Last night, I launched a Kickstarter Campaign that will run throughout the month of December to support the launch of Redemption, and, hopefully get signed copies of it into the hands of anyone reading this.
Redemption is my 9th novel, and the long-awaited sequel to my first two novels, Covenant and Sacrifice, so I’m really excited to finally be able to say the book is done and to be able to show off this cover (click the picture to see a larger version). It’s been nine years since the original edition of Sacrifice was published, and I’ve wanted to write this book that whole time!
Redemption picks up immediately after the events of Sacrifice, and features returning characters Joe Kieran, Alex, Ariana and, of course, the demon Malachai. Here’s the back cover description:
Alex hadn’t really considered what would happen after she dragged Ariana through the portal in a desperate bid to close the gate between worlds. She hadn’t given sacrificing herself a thought; she’d just wanted to end the demonic summoning before it was too late.
But when Alex wakes up on the other side, in the world of the Curburide, she has to think fast if she ever wants to see Joe Kieran, or Earth, again. Her only ally is an occult serial killer. Demons are searching for both of them, and there’s nothing demons love more than human fear and pain. They feed on it. In the world of the Curburide, the demons are everywhere.
And they’re hungry.
If you’ve enjoyed my work, I hope you’ll support this Kickstarter. I have opted to release this book outside of my normal publishers, so this is new territory for me! But… 47North, the publisher who publishes Covenant and Sacrifice, is currently not interested in buying more horror.
Rather than shopping this book around to other publishers, I decided that if it is not going to appear on the same publisher as the other two in the series, I will release it on my own Dark Arts Books. It’s a book that I wrote for fans of those first two books as much as for me — to finally finish the story I’ve wanted to tell. So I’m going to manage its release. While I’ve released a bunch of titles on Dark Arts Books over the past decade, this will be the first original title of my own work that I’ve put out. So… fingers crossed!
For the Kickstarter effort I’ve put together a number of good pledge packages. You can support the book and get your name in the acknowledgments, or you can get a signed copy of the trade paperback… or get signed copies of all three books — Covenant, Sacrifice and Redemption.
This is the best way, I think, for me to get signed copies of these novels out to fans of my work.
There’s a video about the Kickstarter effort, and all of the pledge packages listed here:
Thanks for your support… and I hope you’ll enjoy the new novel! I can’t wait to hold a copy in my own hands. I have wanted to write this book since Sacrifice first appeared in 2007. So it’s been far too long in coming. I can’t believe it’s finally here.
This week, Sinister Grin Press began taking pre-orders for the limited, signed hardcover edition of my 8th novel, The Family Tree. I’m really excited about this release for a number or reasons, not the least of which being that I love the new cover — which is a great realization of the image idea I’d suggested to the book’s original publisher a couple years ago before the trade paperback edition was released.
On Monday, Sinister Grin posted a “making of” blog about the new edition of the book, which includes a glimpse into cover artist Zach McCain’s creative process in developing the cover. I love these kinds of “behind the scenes” things, and this one shows his first couple sketches and initial color version of the cover, before it finalized to become the cover below.
If you’ve enjoyed my work in the past, and love hardcover books the way I do, I hope you’ll take a look at this one and consider pre-ordering a copy. Sinister Grin will base the ultimate number of copies produced on the pre-orders, so if you’re going to want one in a few weeks… put your name in the hat now!
I was working in Los Angeles today when my wife Geri texted me from Chicago to let me know that amazing author, editor and all-round good soul Bob Weinberg had died. It has weighed heavy on my mind these past few hours as I finished my day working here.
Bob was one of the first and best writers I met on the “Chicago” scene when I first began publishing my own work in the ’90s. He was an inspiration, and I was privileged to design a book of his short fiction (The Occult Detective) for Twilight Tales and later to publish some of his stories on my own Dark Arts Books press (When The Night Comes Down). Bob was a prolific author, co-founder of Chicago Comic Con, and an editor who compiled dozens of horror anthologies with Stefan R. Dziemianowicz and Martin H. Greenberg in the ’80s and ’90s.
I always wanted to see Bob in person more than I ever got to and some day tour his home “genre museum.” Once when I did a library reading near his house, we had planned to do that… but then health got in the way. He lived just a few miles from where I grew up, and yet, somehow I never saw his fabled collection of books, posters, and horror/sci-fi memorabilia. And now never will.
I was honored to have been able to know him, and sign books near him more than once, including at World Horror Convention 2002 (where the first photo of us hails from – the other is from a panel at World Horror 2001). I will always remember him, and dream of Mars in his honor. When we land a manned mission there, I will speak his name.
What does that last sentence have to do with anything? Read Bob’s essay from just over a year ago called “A Dream of Mars” on his Facebook wall:
Rest in peace, Bob. And thanks for all the amazing stories. I’m glad to have known you, and gotten the chance to work with you, if even just a little bit.
THIS WEEK, my short story collection Sacrificing Virgins is on a 99 cent e-book sale on all bookstores. Yep, just a buck a Virgin! What a deal!
Seriously, this book includes the best short fiction I’ve written over the past 10 years, including some tie-in tales to my novels Siren, NightWhere and The Pumpkin Man… so I hope if you haven’t given it a read yet, you’ll grab a copy and check it out.
And if you have any friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. who enjoy horror… I’d really appreciate any help you can give in sharing a link to the book to spread the word! Samhain Publishing rarely puts my titles on their catalog on sale, so I really want to make sure a bunch of people discover this book while it’s cheap over the next few days! Here are links to Sacrificing Virgins on a few stores where it’s available for a buck:
Sacrificing Virgins has had a bunch of great 5-star reviews over the past few months since its release. Here are a couple from Amazon and Barnes & Noble:
From The Horror Fiction Review
Wow, these are some excellent stories! Beautifully written, dark, evocative, spooky, sensual, each with its own unique blend of mood and emotion … disturbingly erotic, weird, powerful, mingling dread and humor … all with precise, intense effect. There are ghost stories, murders, infestations, a guy in love with his answering machine, revenge, deadly dunk tanks, twists, kinks, and shocks. What would you do if you found a beautiful body buried on the beach? If you thought you had a chance to bring a loved one back from the dead? If you got tired of the deal you made with the devil? This may be one of my toughest challenges yet in terms of trying to select my faves.
Love this book
It’s hard to even know where to begin while talking about Sacrificing Virgins by John Everson. I could easily write 500 words analyzing each of the 25 stories here, but the best way to experience this book is by reading it. One thing that I will say though is that this book is a template for what great horror stories should be. Sacrificing Virgins has moments that are shocking, violent and downright disgusting. These are all things that horror fans want but for me what makes a great horror story is characters that you care about and can relate to. Then you have to put them in a bad situation where it looks like they can’t escape…Every story in this book is a lesson on how great horror literature can be and it’s a can’t miss book for real horror fans.
Gotta love reviews like that!
So… there ya go. If you happen to have already read the book… please consider leaving a reader review on Amazon or one of the other bookseller pages (those reader reviews really do help convince other readers to check it out)… and if you haven’t read it yet… please give it a go this week!
Where else can you get a virgin for a buck?
A couple weeks ago, on April 13th, I flew to Amsterdam for a quick business trip. It was one of those “fly in, have a dinner, spend an afternoon, then fly home” trips… which are kind of crazy when you spend 18 hours in the air for less than 48 hours on the ground.
But I always try to make the most of these opportunities — you never know if you’ll ever get the chance again! So I didn’t spend much time in the hotel room.
It was an overcast morning when we landed, and the hotel didn’t have a room available yet, so I dropped my luggage with the bellman and went out and took a canal ride to at least get a glimpse of the city.
Saw lots of things I would have liked to have had the time to explore, from the Heineken Brewery to Ann Frank’s house… but I did stopp off for a couple hours at the famous Rijksmuseum, to see some classic Dutch paintings, including some original Rembrandts.
By the time I came back outside to finish the canal tour, the sun had come out, so I got a little glimpse of Amsterdam on a sunny day.
Then it was off to a business dinner (ironically, at an Indonesian place – so I didn’t try any Dutch food!) I stopped off after dinner at “Hoppy Days,” a little craft beer bar near the hotel and tried a local IPA – Hop Machine Extraordinary Ale. You have to keep your priorities in place when you’re on the road – hops before bed!
The next morning we rented a car and drove 2.5 hours to the city of Aachen, on the German border, for the main meeting of the visit. After an afternoon of discussions, we got the chance on the way out of town to stop at a 1,200-year-old cathedral built by Charlemagne (and what became his final resting place.)
It was late when we got back, but not too late to stop and buy a wheel of Dutch cheese before the flight home the next morning – my one souvenir of this trip. And after walking through the Red Light District (where the prostitutes really do stand in windows beneath red lights!) I had a nightcap at London Bridge, a British pub before bed. And that… was that!
It was a quick trip, but I still managed to see some things, try some beer and take lots of photos!
Vive La Covenant!!! Today marks the debut of my first novel, COVENANT, in France! Translated by Thomas Bauduret, Covenant was released today by Riviere Blanche Press, under the title LE PACTE DES SUICIDES.
If you are French, speak French, or know somebody that answers “oui” to the question “parlez-vous français?” please check it out here:
On Monday, March 14, 2016, I turned 50 years old. And for the past week, I have been showered with love and gifts from friends and family. It’s left me humble and happy in equal measures. I didn’t need the gifts (which were nevertheless awesome!) but it’s good to know that people care.
I have to be honest… I was not looking forward to turning 50 years old this week. There were moments a month ago when I wondered if I was actually going to make it to the big day. But I have to say, it wasn’t nearly as distressing to me as turning 40 was. I spent 20 years as a newspaper pop music columnist… and as such, I was entrenched in youth culture throughout my 20s and 30s. I also once entertained illusions of finally finding a group of musicians who would help develop the songs I wrote into songs heard on the radio by more than 5 people. So turning 40 was the hard one for me… because that’s when I really had to admit that I was too old to go anywhere in the music industry and I was starting to be visibly older than most of the people who were standing next to me at the concerts I covered for the newspaper.
But I’ve had 10 years to get over that… so this week? I enjoyed celebrating the new milestone, and didn’t get too maudlin about the grey hair that goes with it. Hell, I’m not dead yet, right?
The party started Monday night when I got home to find Geri and Shaun waiting for me with the kitchen decorated in balloons and a banner and a stack of gifts waiting. Geri bought me a gorgeous stainless steel cookware set that I’d been admiring in Sur La Table a few months ago. After saving all of my fiction/book income for six years so that we could rehab our kitchen last fall… now I finally have a great set of pans and pots to cook in it! After I opened their gifts, we went to dinner at J. Alexanders, a restaurant that I have picked for “special occasions” for the past 20 years… they have a moneyback guarantee on their prime rib, and for good reason. Their food is amazing.
At the end of the night, I went downstairs to my home bar and pulled out a bottle of Austral Yagan Dark Ale that I have been saving for a special occasion for the past three years. I packed it in my suitcase and brought it home from a business trip to Santiago, Chile back in early 2013. It seemed like as good an occasion as any to finally close the last chapter on that trip!
A couple nights later, New Order was playing The Chicago Theatre. I’d tried to get tickets on Ticketmaster when they first went on sale… and couldn’t get through their impossible online ordering system to get two seats.
And then after a bad attack in February, I ended up scheduled to have gallbladder surgery just three weeks before my birthday… so for a while I wasn’t even sure that I was going to be recovered enough for the concert anyway… I’d given up on going.
But the Chicago Theatre is one of the best venues in the city, and I’ve wanted to see New Order since I was in college… so… when my recovery went well, and I found that there were still some good re-sale tickets available, on the night before the show, I took the money my dad sent me for my birthday, and bought a ticket on Stubhub (Geri couldn’t go at that point). Best decision I’ve made in a long while. I got a 12th row aisle seat and was nearly in tears when they played “Your Silent Face” early in the show, from their Power, Corruption & Lies LP, a disc that defined college for me.
I posted a YouTube Playlist with a handful of the songs I recorded at the show that night. You can watch them here.
It was an emotional night for me that came at just the right time – reliving the music of college and beyond, while realizing just how far the world (and grey hair) has moved on since the days when I first fell in love with that music. I took some time after the show and sat at the Elephant & Castle across the street from the theater to have some bar food and a beer for dinner. In those moments, I wished that I could press the rewind button, both to watch the concert again, and to go back in time to those days when I still thought I might “be” something. A rock star. A writer for Rolling Stone or Spin. An award-winning novelist… Ok. So I did get somewhere. But I still want to see one of my books adapted on the big screen!
Anyway… it was a good night for contemplation and self reflection.
And you know, the musing on 50 was way easier than the fist-in-the-face that 40 was. It still smarts though. Who wants to be old? Who wants to be beyond their prime? Sure, there are years left (hopefully) and lots of opportunities still. But there are also many that are gone; things that can never be now that the river of days and weeks and years has swept them away. That was driven home during the New Order show when I looked around and saw virtually everyone there was over 40. And Bernard Sumner, the lead singer? Looked like Jedd Clampett without the hat. Jeez. When did we all get so old? When that music first caught us, we were young and vibrant and looking ahead at a world of possibilities. Now we’re paunchy, balding and looking at our 401Ks with trepidation.
Life’s different now.
But it’s not all bad. The up side of being on the second half of life’s pendulum is that you’ve got a lot of experience. And usually more cash (and credit) than when you were 20. I worry about the future… but maybe not as much as I used to. And you know, I can decide to splurge and spend money on scalper’s tickets to New Order. Or go out to eat three times in a week to celebrate my encroaching age! I couldn’t have done that 30 years ago.
On Friday, Geri and Shaun and I picked up the celebration again, and went to Nevins Brewing Company, one of my other favorite places (best burgers ever!) for dinner.
And that was just the prelude to Saturday night, when a couple dozen people took over an exceptionally long table at the Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont, IL to really pull out the stops for my big 50th Birthday Celebration. I’ve been to the Hofbrauhaus in Cincinnati and Las Vegas, and to the original one in Munich (one of the highlights of my life, honestly). It was good to introduce some of my friends to one of my favorite places. And we had a great time.
Early on, someone bought me a shot… which at the Hofbrauhaus means you have to bend over and get a paddle to the ass after downing the liquor. I took my shot and my punishment, and then enjoyed a stein of Dunkel while standing on chairs to toast with the German band.
The table was a cross-section of the relationships of my life; Geri and Shaun were there, of course, my dad and stepbrother and his family were there, and Geri’s dad and sister Jill and their spouses came. My friend Larry, who has been with me since high school was there with his life partner, Lisa… Dave Benton, one of my longtime writing pals from Wisconsin drove down… and my more “recent life” friends from my current neighborhood, Brad Czernik and Chris Brook and their wives came out.
There was much food, and frivolity… and at the end of the night, I decided to give the Stein-holding contest a go. It’s a Hofbrauhaus tradition: A bunch of guys all stand at the front of the band stage and hold out heavy, full mugs of colored water (they wouldn’t waste beer!).
The deal is… if your elbow bends… you’re out. I’d done it once before a year or two ago and placed 3rd. This time around, I reached 3rd again… and at that point was thinking that I wasn’t going to get farther again.
But then the guy to my right gave it up. I suddenly had renewed hope. It was just me and the guy to my left… but he looked rock solid. I could feel my whole arm shaking like crazy, but I did NOT bend. I would not give in… It was a battle of wills that I really didn’t believe I was going to win but…
All of a sudden guy-on-the-left let his arm drop and voila… I was the victor… and winner of a big glass Hofbrauhaus Chicago stein (which is a nice match for my Cincinnati and Munich steins!) Credit it to aged determination over youthful braun.
A perfect end to a perfect evening.
But now the party’s over.
A week of dinners and 5-0 birthday cards and balloons and all the rest have run their course. I wish the balloons said 3-0… but they don’t. I’m a little slower than I was a decade ago. I don’t have the manic energy I had when I crisscrossed the Midwest on book tours back when Covenant and Sacrifice and The 13th came out in mass market paperbacks seven and eight years ago. But… there are still things I want to do. Books I want to write. People I want to spend time with.
So it’s time now to get on with the next decade. I hope I come out the other side of the 50s in better shape than I did the 40s (which I ended with first hernia surgery and then 12 months later, gallbladder surgery!)
One thing’s for sure… no matter what we do while above ground, we’re all going to end up in the same place… below ground. I intend to drink a lot more beer, hear a lot more music and enjoy a few more landmark birthdays before the Reaper comes for me.
Cheers! Or… to stick with the German,
“Zicke zacke, zicke zacke, hoi hoi hoi!”
Fans of the “Creature Feature” movie genre and European horror from the ’70s and ’80s, in particular, are no doubt at least vaguely familiar with the Blind Dead series of films from Spanish director Amando de Ossorio.
I have a huge collection of Euro-horror DVDs and have seen the Blind Dead films referenced for years in various descriptions, comparisons and reviews, but only this month did I finally buy and watch them over the past two weekends. And I got the cool “Coffin Collection” from Blue-Underground to do it… highly recommended! Aside from the four films, it includes a short documentary DVD and a nice 40-page booklet about the films.
The original film, TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD introduced the bloodthirsty, cowled skeletal Knights Templar who were blinded and killed centuries ago for their perverse bloody crimes… but now rise to seek the lives of those who stumble upon their abandoned monastery. The first film (watch the original Spanish version, not the shorter English dub!) is a wonderfully slow-building horror film, and the first “rise” of the ghoulish knights from their graves is perfectly shot.
De Ossorio hit upon this film just as horror in Spain (and around the world) was taking off. Paul Naschy and Jess Franco were already brand names in Spain producing independent horror films despite the repressive political regime, and De Ossorio’s creepy knights soon put his name alongside theirs as the Blind Dead became popular worldwide. They were an original creation — not quite zombies, not quite ghouls or vampires or mummies… but with elements of all of those film monsters. They were familiar, yet different… and they sparked a chord. Over the next four years, de Ossorio would shoot three sequels, and all of them are worth seeing for old school horror buffs. While they repeat certain situations (women end up raped or molested and seem to get their heels caught in stairways and rubble while trying to escape a lot), they don’t, thankfully, stay in the same locale and repeat the same film. The skeletal knights of each film appear in markedly different situations, (one assumes these were various separated segments of that original condemned group?) and even the story of how their eyes were blinded changes by the movie. There are no continuing characters besides the knights — it’s as if the director hatched four completely different stories that just all happened to include the same monster.
The first sequel, RETURN OF THE EVIL DEAD focuses on a rekindled love between a woman about to be married into “privilege” and a wanderer who comes, not quite accidentally, to her town. I loved this setup because for once, the female lead is not some young, beautiful nubile thing with great lungs, but rather, an older, gone-to-seed woman who has some real issues to confront. Not your usual choice for a horror lead.
The love triangle here lends a different focus to the film, which is plotted very differently than the first movie — it drops the “slow build tension” of the original in favor of a constant action format. Here the knights return on the night celebrating the anniversary of their deaths to take revenge on the town. Ultimately, a cast of oddball, at-odds characters are holed up in a church trying to find a way to escape. I loved the ending on this one, which brings back some of the spooky atmosphere factor of the original.
The next sequel, THE GHOST GALLEON, goes in yet another direction. This time around two models are cast adrift on the ocean as part of a publicity stunt, and stumble on a mysterious ghostly ship adrift in fog (where there should be no fog). The girls disappear into the bowels of the ship separately, and then their eventual rescuers spend the second half of the movie trying to dispatch the knights without much success. This film probably has the worst flaws of the four — there’s a segment where a woman is manhandled and tied up to prevent her from going to the police… until the stunt models are returned. Well… why WOULDN’T she go to the police once released, regardless of the return of the models, for the abuse she suffered? And there are a couple of really bad “toy ship” camera shots (imagine those early Godzilla movies with the toy trains crashing). Obviously, the effects budget was minimal. But the ghost galleon is really creepy-looking for most of the film and there is some genuine eeriness.
The final film, NIGHT OF THE SEAGULLS is probably the darkest one in tone — when a young doctor and his wife arrive to take over a doctor’s practice in a remote ocean-side town, they are not welcomed by the close-mouthed townfolk… who are in the midst of a weeklong ritual to sacrifice their young women to the knights… who come each night to accept their “sacrificial virgin” victims in exchange for not decimating the rest of the town.
If you love slow-building, old-school Euro-horror — which despite the “slow” factor was typically a bit edgier than American productions of the same period (hence, the heavily edited versions of a couple of these films when they were imported) definitely check out the Blind Dead collection if you aren’t familiar already. The coffin set also includes a documentary on Ossorio which is short but enlightening. If you’re a “behind-the-scenes” film buff like I am, it just makes you wish that more attention had been paid to archiving his films and his story before his death in 2001. Check the set out here:
TO CELEBRATE Valentine’s Day weekend, my 10th anniversary collection, Vigilantes of Love, is just 99 cents this weekend on Amazon!
Vigilantes of Love was originally released by Twilight Tales Books in Chicago back in 2003, and the current expanded edition was reissued with an updated cover from Dark Arts Books in 2013. The book contains 21 short fantasy and horror tales and is perfect for Valentine’s Weekend, with fantasy stories that celebrate love and horror stories that warn of the dangers in lust.
One of the stories — a great read for Valentine’s Day — is available as a free read on my web site. You can check out “Hard Heart” here.
Grab a copy of the full book on Amazon here:
Reader Reviews say things like:
“…a mixture of macabre, eerie, fantastical and just plain good…”
“…full of magic. Some of it gentle, some of it dark, but almost all of it lyrical and affecting!”
“…a mixture of macabre, eerie, fantastical and just plain good…”
“…full of magic. Some of it gentle, some of it dark, but almost all of it lyrical and affecting!”
… “Thought provoking… really outstanding stories!”
LAST MONTH, Sinister Grin Press began taking pre-orders for the limited, signed and numbered hardcover edition of my 7th novel, the spider-fest, Violet Eyes. This is a special limited collector’s edition of the book, and will only be available on an order basis, so if you want a copy, sign up for it this week — the order period is almost done — Sinister Grin will stop taking orders on January 31st and the book will be shipped in March.
Reserve your copy of the Violet Eyes hardcover at http://sinistergrinpress.com/
This is the first hardcover release I’ve had since Bad Moon Books unveiled the limited edition of NightWhere in 2013, so I’m looking forward to holding a copy in my hands. I’m actually signing the signature sheets on my desk right now so I can send them back to the publisher this week! (See pix below)
In addition to the novel, the Sinister Grin edition of Violet Eyes will also include the expanded prologue story, Violet Lagoon as an extra. Violet Lagoon was originally intended to serve as the prologue to this book, and was published a couple years ahead of the novel. But it ended up too long to be a prologue, so when I finally wrote the novel, I used pieces of it, but not the whole thing. That original novelette will be included in its entirety in this edition.
Check it out, only at http://sinistergrinpress.com/