Mark Justice 1959-2016

61RFKPxBZVL._UX250_I woke up on the morning of February 10th thinking it would be just another day. As I was getting ready for work, I did a quick check of facebook and was sad to see that Mark Justice had passed away.  I didn’t know Mark personally but I bought many horror novels thanks to his show Pod Of Horror, including a zombie apocalypse book he co-wrote with David T. Wilbanks called Dead Earth.

Being the horror literature fan that I am, I instantly fell in love with his podcast Pod Of Horror. It started back in 2005 and over the years included interviews with big name horror authors such as Brian Keene, Jonathan Maberry , Clive Barker and many more. Horror writers and book publishers don’t always get the attention they deserve, but Mark’s podcast put the spotlight on them and due to his background in radio, his show had great production values. In addition to giving horror writers a voice, Mark had a wicked sense of humor and the podcast included comedy sketches with characters such as a Grim Reaper named Grim Ricktus and Chinese Dracula.

Mark Justice was also a storyteller. He wrote a regular column for his local newspaper and he had 15850196several short stories that were included in such anthologies as The Phantom Chronicles, Vol. 2 and Captain Midnight Chronicles. He also released an anthology of his own short stories called Looking at the World with Broken Glass in My Eye and made the journey into pulp fiction with a Western/Zombie novel named: The Dead Sheriff: Zombie Damnation (Volume 1)  He even edited an anthology called: Appalachian Winter Hauntings: Weird Tales from the Mountains

I was Really sad to hear of Mark’s passing, I may have never met him but because of his show I felt like I did. It was because of Pod Of Horror that I heard of horroraddicts.net. Back in 2009 on an episode of his show was a promo for the horror addicts podcast. So I gave it a listen and loved it, not knowing that I would eventually become a part of it. The world will be a sadder place without Mark Justice. Luckily we can still buy his books and listen to old episodes of Pod Of Horror and remember him for his humor and how he helped so many horror authors get noticed.

http://podofhorror.com/index.html

http://markjustice.blogspot.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Justice/e/B0034O22ZK

http://www.briankeene.com/2016/02/10/mark-justice-r-i-p/

Biting Dog Press

Since Biting Dog Press was nice enough to arrange for me to interview Nancy Collins for episode 81 of Horror Addicts, I thought I would write about who they are and what they have to offer. Biting Dog Press is a small independent book publisher that specializes in producing limited edition collectable books and e-books. All of their collectable books are handmade and limited to no more then 300 copies.

One of the collectable books they have includes  The Resurrection And The Life by Brian Keene which was limited to 250 signed hardcover copies. The book was produced in the style of a medieval manuscript and tells the tale of a shocking twist from the Book of John. They also have limited edition books from Edgar Allen Poe, Neil Gaiman and Jack Ketchum.

Biting Dog also has quite a few e-books available. Among them is Through Darkest America by Neal Barrett  Jr. Which I reviewed earlier in the season and its sequel Dawn’s Uncertain Light. The sequel follows a young man named Howie Ryder as he travels to Silver Island which was meant to be a symbol of how America was recovering after the great war. In reality the island is a concentration camp where genetic engineering is being done and his sister is being held captive.

Some other books from Biting Dog Press includes: The Transformed Mouse by Jack Ketchum which is a fable aimed at adults but not for people that fear mice. Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman which is about an angel who was murdered in heaven before the fall. Then there is Suffer The Flesh by Monica J. O Rourke which tells the tale of a woman named Zoey who was kidnapped in Manhattan and is about to learn what ecstasy and pain is really about.

Another good book that I just finished reading from Biting Dog Press is Knuckles And Tales by Nancy Collins. This is a collection of gothic short stories and novelettes all set in the South. Some of the things you’ll find in  this anthology include a half catfish half woman that lives in the Mississippi River, a half alligator half man that attacks fishermen, a traveling sideshow with a snake charmer, a geek that bites the head off of chickens, a voodoo priest who is leading his undead family out for revenge and an old witch who can turn your luck around for a price.

One of my favorite stories in this collection and really there isn’t a bad story in this anthology is Billy Fearless. Billy is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and hes not exactly stupid but he does have a tendency to take everything at face value and is immune to fear. Thinking that he is an idiot his father sends him away with some money and tells him to go out into the world,  make your fortune and never return. Billy leaves and comes to a little hotel in front of a haunted mansion on a lake. Billy gets dared to spend three nights in the mansion. Several people have been brave enough to enter the mansion but none have lived to tell the tale . Billy is not a normal guy though and the evil spirits that haunt the house may have met their match. I loved how Billy is presented in this story, hes a  nice person that wants to help people but because he is a little slow and never scared, people get the wrong idea. The end of the story is hilarious and I loved it when the evil spirit in charge of haunting the mansion confronts Billy. This story teaches that being righteous does have its rewards.

Another great story from Knuckles and Tales is The Two Headed Man. This is kind of a bizarre love story with an equally bizarre sex scene. It all starts when a man shows up at a diner just before it closes, he unzips his coat and the waitress and cook are surprised to see that he has two heads…or does he? I don’t want to tell any more about this story because it would ruin the surprise. What makes this story good is that it teaches that even people who are a little different can find love and never judge a book by its cover. Also the characters were beautifully written, I could relate to all of them and wanted to see them have a happy ending.

Nancy Collins makes the rural south come alive in Knuckles and Tales and I enjoyed the fact that three of the stories uses a traveling carnival and sideshow as its settings. If you like horror with a mix of comedy and old legends then you’ll want to check this one out.

Upcoming Events

September 7th-9th / Horrorhound Weekend / Indianapolis, Indiana / This festival includes a Terminator reunion, an Aliens reunion  and 150 vendors. There will also be a costume contest, an HMA.net mask fest which will showcase hundreds of realistic looking horror masks, a film festival and appearances by Elvira and Jamie Lee Curtis. For more information go to: http://www.horrorhoundweekend.com/

September 7th-8th / Drive-In Super Monster Rama / Vandergrift, Pennsylvania / Two nights of classic horror and sci fi films in an authentic drive in on route 66. Some of the movies being shown include: Countess Dracula, Son of the Blob, Psychomania, Horror House, Theatre Of Blood and Twins of Evil. For more information go to: http://www.dvddrive-in.com/driveinsupermonsterrama12.htm

September 13-16th / Scare-A-Cuse / Syracuse, New York / This is a horror, fantasy and Science Fiction convention that includes a zombie costume party and appearances by P.J. Soles from Halloween, Kane Hodder from Friday The 13th, Judith O’Dey from Night Of The Living Dead and Michael Berryman from The Hills Have Eyes. Also included is a film festival and a vendor room. For more information go to: http://scare-a-cuse.net/

September 14-16th / Con X / Kansas City, Missouri / A Horror and pop culture convention that includes screanings of D4, The Afflicted, InAlienable and The Hazing. There will also be appearances by Tiffany Shelps, Walter Koening and Jay Avovone and a live performance from Kyle Elliot and Voodoo Soul. For more information go to: http://www.conxkc.com/

September 20th-23rd / Killercon / Las Vegas, Nevada / This is a writers convention with writing workshops, author readings and a gross out contest. Some of the guests include: Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, William F. Nolan, F. Paul Wilson For more information go to: http://www.killercon.com/

Samhain Books and Halloween Reads

With episode 70 of horror addicts being about the future I wanted to talk about a new mass market Horror publisher called Samhain books. Back in the year 2000, Dorchester publishing started to release two horror novels per month under the Leisure books name. Leisure books was responsible for probably 80% of the horror novels that you saw on the shelf when you went to a book store.

The executive editor of Leisure Books and the man who was  in charge of their horror line since 2000, was Don D’Auria. Don grew up watching Chiller Theater and reading Famous Monsters magazine, along with any horror novel he could get his hands on. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in English from Columbia University and started work as an editor in the genre he loved. Don helped many horror authors launch their career, such as Brian Keene, Gary Braunbeck, Sarah Pinborough and Tim Lebbon.

Sadly, after working 10 years for Leisure books, Don was released in August of 2010. Due to declining sales, Leisure decided to stop printing new horror novels and had to make cut backs. The publishing industry was changing, book stores were not ordering as many books and started offering E-readers instead. Leisure did not change with the times and was slow to jump on the e-book bandwagon. As Mass Market sales were shrinking, new publishers were starting to grow through E-book sales. One of the publishers that is growing thanks to the E-book is Samhain books.

Now, Don D’Auria has a new job as executive editor of Samhain Books. Samhain will pick up where Leisure books left off and start publishing 2 horror novels a month, they will offer a print mass market version of their titles along with an E-book release.  They will also offer novellas and will help new horror authors start their career by accepting submissions from anyone who thinks they have a good story to tell. Starting in October Samhain will release The Seven Days Of Cain by Ramsey Campbell and Wolf’s Edge by W.D. Gagliani.

The Seven Days of Cain is a psychological horror novel about a man in Britan named Andy who starts to receive mysterious letters about murders that are taking place in America and  how Andy may be connected. Andy has to not only stop the murders but also find out why he is being tied to them. In the process he will see how uncertain his reality is and see everything he loves destroyed.

Wolf’s Edge follows a homicide cop named Nick Lupo who just happens to be a werewolf. Lupo has some powerful enemies including a mercenary organization who is trying to create on an invincible team of werewolves to take over the U.S military. The organization plans on exterminating detective Lupo and then taking over the country.

Since this is the Halloween season I also wanted  to talk about  a couple of good books to celebrate the season. The first one I read a few years ago by David J. Skal called Death Makes a Holiday. This book is a cultural history of Halloween that covers the history of the holiday from its celtic orgins to the present day and also takes a look at the urban legends that surround Halloween such as needles in candy and satanic rituals that take place on October 31st.

David J. Skal is a classic horror historian, he has written books on the history of Dracula, as well as a history on classic monster movies and biographies on Tod Browning and Claude Rains. In this book you will hear about the story behind the jack-o-lantern and how the holiday changed through the years. If you love Halloween like I do, then you want to check this book out.

I also want to mention a book I found recently and started reading on my nook called Midnight on Halloween by Autumn Gentle. This book has 31 short stories all having to do with Halloween. Some of the tales in this book include snake women, werecats, extreme gaming gone wrong and a post apocalyptic mosquito city. To find out more about Autumn Gentle go to  www.thefreakandthevampire.com.

September Events

September 1st / Club Sin: Dolls and Drags / Montreal Quebec / As part of the Montreal Fetish weekend pre-launch party this is a costume party with the theme being Dolls and Drag, prizes include tickets to The Montreal Fetish weekend and $200 in gift certificates from Cruella and music from DJ Faith. For more information go to clubsin.ca.

September 2-4th / Horrorfind Weekend / Gettysburg PA / Events include a zombie prom, scaryoke, a hearse and spooky car show, an evening with John Waters, book readings with Brian Keene, Christopher Golden, James A Moore, Thomas Monteleone and many more. There will also be several horror film screenings. For more information go to horrorfindweekend.com.

September 4th / The Exhibitionist Photo Tour / Montreal Quebec / Get out your kinkiest clothes and show your fetish colors. This event is open to all who want to dress up,  as all participants takes a tour of Montreal and visit all the best photo hot spots around town. This is the craziest adventure of the Montreal Fetish Weekend but just remember, no nudity. For more information go to www.fetishweekend.com.

September 4th / A Decadent Victorian Masked Ball /Montreal Quebec/ A night of masks. Let go of all the boundaries and enter a realm of fantasy beyond your wildest dreams. Be a participant and a voyeur and let your self be who you really want to be under the safety of your mask. Music provided by DJ Faith and DJ Xris Smack along with outrageous side shows. For more information go to fetishweekend.com/mask.htm.

September 9th -10th / Drive-In super Monster Rama / Vandergrift PA / Two nights of classic horror films on the big screen from the comfort of your car. Some of the movies being shown are Black Sabbath, The Last Man on Earth, Castle of Blood, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, Count Yorga Vampire, I Monster, along with old movie trailers, shorts and much more. $10 per person gets you a night of  retro fun. For more information go to http://www.dvddrive-in.com/driveinsupermonsterrama11.htm

Dark Love Books

On the topic of Dark Love I found mostly poetry collections, but a couple of novels as well, one I think looks good is Devil’s Decent 1: Purgatory by Claudia D Christian. Julian Douglas is a vampire, he has found a new pet in a woman obsessed with the night named Lily. Julian loves Liliy and Lily loves him. Can love work between a psychotic vampire and an equally-unstable girl? Only time will tell.  I read up a little on Claudia D Christian, she categorizes her work as dark romance and likes to write about love/hate relationships in the horror genre. As she puts it: “I see beauty in pain, suffering and uniqueness. I see ugliness in bliss…joy…perfection.”

Another novel is Beyond the Darkening by Kerry Allen. Amanda Tessler is working undercover in the  society for the preservation of humanity which is dedicated to ridding the world of vampires.  One day a vampire named Nathan whom she once loved and was dumped by, comes into her lab after being tortured by the preservation of humanity. Nathan has no reason to believe that the woman he once jilted will help him and Amanda can’t blow her cover. Despite his fears that he will be destroyed by Amanda, Nathan thinks that he may still love her.

Logos by Cheryl Anne Gardner is a novel that includes heartbreak, pain, acceptance and redemption through love. It tells the story of an immortal being named Caline. Caline looks like a normal woman but she is actually one of the four horseman. She is death and this novella follows her life from ancient rome to the present day where she has fallen in love with a schizophrenic artist. Caline has been in love before but love between death and a mortal never seems to work out.

Those were the only three novels that I found that fit into the dark love genre. There are quite a few paranormal romance novels out there that I can mention but they seem to lean more towards romance and really aren’t very dark. I did find two poetry collections that fit the dark love topic one is Blood and Romance: Poetry for the Hopeless Romantic in Every Horror Fan by Anthony Avina. I couldn’t find a lot of information on this one except that it includes poems about tragedy, love and horror and some of the author’s other works include I was a Teenage Zombie and One Foot in the Grave.

The other poetry collection is Dark Poetry from a Gothic View by Rev. Magus M. Douglas Hockett. This collection includes poems on tragic love, depression, suicide, war and betrayal. This one sounds very depressing but I felt it fit the topic so I wanted to mention it.

Lastly, I wanted to mention Hungry for Your Love an Anthology of Zombie Romance edited by Lori Perkins.  Stories of love and zombies, I can’t think of anything more dark. This anthology includes stories by Brian Keene,  Kilt Kilpatrick and Jan Kozlowski who comments on this blog regularly and has a guest post coming up. Jan’s story is called First Love Never Dies and tells the tale of a couple of cops trying to take down a zombie pimp and rescue an old high school love. Another story in this anthology is Everyone I Love is Dead by Elizabeth Coldwell about a man who comes back from the grave to see his old love but finds that she has moved on to a new lover.