The Cemetery Dance Interview: Stephen Mark Rainey

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Stephen Mark Rainey

Writing from Martinsville, Virginia, Stephen Mark Rainey (that’s Mark to his friends, peers, and others who he doesn’t owe money to) is the author of over 200 short stories, some of which are available as collections (Other Gods, Fugue Devil: Resurgence) and the editor of the award-winning magazine, Deathrealm (1987-1997). Rainey is also the editor of a few fine anthologies such as Evermore, The Song of Cthulhu, and Deathrealm: Spirits, which is the book that prompted me to chase him down and ask nicely to corner him for his remarkable knowledge of our beloved horror genre.

Rainey did not disappoint and satiated my curiosity, at least for now, about how the tides of the horror industry has changed, the significance of having Deathrealm back in the spotlight, how he managed to rally today’s most esteemed and promising authors writing today under one unified literary roof, and a whole lot more worth leaning forward in your seat for.
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What Screams May Come: Bill Mullen’s THE THING IN THE WIND

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The Thing In The Wind by Bill Mullen
Crystal Lake Publishing (April 5, 2024)

cover of The Thing in the WindThe Synopsis

A woman who has found her place in the world has it overturned by news of her mother’s disappearance in a remote region of northern Saskatchewan. She, her father, and a small group set out to find answers about how and why her mother and colleague disappeared and are suspected to be dead, all the while being haunted by dreams, premonitions, and a strange presence of something stalking them…something not human.Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: Richard Farren Barber’s ONE OF THE DEAD

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One Of The Dead by Richard Farren Barber
Crystal Lake Entertainment (March 18th, 2024)

The Synopsis

cover of One of the DeadTerror doesn’t stumble and moan—it walks silently among us, cloaked in the guise of the overlooked. 

Nick, burdened with the rare ability to see these dead predators for what they truly are, faces a nightmare when his girlfriend, Abby, becomes ensnared by their sinister intent.

These are not your typical undead. They blend in, their appearances mirroring the forgotten faces of society, making their predatory nature all the more chilling. A touch is all it takes for them to latch onto their prey, draining life in a way that leaves the body walking but the spirit doomed.

As Abby becomes the focus of such a being’s obsession, Nick is drawn into a desperate struggle not just for her life, but for her very soul. Their fight for survival takes them from the deceptive safety of city streets to the foreboding quiet of a cemetery, where the boundary between the living and those claimed by the shadowy grasp of the dead becomes perilously thin.

One of The Dead weaves a tale not of a zombie apocalypse, but of a quiet invasion, a creeping horror that targets the heart. It’s a story of love tested by unfathomable forces, of a battle against an enemy that never rests, never forgives, and never ceases its pursuit until you become one of its own.Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: Owen King’s THE CURATOR

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The Curator by Owen King
Gauntlet Press(limited/signed editions)/Scribner & Schuster (March 2024)

The Synopsis:

cover of The Curator It begins in an unnamed city nicknamed “the Fairest,” distinguished by many things from the river fair to the mountains that split the municipality in half; its theaters and many museums; the Morgue Ship; and, like all cities, but maybe especially so, by its essential unmappability.

Dora, a former domestic servant at the university, has a secret desire — to understand the mystery of her brother’s death, believing that the answer lies within The Museum of Psykical Research, where he worked when Dora was a child. With the city amidst a revolutionary upheaval, where citizens like Robert Barnes, her lover and a student radical, are now in positions of authority, Dora contrives to gain the curatorship of the half-forgotten museum — only to find it all but burnt to the ground, with the neighboring museums oddly untouched. Robert offers her one of these, The National Museum of the Worker. However, neither this museum, nor the street it is hidden away on, nor Dora herself, are what they at first appear to be. Set against the backdrop of an oddly familiar and wondrous city on the verge of collapse, Dora’s search for the truth will unravel a monstrous conspiracy and bring her to the edge of worlds.Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: John Durgin’s KOSA

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Kosa by John Durgin
Dark Lit Press (May 17th, 2024)

The Synopsis

cover of KosaIn a secluded mansion hidden away from the outside world, young Kosa lives under the strict and overpowering rule of her enigmatic mother. For Kosa, the rules set by Mother are the guiding principles of her life, shaping her beliefs and actions. She has been sheltered from the truth about the world beyond the confines of their home, conditioned to fear the darkness and malevolence that supposedly lurks outside.

However, as Kosa grows older, she begins to question the reality she has been presented with. Doubts eat away at her, fueled by a deep-rooted curiosity and a burgeoning sense of independence.Continue Reading

What Screams May Come: John Urbancik’s STALE REALITY

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John Urbancik

Stale Reality by John Urbancik
Dark Fluidity (March 26th, 2024)

The Synopsis

“What happens is, the world, everything we know, this thing we call Reality, it exists in our heads. It doesn’t really exist. And someone decided they didn’t like Reality. Or maybe not that they didn’t like it, but they wanted to try another. They wanted it so hard, Reality changed, and now we’re in their head. Not our own. See, their Reality shifted, and in it, you don’t exist. You just got left over.” Welcome to Kevin Nichols’ new Reality.Continue Reading

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

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

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