Recently, authors Dan Franklin and Norman Prentiss joined Cemetery Dance’s Kevin Lucia on Into the Abyss to discuss their new books: Dan’s The Eater of Gods and Norman’s Haunted Attractions with your Other Father. Check out their full chat below!
Into the Abyss, the YouTube show headed up by Cemetery Dance Ebook/Trade Paperback Editor Kevin Lucia, recently hosted its very first “Cemetery Dance Movie Watch.” Author Michael Aronovitz joined the Into the Abyss crew for their viewing of the 1980 horror flick Scared to Death.
Join the crew below, and when the movie’s over take a minute to check out Aronovitz’s new short story collection, Dancing with Tombstones, which is currently on a.99 ebook preorder special!
Around 2012, after a life-changing night with F. Paul Wilson, Tom Monteleone and Stuart David Schiff, I began searching used bookstores far and wide for seminal works of horror I’d missed out on. I came to the horror genre late — both as a reader and a writer — so all I knew of horror was Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Peter Straub. There’s nothing wrong with these writers, of course. But after that night, my head spun with the names of the dozens of writers I’d never heard of before. I decided that to be the kind of writer I aspired to be, I needed to widen my reading palate.
It’s publication day for Kevin Lucia as Crystal Lake Publishing releases October Nights, his collection of Halloween-themed short stories. To celebrate, Cemetery Dance is proud to share “Ballad of the Broken Hearts at the Danse Macabre,” a Halloween-themed short story that is NOT included in October Nights. Think of it as a bonus story, a companion to Lucia’s collection (which he discussed with us in a Q&A right here.)
This October, Kevin Lucia fulfills a dream with the release of a new collection of Halloween-themed short stories, October Nights. Crystal Lake Publishing will be releasing the collection on October 22, so this seemed like the perfect time to ask the author a few questions about his work, and to pick his brain about his — and our — favorite holiday, Halloween.
Just as I’ve discovered writers who only wrote a handful of stories and then, for a variety of reasons, didn’t write anymore, I’ve also discovered writers whose careers — and lives — were sadly cut short before they could reach their fullest potential. On one hand, I’m eminently grateful for the work they produced; on the other hand, I can only imagine what they could’ve accomplished if they’d lived longer. One of those writers is the inimitable Charles Beaumont.
Longtime Cemetery Dance pal Kevin Lucia has partnered with Horror Oasis for an amazing giveaway: sign up for the Horror Oasis newsletter and get five e-books featuring some of Kevin’s short stories for free!
The stories offered are “Therapy,” “Lament,” “A Circle that Ever Returneth,” “When We All Meet at the Ofrenda,” and “Almost Home.”
Kevin’s a busy man these days, writing new fiction, working on his YouTube show “Into the Abyss,” and much more! You can keep up with all of his shenanigans at his website.
One of the absolute delights of digging through the horror genre’s past is discovering stories and characters which pre-date and pre-figure contemporary stories and characters I’ve enjoyed. In The Philosophy of Horror, Noel Carroll posits that horror is one of the few literary genres which consistently builds upon its past, in that its practitioners not only consciously pay their respects to their history in the form of homages and pastiches, but they also attempt to create something new out of the old, in some cases reinventing a trope, subverting it, or, in the case of Paul Tremblay’s Head Full of Ghosts or Kristi DeMeester’s Beneath, reinventing, subverting, and paying homage all at once.
When you engage in any kind of artistic “career” over a certain period of time, lots of preconceived notions are shed. Nowhere is that truer than in writing. It’s part of the gig. Over time, idealistic goals either vanish altogether, or, in the best case scenario, transform into more obtainable goals.
For me, it was the notion of writing full time. Writing as the day job. Spending my workday solely in my invented worlds. Many of my fellow writers have gone through the same transition. Realizing that for whatever reason, writing as a full-time career simply wasn’t in the cards.
When I began my exploration into the history of the horror genre, accepting this as a reality became a lot easier. It amazed me how many wonderful writers I encountered who never broke into a “full time” writing career. In some cases, they wrote one or two stories, and never wrote again.
Possessed by Peter Laws
Alison and Busby (July 2020)
330 pages; $4.57 paperback; $4.34 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia
I first encountered Peter Laws in his nonfiction book The Frighteners: A Journey Through Our Cultural Fascination With the Macabre. I stumbled over it quite by accident on Amazon, looking for who knows what, and of course by Reverend Peter Laws caught my eye. An ordained minister writing a nonfiction book about how it’s totally normal to love the dark and the weird? Sign me up.
Writing this column is occasionally daunting. I often grapple with the unfortunate reality that not only is it impossible for me to completely cover every important horror/spec fic writer, it’s also hard to read everything written by the writers I highlight. In some cases — writers with modest outputs, or contemporary writers I’ve been reading right along — that’s not such a difficulty.
However, with other writers, such as the focus of today’s column — Algernon Blackwood — I simply have to be content with believing I’ve read enough of their work to offer an informed opinion and recommendation. Even so, there’s still that little irrational insecurity (anyone who knows me knows I’m nothing more than a bundle of irrational insecurities) someone will pipe up in the comments, “Oh, but have you read THIS story by INSERT AUTHOR NAME HERE? You haven’t? Oh.”
As many of you know, I began this column (almost five years ago, which is a little mind-blowing) with the intention of chronicling the writers who impacted me during a very transitional period in my writing career. Writers who exposed me to new things, new kinds of horrors and writing styles. However, a year or so ago I realized this column should evolve and start featuring newly discovered contemporary writers right alongside the masters of years gone by. The first of these newly discovered writers was Peter Laws. Today’s featured writer is Kristi DeMeester, author of the amazing, beautifully bleak novel Beneath, and the powerful short story collection Everything That’s Underneath.
The Writing Life: Reflections, Recollections, and a Lot of Cursing by Jeff Strand
Independently Published (December 2020)
276 pages; $11.99 paperback; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Kevin Lucia
If you’re a horror writer or even just a Stephen King fan, you’ve probably read his treatise on the writing biz, On Writing, multiple times. And for good reason, because it’s one of the best books on writing there is, imparted in that casual storyteller way only King has mastered. If I were to recommend only three writing books to prospective writers, On Writing would be the first book I’d recommend. A close second would be Zen in the Art of Writing, by the venerable Ray Bradbury.
Todd Keisling’s Devil’s Creek recently made it onto the Final Ballot for the Bram Stoker Award in Superior Achievement in a Novel, and there’s good reason for that. It’s very likely the best thing I read in 2020, and also one of my favorite contemporary horror novels, period. Reviewers have compared it to Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot, and while usually I might roll my eyes slightly at such a comparison, in this case it’s very apt.
I’m only an armchair observer and by no means an expert, but it seems in the last six years the horror genre has witnessed a blossoming short story anthology market. And no offense to anyone, but I mean good markets offering quality stories and top-notch production values, not lots of people discovering the novelty of quick and easy self-publishing in order to issue sub-standard collections through Lulu or Createspace, which seemed very common about eight or nine years ago. (Again, I apologize for any snark; that’s just my opinion, only).