseph Sale’s CITY OF CORPSES

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The City of Corpses (Book two of the Lost Carcosa Series) by Joseph Sale
Blood Bound Books (January 16th, 2024)

cover of The City of CorpsesThe synopsis: Dark fantasy and horror combine in this epic narrative of war, betrayal, love, and spirituality…Reeling from betrayal, Alan, Cassilda, LeBarron, and Petruccio must go into hiding; the only place that seems safe is Alar, an underwater kingdom lying at the bottom of Lake Hali. But all is not well in Alar. Dangers lurk around every corner. And a sorceress now rules the city, one whose powers challenge even those of Carcosa’s princesses, Cassilda and Cali…Meanwhile, Pe’kar, the great enemy, unleashes his second legion upon Carcosa, intent to finally raze the city to the ground and become undisputed ruler of the black planet. How can Alan and his fellowship save Carcosa when they can hardly save themselves? The answer lies within…

The City of Corpses is the second Book of Lost Carcosa, an epic fantasy-horror that reimagines the astonishing mythos of Robert W. Chambers. Combining Clive Barker’s eroticism and fantasy with Stephen King’s pulse-pounding narrative, The City of Corpses will please fans of Imajica, Weaveworld, The Dark Tower, H. P. Lovecraft, Eric LaRocca, and Alistair Rennie.Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: Master of Rods and Strings by Jason Marc Harris

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Master of Rods and Strings by Jason Marc Harris
Crystal Lake Publishing
January 12th, 2024

The synopsis:

Jealous of the attention lavished upon the puppetry talents of his dear sister—and tormented by visions of her torture at the hands of the mysterious Uncle Pavan who recruited her for his arcane school—Elias is determined to learn the true nature of occult puppetry, no matter the hideous costs, in order to exact vengeance.

cover of Master of Rods and StringsContinue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Clay McLeod Chapman

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photo of author Clay McLeod ChapmanClay McLeod Chapman writes books, comic books, children’s books, as well as for film and television. His most recent novel, What Kind of Mother and Ghost Eaters are grief horror stories. Chapman’s vibrant personality and energy are magnetizing, and seemingly contradictory to his writing material. Todd Keisling and I joked that the Whisper Down The Lane author is “like a cup of coffee” — rejuvenating.

It’s there, in that duality and range both on and off the page, where Chapman’s talent lies.

Chapman spoke to Cemetery Danceabout What Kind of MotherGhost Eaters, fellow horror authors, and his upcoming projects. Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Steve Wedel

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Steve Wedel

Get ready to leave the path and dance beneath the full moon because Steve Wedel’s pack is back with a vengeance as his Werewolf Saga continues its reign with First Born. A former English teacher and machine shop operator, Wedel has written some of the most terrifying, bold, and unforgettable tales such as Amara’s Prayer, Light At The End, Mother, and several others. He also dabbles in the YA category, occasionally with New York Times best-selling author Carrie Jones. He’s also applied his writing chops to scribing westerns and even romance novels under an alias. Suffice it to say writing is not a choice for Steve Wedel, a fact his fans have no choice but to be grateful for.Continue Reading

Getting INVASIVE with Cullen Bunn

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cover of Invasive #1 Eisner Award-nominated writer Cullen Bunn is no stranger to horror, but he says his new comic, Invasive, haunts him and signals a signpost on the road to his approach to the genre. Invasive, which is published by Oni Press and illustrated by Jesús Hervás, has a debut date of December 13. Bunn spoke to Cemetery Dance about how a nightmare influenced this work, why Invasive is different from previous projects, and what else he has going on. Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Red Lagoe

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Red Lagoe

Raised on ’80s slasher horror, Red Lagoe is the author of three horror collections: Lucid Screams, Dismal Dreams and, the reason for our conversation, Impulses Of A Necrotic Heart. Revving up her engines, she has also penned the forthcoming novella, In Excess Of Dark and the novel Bloodstains By Gaslight, both due to hit the ground running in 2024. Red is also the editor of the anthology Nightmare Sky: Stories Of Astronomical Horror and is the owner of Death Knell Press. As an amateur astrologer, this fearless woman may have her dark muse nestled in the darkest reaches of the universe but keeps us all well grounded with stories of loss, grief, trauma and suffering most of us can relate to in some way, though perhaps not quite as balls-to-the-wall insane as some of her more unfortunate victims, er, characters inevitably do.

On top of it all, Red is a formidable artist who lends her impactful drawings to each of the stories we are about to dive into with Impulses Of A Necrotic Heart. But be warned: while Red is as sweet and kind as they come, don’t let her demeaner fool you. A promising voice worth paying attention to, Red creates a web of haunted ruins from which we can expect to never fully escape from unchanged while our appetite for what’s to come grows more insatiable story by story, book by book.

Without further ado, it’s time to dig in and find out exactly what Red’s necrotic little heart is made of.Continue Reading