Category Archives: Fiction

RED SKY available now!

Howdy do, folks?!  It’s with great pleasure that I can announce Red Sky is once again available in paperback and ebook.  Thanks so much to Sinister Grin press for releasing the new edition.  In the coming year, they’ll also be re-releasing Lights Out and Just Like Hell (with a little added surprise), so stay tuned for that.

2015 Top Reads

Well, another year has come to an end.  Maybe you noticed that, but more than likely you’re too busy watching Star Wars.  I get it.  If I wasn’t terrified of crowds, I’d be seeing it today, too.  Instead, I’m writing this for you.  Pretty cool, huh?  Eh, just roll with it….

Anyway, as I have to say every time I do one of these lists, these are not all books that came out this year.  These are books I read this year.  I am constantly playing catch up and–shocking!–I still haven’t caught up.

So enjoy.  Then follow some links and buy some books.  There’s still time before Christmas!

10. KNIFE FIGHT AND OTHER STRUGGLES by David Nickle – This year, I read a lot of short fiction.  Gotta say, I am so glad I did!  Of all the amazing genre shorts I read this year, this collection contains some of the best.  Nickle’s short fiction settles in deep and refuses to let go.  Strange love stories like “Looker” leave you feeling lovely and shaken and aching, while horrifying satire like “Knife Fight” leaves you thrilled and…also shaken.  To me, the masterpiece of this collection is “Basements,” a story that scared the hell out of me and is one of the quartet of stories I think every genre author should read.

9. HAIR SIDE, FLESH SIDE by Helen Marshall – Marshall writes the kind of dark fantasy the makes your skin crawl.  The stories in this collection cover the gamut from ghost stories to the downright bizarre. Little girls who receive the bodies of saints for their birthdays, editors who find lost manuscripts written on the inside of their skin, and so much more.  You will find something incredible in this collection.

8. THE VISIBLE FILTH by Nathan Ballingrud – Brutal, grimy, horrifying. This novella, about a bartender who recovers a cell phone after a violent brawl and starts receiving more and more disturbing/violent messages, pulls no punches.  Ballingrud starts with a place full of dirt and shadows, makes you feel at home there, and then slowly turns up the heat.  An excellent study in rising tension and engaging characters.

7. WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY FINE by Daryl Gregory – A support group made up of very unique people might just save the world from a very ancient, otherworldly terror.  This novella was the first Gregory I’ve read, but it will be nowhere near the last.  He creates riveting characters and lets the story roll out naturally, not to mention the amazing amount of imagination and a brilliant, heartfelt final twist.  Read.  Now.

6. AVAILABLE DARK by Elizabeth Hand – Cass Neary ain’t your standard heroine.  I mean, she has experience with heroin.  And speed.  And pills.  And death.  She’s lived hard, she’s a mess, and she’s tough as a metal bucket.  There is a lot to love about Cass Neary, but don’t you dare pity her.  This book, the sequel to Generation Loss, is in many ways its equal and in some ways its better.  In this one, Cass travels to Europe to authenticate a series of gruesome photographs for a collector and ends up embroiled in a series of murders related to the Scandinavian black metal scene.  If the standard crime novel isn’t mean enough for you, check out this one.

5. CONFESSIONS by Kanae Minato – Yuko Moriguchi is a teacher giving her last lecture in the wake of her four-year-old’s accidental drowning.  Here’s the thing, though: Yuko knows her child’s death was no accident.  It was murder.  Further, she knows two of her students are the murderers.  This novel, told from several points of view, adds layers of tension and intrigue in a way that never lets you forget the very real hearts of its characters.  You’ll find yourself cringing on one page and then cheering on the next.

4. LET’S PLAY WHITE by Chesya Burke – I was four years late reading Chesya Burke’s most recent collection.  It’s a mistake I will not make again.  At turns terrifying, thought-provoking, and heartbreaking, the stories in Let’s Play White examine society, relationships, and the horrors humans inflict on each other and ourselves, all wrapped in delicious, fantastical prose. The story “Purse” is still lodged in my brain.  I can’t shake it loose.

3. NOT FOR NOTHING by Stephen Graham Jones – Hands down, the best noir I’ve read in years.  Nicholas Bruiseman is a disgraced homicide detective living in a storage unit in his Texas hometown.  When his former cheerleader crush shows up asking for help, it leads him on a path straight to destruction.  Nicholas is all too human, making choices he thinks are the right ones only to find they were wrong at best and downright stupid at worst.  Jones writes prose that crackles with a pitch black energy.  This one, here…amazing.

2. A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS by Paul Tremblay – Look, if you read any list of the best horror novels of the year, you’ll read about this book.  Stephen King loved it.  Brian Keene loved it.  Everyone loved it.  Why?  It’s amazing.  A demon possession novel that makes you continuously doubt there’s an actual possession taking place, A Head Full of Ghosts keeps you guessing right up to the last page and beyond, the way The Caretaker of Lorne Field and Gone Girl did in years past.  Paul always delivers the goods.  He does the same here, and it is well worth the read.

1. THE PULSE BETWEEN DIMENSIONS AND THE DESERT by Rios de la Luz – Holy Hell, man.  I was not prepared.  Not even a little. Rios de la Luz came out of nowhere to deliver this collection–her first–and amaze me on every level.  In these stories she rides a razor’s edge between crime, fantasy, and horror (so much so that some might call these stories bizarro, which I find steals some of the credit due her incredible balancing act) while exploring such themes as alienation, racism, sexism, family, and so much more.  Some stories are sweet and wondrous, while some are so brutal they’ll make you flinch.  No other book I read this year was so refreshing and thought-provoking.  nothing made me feel as deep and desperately as this collection.  Rios is it.  Check her out immediately.

Slab City T-Shirts!

Heya, everyone!  If you’re fans of my over the top zombie/hot rod novel The Slab City Event, then I have some excellent news for you!  The fine folks at Sinister Grin Press were kind enough to create as serious of Slab City Event T-Shirts.  You can pick the color, and there are plenty of options. Go grab one, wear it with pride, and I will give you an awkward-yet-heartfelt thumbs up if I ever see you wearing one. Have a good one, people!

Armadillocon Schedule

This coming weekend, I’ll be appearing at Armadillocon in Austin, TX.  It looks like this will be my only convention appearance this year (yay, hometown convention!), so you might want to come out.  or not.  I’m not the boss of you.

Anyway, here’s my schedule….

SATURDAY

Career Adjustments for the Writer
Sat 3:00 PM-4:00 PM Ballroom E
Liu, Maresca, Southard, Swendson, Weisman, Wells*,
Knowing when it’s time to switch agent, publisher, genre, or even (last resort) your name.

Southern Gothic Fiction
Sat 7:00 PM-8:00 PM Ballroom D
Lansdale*, Richerson, Southard, Spencer, Wade, Wood
What is the intersection of Southern Gothic and SF/F? Do the themes being explored today differ from Southern Gothic of the past? Why does the South seem to have a monopoly on deeply flawed, eccentric, morally ambivalent characters?

Reading
Sat 8:30 PM-9:00 PM Conference Center

Ghost Stories
Sat 10:00 PM-11:00 PM Southpark A
Finn, Osborne, Rountree*, Sanger, Southard
Are they considered horror or dark fantasy, and are they even viable in today’s literature?

Short Fiction You Shold Have Read Last Year
Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM Southpark A
Fischer, Rylander, Sisson*, Southard, Schwarz
Our panelists discuss short fiction from the last year that you need to know about.

Autographing
Sun 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Dealers’ Room
Rose, Oliver, Southard, Swendson, Yoachim

The Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again? Release Contest!

In a few days, my new collection Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again? will be available. This one’s a big deal for me. Firstly, because it’s a collection of four novellas, which is something I’ve wanted ever since seeing the cover of Stephen King’s Different Seasons back in the 80’s. Secondly, it features an introduction by Laird Barron, which still just barely makes sense to me.  Laird’s a damn hero of mine, and it’s an amazing honor to have him write an intro for this collection.  Finally, this is the first time I’ve worked with J. David Osborne and Broken River Books, something I’m hoping to do again sooner rather than later.

Because of all of this, I’ve decided to celebrate the release of Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again? with a contest.  So listen up.  Hopefully, you’ll think this is as cool an idea as I do….

THE WILL THE SUN EVER COME OUT AGAIN? RELEASE AND REVIEW CONTEST

WHAT IS IT?

At its most basic, the contest is a chance for you to win free shit by doing nothing more than offering an honest review of my new book, Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again?

WAIT…HOW?

Okay, check this out.  Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again? will be available this week.  Once it’s available, pick up a copy and give it a read.  Leave an honest review (seriously, just be honest…I’m not fishing for five stars, here) at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, and then mail a link to said review to willthesuncontest@gmail.com. Your review enters you in the contest.  On June 1st, I’ll draw three winners from the entries via super awesome, name-from-a-hat technology.

Prior to this, I will need to buy a hat.

DO I GET ONE ENTRY FOR EACH SITE?

Sure, why not?  If you review on each site, you get an entry for each site.  No cutting and pasting, though!

CAN I WIN MORE THAN ONCE?

No.  Don’t be greedy.

WHAT IF I REVIEW BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY?

Then I thank you for your service. But I’m afraid I’m only counting reviews from the three sites mentioned above.

WHAT IF MY REVIEW IS JUST A LINK TO MY BLOG OR WEBSITE, WHERE I’VE REVIEWED THE BOOK?

Get out of my spotlight. I mean, thanks for reviewing the book, but we’re trying to promote me, here, not you.

OKAY, FINE. SO, WHAT CAN I WIN?

Ah! Now, we’re talking (also, I realize this is just me typing and that we’re not really talking). As I said above, there will be three random winners.  Those winners will, well, win…

FIRST PRIZE

Book package containing the limited, hardcover edition of my novel Pale Horses, signed and personalized; a copy limited, hardcover anthology Is There a Demon In You?, featuring novels by myself, Brian Keene, Wrath James White, and Mary SanGiovanni; and a personalized paperback of my novel Down.

SECOND PRIZE

Book package containing a signed, personalized limited hardcover of my novel Lights Out and a signed, personalized paperback of my novel The Slab City Event.

THIRD PRIZE

Book Package containing a signed, personalized limited hardcover of my novella Like Thunder and a signed, personalized paperback of Pale Horses.

ANY SPECIAL ADDENDUMS?

Star ratings without reviews don’t count. Reviews that make it shockingly obvious you haven’t read the book don’t count.

All right. You have until June 1st.  Go!

So, there you have it.

Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again?

In March, the super awesome Broken River Books will release my next collection. Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again? collects four novellas into one dark, weird, potentially heartbreaking package.  Among those novellas you’ll see redneck magician Charlie Crawford (in anticipation of his first novel, which is completed) and ancient evil The Darkness Below (from Down).  It also collects my long out of print novella He Stepped Through, which has been rewritten a tad.

But wait…there’s more.

I’m both thrilled and honored to tell you Laird Barron wrote an amazing introduction for this.  Laird’s a freakin’ hero of mine, so this is absolutely jaw-dropping for me.

So stay tuned in March.  Will the Sun Ever Come Out Again? Dig it, baby.

SLAB CITY paperback, ebook, and giveaway

Hi, everybody.  It’s been a while.  That’s my fault.  I do most of my yapping over on facebook, these days.  I’ll try to bring it back over here, so we’ll see how that goes.

So what’s new?  Well, my zombies featuring hot rods, go-go dancers, paranoid militants, bikers, retirees, and an old man with a giant pistol and a lot of drugs novel THE SLAB CITY EVENT is about to graduate from limited edition to paperback and ebook. The folks at Sinister Grin Press tell me both edition should be available within the next few weeks.

To help celebrate this good news, Sinister Grin is also hosting a book giveaway over at Goodreads. Head on over, sign up, and maybe you can win some free books!

See all of you soon!

Mia Moja and One Summer

Happy Monday, folks.  I just wanted to take a second and bend your ear.  There are a couple of books I think might interest you.

The first is MIA MOJA, an anthology celebrating Thunderstorm Books’ 100th hardcover. Edited by myself and Michael McBride, this sucker contains novelettes from Brian Keene and Bryan Smith (reprints) and original novelettes by myself, Mike, J.F. Gonzalez, Mary SanGiovanni, Shane McKenzie, Gene O’Neill, and Ronald Kelly.  This one is a signed hardcover limited to 80 copies and should be considered by serious collectors.  Check it out.

The second book I want to tell you about is pretty personal.  I became a writer because of my older brother Mark.  He was one of the kindest, funniest spinners of stories I’ve ever known, and he could do great things with language.  For years, he wrote the satirical Mud Hollow News for our local paper.  He also wrote several novels, but none of them were ever published.  When my brother Mark died unexpectedly a few years ago, he left us as an unpublished writer.

Now, his sons have changed that.

ONE SUMMER is the book Mark considered his masterpiece.  Clocking in around 242k words (yeah, it’s a long one), ONE SUMMER of four friends who encounter a slew of trouble and terror while on a camping trip.  I never got to read the manuscript, so I’m very excited about getting a crack at the novel in its “closest to finished” state.  I hope you check it out.

IN THE DARK available for pre-order

IN THE DARK is available for pre-order through your local comic book shop. It features brand-new horror comics by myself, Rachel Deering, Scott Snyder, Justin Jordan, Cullen Bunn, Duane Swierczynski, Brian Keene, F. Paul Wilson, Tim Seeley, Marguerite Bennett, Matthew Dow Smith, James Tynion IV, Sean E. Williams, Mike Oliveri, Mike Henderson, Mack Chater, Alison Sampson, Valerie D’Orazio, and many more.

On a personal note, this sucker marks my return to comics after eight years away.  It’s great to be back.

To pre-order from your local comic shop, give them this code:  FEB140452 IDW