MY FOURTH FULL COLLECTION of short stories, Sacrificing Virgins, is finally on sale today! Some preview copies debuted at the HorrorHound Convention in Indianapolis a few weeks ago, but today is the day you can finally order an e-book or trade paperback copy on all the major bookstore outlets!
If you have enjoyed my fiction (and I’m not sure why you’d be on this mailing list if you haven’t!) please consider taking a minute and ordering a copy today — particularly from Amazon. If a good bunch of my loyal readers on this list order/download the book all on the same day, it will send Sacrificing Virgins up the “horror charts” on Amazon and hopefully lead to more readers discovering it! Let’s make a sacrificial wave!
A great big batch of overdue Sins
My last full-length fiction collection was Needles & Sins, released over eight years ago now, back in 2007, before any of my paperback novels hit bookstores. So… it’s been a long time between collections! Needles gave me artwork that I loved so much it has been incorporated in my website and e-newsletter banners, and I have to say — I love the art on Sacrificing Virgins just as much.
Sacrificing Virgins is also my longest collection of short stories, featuring 25 tales that spotlight all facets of my writing. There are quiet ghost stories, a touch of urban fantasy, a previously unpublished tale of macabre humor, a “gross-out contest” story that I wrote for the World Horror Convention and some more extreme and erotic horror tales. There are “tie-in” stories that are set in the worlds of my novels Siren and NightWhere, as well as the original short story “The Pumpkin Man” which eventually inspired me to write the novel of the same name.
The title story, “Sacrificing Virgins” was originally printed in a limited edition Delirium Books anthology, The Dead Inn, way back in 2001, and “Grandma Wanda’s Belly Jelly” appeared in an ezine back in 1999. Most of these stories, however, come from the past 10 years. Two of them, “Field of Flesh” and “The Hole To China” were first published earlier this year, in the magazine Dark Discoveries and the anthology Eulogies III, respectively. And “Voyeur” originally appeared last summer in the award-winning sf/horror anthology Qualia Nous.
This book also collects most of the tales that were in the now out-of-print mini-collections Creeptych and Deadly Nightlusts, and also finally collects personal favorites like “The Tapping,” “In Memoryum” and “She Found Spring”.
I hope you’ll read and enjoy these tales as much as I enjoyed writing them! Please drop me a note and let me know what you think of the book when you get a chance to read it. I’d love to know what your favorite pieces are.
Here are the links to the book on Amazon, B&N, Kobo and Samhain:
Here’s the stack of copies that appeared on my desk this past week!
MY SIXTH NOVEL, NightWhere, was a Bram Stoker Award finalist in 2012 when it was released, and this week, for the first time since its release, the publisher has put it on sale for just 99 cents! I’m hoping some more people will discover and enjoy this decidedly non-mainstream novel over the next few days while it’s on sale!
You can check it now on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/NightWhere-ebook/dp/B0083K12W4/
Readers have called it “50 Shades meets Hellraiser” and reviews said things like:
“NightWhere isn’t for everybody…Think Hellraiser meets Basic Instinct, and you have some idea about the dark contents of this novel. That being said, I loved NightWhere.”
“I can guarantee once you start NightWhere you will not be able to put it down; it sinks its hooks into you and you just have to turn the next page to see what will happen next.”
–Famous Monsters of Filmland
“…extremely well written, providing the kind of reading experience you get from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or Scott Smith’s The Ruins — relentless in both realism and emotional impact.”
–The Horror Review
“The dialogue is crisp, the plotting is fast-paced — it’s a very confident piece of work, regardless of the subject matter. And is it scary? Yes, at times NightWhere is very scary…because this is a novel that can go anywhere. And it does.”
“NightWhere is a darkly erotic, deeply disturbing and hauntingly engaging tale that took my breath away – literally… This tale of heightened eroticism, degradation, masochism, graphic violence and often horrific imagery is the proverbial scrape across a chalk board or the fingernail stroke down one’s spine that elicits an aching twinge and shudder; and, weirdly, leaves you wanting more. NightWhere may not be ‘hauntingly beautiful’, but it’s a hell of a good read.”
–Dark Haven Book Reviews
Here are the links to Amazon, B&N and Kobo:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nigh…=9781609286446
IT WAS SUPPOSED to be the launch of a celebration, but instead, this has turned out to be a black week in horror. And a crossroads point for many up-and-coming horror authors. For many of us, it’s a week of deja vu. If you follow a lot of horror authors on blogs, Facebook and Twitter, you’ve already heard various versions of the story. And you’ve seen many different emotional responses to the news. I have had my own, but haven’t posted publicly about it before now. For anyone who hasn’t been tapped in to the outcry, here’s the story.
Last month, Samhain Publishing, the publisher of my most recent four books – NightWhere, Violet Eyes, The Family Tree, and Sacrificing Virgins (which will be out in a couple weeks) – began to set up for a celebration of the company’s 10-year anniversary. The marketing staff came up with a number of social media campaigns to highlight book sales, and called for authors to celebrate their editors, with posts directed on Twitter to #Samhain10. So horror authors were encouraged to shout-out to their editor, Don D’Auria, who launched the horror imprint of Samhain just over four years ago (Samhain began strictly as a romance publisher, and the horror line debuted in October of 2011.)
Then, just as authors were beginning to write and post their celebrations of Samhain and D’Auria, we all received a note from Don on Tuesday saying that due to the declining sales of the Samhain horror line, he had been let go, and would be leaving Samhain on Friday (yesterday).
Regardless of the reasons or necessity, from a pure public image standpoint, it was probably the most poorly-timed firing you could imagine. You are all geared up to do a month of celebration and promotion of your company… and then right at the start of it, you fire one of your most beloved figures, completely subverting your PR campaign. It was announced as a necessary business decision, which may be true… but from a purely calculated business perspective, there are five words to describe it: foolishly timed, guaranteed black eye. If I was a member of the Samhain marketing staff, I would have spent this week cursing my bosses’ name repeatedly with every breath I took for torpedoing all of my work of the past month.
The fact that Samhain horror sales have not been stellar was no surprise. Authors talk, and royalties for many authors on the horror side of Samhain have been very low for a long time. My own e-book sales have been steady, but paperback sales to actual bookstores have dropped with each release. When I spoke with the publisher in person just over a year ago, she had planned to bring on a dedicated sales staff to try to get the paperback versions of the books into stores in more volume. As far as I know… that hasn’t panned out. It has been clear to me for awhile that the line was not really “taking off” in the way I’m sure the publisher hoped, and I had a conversation with Don about that at the World Horror Convention this past spring. Volume of releases per month has increased, but seemingly the volume of sales has not.
Earlier this year, the publisher implemented some cost-cutting measures which, in my mind, only hurt their chances of increasing sales further — they upped the price on their books beyond comparable releases on other presses, while at the same time diminishing the font size of the print versions — to decrease the overall pages printed and save money. (Sacrificing Virgins will be the same exact page count as NightWhere… yet there are 15,000 more words in the book!) So you’ll pay more and get less paper (and probably squint a little). Obviously, Samhain is losing or close to losing money on their paperback line, and is struggling to find a way to balance the ledgers.
And then, apparently, they got to the point where every struggling company gets to when they sit down at budget time. They looked at whose salary they could cut to balance the budget.
Don D’Auria, probably the most celebrated editor in the horror genre, turned up on the wrong side of the balance sheet.
Editors come and go at publishers, just as people come and go at any job. But Don D’Auria is a special case. He’s not just “an editor”… he’s the guy who built the celebrated and oft-bemoaned Leisure Horror line over his 15-year tenure with that New York publisher before they imploded in 2010. He has spent most of the past five years building the Samhain horror line that essentially replaced the Leisure output in the horror marketplace. There is no other editor out there who has discovered as much new talent, or published as much horror, as Don D’Auria. And I owe a lot of my career in horror to him. He has published all eight of my novels and brought my work a visibility I would never have otherwise achieved.
So the news about his “departure” from Samhain didn’t come out in horror circles as a simple footnote news announcement about the changing of the guard. It provoked a shitstorm of reaction amid the horror community. The irony there, of course, is that if that same community had been as supportive of the Samhain Horror line as they were angered at the firing of a beloved figure… he probably wouldn’t have been let go. So I look at the outcry with a certain cynicism.
My Days with Don:
I first met Don at the World Horror Convention in Denver in 2000 — the first WHC I attended. I signed up to do a “pitch” to him on my just-completed novel, The Cliff (later to be retitled Covenant). As many other writers will attest, he was down-to-earth, easy to talk to, funny, and put a young, nervous writer at ease… at least as much ease as I could have in pitching to a “real editor” for the first time in my career. I would spend the next several WHCs pitching to Don — Covenant, Sacrifice, other novel ideas — because Leisure Books was the place to be if you were a horror author in the 2000s. I remember at the WHC in Kansas City in 2003 seeing Don in the hotel bar. I pointed him out and explained who he was with whispered reverence to my wife, who said, “well why don’t you go talk to him?” My eyes widened – I couldn’t just walk up and bother someone like him like that! He was Don D’Auria for crying out loud!
An audience with Don was like that for a lot of writers. It was like meeting with the Pope. Or a Movie Star. You wanted to… but were afraid to. Certainly not because of his demeanor — he’s about the nicest, most mild-mannered guy you’re likely to meet. And I did meet with him year after year after year at WHCs, trying to sell him on publishing my novels. I really had just about given up hope of ever getting him to buy my books when I sat down with him in 2007, at the World Horror Con in Toronto. We had a long conversation about my first two novels (which at that point had been released by a small press) and possible future projects. But while he told me he wanted to buy my stuff, he said he didn’t have slots available yet… but he thought something was going to open up soon. Hang tight, he urged.
I had just about run out of the patience to hang tight by then. I’d been trying to break through for years… and nothing was happening. I hadn’t been able to land an agent, hadn’t been able to land a novel at Leisure. Later during the con, I was sitting at a table, signing copies of my small press books during the “mass autograph session” the con always holds, and wondering “is this it? is this the farthest I’m going to get?” when Don came up to me and asked if he could talk to me for a minute privately.
I instantly abandoned my table of books (Don sought me out?), and walked out into a coat closet hallway with him… where he offered me a two-book deal to reprint my novels Covenant and Sacrifice.
The world changed for me that day.
I had been writing for over a dozen years at that point, and even had a Bram Stoker Award under my belt for the small press edition of Covenant, but until that mass market paperback deal, I don’t think I ever saw myself as a real writer. I was a dabbler, knocking at the door, and being politely but firmly turned away. And then just like that… the door had finally opened.
It’s totally “grade school,” but I remember being so excited the next night at that convention when I saw the Leisure Authors all sitting at the Leisure-sponsored tables during the Bram Stoker Awards ceremony, because the next year… it would be me who got to sit with the “big kids.” We literally called them that, back then. The Leisure authors were the “big kids” in the room.
I remember the next year, in Salt Lake City, meeting Don for dinner to talk about my 3rd novel, The 13th, which I had been writing but hadn’t contracted. I was nervous then to meet with him too – what if he didn’t like the idea / didn’t take my next book? What if Covenant and Sacrifice were a fluke? But as always, Don smiled and joked and made me feel like he couldn’t wait to see the book when I finished it. Over the next couple years I enjoyed sending Don various book outlines and discussing the weak points he saw in various plot twists. I sent him outlines of Siren, The Pumpkin Man, NightWhere, Violet Eyes and a couple other as-yet unwritten novels during that period. I ran around the country doing book signings whereever I could, and could be found almost every weekend at a table in a Borders or Barnes & Noble somewhere, hawking horror.
It was a really crazy, really cool time in my life.
But like all such things, that time did not last. Leisure Books had its own business problems, and a changing book marketplace exposed and aggravated them. By the time Siren, my fourth novel was released, the company was months behind on paying both author royalties and rent to its warehouse — and a week or two after Siren hit bookstores, the company announced that it was abandoning its 40+ year old mass market paperback line. They were going to take six months off to reconfigure things, and would relaunch with trade paperbacks, which seemed to sell better in bookstores.
I crossed my fingers and hoped that the change would be successful.
And then a couple weeks later, in August 2010, as I sat in a bar in Santa Fe just starting work on what was to be the sequel to my novel Sacrifice, I got the news that Leisure Books had let Don D’Auria and other editorial staff go. They couldn’t afford to maintain the staff during the six months of transition.
That was a crushing, horrible night. I stopped work on that book, and actually didn’t write any fiction afterwards for weeks. It seemed like everything I’d worked so hard for was washed away in that gut-punching month.
There was a shitstorm of attention to Don’s firing back then, too… and writers frantically tried to divest themselves from Leisure Books over the next few months, like rats from the sinking ship it was. In my typical contrary fashion, I opted to stick with the publisher and try to weather the storm. They had another book of mine contracted and I figured the only way I was going to see my royalties owed was to buckle in and hold on… and I wanted The Pumpkin Man to be released. If it didn’t come out on Leisure, I had very little hope that it would reach more than a couple hundred people on any other small press horror line. It turned out to be the right decision for me — after a tumultuous year, my books were all sold in 2011 to 47North, an Amazon imprint, and I not only received all of my owed royalties, but got some nice promotion from Amazon.com over the following couple of years. In fact, the best thing that’s happened to me in my writing career was probably Leisure Books’ auction to 47North.
I stayed in touch with Don via email during over the winter of 2010/11, as I worked with the staff remaining at Leisure who were desperately trying to find a way to right the ship. I missed Don, but really enjoyed working with the people who were left behind at Leisure as well. I was in touch with the marketing staff there every week as they tried new sales tactics to try to save the unsaveable. Chris Keeslar, a Dorchester Romance editor, did the final line edit on The Pumpkin Man, which Don had bought, but hadn’t had the chance to edit. And Chris really helped me hone that novel to a level that it never would have reached without him. So I still have good memories of that “post-Don” Leisure year, when the Leisure imprint was actually mothballed, and Siren and The Pumpkin Man were issued as Dorchester trade paperbacks. Unfortunately, that’s also the year that Borders Books failed, and that was the final nail in the Dorchester/Leisure coffin. The Pumpkin Man was just about the last original horror novel they issued.
At the same time, early in 2011, Don D’Auria had found a new home. He emailed me to let me know that he was signing on with Samhain, a Cincinnati-based romance/erotica publisher, to found a new horror imprint. The label had hit some NY Times and USA Today Bestseller lists with its romance titles and was looking to expand. He was going to try to do the same thing there that he had at Leisure… build a vibrant line that released a couple horror titles every month.
I didn’t like the contract terms — Samhain refused to issue advances for books, which I’d received typically even from small, niche presses. But out of loyalty to Don, I signed on with him to write NightWhere. The book was not one of Samhain’s first horror releases, since I hadn’t written it yet when Don contracted it. But I was one of the label’s first authors contracted, and I remain proud of that fact. After its release in 2012, NightWhere went on to be a Bram Stoker Award finalist, and I got to sit at the Samhain-sponsored “big kids” table the night in New Orleans when those awards were announced. I didn’t win, but it was a heady night anyway. I would never have been there, if not for Don’s support and belief in my writing.
Over the years, I’ve met Don for lunches, dinners or drinks at World Horror Conventions and at Horrorfind and in New York when I’ve been there on business. I’ve talked with him on the phone about book plots and covers and have a folder of dozens and dozens of email conversations. It’s been a rewarding and enjoyable partnership for the past eight years.
But this week, as Don once again has to find a new path, I find myself at the same point I was at in 2010. Ironically, the novel that I stopped writing that night five years ago in Santa Fe when Don was let go from Leisure, is now finally almost completed. Where will it be published? I’m not sure. I’ve hoped that it will be accepted at 47North, actually, where Covenant and Sacrifice are currently licensed. But I need to finish it over the next few weeks before I can find out!
Samhain Horror hasn’t ascended the way many hoped, and now the driving force behind it is gone. But my next book is still coming out from Samhain in just a couple weeks. So I do have hope that the horror line there will continue and whatever business changes the publisher is putting in place to improve sales are successful. Just as it was five years ago with Leisure, there remain staff at Samhain who I enjoy working with. And the editor who will be taking on the horror line, Tera Cuskaden, is a big fan of NightWhere — she made a point to write to me a couple years ago because she loved the novel so much. So if I finally do pen the sequel, which I’ve been planning to work on next year… I will likely try to work with her on it.
What happens after that?
Who knows? I sincerely hope that Don finds a great new gig, and selfishly, of course, I hope that I get the opportunity to work with him again. But I also hope — for a lot of reasons — that the Samhain line he founded manages to find its legs. And I hope that all those Samhain authors who are feeling lost and confused right now, in the same place we Leisure authors were at just about this same time and similar circumstances five years ago, are able to find their balance again, and make the right choices, whatever those may be, for their careers. Lots of people have opinions on what other people should do, but those choices are never black and white. They are always grey.
Kind of like the feeling of this uncelebratory week.
It’s not a bright and happy 10th anniversary for Samhain Publishing or its authors, or, particularly, for its former horror editor. This is not the #Samhain10 kind of post that the marketing team was looking for a week ago. But it is the reality.
Ultimately, the financial reasons behind Don’s departure from Samhain are none of my business, and I can’t speak about them since I have no real knowledge there. I can say that the move was poorly executed, but in the end… it is what it is. Whether it was done well or poorly, the end result was going to be the same.
And the result is a dark day for horror.
Not to be a Polyanna, but I do hope that from this week’s dark cloud, a silver lining of new opportunities will evolve for everyone involved. That’s really all you can hope for and work towards at a time like this. I do know for sure that the world has changed for a lot of people, and what they do next year may be very different now than what they were planning to do last week.
But for the authors and readers, at the end of the day, as Samhain likes to say on their taglines… It’s all about the story.
I suppose all of us will keep telling and selling them… no matter whose name appears as editor on the copyright page or what logo appears on the spine… I personally hope that one day soon, the editor name on my copyright page will again say Don D’Auria.
In the meantime, all I can say is thank you, Don. Your support has meant the world to me. And you will always have mine.
I HAVE HAD A GREAT TIME this month hosting the horror author “takeover” of the Not Now…Mommy’s Reading book review site! Every day, the site’s owner, Blu, has sponsored a contest for the authors that she and I have pulled in to be featured for the day. And the authors have been amazing… we’ve gotten to read brand new flash fiction, rare reprints, blogs about … all sorts of topics… and a couple days ago, a Werewolf Roundtable hosted by W.D. Gagliani and featuring Ray Garton, Jeff Strand, Jonathan Janz and Glenn Rolfe. Today, to cap it all off… I lured in my favorite modern horror author, Edward Lee, who gave us a sneak peek at the opening of his next novel — White Trash Gothic. I opened the month by posting a brand new short story on the site (“Running Away From A Good Time”) and Lee is closing it with a novel excerpt. In between, has been all sorts of great creepy stuff!
Go check out Lee’s entry today for Halloween, and all of the entries for the month. There are contests on every page, many of which are still open for a few more hours. So put your hat in the ring to win some free books while you’re blog Trick or Treating!
Here are the links to all of the posts:
October 31: Edward Lee – fiction – White Trash Gothic
October 30: Sephera Giron – blog – “A Simple Halloween Wish”
October 29: Rob E. Boley – blog – “Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat”
October 28: Werewolf Roundtable – W.D. Gagliani, Ray Garton, Jeff Strand, Jonathan Janz, Glenn Rolfe
October 27: Loren Rhoads – blog – “Exes and Ohs”
October 26: Martin Mundt – fiction – “The Mouse”
October 24: Kristopher Rufty – blog – “Prank Night: Origins”
October 23: Dark Arts Books Giveaway – Candy in the Dumpster
October 22: Bill Breedlove – fiction – “Game Show”
October 21: Brody Sommers – Book Spotlight
October 20: Adam Pepper – fiction – “Harry Never Smiles”
October 19: Mick Ridgewell – Book Spotlight
October 18: Brian Pinkerton – blog – “Abducted Origins”
October 17: Gary McMahon – Book Spotlight
October 16: Bev Vincent – blog – “The Halloween Tree”
October 15: Lee Thomas – blog – “Fest ‘o Fun”
October 14: Women of Horror Roundtable – Elena Hearty, Sephera Giron and Catherine Cavendish
October 13: Rhiannon Frater – fiction – “She Stands at the Crossroads”
October 12: J. G. Faherty – blog – “Questions for Librarians”
October 11: Gemma Files – blog – “Black Tapes Podcast”
October 10: Glenn Rolfe – fiction – “Flies”
October 9: Ryan C. Thomas – fiction- “The Hallowed Shortcut
October 8: Megan Hart – blog – “Why a Serial?”
October 7: Su Halfwerk – blog – “Horrifying hotels”
October 6: Pembroke Sinclair – blog – “Behind the story”
October 5: Russell R. James – fiction – “The Chosen One”
October 4: Maynard Sims – blog – “Horror at 15 vs. 55”
October 3: John Everson – Welcome + Fiction – “Running Away from a Good Time”
THIS IS THE BIG WEEK, and today’s a big day! I have a handful of things going on for the horror holiday, so I just sent out an e-newsletter with a bunch of points that I thought I’d repost here:
▶ This afternoon, from 5-7 p.m., I’ll be speaking and signing books at the Barnes & Noble, Southland Center in Racine Wisconsin, as part of their annual HorrorFest. My friends W.D. Gagliani and Chris Larson will also be appearing tonight.
▶ TODAY ONLY on Amazon, my novels The Pumpkin Man, and Siren are on an Amazon special Halloween Gold Box Deal for $1.99. There are 50 horror selections in this one-day sale, with books by Graham Masterton, Richard Laymon, Ira Levin, Nate Kenyon, Ania Ahlborn, Jack Ketchum, and many more! My titles are on the 2nd page of the sale listings. Check the sale out here.
▶ Also on Amazon for a few more days, my novel Sacrifice is on a month-long $1.99 Halloween book sale with 49 other titles. You can see it on the suspense page here.
▶ This week, my small press Dark Arts Books will be releasing our first brand new title in four years! Our last few releases have been reissues of out-of-print books, but this month, we’re publishing a brand new short fiction collection from Martin Mundt! This is Marty’s third collection, and also his largest. You do not want to miss this book, it is amazing. Here’s the description:To sleep, perchance to dream… And in dreaming lies the danger! With Martin Mundt as your dangerous Dream Master, in the 27 tales within, you’ll visit places dark and places strange. You’ll live dreams both oddly hilarious and eerily heart-wrenching. From a couple with a fetish for fireworks to a tower of words that reaches to the sky and beyond… from a dominatrix with a perverted parrot to a triptych of El Pollo tales of fowl revenge… from an ex-girlfriend who’d make Kathy Bates’ character in Misery seem like a good time girl to a Lovecraftian descent into the darkest magic… These dreams will kidnap your imagination and take you to places you’ve never dared before to see. Hide all the sharp objects in your bedroom and prepare for some serious Sleepwalking…
▶ As I announced a couple weeks ago, I am serving as the “Horror Host” for the Not Now…Mommy’s Reading book review site all month. They’ve retitled the site for the month as Not Now… Mommy’s Screaming and I’ve lined up a whole calendar of events, fiction and prizes you don’t want to miss! One contest, which is open until Halloween, is an e-book giveaway of Candy In The Dumpster, the first release by my own Dark Arts Books imprint. This one features short stories by the aforementioned Martin Mundt as well as Bill Breedlove, Jay Bonansinga, and myself — including my perennial Halloween tale “Pumpkin Head.” Enter the contest here:
▶ There are a bunch of cool things coming up every day this week on the Not Now…Mommy’s Reading site, so stop by every day — and enter all of the contests! Every day this month the site has opened a new contest, and they’re all still open until Halloween, so go read them and enter! The last few days have featured posts from Kristopher Rufty, Bill Breedlove and Adam Pepper. If you missed the start, I kicked things off with a brand new short story written just for this event, “Running Away From A Good Time.” You can read it here: http://www.notnowmommysreading.com/2015/10/flash-fiction-giveaway-john-everson.html At the end of the story, there’s a contest to win a free ebook or audiobook of my novelette Failure.
THIS MONTH, TO CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN, I am serving as the “Horror Host” for the Not Now…Mommy’s Reading book review site! And I’ve lined up a whole calendar of events, fiction and prizes you don’t want to miss!
Blu, who runs the site, asked me a few weeks ago if I’d host a “horror takeover” of the blog this month to celebrate Halloween. So I put the word out and a month’s worth of amazing authors answered. And Blu temporarily redesigned and retitled the Romance and Horror review blog as “Not Now…Mommy’s Screaming” for October. We’re having a lot of fun with this one.
Every day in October on the blog, you will find a free short story or interesting blog or interview…. and every day you’ll find a contest for e-books, audio books and more. And those contests are ALL open until Oct. 31… so if you missed this week — go back and read all the posts and enter all the contests! Get your horror on!
I kicked things off last Saturday with an intro and a brand new short story written just for this event, “Running Away From A Good Time.” You can read it here: http://www.notnowmommysreading.com/2015/10/flash-fiction-giveaway-john-everson.html
At the end of the story, there’s a contest to win a free ebook or audiobook of my novelette Failure.
Today’s post on the site is a short story called “Flies” from Glenn Rolfe. In between… have been a week’s worth of posts — a cool blog on the horrors of 15 vs. 55 by Maynard Sims, a short story called “The Hallowed Shortcut” from Ryan C. Thomas, a blog about “The Resurrected” from NY Times Bestseller Megan Hart, a cool post about the horror of hotels from Su Halfwerk, a blog about “The Road to Salvations” series by Pembroke Sinclair and a chiller dark magic story from Russell R. James called “The Chosen One.”
Coming up? Three more weeks of daily posts from some of the best horror writers in the genre today! There are round-table interviews with Women in Horror and Werewolf Novel authors, and lots more individual blogs and free fiction.
So stop by http://www.notnowmommysreading.com every day this month and read, enter contests, and chat on the comments if you like with the authors. Start today by looking at everything posted this week!
Had a great time yesterday hanging out with Brian Pinkerton, seeing Ron Fitzgerald’s always entertaining illusion show and talking to horror fans (and a couple video interviewers!) at the Chicago Horror Film Fest.
And I sat on a lively panel discussion about character creation with Brian, fest founder Jason Davis, Samhain Publishing labelmate David Hayes and Hailey R. Suits.
I can’t be back at the fest today for Day 2, but already looking forward to next year!
My fourth full-length short story collection, Sacrificing Virgins, is due to be released the first week of December — it’s available for pre-order now on Amazon — but if you’re going to be at HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis this weekend, you can grab a preview copy directly from me!
I will be at the Samhain Publishing booth Friday night – Sunday afternoon, and Samhain let me know this week that they will have a sneak peek early printing of the book available there! I can’t wait to see this one myself… nevermind the stories, I love the cover art!
It’s been eight years since my last full-length short fiction collection, Needles & Sins, and with 25 stories and over 110,000 words of fiction, Sacrificing Virgins will be my largest fiction collection to date… hell, it’s my longest book to date period!
Sacrificing Virgins compiles reprints, rarities and a couple never-before-published pieces taken largely from the past 10 years. But it also digs into a few earlier stories that haven’t been previously collected, including the title story, which was originally published in a long out-of-print Delirium Books hardcover anthology called The Dead Inn. Also featured are some of my favorite pieces from hard-to-find anthologies like Relics & Remains, Terrible Beauty, Fearful Symmetry, Gothic Blue Book and two stories published over the last year in the critically acclaimed anthologies Qualia Nous and Eulogies III.
Since my mini-collections Creeptych and Deadly Nightlusts are out of print, this new book also compiles the best (and bulk) of the tales that were in those short books as well. Sacrificing Virgins also includes all of my novel tie-in stories: “Ligeia’s Revenge” originally appeared in translation in an Italian magazine and is a spinoff story of my novel Siren. “Field of Flesh,” which appeared at the start of the year in Dark Discoveries, is a novelette set in the world of NightWhere. And “The Pumpkin Man” is also included — the original short story that inspired my novel of the same title.
Whether you stop by the Samhain booth at HorrorHound this weekend to say hi and grab a copy or pre-order Sacrificing Virgins on Amazon… I hope you’ll check it out and enjoy this compendium of some of my best short stories from the past decade… and more!
It’s been a pretty crazy month for me — aside from having our kitchen completely ripped up as it is being redone floor to ceiling, I was also out of the country for work for a week… so I’m afraid I’m remiss in announcing the winners of last month’s The Family Tree contest… Nevertheless… I did, in fact, notify the winners in August.
Here’s how it all went down — Samhain Publishing was running a month-long promotion of my eighth, and latest novel, and so I held a contest to help promote the book. People who posted reviews or links on Facebook and Twitter to The Family Tree sale were entered into the contest. At the end of August, I put all of their entries in order on a spreadsheet… and then “pulled names” using Random.Org — a pretty cool random number generator.
The winners were:
2nd Prize: Kate Sender – e-book copy of one of my fiction collections, Cage of Bones, Vigilantes of Love, Candy in the Dumpster or my novelette Failure.
1st Prize: Adrian – who asked for a Kindle copy of Violet Eyes.
Grand Prize: Lionel Ray Green – who will appear as a minor character in my next novel! (He’s got to wait a bit for that prize to appear as I’m 75% done with that next book… but sometime in 2016 his name will be popping up in a chapter!)
Thanks to everyone for entering the contest and helping me to spread the word about The Family Tree. And congratulations to all the winners!
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: