Emz’s Library: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on November 22, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Horror writing month – reference books.

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, by Daniel Pool
From fox hunting to whist- the facts of daily life in 19th century England

whatjaneaustenatecoverartThis is by far the most helpful book I’ve ever bought in regards to 19th century England. I borrowed this book from a friend before I even had access to the internet. I borrowed it for so long, I was ashamed, returned it, and bought my own. There are just some books that are too valuable to borrow or loan from the library and this is one of them. Not only has it helped me understand the time period and write truer accounts, it’s become a valuable source of understanding the everyday life of the age. Even if you aren’t a writer, this book is interesting.

There is a glossary in back which gives you more than what a dictionary can give. Not only what the word means, but what the word meant (what significance it held) in that time period.

The book also has extensive explanations about occupations and classes, games and leisure activity, and the subject I’ve used it most for, currency and titles. Nowadays you can surely get a lot of this stuff online, but how many hours searching would you have to do before you found it all and how can you be sure it’s as accurate as a fact checked book such as this?

As a reader, I especially liked all the game descriptions and glossary. When first reading Jane Austen’s and Dickens’ works, there are many things I wanted to know more about. I wish I’d had such a book to help me understand the culture before I was fully versed as we are now with all the movies in the genre.

This is definitely my number one book in my authors reference shelf.

Free Fiction Friday: Michael Lee Johnson

Posted in News with tags , , , on November 21, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

Spirits of the Schizophrenic Dead

By Michael Lee Johnson

I am linked to the spirit world

by my own choice, character;

I connect with these people

because I thought they were lonely.

I use simple, plain language like you would understand.

I toss gold coins around their houses,

hear tinny sounds jumping out of the walls

screaming at me with human voices.

They say back to me that I was within their walls.

I tell them they are crazy.

My life is leading into the spirits of walking dead.

I am linked to the spirit world.

This night, in front of my cottage,

I toss my evening cape and all my

vampire clothing into the ocean.

I grab all my cassette tapes, the ones

I talk to them with, my poems, my dreams my nightmares-

toss them all into the ocean tonight at once,

waves belch.

I feel like a crossword puzzle,

parts missing my words,

jackhammer pounding my skeleton face.

But, now I am no longer haunted by a dictionary of the past,

my therapist is now my best friend.

We take photographs of each other,

we share them with no one.

I’m alive, but lonely, and enjoy the taste of bagels.

I touch them and they feel secure, safe within me.

Speakers of spirit world silence.

-2008-

(R-2013)

*********************************

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era: now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 27 countries, he edits 9 poetry sites. Michael is the author of The Lost American: “From Exile to Freedom”, several chapbooks of poetry, including “From Which Place the Morning Rises” and “Challenge of Night and Day”, and “Chicago Poems”. He also has over 71 poetry videos on YouTube. Find out more at: http://poetryman.mysite.com/

Review: Of Monsters and Madness

Posted in News with tags , , , on November 20, 2014 by Emerian Rich

ofmonstersBeing a life-long fan of Poe and his poem Annabel Lee especially, I was more than excited to read Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday.

A girl named Annabel Lee comes to Philadelphia to live with her estranged father after her mother dies. A young woman in a strange city, she yearns to connect with her dad, but finds he’s a jerk. Grumpy and bothered by her presence, he doesn’t make her feel welcome at all. His behavior is blamed on an illness, but I suspect he was a jerk before the illness set in, because not even in tender moments does he show any sort of compassion. To add insult to injury, he is constantly angry with Annabel’s (what he considers) ill manners and wild ways. All she wants to do is get to know him and study medicine. Him being a doctor, you would think he’d be proud, but he chastises her for doing it.

Thankfully, she has her grandfather, a kind aristocrat sort of fellow who makes way too many excuses for his son. He is a comfort to Annabel, though, and makes her stay bearable. She also has a young maid Maddy who becomes her confident and friend.
Shortly after arriving, Annabel becomes acquainted with her father’s assistant, Allan (Poe), who she begins to care for. She also finds out there have been murders in town that her father may be connected with.

I liked the fish out of water story and I enjoyed Annabel sharing her culture with the others in the house. I liked that she felt a duty to help the ill as her mother had and that she found small ways to use her medical knowledge despite her father’s aversion to it. I also liked the Poe references and the author’s vision of Poe’s time in Philadelphia. I think he would have approved of her artistic license in painting him as a young, but brilliant writer who was destined to become a macabre icon. I also really enjoyed the Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde angle, incorporating Robert Louis Stevenson’s idea into this already dark piece of work.

When I dove in, I wasn’t sure I’d continue reading an entire novel in first person, present tense. In a world where 3rd person past is the norm, it was uncomfortable for me to say the least. If I was not such a fan of the theme, I’m not sure I would have made it through it. It’s unfortunate the publisher/editor/author allowed the tense to ruin what was a spectacular story.

Despite my overall like of the story, there were several questions left unanswered. This combined with an unresolved ending (especially with no mention of a sequel) earns a lower rating from me.

I’d say the author did Poe and Poe enthusiasts proud, I just would have liked it in a different tense format.

Review: Axes Of Evil edited by Alex S. Johnson

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2014 by David Watson

21821706What’s better than a big book full of horror fiction? The answer is a big book of horror stories that are about Heavy Metal music. Axes Of Evil is a heavy metal anthology for people who are passionate about metal music and horror fiction. There are 34 stories in this collection that go from supernatural horror to comedy to splatterpunk. Axes of Evil is edited by music journalist and horror writer Alex S. Johnson and it includes stories from Sephera Giron, Terry M. West and Charie D. La Marr.

There are so many good stories in Axes Of Evil that its hard to pick just a couple to talk about but one of my favorite story in this collection was The Plaster Casters Rise Again by Charie D. La Marr. Since I love stories that combine horror, humor and smut this one really appealed to me. It’s about a woman who makes molds of Rock Stars privates and goes to a metal show to get a mold from a rock star named Thor. Thor always talks in the third person and considers himself to be the viking god of thunder. I thought it was hilarious the way Thor talks about the women he has been with and the situation that makes Thor loose his temper towards the end was funny.  There is another good story by Charie D. La. Marr in this book called Once Bitten, Twice Shy. This is a more serious story and deals with a night club fire that killed almost 100 people in Rhode Island back in 2003.

Another story I liked was All the Rage by Lindsey Beth Goddard. This story was told by a rock god who has been living disguised as a singer in a boy band. The rock god gets tired of hiding his true self and decides to give his fans a surprise. I liked the concept here of rock gods that don’t like music that isn’t heavy.  The editor of the book Alex S. Johnson has a great story here also called Die, Clown, Die! This one shows the diversity of stories in this book. It’s about a guy dressed as a clown that goes to a clown metal show. He goes to the wrong place and the band that is playing is called Bozokill and they don’t like clowns.

Battle Of The Bands by Joel Kaplan is another one of my favorites in this book. This is a futuristic story where the competition between the bands isn’t just about having the best songs, they also have to kill the other bands and try to be the most shocking. This story was gruesome but entertaining at the same time. These bands torture their audience and  and use their instruments as weapons to slice through their competition. This story is an original idea and has to be read to be believed.

At 572 pages, Axes Of Evil is one massive anthology. For fans of horror and heavy metal this is a must have. Both metal and horror have a lot in common, they both look at the dark side of life yet in my opinion have a positive energy to them. Reading horror and listening to metal is like a socially acceptable way to get your aggression out, so its great to see an anthology that merges the two.

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on November 18, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

offhabandsfPRESS RELEASE
September 21, 2014

Contact:http://www.horroraddicts.net
Email: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Every three seasons,HorrorAddicts.net chooses a new theme song.

Bands / Musicians are now welcome to submit their song for possible use on the show. If chosen, your song will be played as the theme song every show for three seasons.  Your band name will be mentioned on every show to thousands of listeners across the globe. HorrorAddicts.net is an international podcast with our largest fan bases located in: UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

The song submitted must be in mp3 format.
Send us an email to:horroraddicts@gmail.com

Email must include:
*Your band name

*Short (100 words or less) bio.

*An mp3 of the song you’d like considered

*Contact email

*Picture of the band in png, or jpg format.

ckgbadgeThis contest closes Dec 31st, 2014 and winners will be announced publicly in 2015.

The new theme song will debut on Season 10 ofHorrorAddicts.net starting in 2015.

By entering this contest, you are agreeing to allow your song played for three seasons ofHorrorAddicts.net.

John F.D. Taft on Horror Writing

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on November 17, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

Some Unasked Writing Advice,
Or How I Buckled Down on My Writing and
Shot to Authorship and How You Can, Too!

By John F.D. Taff

Sounds like an internet self-help program, doesn’t it? But, it’s true. Every. Single. Word.
I’ve been writing for about 25 years now, professionally at least. And by “professionally” I mean writing stuff that someone gives me money for. Not love. Not contributor’s copies. Just coin.

Writing is one of those things that seemingly everyone thinks they can do, or at least thinks they’d like to do. Tell anyone you’re a writer, and you usually get that “Ahh, yes. I have a great idea for a book.” To which I generally respond “Well, then, you should definitely write it.”

They won’t. I know it and they know it. Why? Because writing is hard. It’s not working on a road crew hard, or being a resident in a hospital grueling or chipping away in a coal mine strenuous. But it’s hard nonetheless. It does require sweat (of a sort). It does require a particular (and peculiar) foundation of skills. And, yes, it does require mining, at least the mining of experiences and emotions.

That’s why most people can’t ever seem to sit down and write something. It’s difficult.
And, let’s face it, the other reason most people don’t sit down and write something is because it’s boring. It’s lonely. It’s tedious. And there are so many, many things out there to distract you—the Internet, TV, life!

So, if you’ve actually put something down onto paper—a poem, a short story, even (gasp!) the beginnings of a novel—congratulations! You’re way ahead of the curve and well on your way to becoming an author.

“An Author?” you’re gasping (and I can hear you gasping!). “What’s the difference?”
An author is to a writer as a chef is to a home cook. The word “author” signifies that you’ve written something, written it so well that someone actually wants to pay you for it. Even if it’s just a few cents per word or twenty bucks, this simple act of payment sets you apart from even the small percentage of people who actually become writers.

So, how do you turn yourself from a writer into an author, you might ask? Ahh, therein lies the tale…

I’ll recount how my latest book—a collection of five novellas entitled The End in All Beginnings—went from a few written pieces to an actual, published book that’s receiving rave reviews at Amazon and from authors like Jonathan Maberry and Jack Ketchum.

Write. Write A Lot. Then Write Some More. This is the kind of advice that many aspiring authors get that makes them roll their eyes. “Work? Is that it? That’s the secret?” Yes, because, alas, there is no secret. It’s all work. All Writing. Worried that you’re not writing enough? You’re not. Write more. Write every day. Write good stuff, mediocre stuff, bad stuff. Write something all the time. Keep a journal and a pencil on your bedroom nightstand and jot down dreams and late-night ideas. The simple act of writing all the time will have two benefits, I guarantee it. First, it will make you a better writer. And ultimately, it will lead to your becoming an author. I’d been writing for more than half my life when The End in All Beginnings came out. Some of the stuff was new, but some of the stuff was two decades old. It needed editing and polishing, sure, but it came from a huge surplus of things I’d written in the past.

Get Readers and Get Feedback. And how do you do this? Submit. Submit a Lot. Then submit some more. Writing away in your tiny garret, then saving the pages to your encrypted hard drive where they will never be seen? OK, well, fine for a writer, but not an author. Your writing must be seen. It must be submitted. Find places to send your stuff. Go through the stress that is sending your writing into the world, where it will be ignored by editors…or, worse, beaten to a pulp, spit at and derided by editors. This is all part of the process. Before The End in All Beginnings was even a glimmer, I’d amassed a gigantic folder of rejections for my stories. It’s all part of the journey from writer to author. Writing requires readers and feedback, and the only way to get this process started is to submit your work.

Listen to Editors. And Don’t Listen to Editors. So you’re submitting your stuff? Excellent. Most of the time, you’ll just get form letters rejecting your material. Sometimes, though, you’ll get actual letters from actual editors offering criticism of the story; what didn’t work for them and why they’re not buying it. Here’s the thing. It’s often best to put your ego aside and listen to these criticisms. It’s easy to get discouraged or think the editor’s a brainless creep, or they just don’t “get you.” But these people read a lot and can easily and quickly tell you what’s wrong with a story. Sometimes there’s nothing “wrong” with your story at all, it simply didn’t fit into what the editor was looking for. Here’s the flipside though: when it comes to an opinion, an editor is only one person. So don’t put too much into what they say. The razor’s edge here is to always remain open minded enough to take legitimate criticism but also confident enough of your own work to keep what makes it yours. “Object Permanence,” a novella in The End in All Beginnings, was an older story of mine that had been rejected dozens of times over two decades. I made changes to it many times, but some people still just didn’t get it…or like it. But I finally got to the place where I knew that this was the story I was seeking to tell; no more changes necessary. To be honest, some people still don’t like it, but meh. Some people have said it’s their favorite in the collection, so there.

Get Out and Meet People. Sending your work out into the world is one thing, but you also need to get out and mingle. Writers work on their own. Authors get out and press the flesh with readers and other authors. Join a writer’s group. Have a signing for a book. Go to conventions. I will tell you that my career didn’t really take off until I finally attended a professional writer’s convention in New Orleans two years ago. I met a lot of people, one of whom was the editor I eventually worked with to package the novellas that became The End in All Beginnings. While writing is, indeed, a lonely profession, and it might not take a village to raise your book, it does take some professional relationships. And the only way to make these is to leave your house occasionally. P.S. Also remember to bathe…just sayin’.

Have a Plan. In other words, make your own project. Don’t wait for someone to tell you that they’d like a novel on X-Y-Z subject. Don’t wait for someone to tell you that they’re looking for a collection of short stories. Put together your own project. I worked with that editor I met at that convention to develop The End in All Beginnings. We didn’t wait for a publisher to tell us they wanted something like it, we just did it. Then convinced a publisher that they should buy it. If you wait for people to tell you what they want, you’ll be waiting for a very, very long time. And you won’t be writing what you want to write.

Edit. Cut. Edit. Cut. Repeat. As with writing every day, editing and cutting and revising are the critical skills, I believe, that set writers apart from authors. Editing is a crucial skill that many writers just don’t have. And that’s OK, as long as you find someone who does have this skill and isn’t afraid of pissing you off now and then. There’s no substitute. As I said, a few of the stories in The End in All Beginnings went through two decades of editing., and they’re all the better for it.

Know When to Stop. As important as editing is, you gotta know when to stop. And whereas relying on an editor to tell you when things need to change, stopping has got to come from you alone. Only you, the author of the story, know when the piece is finished. When is that? For me, I know it’s done when I’m down to fiddling with words over and over, changing minutiae that don’t really make it better or worse, just different. (Incidentally, it’s the same way I know whether to take an editing comment or not.) Over editing can often be as much a problem as under editing.

Surround Yourself with Trustworthy People. Finding an editor you trust, who has the skills to do the job, is important. Finding readers who can read your work and offer honest opinions is vital, too. Probably not your mom or the nice lady down the street or your spouse. Find someone who likes to read the kind of stuff you write and isn’t afraid of telling you the truth. Then, find a publisher who is on the straight and narrow. Don’t become so elated that someone wants to publish your novel that you depart from your senses and sign a contract that gives away the work, your firstborn and even your eternal soul. Being an author rather than a writer means embracing the business side of writing. And that means making informed decisions about who’s going to bring your work to readers. If you don’t already know, let me be the first to warn you that there are bad people out there, and some of them are in book publishing. Be aware. I was lucky enough to find the good people at Grey Matter Press, who published The End in All Beginnings. They have a professional website. They publish what they say they’re going to publish. They pay, fairly and on time. People speak well of them. All of this is important when selecting a publisher.

Become Discouraged. And then Don’t. So you do all this, and submit, submit, submit. Your work is rejected, rejected and rejected. You get discouraged. This is normal. A writer’s life—and this doesn’t change as far as I can see when you’re an author—is one of incredible amounts self-doubt. Obviously, submitting your work and being rejected doesn’t help this. But I can offer no other advice than to simply get over it. If you can’t handle this aspect, then you are not cut out to be an author. Believe me when I tell you that there are people out there who’ve never published a single word, but who are better writers than King, Grisham, Rowling or Wolfe. Why aren’t they published, then? Because they couldn’t take the rejection and folded. Period. Being an author is equal parts skill, luck and intestinal fortitude.

Know What You Want. And Press for It. Are you looking to be paid? Or just be read? Are you wanting to build a career? Or do you just want to get Aunt Hilda’s recipes out to a wider audience? What’s going to satisfy you? For me, writing as long as I have been, my wishes for The End in All Beginnings were to build on the name I’d already established, and the works that had started to build my awareness a few years ago. Yes, money was part of this, but another building block in my reputation as a pretty good horror author was at least as important, if not more so. Decide what you want in advance, and set your expectations accordingly.

23213104Bonus: Promote Yourself. A Lot. Think your publisher is going to spend the dollars or time to market your book? Hah…it is to laugh. I mean, I got lucky with The End in All Beginnings. Grey Matter Press is headed by marketing gurus who actually do a lot of this. But most publishers, and I mean even the big guys in NYC, don’t spend much either time or money marketing your work. That, my little cottage-industry, is up to you. You’d better become fluent, if you aren’t already, in blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and every other applicable form of social media if you want to succeed. You don’t have to do them all. I maintain a fairly active blog (johnfdtaff.com) and a healthy Twitter presence (@johnfdtaff), but I don’t get into Facebook at all, much to the consternation of my publishers. Just can’t abide it. You need to select the types of marketing you do enjoy and can keep up with, and engage in them. Engage in them consistently and frequently. Because they will form your lifeline to the reader. Without that, you’re just a writer. And if you just want to be a writer, well, OK. But if you want to be an author, it’s easy. Go back to No. 1 in this list and start all over again!

ABOUT JOHN F.D. TAFF

IMG_85307869436552John F.D. Taff has published more than 70 short stories in markets that include Cemetery Dance, Deathrealm, Big Pulp, Postscripts to Darkness, Hot Blood: Fear the Fever, Hot Blood: Seeds of Fear and Shock Rock II.

Over the years, six of his short stories have been named honorable mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. His first collection, Little Deaths, was published in 2012 and has been well-reviewed by critics and readers alike. The collection appeared on the Bram Stoker Reading List, has been the No. 1 Bestseller at Amazon in the Horror/Short Stories category and was named the No. 1 Horror Collection of 2012 by HorrorTalk.

Taff’s The Bell Witch is a historical novel inspired by the events of a real-life haunting and was released in August 2013. His thriller Kill/Off was published in December 2013.

Taff’s short story “Show Me” is featured in the Bram Stoker Award-nominated anthology from Grey Matter Press, Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror – Volume One. His tale that breathes new life into the zombie apocalypse, “Angie,” appears in the Grey Matter Press volume Ominous Realities: The Anthology of Dark Speculative Horrors. His “Some Other Day” will be published in Death’s Realm, coming soon from Grey Matter Press.

More information about John F.D. Taff is available at johnfdtaff.com.

 

Review: Eternal Kingdom

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on November 16, 2014 by David Watson

51T0tSsTgWL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Vampires are becoming reckless and not adapting to new technology. Humans are starting to learn of their existence by catching proof of them with cell phone video and spotting them on security cameras.  Some vampires are so afraid of being caught on camera that they are starving themselves and going insane. The vampire council has to do something to keep the vampires hidden from humans and the answer lies in a game of chess.

Back in ancient Rome, humans discovered the existence of vampires because vampires fed on humans out in the open. Humans started hunting vampires to the point of extinction. It was decided that a game of chess would be played in the Roman Colosseum with living pieces. Humans versus vampires, when a piece is taken on either side, a human or vampire gets killed. The winning side got to decide what would be best for humans or vampires. The vampire side won, so the humans stopped hunting them and vampires went back into hiding.

Flash forward to the present day as the same problem is starting . The Vampires decide to have a life or death chess match in an abandoned warehouse in Detroit. If a vampire dies in the game he is killed with solar-powered weapons and if a human is killed he is slaughtered and drank dry by vampires in a dungeon below the life-size chess board.  The winning side gets to decide the fate of all vampires.

Eternal Kingdom by Michele Roger is a simple concept with a complex story. There are several vampires and humans involved in the chess match and they all have their own agenda. Some are in the game for vengeance, some for fun, others for love and a few were forced in and just want to survive. The only bad thing about this book is that there was almost to many characters with complex stories. The main story in Eternal Kingdom is excellent but every character has a back story and I wish the book was longer to give more time to each one.

My favorite characters on the human side were Robby and Rose. Robby is a soccer player who had an accident and has found his world turned upside down as he tries to rebuild and Rose is a nurse with terminal cancer who has a lot to gain from a chess match. Both of these characters change throughout the story and they are the most sympathetic in Eternal Kingdom. On the vampire side I liked Ruth and Micah. Both characters come across as evil like you want vampires to be but Micah has issues letting his human side go and it makes him an interesting character.

As a fan of vampire fiction, Eternal Kingdom is the kind of book that screams buy me. This book is part horror with some gruesome death scenes and part urban fantasy with vampires and humans going at each other gladiator style as part of a chess match. I liked the description of the weapons used in battle and the vampires below the arena wanting a taste of blood. People into playing chess will also like this book, I’ve never read a story where a game of chess was showcased and It made me want to learn how to play. Michele Roger has done a good job of creating some great characters in this book and I hope she writes a sequel so I can see more of them.

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