Books

Books

Fri
18
Nov

There's More To Life Than Death In M.G. Mason's Short Fiction Collection 'Spooky Salmonweird'

The British medievalist scholar and author Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936) is best remembered for his volumes redefining supernatural fiction. First published at the dawn of the twentieth century, his perfected narrative devices set a gold standard, pulling ghost stories from the cliché of formal Gothic backdrops in favor of realistic contemporary settings and everyday protagonists. Highly regarded even today, the classic Jamesian tale (as his technique was dubbed) often featured quiet, quaint English villages, seaside towns or country estates imperiled by vengeful wraths intruding upon our world from beyond the grave, and echoes of James' craft linger in the works of such subsequent literary icons as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, T.E.D. Klein, Ramsey Campbell and Stephen King.

Tue
25
Oct

Family Is The Deadly Tie That Binds In Caitlin Marceau's Masterful Novella 'This Is Where We Talk Things Out'

True to the old saying, family is the tie that binds. No matter how much we grow and change as individuals, from womb to tomb we are inescapably a part of that unchosen genetic lineage whether we like it or not. Often that blood bond is a beneficial boon--ideal families love us, raise us, teach us, but sometimes, for an endless variety of reasons, families don't get along, and over time disagreements, arguments and long-lingering animosities cause rifts that can be difficult, if not impossible to bridge. In any other social situation resolution could be achieved through a mutual (or forced) parting of ways, but if a relative becomes toxic to your life, then what? Is it ever possible to completely sever those hereditary links?

Mon
24
Oct

Crucifixion Press Resurrects Pulse-Pounding Pulp Action In The New Anthology, 'Shoot The Devil'

In the August, 1928 issue of seminal pulp fiction publication Weird Tales (the same magazine responsible for first popularizing the material of cosmic horror pioneer H.P. Lovecraft), a story by legendary Conan creator Robert E. Howard appeared featuring a somber and gloomy 17th century Puritan wanderer whose sole motivation was the destruction of evil in all its unearthly forms. Solomon Kane's inaugurate adventure, 'Red Shadows', set the tone for much of the character's later excursions--deeply religious, Kane sported all-black attire and boldly confronted his infernal enemies with rapier, dirk and a brace of flintlock pistols. Readers of the era lapped it up, and multiple stories in the series were released before Howard's tragic and untimely death.

Sat
17
Sep

No Lie, Mark Allan Gunnells' Coming-Of-Age Novel 'The Advantaged' Is A Masterful Read

From Stephen Dedalus in Ulysses to Salinger's Holden Caulfield to the fantastical coming-of-age adventures of a certain Hogwarts wizard, the trials and tribulations of youth are a cornerstone of literary endeavors both fictional and autobiographical. Those awkward, exhilarating, often painful days where one learns who they are and seeks to blaze their own trail through life's uncertain jungle can yield the most compelling of dramas and retains a timeless allure for both authors and audiences alike. And why not? Who among us hasn't experienced the teenage travails of academia, that heady rush of first romance, the pleasure and pitfalls of newfound independence?

Sat
13
Aug

Ian J. Middleton's novel 'Ghosts Of Gion' Is Evocative And Harrowing Sci-Fi

According to the A.I. Index, since the year 2000, the annual investment from venture capital firms into U.S. startups utilizing artificial intelligence systems has increased as much as six times, and statistics show that overall global investments in A.I. research and applications is set to reach $500 billion by 2024. A CBC Radio interview with Dr. David Levy even quoted the A.I. expert as predicting, "...in a few generations, we won't just be having sex with robots, we'll be marrying them."

Sun
24
Jul

Michael Gallagher's Debut Novel 'Body and Blood' Isn't Your Average Exorcist Tale

In culinary terms, certain flavors compliment one another, and the more palatable combinations become iconic, even a part of our collective culture: hamburgers and fries, peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, pizza and beer, salted caramel. In entertainment, too, the mixing of distinctly separate genres can oftentimes yield potent new hybrid strains of literary or cinematic enjoyment. Vampire fiction, for instance, though undeniably a foundational cornerstone of horror, lends itself easily to the overwrought melodrama of gothic literature and the bodice-ripping eroticism of romance novels. The shadowy essence of hard-boiled pulp detective stories paired with sleek science fiction tropes eventually birthed the cyberpunk movement. Even the banal romantic comedy is a cross-pollination of two seemingly incompatible narrative types that merged to form the silver screen equivalent of apple pie and ice cream.

Wed
20
Jul

Wife Gets Smart, Makes Husband Happy

Wife Gets Smart, Makes Husband Happy

It may sound like the title of the latest romance manga, but Nat Gertler's Wife Gets Smart, Makes Husband Happy is a time capsule of comic strips that gives insight to an era in the United States where food rationing was enforced and families were encouraged to grow their own food so that more processed food was available for American soldiers.

Tue
05
Jul

St Rooster Books' New Release, As The Night Devours Us, Is A Triumph Of Short Horror Fiction

Settled in the 9th century by seafaring Scandinavian explorers, Iceland sits alone just below the Arctic Circle amid the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, its imposing, glaciated, volcanic shores having evolved from one of the poorest areas in Europe into one of the most technologically advanced, peaceable and ecologically friendly nations on Earth. Yet in spite of its modern reputation as a marvel of renewable energy and beloved tourist destination, Iceland retains a crucial mystique. The average American's knowledge of the island has less to do with its Viking-era sagas and eddas than with its quirky cultural oddities--Björk, the Icelandic Phallological Museum, Keeping Up With The Kattarshians, svið (Google it at the risk of losing your appetite)--but to simply accept Iceland as a place of cute eccentricities is to ignore its shadowy legacy.

Thu
23
Jun

A Dark Lushness Reverberates Through Denver Grenell's The Burning Boy And Other Stories

"My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring." --Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Fri
29
Apr

Jack Harding's The Devil's Mountain Rife With Trepidation, Atmosphere And Mood

During the 1980’s a wave of hyper-explicit genre fiction emerged, dubbed ‘splatterpunk’ by the horror press, that focused less on classical story spookiness than visceral expressions of extreme violence. Led by a vanguard of young, hip writers like Clive Barker, David J. Schow, Craig Spector and John Skipp, Richard Laymon and, later, Poppy. Z Brite, the loosely-defined movement instigated a polarizing split among the practitioners of literary terror. Some critical authors, most vocally notable being the late Charles Grant, lambasted the new gory aesthetic and advocated a return to more traditional forms of written fear in the vein of Shirley Jackson, Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury, with their focus on atmosphere, mood, setting and character rather than imitative cinema slasher-style butchery.

Thu
28
Apr

A Guide to Writing a Children's Book

Childrens Books

Anyone out there has the potential to write a children’s book and with a little bit of advice and guidance, it can be a good one that is enjoyed by thousands of children. The steps involved in ensuring a children’s book is a success are listed below.

Find the best idea

Most writers of children’s books start off with an idea already in mind, although it often needs refining in order to make it a success. Do this by doing some research online and reading other children’s books that cover similar themes. However, it is important to make sure that it is different enough that it will attract people to pick it up and read it. One way of doing this is by including a plot twist or something that the reader would not necessarily expect to happen.

Develop the main characters

Sun
17
Apr

Terror Is A Vacation Destination In DarkLit Press' Beach Bodies Anthology

In ancient times, the concept of what we call a vacation--those rejuvenating get-away-from-it-all excursions to exotic locales--existed solely for the upper echelons of society. The equivalent of upper-middle-class Roman elites popularized the notion of visiting far-flung areas of their Mediterranean empire for relaxation, and during the late Middle Ages and into the Renaissance the nobility retreated to faraway countryside estates for extended leisure stays. Only in the nineteenth century, however, with the ascendancy of the true, widespread middle class and fostered by new and easier modes of transportation--railroads, steamboats, stagecoaches, the horseless carriage--did vacationing become available to the masses. In America, Florida, then California, established the first resorts to attract mass-tourism, and by the 1890’s, company-abetted vacations became the norm, allowing those early Clark Griswolds to indulge their adventurous spirits.

Tue
08
Mar

Horror Books A Vacation In DarkLit Press's Slice Of Paradise

Ahhhh, a vacation. To get away from the crushing rat race of the workaday world, to trade the million-and-one soul-corroding frustrations of modern life for exotic shores, white sandy beaches, blue skies, surf, sun, good food and plenty of umbrella-accented cocktails. To bask on your lounge chair, relax, and let your troubles slip away, steadfast in the knowledge that the ravenous horde of brain-hungry undead devouring the other beach combers will never get to you.

Wait, what? A zombie apocalypse on this beautiful tropical isle wasn't highlighted in the brochure at the travel agency. Is it too late to consider a refund?

Wed
05
Jan

Better You Believe a Vital Top Tier of Independent Horror

Better You Believe

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

                                        --H.P. Lovecraft

 

Horror stories, it has been contended, were likely the first types of tales created and told by humans. For primitive, cave-dwelling bands isolated in an unknowable, hostile world not of their making, surrounded daily by pain and terror and death, recounting ghastly events--both real and elaborately imagined--served to process their harsh surroundings in a way that not only entertained, but educated.

Do not venture into the valley over the next ridge, one aged Neanderthal says to the disbelieving youths of his tribe. If you do, you shall never return.

Tue
07
Sep

Who's Who in the DC Universe? A Whole Ominibus of Characters!

Who's Who in the DC Universe (Volume 1)

This may come as something of a shock to readers who have entered the world of DC Comics within the past 20 years, but there are actually more characters in that universe than just the ones appearing in the BATMAN comics. So many, in fact, that at one point in the mid-1980s, DC saw fit to publish a monthly index of each character in alphabetical order. Who's Who in the DC Universe ran for twenty-four issues to run through the DC pantheon from A to Z... and even then, it wasn't complete, because new characters were continually added, origins were being tweaked, universes were collapsing, and -- you get the idea. So update volumes were published, including an innovative production method of printing the pages on 3-hole looseleaf for collecting in two different 3-ring binders (with covers by George Perez and Brian Bolland, and I'm glad to actually possess both of them). 

Yeah, there was a lot to keep up with.

Sat
28
Aug

Batman Earth One Volume 3 Continues Saga of More Grounded Batman Becoming Less So

Batman Earth One Volume 3

The BATMAN: EARTH ONE graphic novels from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank represent a fresh take on the characters -- the heroes and villains -- of the Batman mythos and give them something of a more "real world" foundation. The crimes are more gruesome, the villains more demented, but to date the only presence of any real super-normal capabilities have been exhibited by Croc -- who in this telling becomes an ally of Batman instead of an enemy. Alfred is the butler, but only as a cover of necessity, having been a former merenary in debt to Thomas Wayne and saddled with young Bruce upon the death of his parents.

Thu
22
Jul

War Comes to Earth in Brooklyn Dean's 'Grieving the Spirit'

Grieving the Spirit

'For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.' — 2 John 7 (King James Bible)

 

From Roman Emperor Nero, infamous for his persecution of early Christians, to notorious English occultist Aleister Crowley and '90's shock-rock media-martyr Marilyn Manson, many throughout history have been labeled, for one reason or other, by one group or other, as the Antichrist. Even American president Ronald Wilson Reagan (accused, according to urban legend, of being In League With Satan due to having his first, middle and last names each consist of six letters) was believed by some to be an avatar of The Evil One, just as The Omen films built an unholy franchise upon Damien's slight shoulders.

Fri
02
Jul

Captain America: The First 80 years

Captain America First 80 Years

2021 marks the 80th birthday of Marvel's patriotic Avenger, Captain America. The brainchild of comic legends Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, he almost became known as Super-American, until Simon nixed it in favor of what has now become a household name, due in no small part to the string of successful movies produced by Marvel Comics.

Captain America: The First 80 Years is a by-the-decade retrospective of the hero's journey, detailing his origins, his evolution and adaptation to the threats of each decade, and his retroactive continuity changes that turned him into a beloved comic book hero. The crew at Titan have gone out of their way to not only tell the story of Captain America, they've nestled it in the story of the comic book industry and American 20th century history as well, so that a full and appreciable context exists.

Fri
14
May

IDW's New Coloring Book Not Just For The Birds

Smithsonian Birds

Coloring books for grownups has been a growing trend over the last handful of years, providing a therapeutic stress relief while offering up complex, highly detailed works of art just waiting to be filled with tones of one's own choosing. The subject matter ranges from animals to celebrities to kaleidoscopic designs.

IDW's latest contribution to this genre takes things up a notch, however, with this 80-page collection on heavy gauge paper. Birds: A Smithsonian Coloring Book is not merely a coloring book, but a fact-filled guide to the species. Each project is a two-page spread, with the bird to be colored on the right while the left page is devoted to a framed set of facts, figures, and trivia about the specific breed. As such, this isn't the kind of book where you'd be inclined to tear a page out upon completion to pin up on your refrigerator.

Wed
10
Mar

Cirsova Publishing to Reprint Nearly-Lost Julian Hawthorne Planetary Romance, The Cosmic Courtship

Cosmic Courtship

LITTLE ROCK, AR—Cirsova Publishing is proud to announce that it has partnered with Michael Tierney and Robert Allen Lupton to restore and reprint Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship [https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cirsova/the-cosmic-courtship-by-jul..., a never-before-collected pulp Planetary Romance by the son of famed American author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Mary Faust, a brilliant scientist, has developed a machine that can allow the conscious human soul to explore the cosmos! Her promising young assistant Miriam Mayne has accidentally transferred her consciousness Saturn, where she falls under the enchantment of an evil sorcerer! Jack Paladin, her love, sets out after her on a thrilling celestial journey to the ringed planet! Swashbuckling adventure and high romance await in Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship!

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