I’ll eventually repost the content here, but for now, please stop by Samhain and give it a read!
Here’s how it opens:
Have you ever wanted to do something you knew you shouldn’t? Maybe just something small, like driving 80 mph on the highway in a 55 mph zone? Who hasn’t done that?
Or calling in to work and saying you’re sick, when actually, you’re going to spend the day lounging on the couch, reading a good book?
Or how about slipping next door through that creaking, come-hither open gate in the middle of the afternoon and having raw, animal, passionate sex with your neighbor who is lounging half-dressed outside by the pool… when you’re both wearing someone else’s ring?
There’s a part in all of us that yearns to peer over the fence and indulge in the forbidden... Read More
The June Horror releases from Samhain Publishing this month are my novel NightWhere and Jonathan Janz’s House of Skin. So to celebrate our newfound status as the June standard-bearers of horror, Jonathan and I decided to trade blogs today. You’ll find a post from me over at Jonathan’s place. And here’s his entry (and one of the first guest blogs I’ve ever hosted):
MY FIVE BEST HORROR NOVELS
FEATURING A FEARSOME SUPERNATURAL WOMAN
It’s an honor to be on John Everson’s blog. I’ve been a visitor of his site for a good while now, and I’ve been enjoying his fiction even longer. And before we go any further, let’s get one thing out of the way…
I’m going to share with you a list of my top five favorite “ferocious supernatural female” books in horror fiction, and one of the novels I’ve decided to omit is Mr. Everson’s outstanding SIREN. My reasoning was that I read it after I’d written HOUSE OF SKIN (on sale now!), and it therefore had no influence on my novel. Which is another unifying theme in this list—every book in some way helped shape my second novel.
Now…the books that are on the list (below the cover of my new novel HOUSE OF SKIN):
You’ll find my comments on these novels short, but that’s because I’ll be counting them down on my blog later in the summer and will save my unabridged windage for then. For now, however…the list:
5. H. Rider Haggard’s SHE
Honey Ryder after a good toweling off
Who knew Ursula Andress played Ayesha back in the sixties? Okay, so maybe some of you knew that, but I sure didn’t, and if you think I got on Netflix and began to search for this film the moment I learned of it, you might be right.
This book isn’t as old as the Old Testament and its Lillith (who, by the way, plays a crucial role in my third novel THE DARKEST LULLABY, due out from Samhain in early 2013), but it’s still one of the grandaddies—er, grandmammies of the sub genre. H. Rider Haggard wrote this tale well enough that it’s still in print 125 years later. Like some of the writers of his day, Haggard’s narrative style can distance the reader from the story a bit too much (I prefer my authors to stay out of the way), but that doesn’t alter the book’s status as a seminal depiction of an awesome and fearsome female entity that both attracts and terrifies the men who encounter it.
For any horror fan, SHE is required reading.
4. Richard Matheson’s EARTHBOUND
The lovely…and awful Marianna
This isn’t Matheson’s best, nor is it even in his top five. But that’s the problem with a writer as great as Matheson—people forget that on a bad day he’s still far, far better than most writers will ever aspire to be. And EARTHBOUND is a good sight better than many horror books that folks consider paragons of the genre.
But enough about how under appreciated Mr. Matheson is. I appreciate the heck out of this creepily erotic masterpiece. The woman in it (Marianna) will haunt you as surely as she haunts David Cooper, Matheson’s troubled protagonist. Read this one and let it linger in your mind. It’ll take hold. I promise.
3. Jack Ketchum’s SHE WAKES
Glorious, Greek, and Ghastly
I’ve spoken about Ketchum a hundred times over the past several months, so anyone familiar with me won’t be surprised by his inclusion on this list. Like EARTHBOUND and Matheson’s body of work, SHE WAKES is widely considered a minor entry into the Ketchum canon. That’s more a comment on Ketchum’s incredible bibliography (when you’ve written stuff like THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and OFF SEASON, people tend to raise their expectations for your work) than it is on the novel’s quality. Also problematic for some readers is the supernatural nature of this yarn, which marks a bit of a departure for Jack Ketchum, who usually dabbles in real-life horrors.
But I love SHE WAKES. And the primary reason for my love, as you might have guessed, is his fearsome goddess. She’s a perfect manifestation of female power unleashed, as well as a sinister foil to the vivid Greek setting Ketchum draws. If you forget your other experiences with Ketchum’s novels and take this one on its own merits, I think you’ll find the experience very rewarding.
And deeply unsettling.
2. John Farris’s ALL HEADS TURN WHEN THE HUNT GOES BY
Of all the covers you could have chosen for this blog post…
This one has just been re-released (by Crossroad Press, I believe), and contemporary readers who’ve never taken the plunge into Farris’s nightmarish world are in for a treat. The novel, which sports one of the best titles in horror history, is bookended by a pair of scenes of such raw, nightmarish ferocity that they’d make the novel memorable all by themselves.
But the reason this book clocks in at number two on my list is that everything in between the aforementioned scenes is awesome too.
Farris is a muscular writer. He has a stunning command of the language, as well as a phenomenal grasp of form. Basically, there’s nothing he doesn’t do well, and for my money, this is probably his best book.*
(*Of course, I haven’t read SON OF THE ENDLESS NIGHT yet, and I’m told that one is a towering example of great storytelling. But until I do, ALL HEADS TURN WHEN THE HUNT GOES BY will remain my favorite book by one of my favorite authors.)
Oh, and the woman at the novel’s center is a beast.
1. Peter Straub’s GHOST STORY
This is my favorite horror novel ever, so is it any surprise that Eva Galli/Alma Mobley/Anna Mostyn is my favorite ferocious femme on this list? There was a movie made from this novel, and despite the brilliant source material and the all-star cast (particularly Fred Astaire, who deserved better), the film doesn’t really work.
But Straub’s novel…man, does it work and work and work and work!
The woman at the dark heart of this novel represents every terrible secret every man has ever harbored. She is the WRONGED WOMAN, and her wrath is boundless. No matter how kind a man tries to be, chances are that at some point he will do or say something to a woman that he will come to regret. This means that the dread invoked by Eva/Alma/Anna is well-nigh universal and absolutely inescapable. When she appears in Straub’s masterpiece, she induces gooseflesh and shudders. But even when she’s not on the page, she still lingers with the reader. Peering over his shoulder, whispering to him of forgotten deeds, reminding him that he isn’t really safe after all.
Shameless and unrelated plug for my debut novel
The primal fear Eva/Alma/Anna evokes in the reader is the true reason behind this novel’s resonance. It is awful and it is true and it will give you nightmares, no matter how jaded you are. For my money, GHOST STORY is the best horror novel ever written, and by extension, the inexorable female presence that drives this narrative is one of the finest creations in all of fiction.
Thank you so much, John, for having me on your blog. I’m proud to be published alongside you and hope everyone discovers what a great writer you are. And, of course, I hope they read HOUSE OF SKIN too. There’s an evil woman in my book who’s hungry to meet all of you. She’s seductive and unspeakably cruel. Pick up my novel and give Annabel the opportunity to seduce you too.
Yesterday, I was in Toronto, on a short 3-day trip for the day job… the upside was, I got to have dinner at Colum “Paperback Horror” McKnight’s house, and he introduced me to a couple of fellow horror authors — Jason Darrick and Tobin Elliott. And I had a chance to visit my old favorite spot there from previous visits – Elephant & Castle. I also got to see a record store… with real records. I wish I could have hung out there and shopped for more than five minutes!
Today, (after getting home late last night) I was in Chicago all day, for the horror “job” — signing books at Printers Row Lit Fest in the Horror Writers Association tent. It was a perfect day – sunny, breezy… a bit hot in the sun, especially since our tent was facing west at the end of the street of tents – but a nice summer day! I met Jeffrey Wilson, a very cool cross-genre horror writer who signed with me for the afternoon, and got to say hi to Jeremy Wagner who was holding down the signing “shift” just ahead of ours. My wife Geri and son Shaun came down and wandered the Lit Fest for awhile before camping in the tent with us, so it was kind of a family affair. Which was nice, since I’ve been gone on business trips much of the past two weeks, and will leave for another one (to Florida) tomorrow morning.
At one point, Shaun said he wanted to be sold, so Martel Sardina – who organized the whole HWA presence at Printers Row – made up a $1 million price tag, and we set him on the table, ready to make a deal. Of course… we didn’t actually “face him out” because we’re not selling him at any price 🙂
After the fest, we stopped down at Bar Louie’s for dinner before heading back to the burbs. The air conditioning felt amazing, after a day on our feet in the heat.
Tomorrow, it’s off to Florida, but we’ll be indoors virtually the whole time… which is just as well. I got plenty of sun today!
If you’re reading this blog and have enjoyed any of my other erotic horror adventures, I hope you’ll take a minute and download a copy of NightWhere today — If all of my fans get their ebook copies of this today, the book should debut very high on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble “charts”… which always helps to drive other people to take a look at the book.
Download a copy of NightWhere today, on June 5th at:
For those of you waiting for the normal “paper” edition (and I sympathize), well, we’ll talk more this fall. NightWhere will appear in a trade paperback edition in stores the first week of October.
NightWhere is my first release from the new horror imprint of Samhain Publishing headed up by Don D’Auria, the editor for my first five novels at Leisure Books. Now that Leisure’s 40-year run as a mass market publisher has ended, Samhain has picked up the horror flag, and I’m proud to be part of this new line.
NightWhere is an erotic horror novel that I first envisioned over 10 years ago, before I finished the final draft of my first novel, Covenant. I spent a good part of last year finally writing it, and can’t wait to see it finally hit the streets (or the e-readers, as it were). It is probably the most over-the-top, extreme book I’ve written, and I must admit, it took quite awhile for me to get the guts to write it.
Back when I was first starting to write and submit fiction to magazines, Lucy Taylor was one of my writing idols. She penned some amazingly evocative, twisted prose, and was frequently cited as the “Queen of Erotic Horror.” So I’m really psyched that she agreed to read – and provide a blurb – for the cover of NightWhere. Only a snippet appears on the cover, but here’s the full text that she wrote:
“One thing John Everson’s many fans already know — he’s a writer who does nothing by half-measures. And Nightwhere, his latest foray into sex, sadism, and the supernatural, takes the reader on a nail-biting ride into the depths of bloodlust and sexual obsession.
On the surface, Rae and Mark might seem just your ‘average’ swingers, out to spice up their marriage with some kinky thrills. Little does Mark realize that while his idea of a wild time might be sex with a couple of hotties and a light whipping, Rae’s tastes are infinitely more perverse. And while Mark fights desperately to save Rae from the thrall of Nightwhere, aided in his quest by the mysterious Selena, Rae learns how to test the limits of taking and dishing out pain–and finds herself terrifyingly adept at both! Addicted to the rush of sex and slaughter and spurred on by a malevolent mentor named Kharon, she descends into a nightmare realm of depravity and mayhem.
A master of twisted imagery, Everson doesn’t shy away from graphic gore: Nightwhere is an erotic horrorfest you won’t be able to put down!”
-Lucy Taylor, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Safety of Unknown Cities.
Click here to download a copy of NightWhere now!
I was an author guest this past weekend at DucKon, a local SF/F convention that’s expending its reach a bit into horror these days as well. I was there briefly last year, but this time around (as the con celebrated its 21st year in existence), I was around for the full weekend and sat on a number of panels.
It was a nice local kick-off for the release of my sixth novel NightWhere, which launches in e-book form on all the major platforms tomorrow (it will be in trade paperback format in bookstores this fall).
The coolest part about it for me though was getting to spend some quality time with my friends (and fellow horror authors) W. D. Gagliani and David Benton. They live in Wisconsin, a couple hours away from me, so while we’re technically “close,” we rarely see each other except through conventions.
Since the three of us pretty much held up the “horror” end of the con’s programming, we were on a lot of panels together over the weekend, and had our own “Trilogy of Terror” hour on Friday night, where we read our fiction aloud. I read the Prologue to NightWhere, as well as an older short story called “Dead Girl on the Side of the Road.” Bill and Dave performed a riveting tag-team reading of a pretty intense horror short story that they co-wrote.
This was the first year that DucKon was at the Pheasant Run resort (in St. Charles, IL) which gave congoers some logistical hiccups: the exhibition area, where signings, the green room and parties were held, was as far away from the panel rooms as you could get — and it’s a big resort!
Still, we had a good time despite the exercise, and I found myself on some interesting panels, ranging from debating the existence of heaven with SF icon Gene Wolfe to talking about the “Mystique of Publishing” with Guest of Honor Robert Sawyer to discussing the definition of “Evil” and “Author Collaboration” with Bill and Dave.
And the Collaboration panel also allowed me to finally meet in person “Klingon Guest of Honor” Keith R. A. DeCandido who is one of the seven authors that Jonathan Maberry invited to create V Wars with him, a new shared world vampire anthology. Keith and I had originally proposed the collaboration panel as a good excuse to talk about that book, since we both have stories in it and were at the same convention. Unfortunately, the release of V Wars was delayed until the end of June, so we didn’t have copies on hand. Instead, Keith pulled up the cover image on his laptop to show the audience.
On Saturday, my wife Geri came up with our son Shaun to hang out and have a little mini-vacation at the hotel. They didn’t go to the con itself, but it allowed Shaun and I to take a dip in the indoor-outdoor pool, and later on, Shaun managed to attract a magician who made him a Spider-Man balloon. We all had a relaxed dinner with Bill and Dave before disappearing back into panels again.
Later, Bill and Dave and I checked out the “Barfleet” Party, a traditional element of DucKon which seemed a bit more subdued than last year (where was the Horta???) and then after a couple more panels on Sunday morning, the con was already over. It was a fast but enjoyable weekend.
But there’s no rest for the wicked. Tomorrow marks the release of NightWhere; on Wednesday I leave for a short business trip to Toronto, and on Saturday I’ll spend the afternoon at the HWA tent at Chicago’s Printer’s Row Lit Fest before hopping a plane again for work on Sunday.
I definitely can’t complain about being bored!
Thanks to Bill Gagliani for shooting a couple of these photos!
Nine months ago at my dayjob, the idea came up that I should attend a convention in Munich, Germany this spring. At first I didn’t take it too seriously. I travel domestically a lot for the dayjob, but there was talk of going to China last year too, but that didn’t come about. I’ve never left North America aside from visiting Hawaii, so I didn’t think it would pan out in the end. But the idea never evaporated, and then suddenly a few weeks ago, I was filling out paperwork and making travel plans. And then, last week… it was here. Eight days ago, on May 23, 2012, I boarded a plane to Munich. A plane with stairs — the bathrooms were downstairs on their own deck!
And now, already, it’s all over. Sometimes time moves too fast!
I stayed a few blocks away from the convention hotel to save my budget some money (like, $100 a night!) which turned out to be a double blessing. The Platzl Hotel, where I crashed for four nights, was just around the block from the historic Hofbrauhaus. One of the oldest breweries (founded in the late 1500s) the gigantic beer hall is one of the “Top Ten Places to Visit” in Munich on almost every list I found. And as it happened, I’ve visited one of its spinoff restaurants here in the States — there’s a Hofbrauhaus in Newport, KY that I’ve visited several times after my signings in Cincinnati. (There’s another one being built now here in the Chicago burbs!)
So I was pretty excited to be able to visit “the mother ship.” And what a ship it was. I opened my stay with a wonderfully smooth Dunkel, and found myself there again two nights later for dinner. Ironically, a couple days later I went to a bier garten in the midst of a giant city park (Englischer Garten) which turned out to be run by … Hofbrauhaus.
Anyway… I was in Munich on business my first three days, so virtually all of my pictures and sightseeing were done on the vacation day I took at the end of the trip (I figured if I was going to Europe for the first time… I should stay a little extra and see SOMETHING.)
However, after business dinners on the first couple nights, I did get out for a little while on a couple nights to explore and do some fiction writing at (wait for it…) an Irish Pub called Killians (yes, I really did manage to go to an Irish Pub in Germany.)
I also did some work on my next novel (Violet Eyes) at the Atomic Cafe and at a cozy little Zum Spöckmeier Paulaner’s restaurant by Marienplatz, where I found out that my favorite Paulaner’s brew, Salvatore, is only brewed in March, so it wasn’t on tap! 🙁
The same thing turned out to be true of Ayinger’s Celebrator Double Bock. Here I was at the “home” of both of my favorite German beers and neither were available on tap because they were “out of season.” By just over a month. Now that’s just wrong!
Anyway, back to the beginning of this travelogue.
After flying all night (left Chicago at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23rd and arrived in Munich after noon on Thursday), I had my first brew at Hofbrauhaus while waiting for my hotel room to be ready. Then, after spending several hours in a suit, I enjoyed my first meal in Germany at the Ayinger’s Speis & Trank, just around the block from my hotel.
I had a peppered pig knuckle, sauerkraut and a great bread dumpling there, but the real eye-opener was the Cream of Horseradish soup. It was amazing, and now I have to find a recipe and try it!
It was right about this time that I began to realize that most German meals are fashioned from some cut of pork and accompanied by pretzels and beer. They serve hot pretzels with breakfast, lunch and dinner. And beer seemed to accompany every meal as well! I guess, when you do something well… you stick with it?
On Friday night after work, I had dinner with a colleague at Hofbrauhaus, and sampled the sausage platter (again with plenty of sauerkraut and bread dumplings – delish!) We sat outside in the bier garten on a beautiful night – I was lucky the weather was perfect the entire time I was there.
After my last working day in the city (Saturday), we had dinner at the Zum Franziskaner restaurant (obviously owned by Lowenbrau, given that Lowenbrau appeared on the uniforms of all the waiters, as well as the glasses and menus!) They served some great barbecued pork, as well as a sausage, cheese and pretzel appetizer. And a traditional band minstrel-ed around and blew on the largest horn I’ve ever seen.
After hearing the traditional music, I headed to the “hip” Atomic Cafe, hopeful to see what a good German dance club looks like, based on the description. But they were hosting a “retro” night, and virtually all the music they played was American soul and pop from the ’60s and ’70s. Not quite what I was looking for, but I did settle in with the laptop and write a little.
The next morning, I had breakfast at the Orlando, around the corner from my hotel, having the traditional morning meal of white sausage and pretzels. And most importantly, coffee. (No beer for me, though others were already imbibing!)
Then I headed out to my “day of adventure”!
I found out to my dismay that all shops (except food vendors) are closed on Sundays there, so my plans for souvenir shopping on my “day off” were shot. (Aside from the beer mugs I bought myself, all the souvenirs I brought back from Germany came from the airport!) But over the next 12 hours, I still covered a lot of ground.
I walked around Marienplatz again, and photographed and videotaped the famous tower Rathaus Glockenspiel in action, which I found out once I was back home, ironically tells the story of the marriage of the founder of Hofbrauhaus!
Then I visited the famous Frauenkirche (kirche = church) which survived WWII bombers because it served as a landmark for them. The church has a great legend about being built by the devil, whose footprint still exists in the vestibule.
From there I walked through a long street of shops to Karlsplatz, where there were a couple nice fountains, and then ended up at a small botanical garden to have a drink at the Park Cafe Bier Garten. From there, it was on to the Residenz Museum. I took the audio tour there to learn about the palace of Munich royalty, which was mostly destroyed in WWII, but has slowly been restored and rebuilt with many of the original furnishings.
From there, I took a long walk through Englischer Garten, a gigantic park that winds on and on. There were picnic-ers and soccer players and frisbee players and just lay-around-layers everywhere, all near paths that followed a river that runs through the center of the park. I barely got a quarter of the way through it after walking an hour, and finally stopped for dinner and a beer at a bier garten in the midst of it all run by the Hofbrauhaus.
Once back near my hotel (after both a very long walk and “I give up” cab ride), I had a nightcap at Ayinger’s, where I bought a mug to join my Hofbrauhaus glass (pictured here on my bar with some of the beer coasters I also brought home), and called it a night.
The next morning, I staggered on aching legs back to Marienplatz and at an Augustiner Berliner restaurant had another breakfast of white sausages (they’re good, but I must admit I wanted some eggs and a muffin, not pretzels, to go with them). Monday, it turned out was a holiday, so all the shops were still closed. I tried to buy a beer stein at the Paulaner’s and they were sold out of the one I wanted, so my paraphernalia plans were looking thin.
But after a last goodbye to Hofbrauhaus, I headed to the airport and found a couple shops to drop the rest of my Euros at, buying chocolates and t-shirts for the family. I also found a Black Forest Cuckoo Clock (which is what I’d really wanted to shop for in town the day before). My grandparents had one in their kitchen, which always fascinated me, and now I have one of my own, hanging in my dining room (see pic). All weights and pulleys that need to be wound everyday.
I’m still fascinated by them 40 years later!
It was a great trip, albeit far too short. I still managed to take over 600 pictures though. Here are a few of them, mostly from that Sunday walk-a-thon through Marienplatz, the Frauenkirche, the Botanical Garden/Park Cafe, Residenz Palace, Theatinerkirche and Englischer Garten.