Upcoming Collections You Must Own!

Sorry for the lack of a Monday update.  I was working on finishing up the first draft of a new novella called Mr. Gray.  Finally typed “The End” at around nine o’clock last night, so now I’m ready to do my little jibber-jabber thing.

If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good short story collection.  Ever since cracking the spine on my mother’s copy of Night Shift back in the eighties, I’ve been hooked on short stories, and I have a special kind of love for horror short stories.  I always tell people (or I would, if anybody ever asked), that I became a horror writer because I read “Graveyard Shift,” not because I read The Stand.

Anyway, a few writers I know have some incredible collections coming out in the near (or far, depending on scheduling and your patience) future.  I wanted to take a look at them and offer up my recommendations. 

First up is Norm Partridge with his collection Lesser Demons.  Norm Partridge writes pulp the way it should be written.  His prose crackles and is chock full of style, grit, punch, steel, and everything else you can ask for.  He marries the horror of adulthood with the wonder of childhood and creates something new and amazing.  He story “Black Leather Kites” made me want to go fight vampires with nunchuku.  That, my friends, is awesome.  I’ll be buying Norm’s books as long as he writes them.  Lesser Demons is scheduled for an April release.

Second on our list is Laird Barron’s second collection, Occultation.  Laird writes stories of the weird, fantastic, and horrific.  His often-dense prose is some of the best I’ve ever read, and his previous collection, The Imago Sequence and Other Stories, was one of two books I’ve read in recent years that completely changed my approach to prose.  Laird is one of the best writers to come down the pike in a long while, and you’d do well to pick up everything he has available.  Look for this one in May.

There’s a third story collection coming later this year that I’m very excited about.  Details remain scare, however, so I won’t mention it just yet. 

I remain hopeful to have some good news for you later this week, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The Weekend and After

So this past weekend was a good one.  Saturday, I ran up to Killeen with Lee Thomas to check out the Killeen Arts Festival and to hang out with Lucy Snyder and Gary Braunbeck, who were in attendance.  For a show that’s only in its second year, the Killeen Arts Festival appears to be in good shape.  I know I grabbed a few books while I was there.

Yesterday, I went to see Shutter Island with Shawna and the family.  Good, freaky flick.  Later, we went to a friend’s house for a night of true stories.  I got to tell the tale of when an Aurora cop frisked me in an old Wal-Mart parking lot because he thought I was a meanie drug dealer from Cincinnati.  Much fun!

Today, I get to start working on a new novella.  I wish I could tell you a little something about it, but I’m sworn to secrecy.  Trust me, it will be creepy.

This weekend, I’ll probably be working the door at STAPLE!  I’ll also be sure to spend some time at the pre-party and after party, wherever those are.  Have a good week, folks!

Announcement: Dead Set!

My latest zombie story (not Rundberg related, but still with the rotting), “In the Middle of Poplar Street,” is set for an April release in the zombie antho Dead Set, published by 23 House.

Book trailer and details can be found here: DEAD SET

Release: April 2010

Preorders get a 10% discount and free shipping.

It’s always nice to share a table of contents with good friends, better still when they’re good writers.


“Resurgam” by Lisa Mannetti
“Jailbreak” by Steven W. Booth and Harry Shannon
“Recess” by Rob Fox… See More
“Biting the Hand that Feeds You” by Calie Voorhis
“Judgment” by Stephanie Kincaid
“Hatfield the Usurper” by Matt Louis
“Ruminations from Tri-Omega House” by David Dunwoody
“Zombies on a Plane” by Bev Vincent
“Category Five” by Richard Jeter
“Survivors” by Joe McKinney
“Pierre and Remy Hatch a Plan” by Michelle McCrary
“Recovery” by Boyd Harris
“In the Middle of Poplar Street” by Nate Southard
“Seminar Z” by J.L. Comeau
“Only Nibble” by Bob Nailor
“Inside Where It’s Warm” by Lee Thomas
“Survivor Talk” by Mitchel Whitington
“The Zombie Whisperer” by Steven Wedel
“Good Neighbor Sam” by Mark Onspaugh
“That Which Survives” by Morgan Ashe

A Good Weekend

So Saturday I attended Aggiecon with Lee Thomas.  Neither of us had heard of the event until a few weeks ago, but it was a nice surprise.  The con was relatively small, but well-attended, and I got to watch a lightsaber battle.  All good things.

While there, I got to meet the wonderful anthologist Ellen Datlow (we both agreed we’d met somewhere before, but we couldn’t remember where) and comics legend Marv Wolfman.  It was great to be able to hang out with both and shoot the breeze.  I think of the years I went to Comic-Con, and I never could have pulled off that kind of face time, not without being in a packed-to-the-rafters bar.  Smaller is truly the way to go.

So yeah, a good weekend.  A great weekend.  And I deserved it!

Butcher Knives & Body Counts

The final contributor list for Dark Scribe Press’ Butcher Knives & Body Counts: Essays on the Formula, Frights and Fun of the Slasher Film was released this past weekend, and I’m pleased to point out that my name is on it.

I wrote an essay on April Fool’s Day, the 1986 classic which has long been my favorite slasher flick.  By now, you probably know my essay doesn’t trash the movie.  You’ll have to pick up the book, however, to see my rather original take on it (at least I think it’s original).

The book is scheduled for an October release, and it includes essays by Jack Ketchum, John Skipp, Lee Thomas, Jeeff Strand, and a host of others.  I know I’m looking forward to it! 

You can find out more at http://swingingmachetes.blogspot.com/

New World Horror Guest!


Two-time winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Artist

joins all-star convention line-up.


Austin – January 21: The World Horror Convention 2011 is honored to announce the addition of visionary artist and designer, Vincent Chong, as Artist Guest of Honor. The international conference of horror’s premier talents and their fans will take place in Austin, Texas from April 28th through May 1st, 2011.

“I’ve been a fan of Vinny’s work for years,” said convention co-chair Lee Thomas. “His use of texture and color are stunning, unique, and have put him in high demand the world over. It’s rare to find an artist whose work elicits such a strong sense of foreboding, particularly when the images he creates are so strikingly beautiful. Vinny is a wonder, and we can’t wait to bring him to the U.S. to meet his fans.”

Vincent Chong works as a freelance illustrator and designer in the UK. He has worked with clients from around the world on projects ranging from book and magazine illustrations to album art. His incredible illustrations have adorned the covers of the top names in horror fiction, including works by Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Joe Hill, Simon Clark, and others.

Chong joins award-winning authors Steve Niles, Joe Hill, Sarah Langan, Joe R. Lansdale, and Brian Keene on the WHC 2011 guest list. Additional Guests of Honor will be announced in the months to come. A website featuring convention and hotel information, registration, and more is live at http://www.whc2011.org/.

The World Horror Convention is an annual gathering of professionals in the horror industry: publishers, authors, artists, musicians, filmmakers, dealers and, of course, horror fans. WHC serves as both an industry insider’s networking event and a chance for fans of the genre to get together, meet some of the creative talents in the field, and generally spend a weekend celebrating All Things Scary.

Visit our guests at:

Steve Niles: http://www.steveniles.com/

Joe Hill: http://www.joehillfiction.com/

Sarah Langan: http://www.sarahlangan.com/

Joe R. Lansdale: http://www.joerlansdale.com/

Brian Keene: http://www.briankeene.com/

Vincent Chong: http://www.vincentchong-art.co.uk/

Dark Faith and chapbook offer

Dark Faith, an anthology of religious-themed horror tales, is now available for pre-order.  The anthology contains stories by Brian Keene, Gary Braunbeck, and Nick Mamatas, among others, and while my name isn’t in the table of contents, if you pre-order the book you’ll receive a promotional chapbook called Dark Faith: Last Rites that contains a story by me.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I will say it features Charlie Crawdad from Deeper Waters.  Go check it out!

Christmas and The Family

My second Christmas with Shawna, I heard what has become my favorite Christmas song.  We were out in Abilene, spending the holiday with her family (now my family).  On Christmas Eve, while taking a break from the regular activities of drinking and bullshitting, Shawna’s uncle put in a Robert Earl Keen CD.  Seconds later, I was listening to “Merry Christmas from the Family.”

I’m not sure if I can explain how this funny song that’s almost a novelty can be so touching to me.  For myself, it sums up the small things that make families, well, family.  It’s a simple, heartfelt song about keeping those special in your heart close to you.  At least, that’s what it is to me.  While it used to make me laugh, it eventually started making me thankful.  This year, it also makes me cry.

Have a happy holiday, everybody.  Tell your family and friends how much you love them.

By Robert Earl Keen

Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party
We were drinking champagne punch and homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn’t know what to think of him ’til he sang
Felis Navidad, Felis Navidad

Brother Ken brought his kids with him
The three from his first wife Lynn
And the two identical twins from his second wife Mary Nell
Of course, he brought his new wife Kay
Who talks all about AA
Chain smoking while the stereo plays Noel, Noel
The First Noel

Carve the Turkey
Turn the ball game on
Mix margaritas when the eggnog’s gone
Send somebody to the Quickpak Store
We need some ice and an extension chord
A can of bean dip and some Diet Rites
A box of tampons and some Marlboro Lights
Halellujah everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the family

Fred and Rita drove from Harlingen
I can’t remember how I’m kin to them
But when they tried to plug their motor home in
They blew our Christmas lights
Cousin David knew just what went wrong
So we all waited out on our front lawn
He threw the breaker and the lights came on
And we sang Silent Night, Silent Night, Oh Holy Night

Carve the turkey turn the ball game on
Mix Bloody Mary’s
Cause We All Want One!
Send somebody to the Stop ‘N Go
We need some celery and a can of fake snow
A bag of lemons and some Diet Sprites
A box of tampons and some Salem Lights
Halelluja, everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the Family

Felis Navidad!

A Good Weekend

Every now and again, you just need a good, relaxing weekend.  That’s what I had this weekend.  Originally, I’d planned to wrap presents and do laundry, but those got pushed aside in favor of naps and Christmas shows, as well as a short ride on The Late Late Show.

Despite my strict napping and TV-watching schedule, I found time to get out of the house.  Saturday night, I had a great dinner with fellow authors Joe McKinney, Lee Thomas, and Wrath James White.  Our familes got together at Wrath’s place, where we proceeded to decimate a turkey and plenty of other items.  I was careful to not bring out the pumpkin roll I’d made until Shawna and I were close to leaving.  Sometimes, it pays to be devious.

Sunday night, we went to my friends Doug and Becky’s house for dinner.  After eating what can only be called an insane amount of damn-tasty fish, Doug and his friend Phil interviewed myself and Austin screenwriter Clint (wow, his last name has escaped me) for their podcast.  That should be up later this week, and it will include a little contest.  Fear not, I’ll get info up as soon as I have it.