Today I’m happy to turn my blog over to Catherine Cavendish. Her new novella, Dark Avenging Angel debuts tomorrow from Samhain Publishing, and I, for one, am looking forward to reading it. After all… demons are involved! But… I’ll let her tell you about it:
My latest novella – Dark Avenging Angel – is, as its title suggests, concerned with revenge. In this case, revenge of the most demonic kind. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for…” Jane learns the truth of this in graphic ways.
Avenging angels and demons abound in the traditions and folklore of people all over the world. One such character is La Sayona.
Her story comes to us from Venezuela where, it is said, a beautiful woman called Melissa was happily married to her loving husband, with whom she had a baby son. One day, she was bathing naked in the river when a man from the village saw her. From that day onwards, he always followed her when she went to the river. One day, Melissa caught him watching her, challenged him and told him to stop stalking her. The man protested his innocence and said he had only come to warn her that her husband had betrayed her. Her faithless spouse was, he said, sleeping with another woman. Not just any woman either. According to the stranger, Melissa’s husband was sleeping with her own mother.
Enraged, Melissa returned home to find her husband sleeping peacefully with their baby in his arms. But Melissa’s rage burned hot and rendered her blind to any thought that her husband might be innocent. She burned down the house, killing both her husband and her son. Villagers could hear their screams but could do nothing to save them as the fire had taken too firm a hold.
Melissa then marched over to her mother’s house and found her sitting on the patio. Melissa charged at her, wielding a machete. She stabbed her mother in the stomach and, as the woman lay bleeding, she cursed her daughter. She told Melissa she would be forced to walk the earth forever, killing any cheating husbands.
It is said that today La Sayona (which translates as ‘the executioner’) can be seen as a beautiful young woman in a long white gown who strolls up and down the highway, luring men. To trick them, she often dons the disguise of one of their loved ones. Only when she has them in her grasp does she reveal her true self, with her rotting skull, horrible teeth and decayed flesh. She then mangles their bodies, or even eats them. In another version, she will entice them to have sex with her before revealing her true, disgusting self and eating their body parts – with special attention being given to the genital area.
Some of the men survive the encounter with La Sayona, with all their parts intact – but infected. The ghost carries a range of nasty diseases, all of which result in a clear signal to the wives of these men that their husbands have had an encounter with La Sayona and have, therefore, been unfaithful.
Now, to give you a taste of Dark Avenging Angel, here’s the blurb:
Don’t hurt Jane. You may live to regret it.
Bullied by her abusive father, Jane always felt different. Then the lonely child found a friend in a mysterious dark lady who offers her protection—a lady she calls her “angel”. But that protection carries a terrible price, one to be paid with the souls of those Jane chooses to suffer a hideous and eternal fate.
When Jane refuses to name another victim, the angel reveals her most terrifying side. Payment must be made in full—one way or the other.
And here’s a brief extract:
Something had woken me from a deep sleep troubled by my recurring nightmare in which I was in a wood, being chased by some unimaginable horror. I never saw its face, assuming it even had one. But I knew if I didn’t find sanctuary, it would kill me. I had just made it into the strange little house that always appeared in the clearing, when my eyes opened and I gasped at the white, smiling face looking down at me.
That night, my angel seemed different somehow.
Oh, she looked the same. Same black cloak, but this time it shimmered and I wanted to touch it. I was sure it would feel soft as velvet under my fingers.
She put her finger to her lips and stroked my hair. Her touch was like a gentle breeze in summertime. My eyes wanted to close, but I forced them to stay open.
I knew I mustn’t speak out loud, but I could still whisper. “I wish I knew your name. Who are you? Please will you tell me?”
She continued to smile. Her lips moved, but the answering voice I heard was again in my head.
Do not be afraid, child. It is not yet time, but soon you will have the power to avenge yourself on those who have done you harm. Look for me in the shadows and I will be there, taking account.
I understood nothing of what she said. But, from somewhere, a calm I had never felt before emerged and wrapped itself around me.
I blinked in the darkness as she faded from sight.
Then I closed my eyes and slept. I never had that nightmare again after that night. But what if I’d known what was ahead for me?
Some things are better off left in the dark.
You can find Dark Avenging Angel here:
About the Author:
Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Cat is now the full time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which features in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows. Her novels, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine are also published by Samhain. Her latest novella – Dark Avenging Angel – will be followed by her next novel – The Devil’s Serenade – in April 2016
You can connect with Cat here:
MY EIGHTH NOVEL, The Family Tree, was released late in the fall last year, but it’s totally a “summer” book. All the events take place in a backwoods locale in the midst of summer… So this week, it’s like a re-launch — my publisher, Samhain Publishing, has put the novel on sale at 99 cents on all outlets — Amazon, B&N, Books A Million, Kobo, etc.. I’m hoping to make this a super successful sale so that it gets read and discovered by lots of new readers and I want to make it worth your while to help with that, so….
Enter the Big Contest:
This week, from Sunday, August 2nd – Sunday August 9th, I’m holding a contest.
Cool, you say… what can you win?
Grand prize: Be a character in my next novel (you’ll probably be killed in an awesome, gruesome way!)
First prize: An autographed copy of The Family Tree — or one of my other books, if you prefer.
Second prize: an e-book edition of: Cage of Bones & Other Deadly Obsessions, Vigilantes of Love, Failure or Candy in the Dumpster – your choice!
How do you enter? There are three ways… and if you do each one, you’re entered in the contest three times! My goals for the contest are to
a) make people aware of the sale,
b) get people to review the book — so more readers will check it out, and
c) sell more copies (duh!).
So… I’d love it if everyone entered the contest three times! Here’s what you need to do to enter (any or all of these three):
METHOD 1: Send me some proof after you download the e-book of The Family Tree while it is on sale for 99 cents this week!
METHOD 2: If you’ve already read it, post a review of The Family Tree on its Amazon page so other readers will check it out. This would be really helpful to me this week in particular! Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/Family-Tree-John-Everson-ebook/dp/B00N3TTVT6/
METHOD 3: Post the link to the Amazon page above on your Facebook wall and let your friends know that the book is on sale this week only for 99 cents.
Please email me and let me know what you’ve done to enter. Send all entries to me at email@example.com.
I will hold a drawing next Sunday night, August 9, after 9 p.m. Eastern once I’m home from Flashback Weekend (see below), to choose the winners.
Again – I encourage you to enter the contest this week via all three methods!
Seriously – if you haven’t read The Family Tree, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to download an e-book copy cheaply. And if you have read it… please help me turn others on to the book. This week is an important one for this novel!
About the Book:
Curious what The Family Tree is about? Here’s the back cover description:
Its roots are old…and twisted!
The blood of the tree is its sap. It has sustained Scott Belvedere’s family for generations. It’s the secret ingredient behind the family’s intoxicating ale and bourbon, among other elixirs. But only when Scott inherits The Family Tree Inn, deep in the hills of Virginia, does he learn anything about his family, its symbiotic history, or the mammoth, ancient tree around which the inn is literally built. And after he stumbles upon the bony secrets hidden in its roots, while in the welcoming arms of the innkeeper’s daughter, he realizes that not only is blood thicker than water—it’s the only thing that might save him from the hideous fate of his ancestors…
“A sure-fire hit for anyone who loves 70s/80s-styled pulp horror.” (The Horror Fiction Review)
“A family that preys together, stays together… Can Scott break away from the hold of the Family Tree and its devoted disciples? Is the blood of the few worth more than the many? You’ll have to read this fast paced thriller to find out.” (The Long And Short Reviews)
“Everson has published yet another horror masterpiece that is in my top five for this year. A haunting and original book, The Family Tree is a creepy tale of family heritage and devotion that you won’t soon forget.” (Shattered Ravings)
“Everson is one of the best writers of modern horror today. He seamlessly stitches dread and suspense into well-worn horror tropes, giving the tried and true a sense of fresh and new.” (TheExaminer.com)
“[Everson]’s as crisp as he’s ever been, and despite a somewhat deceptive concept, he’s still true to his X-rated roots, which longtime followers are going to find quite pleasing. Read the book. It’s awesome!.” (Horror Novel Reviews)
“John Everson is known for his use of eroticism with his horror and in The Family Tree, he proves once again that he is the master of dark and sexy. If you’re not turned on during one of the many hot scenes then maybe you should check to see if you’re breathing…If you like your horror a little scandalous, then The Family Tree is for you.” (Living Dead Magazine)
NEXT WEEKEND, I will be hanging out with a table full of books in the Dealer’s Room at Flashback Weekend in Rosemont, IL from Friday – Sunday. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, come on out for a super fun con full of horror movie stars! This year, the media guests include Jeffrey Combs & Stuart Gordon. I’ve met Jeff Combs a couple times, but I’m really looking forward to meeting Stuart Gordon — he’s done some of my favorite indie horror films, from Re-Animator to Castle Freak to Dolls to From Beyond.
Also at this con will be American Horror Story‘s John Carroll Lynch & Naomi Grossman and The Girls of Rob Zombie’s Halloween: Danielle Harris, Scout Taylor-Compton & Kristina Klebe among many others.
If you’re in Chicago, I hope you’ll stop by my table and say hi! In the meantime… ENTER THE FAMILY TREE CONTEST!
Dark Dreams of Delicious Ale,
MY SECOND BOOK ever released (back in 2003!) was Vigilantes of Love, a collection that includes horror tales, but also some of my lighter, more heartstring-pulling stories. Originally released on Chicago’s Twilight Tales imprint, it eventually went out of print with the dissolution of Twilight Tales until I got the rights back a couple years ago and released an updated version of my Dark Arts Books label.
Vigilantes of Love has some of my favorite stories to read aloud to an audience. I can’t count how many places I’ve read “The Right Instrument” at libraries, conventions and other events over the years, and “After the Fifth Step” has also been a very popular live reading story. It also includes “Lovesong,” a finalist in the World Horror Convention fiction contest and “Calling of the Moon” which garnered an honorable mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror anthology back when it was released. And it includes “Preserve,” one of the first stories I ever had accepted and published in a genre magazine.
It’s one of my oldest titles, but right now, Vigilantes of Love is sitting at #3 on the Amazon Kindle e-book charts for Horror Anthologies. And it’s damned close to breaking into the Top 10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Anthologies Chart too!
Why now, you ask? On Sunday, Vigilantes of Love went on a Kindle Countdown Sale for just 99 cents… and thanks to the sale and a lot of Facebook announcements and promotional newsletter mentions, it hit the Top 5 of the Horror ebook charts on Amazon yesterday – It is currently sitting at #3 in Literature & Fiction/Anthologies/Horror. E-newsletters like EReader News Today, Free Kindle Books & Tips, BookSCREAM, Read Cheaply, Booktastik, BookGoodies, Booklovers Heaven, The Fussy Librarian and 13 Horror Street have all announced the sale over the last 72 hours.
If you’ve never read Vigilantes of Love, I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy this week while it’s just a buck. And if you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, I hope you’ll help me spread the word about the special sale by putting a link to it on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed. The link to Amazon is here: http://www.amazon.com/Vigilantes-Love-Tales-Dark-Light-ebook/dp/B004FEFAIY/
I’m hoping to keep the book’s momentum going for the rest of the week… and beyond the sale!
Here, by the way, is how BookGoodies promoted it on Sunday to kick off the sale. They also have posted a short interview with me, if you’re interested in reading it:
A LOT OF PEOPLE have asked me if I’m going to write a sequel to my sixth novel, NightWhere. I do want to eventually… I’ve always been interested in exploring the character of Selena more. But, that’s not what I’m currently working on. Never enough time to write all the stories I’d like to!
I did, however, write a long “side story” set in the world of the novel awhile ago that has at last come out in the new issue (#30) of Dark Discoveries Magazine! The new novelette is called “Feeding the Field of Flesh,” and it finds a P.I. lured into trying to rescue someone from the dark world of NightWhere.
This issue also includes fiction from Ray Garton, Cecilia Tan, Scott Edelman and many more.
Check it out here: http://journal-store.com/fiction/dark-discoveries-issue-30/
THIS WEEK, Amazon has my short fiction collection Cage of Bones & Other Deadly Obsessions on a Kindle Countdown Deal. The book will be $0.99 cents (or £0.99 in the UK) until Thursday. I’ve always been proud of this book… it was my very first! Longtime indie horror fans will recall that this was one of the first hardcover releasess from Delirium Books almost 15 years ago. Reviewers have called it: “Sexy, Disturbing, Brilliant!” and “…a dark and tantalizing show well worth the price of admission.”
It focuses largely on my erotic horror short stories… so it’s perfect Valentine’s Reading … for horror fans!
Get it while it’s cheap here:
Here’s the Amazon description:
Meet a witch who conjures genital dragons while singing Manilow. A woman who provides a true window to her soul. And a real cage of bones! Not to mention “Pumpkin Head,” a dark tale of jack-o-lanterns…and the dangers of Halloween lusts…
ANYONE WHO follows me on Facebook or reads by blog frequently knows that my dayjob sends me on a lot of business trips. I’m working most of the time on these jaunts, but I am privileged to see different locales, even if only for short dinner outings outside the hotels.
I’ve been to lots of typical cities (L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, New York) and some exotic outings (Kauai, Chile, Germany). But one of the most picturesque was last week’s trip to Paradise Island, Bahamas. We were at the Atlantis Resort, which takes up a third of the island and is like a giant water park – there are swimming pools and lazy river routes and slides everywhere, not to mention small outdoor pools with dolphins, manta rays, sharks and more all around the grounds.
It was funny because over the past few days since I returned, I keep seeing TV ads for the resort and pointing and going “hey, I was just walking there…”) Considering the resort was surrounded by beach, and I’m pretty much an ocean junkie, I was really looking forward to getting a few dips in the saltwater… but unfortunately, the winter storm that was killing the northeast also sent some gloom and cool breezes to the Bahamas… so while being there was a whole lot better there than it was in Chicago, I didn’t get in the water much. I did get out a couple times, and swam with some damsels and wrasses and other fish near the shore. And I had some good dinners — and also the most outrageously overpriced dinners I think I’ve ever had.
My first night there, I walked a ways to find a reasonable restaurant, only to find it closed… and so, since I was starving after a 10-hour travel day, I ended up at the Seafire Steakhouse, having perhaps the most expensive steak dinner I’ve ever eaten (and it was the cheapest on the steakhouse’s menu!)
I quickly learned that night and in the following days that there are no IPA’s imported to the Bahamas… everything there is light pilsner beer (Corona, Bud) and most is brewed by the Bahamian Brewery (except Kalik, probably the most popular beer there). There is one amber ale brewed by Bahamian specifically for Atlantis, which is drinkable, but other than that… I wasn’t too excited by the omnipresent Sands, High Rock and Bush Crack beer, though you gotta like the name on that last one.
On the 2nd night of my trip I found that even 4-star hotels in the tropics can’t keep all the nasties out… I found this lil bugger sniffing my dirty laundry in the hotel closet. A bug perve!
He met his untimely end at my hand thanks to a dry cleaning sign that happened to be handy in same closet, after running up and down the walls a time or two. His little feelers were still twitching, so I brained him with cake of soap and then collected him on the cardboard of a soap box and left his nosy carcass in the hallway… a warning to other tenants: Paradise is not bereft of cockroaches!
After having a late lunch of conch salad and a couple beers that cost $50, I decided to try to find some more affordable food and have dinner in Nassau.
The only problem was… the hotel didn’t offer shuttle service to the larger island, and I wasn’t keen on cabbing it. At least not both ways. So… I put on my walking sandals and began my one big adventure of the week.
The Cricket Club wasn’t much to look at, but it did sit overlooking a cricket field and they served my beloved Newcastle! The only good beer I had on my trip!
I eschewed the Bangers and Mash for a local plate of barbecue chicken, beans ‘n’ rice, plantains and cole slaw. It cost 1/3 the price that it would have across the bridge and was one of the best meals I had there.
The start of karaoke night at the Cricket Club put an end to my writing night, and I headed out across the street to the “Fish Fry” district of restaurants. They looked fun – lots of fish fry shacks along the ocean. But I didn’t have a chance to get back there over the next few days. I also didn’t walk the 5 miles back across the bridge; I broke down and caught a cab.
One big downside of this particular trip was that it was held over the same week as the Cub Scouts’ annual Pinewood Derby. Shaun and I built his car before I left, but I was bummed I couldn’t be there to see the race.
Still, he continued his streak of winning “Creative” awards for his Pinewood Derby Car. This was the 4th “video game” car I’ve helped him build for the Derby (following Angry Birds, Minecraft and Dragonvale) and while we’ve never built the fastest cars… they hold their own. On Jan. 23rd he placed 2nd, 2nd, 2nd!
I was on Paradise Island for a solid week – Tuesday to Tuesday – but the days flew by pretty quickly, since I was working most of the time… and the weather, as I noted, wasn’t exactly what you’d hope for. Plus, they close the beaches and outside pools and bars there at 5 p.m., so I was holed up inside a lot more than I expected. I watched a couple movies in my room, and saw Lucy in the hotel theater one night.
I had been hoping to get more writing done there than I did… but I got in a little, at the Cricket Club and at the bar of the Todd English restaurant Olives (wasn’t impressed with their expensive flatbread, I have to say!). Next to the steak and the Cricket chicken, I think my best meal was right at the end of the trip — I had the most artistic-looking highbrow Chile Rellenos at Bobby Flay’s fancy southwestern Mesa Grill.
The whole time I was there, I was wishing my family could have come on this trip to enjoy the resort while I was working… but it just wasn’t to be this time. At the end, I was really happy to finally board the plane home. Paradise is beautiful, but you don’t want to be there alone!
Borderlands Books in San Francisco is being forced to close.
Independent bookstores are always a slim margin business, and the new minimum wage hike voted in for San Francisco will ultimately up their payroll expenses by nearly 40%. The bookstore is stable now, but will not be viable once the law fully takes effect.
Borderlands has been in my life for most of the years I’ve written fiction. They always supported my work, and always stocked the releases of my small press, Dark Arts Books. Back in the early 2000s, they used to sponsor a huge all-night party at the World Horror Convention (WHC) every year. That party was as much a reason to go to the con as all the rest of the activities! I met Richard Laymon at the very first Borderlands Party I went to, just a couple years before he died.
I’ve stopped by the store whenever I’ve been in San Francisco. The owners, Alan and Jude, and their staff, are smart, funny, amazing people. I can’t imagine the feelings that they are having over this, but I can say this much: Borderlands was one-of-a-kind. For nearly 20 years, it’s been a beacon for SF/F/H book fans around the country. And that light is now soon to go black.
Here is their statement on the situation:
Update 2/8: there’s a great story in The New Yorker about the Borderlands closure:
I’M PROUD TO BE the February “Guest Writer” in the new issue of THE HORROR ZINE which just went live today!
Check out the magazine online — they are featuring my story “After The Fifth Step” – one of my favorite stories to read aloud to an audience. It was originally written for the 2002 anthology Freaks, Geeks & Sideshow Floozies and had also been collected in my short fiction books Vigilantes of Love and Needles & Sins.
The new issue of THE HORROR ZINE also features an essay by Joe Lansdale and an article about one of the most rare serial killers. Check it all out here:
I’m pretty excited that the Horror Novel Reviews web site picked my 8th novel, THE FAMILY TREE, as one of their Top 10 Horror Novels of 2014! The list includes books by Stephen King, Joe R. Landsdale and Eric Red. You can see the full list and book descriptions here:
HNR called the book “a crazy, crazy engaging story that leads readers down an exciting but unexpected path. Awesome characters, awesome conflict, awesome setup, awesome execution. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome, so we say!”
As if that wasn’t enough, a week or so later, HNR also created a list of the Top 13 Horror Novels Released By Samhain Publishing over the past four years… and THE FAMILY TREE made that list as well! You can see that list here:
THE FAMILY TREE also has garnered some pretty good reviews on Amazon since it’s release in October. Reviews call it a “fast enjoyable read” and “truly exceptional horror.” Of course, there are also a couple slams but overall, the has a 4.1 star average. You can read the good, the bad and the ugly here:
Every year on New Year’s Eve, I sit down to contemplate the past 12 months. I used to do this in a paper journal, but the past few years I’ve done it here on my blog. It’s a great way to remember and document where I’ve been, take a deep breath, and get ready for a new merry-go-round.
This year? Not so much! I actually put in more nose-to-the-grind hours at the dayjob this year than in my entire career of working, but most of it was in the office. Which means I not only don’t have a lot of “travelogue” stories for 2014… I don’t have a lot of stories at all. The year for me really passed in a blur of “working late,” week after week. So on that score, I can’t say I’m sorry to see 2014 end. I never really saw it while it was here!
The year started out auspiciously… I had a business trip to Kauai scheduled for early January, and this time around, unlike most of my trips, Geri and Shaun were going to go with me… however, the trip got cut short two days at the start, when we were iced in to O’Hare thanks to the “Polar Vortex.” Then… two days after we finally got to the island, we got a call from home… seems the warm spell that followed the polar vortex flooded our basement! Kind of put a damper on the already truncated trip… not to mention the start of the year. But, we did see some beautiful things while we were on Kauai, including the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” And Shaun and I got to drink out of fresh coconuts.
Once we got home, the basement reclamation work began, and that led to a major project that took up most of my free hours in the spring. Since all the carpet was stripped, I decided to take the opportunity to create a flurry of sawdust and build a new custom bar in the basement. Now… I’ve never really done any woodworking, and I wanted to create an L shaped bar that looked like a real Irish bar, complete with Chicago bar rails. So this was a major project for me. I studied a lot of YouTube videos and blogs, and bought a lot of new tools. But in the end… I ended up with exactly what I was hoping for. I detailed that whole experience in my “How to Build a Bar” blog a few weeks ago, if you want to see the “step-by-step.”
Right around the time the bar was nearly done, I headed up to Washington, D.C. for a meeting. I used to go there for work a lot, and I’ve always enjoyed going there for the music and history. I didn’t visit any music clubs this time around, but I did get to take a walk past the White House, have lunch at a barbecue fest and have dinner in the ever eclectic Adams Morgan neighborhood.
Over the summer, I also spent a few days on a business trip in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, MI, which allowed me to revisit my ol’ favorite the Jolly Pumpkin Brewery and to finally make a stop at the amazing Founders Brewery (great room, great brewery-only taps!).
And in August, I went on my nearly annual convention trip to Santa Fe, NM… though this year, rather than tagging on my annual “writers retreat” to the trip, I took Geri and Shaun with and extended the trip for some family vacation time. This excursion turned out much better than Hawaii — no basements flooded while we were gone, and I not only got to show my family one of my favorite places in the world, we all got to see the Chimayo chapel, the Rio Grande and we explored the oldest continuously inhabited structure in North America – the Taos Indian reservation.
My brother came in to visit us with his family for a couple days over the summer just before we went to Santa Fe, which was great fun – we don’t get to see them every year, since they live out of state. We took them out to Navy Pier in Chicago and introduced them to my favorite German spot – Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont.
On the “convention scene” this year I appeared once again at DucKon in Northern, Illinois (where I got to hang out with my friends W. D. Gagliani, Dave Benton and Brian Pinkerton) and I also joined the Samhain gang and my Synapse Films friends at the HorrorHound Convention in Indianapolis. I also appeared at my perennial favorite local DanCon, the Chicago Horror Film Fest and the Haunted Flea Market at the DuPage County Fairgrounds this Halloween.
Geri and Shaun and I also took some short weekend drives to Rockford, IL and Springfield, IL to go to a couple of bird fairs… which led us to bring home the fourth member of our flock — a beautiful grey cockatiel baby who Shaun dubbed Stormy, thanks to her wild mix of greys, blacks, whites and a splash of yellow and orange.
So those were my destinations for 2014, only half of them for work:
Ann Arbor, MI
Santa Fe, NM
Typically in the fall, my dayjob hosts an annual convention in another city (last year we were in San Diego), but this year, we held it here at home, in Chicago… so I didn’t log any extra miles for that event this year either.
Favorite Media of the Year?
I didn’t end up getting to see a lot of new movies, and missed things I wanted to see like Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Intersellar and Lucy… but out of what I DID see, I think Big Hero Six and Mockingjay were probably my favorites.
I didn’t buy a lot of new albums this year, but my girl-pop jones was fed by some good singles, like Pitbull and Kesha’s “Timber,” Charli XCX’s “Boom Crash” and Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.” I have to admit, I didn’t hear much on the rock scenet that excited me too much.
On the writing front… I have to admit, 2014, was probably one of my least productive years in a decade. Due to all of the extra hours at work, plus the basement cleanup and woodworking project, I really didn’t spend a lot of time at the keyboard in my off hours. There were a couple notable exceptions. At the start of the year, I finished writing my 8th novel, The Family Tree, and turned it in to my publisher, Samhain, at the start of March. That novel debuted in October and actually turned up this week on Horror Novel Reviews’ “Best of the Year” list, which is pretty cool.
In early spring, I was asked to write a story for Qualia Nous, a new anthology edited by Michael Bailey. It was to be a science fiction-oriented horror anthology, and I penned a tale called “Voyeur.” I was happy when it was accepted, but really excited when the final table of contents for the book was released, and I found out my story was appearing alongside Stephen King and William Nolan (of Logan’s Run and Twilight Zone fame).
I also contributed a SF-horror tale called “Amnion” to an anthology called Equilibrium Overturned, which received great reviews over the summer. And I wrote a new story called “The Hole To China” for Horror World’s upcoming 2015 anthology.
And in June, I was asked to return to the world of V-Wars by Jonathan Maberry. I had penned a story called “Love Less” for the original V-Wars book edited by Jonathan, and for the third V-Wars anthology, I continued that story with a piece I wrote in August called “Love Lost.” V-Wars: Night Terrors will appear with that new story in March, 2015.
Meanwhile, my 6th novel, NightWhere, was released in translation in Germany early this summer, and rode the Amazon.de bestseller charts for several weeks. I think the book has actually sold more copies in Germany at this point than it has here! I’m hoping the German release of The 13th this summer will find a similarly receptive audience!
The weeks and months of 2014 have rushed by like a commuter train…. fast and filled to the walls with stress. Usually I’m a little bittersweet about a year’s end, but frankly, I’m happy to close the calendar on this one. My resolution for 2015 is to get control of my life again, and do more of the things I love. I bought a classic Epiphone hollow body electric guitar last spring with my 20th year work anniversary bonus… and I have yet to play it for more than 5 minutes. I have a new novel I’ve been anxious to really get moving. And I have some friends and my family I’d like to see a lot more of.
So as the first hours of the year tick by (to the sounds of a classic 1980 Grateful Dead concert playing on PBS)… here’s to a more relaxed and productive 2015!
“I wish you a Malty Christmas And a Hoppy New Year,
A pocket full of money … And a cellar full of Beer!” — Anonymous
ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN on my mailing list for long knows that I am a total Christmas nut. Our house has the most lights on the block. Our tree has a million ornaments. I own about 300 Christmas CDs!
Over the years, I’ve stepped out of my usual “horror” persona to pen some short Christmas stories, and a couple years ago, I released them, along with some original holiday song lyrics, as a short e-book called Christmas Tales. A warning: Don’t look for horror tales here — these are heartwarming fantasy tales! I hope these stories bring a little Christmas cheer to people who enjoy all genres of fiction.
Christmas Tales just went on sale for $0.99 today, and you can download a copy at any of these stores:
If you haven’t read them in Christmas’ past, I hope you’ll download a copy, settle down on a “cold winter’s night” and enjoy them this Christmas week.
I have also written and recorded an album’s worth of original Christmas songs over the years to give as gifts to family and friends. I recorded most of them with my sister-in-law on lead vocals, but my son Shaun has recorded a couple, and one of my favorites was recorded live in a basement studio with musicians from a couple different bands I’d worked with. It’s called “Show Me Christmas” and you can listen to it for free on my website’s Xmas page. Download it and put it on your iPod this year!
I’m personally looking forward to getting through the next few days at work and then spending the last couple weeks of this month relaxing with my family… maybe I’ll finally get some reading and new writing in. It’s been a hectic year, and it’s definitely time to settle in for a long winter’s night!
I hope you are able to spend some enjoyable, revitalizing time with those you hold dear as we close out the year. Thanks, as always, for reading.
Happy Holidays from my family to yours,
– Originally posted in my December e-Newsletter.