Press Release: The Conveyance

Press Release: The Conveyance

Journalstone Publishing Announces the Upcoming Release of The Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews:

The Conveyance is available now!

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Journalstone Publishing announces the upcoming release of The Conveyance by Brian W. Matthews. The Conveyance will be available wherever fine books are sold on June 17, 2016.

The Conveyance, the latest book by acclaimed novelist Brian W. Matthews, is a tightly-woven tale that fuses elements of Sci-Fi, horror, and thriller. A thought-provoking, powerful, intelligent novel, The Conveyance probes an extraordinarily challenging question: just how far is too far?

About The Conveyance: Beneath the calm waters and pastoral fields of Emersville, a deadly secret lurks. When psychologist Dr. Brad Jordan stumbles upon the odd happenings in the town, he unknowingly sets into motion a series of tragedies that could expose a danger long kept hidden from the world. As he doggedly pursues a trail of madness, suicide, and murder, he soon finds himself confronted with a massive conspiracy, and a sinister device known as the Conveyance…

A tense, taut and terrifying tale, The Conveyance is resplendent with twists, turns, and a pulse-racer of a plot. Informed by the author’s extensive experience as a therapist, The Conveyance teems with authenticity. The Conveyance is a standout thriller destined to stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

A lifelong Michigander, Brian W. Matthews graduated with degrees in microbiology and psychology and went on to earn a graduate degree in clinical psychology. He spent over a decade as a child therapist before transitioning to the world of personal finance. Matthews is also the author of Forever Man and Revelation. Visit Brian W. Matthews online at: www.brianmatthews.org

Journalstone Publishing is one of the country’s leading independent publishers of works within the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror genres in both the adult and young adult markets. JSP also owns and operates the Hellnotes website, which offers daily news and reviews of interest to genre readers and fans, and Dark Discoveries Magazine. Active within numerous major writers groups, including the Horror Writers Association (HWA), Journalstone Publishing (www.journalstone.com) is based in San Francisco, California.

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The Phoenix Girls

16206228At some point everyone feels like an outsider. In Penny Sinclair’s case she is a 13-year-old girl moving to a new town after the death of her mother. She has spent four months living in a group home and now is headed to the small town of Dogwood to live with her godmother Susan, who was best friends with Penny’s mother.

As soon as Penny moves into her home she notices a fox that seems to always be watching her. She has already been having mysterious dreams and doesn’t feel comfortable in her new surroundings. When she is outside one day the fox speaks to her, in fear she runs away but she can’t escape her destiny.

What Penny doesn’t know is that her mother once belonged to a group of witches called The Phoenix Girls and she is about to become one of them. The Phoenix Girls Book 1: The Conjuring Glass by Brian Knight is the first in a series from JournalStone Publishing  that young horror fans will enjoy. In a secret grove behind her new home is a cave, wands, magic keys and a book on how to become proper witches.

Penny is not alone, she soon meets another girl who has just arrived in town named Zoe and the two of them start training to become witches. Their spells don’t work half the time but they’re determined to keep trying. Something wicked is coming to Dogwood in the form of a magician with a big secret. The children of Dogwood start to disappear one by one and Penny and Zoe may be the only ones that can help.

The Conjuring Glass is a story geared towards middle school children and has a couple of themes that all kids can relate to. One is trying to fit in with other kids. Penny and Zoe are both outcasts because they are new in town and both are adjusting to their new surroundings. They have each other though and work well as a team. They learn magic together and get help with bullies from the talking fox. As the story develops, the girls are left to their own devices to rescue the kidnapped kids.

Another theme that is in this book is abandonment and loneliness. When Penny comes to Dogwood she feels that she is alone in the world. She is dealing with the loss of her mother, but also wonders who her father was and what happened to him. Penny is obsessed with finding him and her obsession leads her and the whole town into danger. I really enjoyed how the mystery of Penny’s father worked into the story.

While I did think that The Conjuring Glass was slow-moving at points, there was a lot to like about the book. All of the characters reminded me of kids that I once knew. I also think young readers will be able to relate to both Penny and Zoe. The setting and atmosphere were great and I liked the fate of the town’s children lying in the hands of two young witches. My favorite part was when Penny stands up to a bully that was much bigger then she was. It showed that Penny was a tough character and I found myself rooting for her. I think most young kids will love the mystery in The Phoenix Girls: Book 1 The Conjuring Glass and they will appreciate the spooky parts also. I would love to see where the story of The Phoenix Girls goes in future installments.

Forever Man

16112466The town of Kinsey is a quiet place in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Not much happens there until one night a mutilated body is found and a Seventeen year old girl who happens to be the daughter of police chief Izzy Morris goes missing. The only suspect in the murder is a black man who came into town at the same time the murder took place. To make matters worse for Izzy, not everyone in town is cooperating with the investigation and a second  strange man has been spotted around town.

Something evil is lurking in the woods around Kinsey and only the local banker’s autistic son seems to have an idea of what’s happening. The townspeople are trapped in the middle of a war between good and evil that has raged for years and will kill several innocent victims before it’s done. This is the storyline behind Journalstone Publishing’s Forever Man.

This story can best be described as a supernatural horror mystery with deep characters and a lot of action. This is Brian W. Matthews first book and it is excellent. The second scene where a werewolf type creature attacks two victims is chilling and really set the tone for the book. The monster may be terrifying but some of the characters in the story came across as even worse.

The characters are what really made this book great. For instance the third scene of the book focuses on Izzy Morris and her husband Stanley. I loved it when Izzy looks at her husband in bed and remembers how their relationship use to be, but now she looks at him and realizes she is not sure if she loves him anymore. Then as they both find out that their daughter is missing, you see how differently they  handle the situation. They both want to find their daughter but have different ways of doing it and they both have to suffer the consequences. Stanley and Izzy’s relationship is very reflective of what most middle-aged married couple’s relationships are like and I liked it being in the book.

Another character I liked that could be considered a main villain is  Jack Sallinen. Jack is a troublemaker from the beginning,   he won’t cooperate with the investigation, he talks down to the police chief and treats one of his sons named J.J. like garbage. His other son is Kevin who has a rare form of autism. Make no mistakes Jack is bad in the story, but the reason he acts how he acts is because he believes that it will help his son Kevin. Despite all of Jack’s flaws you feel a sympathy for him because what he does is out of love. I also liked how Kevin and Jack’s relationship affects J.J. and what he does about it.

The only bad thing about Forever Man was that I wanted to know more about the main villain and hero’s background. We know in the story that they have been battling each other for a long time but we don’t know much more than that. Also I noticed that the police in the story broke a lot of rules and it made me wonder if this was normal for small town cops. Mainly I enjoyed the book, I loved how the settings are described and the creature was great. One of my favorite parts was when it is revealed that the monster is not a mindless beast and can’t be stopped easily. Forever Man is a great horror novel that will stick with you when your done reading it and give you some nightmares to boot.

Limbus Inc.

17162718Are you down on your luck? Are you unemployed? Well the Limbus corporation is here to help. They already have a job that would be perfect for you, all you have to do is call. Of course the job may be to kill things to feed an alien princess or to help an alien creature who enslaves humans find a portal to his home world. Or maybe the job will be to stop a sacrifice that will keep evil from taking over the world.

They may not be glamorous jobs, but at least you will be employed. Then again maybe it would be better to be unemployed. This is the concept behind Journalstone publishing’s anthology called Limbus Inc. Limbus is a shadowy employment agency that finds the perfect job for someone with their back against the wall. That person finds a business card from Limbus and ends up getting the job that is perfect for them in every way. Things are never that easy though and the job seeker is left to face their worst fears.

This book contains five stories and a story within a story from the likes of Brett. J. Talley, Anne C. Petty, Joseph Nassise, Jonathan Maberry and Benjamin Kane Ethridge. If I was going to compare this book to a TV show its kind of like the Outer Limits. Each story is a kind of mix of science  fiction and horror.

The first story is The Slaughter Man by Benjamin Kane Ethridge. It’s about a man who has just lost his job in a slaughter-house and also found out his wife was divorcing him. He’s not sure what he wants and he feels a sense of hopelessness. All that changes when a mysterious woman in a business suit shows up talking about a new job that is perfect for him. I felt the author made a great point about not giving up in a horrible situation and I liked how the main character changed throughout the story.

The second story is The Sacrifice by Brett J. Talley. This one looks at a man who has seen some horrors in Afghanistan and Iraq. Coming home from war he is trying to find some direction in life and is given a job to find a kidnapped girl. The job isn’t as simple as it seems and is not what he thought it was going to be. This was a great horror story with a surprise twist.

The next story is called One Job to Many by Joseph Nassise. This tale takes place in the future and is about a recruiter for Limbus who takes on more than he can handle when he hires a man to travel to different time periods to change the past in his favor. This one was a great time travel story with some interesting characters. It answers the question what would you do if you could change the past.

We Employ by Anne C. Petty looks  at a man who couldn’t be more down on his luck and what he is willing to do to fix it. I thought this story really made a good point about how things are not always what they seem and how your luck can turn around at a moments notice. I also liked the idea of what kind of beings are among us without us knowing.

I liked all the stories in this book but my favorite was Strip Search by Jonathan Maberry. This horror tale follows a down on his luck private detective with a secret, who is hired to find the killer of sixteen women. I liked how the main character changes, I also loved the blood soaked ending and the mythology behind this story.

Limbus Inc. is a great anthology which really gets into what some people fear most. Which is the idea of what your willing to do to support yourself. It then shows you that there are even worse things to be afraid of. Limbus Inc. is a great book for Science fiction and horror fans alike.

Midnight Echo Issue 8

Cover-for-ME81In the last year, Journalstone publishing has grown to be a major publisher of  horror and speculative fiction  in the United States. Over the last year they have published several new novels, taken over the Hell Notes horror blog and bought Dark Discoveries Magazine. In addition to that they also have become the US distributor for Midnight Echo, the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association.

Midnight Echo issue 8 has just been released and has something that all horror fans will like. It contains 130 pages of dark literature, poetry, comics, interviews, art work, editorials, book reviews  and  non fiction pieces on mysterious locations in Australia.  Just looking through Midnight Echo magazine, you can see that it was a labor of love to put this magazine together.  The artwork is beautiful and the writing is excellent. The Australian Horror Writers Association does a great job of promoting horror art and literature in Australia, and they prove it in this magazine.

There are 12 short stories in this magazine with subjects ranging from zombies to an insane over protective mother. One of my favorite stories was A Visit With Friends by Joe R Lansdale. This story takes place in the future when people who didn’t get flu shots start to turn into zombies. There are four main characters, two of them have started to trap zombies and torture them which leads the other two to decide if the zombies deserve compassion or are they mindless creatures. I loved how the end leaves the reader thinking about what is morally right or wrong.

Another good story here is Blissful Ignorance by Matt Wedge which is about a very religious, overprotective mother and is told from a young girl’s prospective. The ending of this one is shocking and may be hard to read if your a guy. A lot of the the stories in Midnight Echo are by Australian writers or take place in Australia.  I think this makes Midnight Echo different then other horror magazines and gave things a local flavor.

Issue 8 of Midnight Echo also contains 3 poems and an article on understanding poetry written by Charles Lovecraft. Since I find most poetry goes over my head, I found the article very helpful. Other non fiction material in Midnight Echo includes an article about diseases in horror films written by Gary Kemble, an art column that explores the world of horror comics and interviews with Jack Ketchum, Lee Battersby and Glen Chadbourne.

The people who put together Midnight Echo aren’t satisfied with bringing you fiction and interviews, they also have some great artwork by Glen Chadbourne , Chris Mars, who did the cover and David Schembri.  The magazine also includes an ongoing comic series about vampires called Allure Of The Ancients, The Key To His Kingdom written by Mark Farrugia and illustrated by Greg Chapman.

Looking through the pages of Midnight Echo magazine, its obvious that everyone involved in the creation of the magazine has a passion for what they do. In the opening of issue 8 the editors say they want to publish “hard-edged-horror that pushed the boundaries and also blurred the distinction between right and wrong. ” I think they have succeeded in making  readers feel scared and entertained at the same time. Midnight Echo is a magazine for horror lovers by horror lovers and I think if your into horror you should give this magazine a shot.

Midnightechomagazine.com

Australianhorror.com

Apparition and The Void

The featured author for  episode 80 of Horror Addicts is Michaelbrent Collings and at the end of the podcast you can hear the first chapter of his latest book Appartition. Apparition is a hard core supernatural horror novel that is going to scare the hell out of you. I don’t even need to say to much about this book because when you hear the first chapter your going to want to buy it.

This book has everything that you would want in a horror novel, a spooky house, ghosts and an evil entity that possesses parents and makes them kill their children. The story is about a a father named Shane and his two kids trying to build a new life after Shane’s wife Kari tries to kill their two kids. The family moves into a new home that has a dark past. Shane and the kids start to hear footsteps and see hings that shouldn’t be there. Then Shane starts to have feelings about killing his children that he has a hard time controlling.

Apparition is well written and extremely scary. Each chapter starts off with a diary entry about someone that killed their children which adds some realism to the book. This is the thing that made the book hard to read for me the concept of killing your own children is a hard one to deal with and I found myself cringing quite a bit while reading it.

If you look at horror as something that is supposed to make you look at the dark side of life and make you deal with it then you will really enjoy this book.  Also at the end there is an afterword by the author that explains what he was thinking when he wrote it and and why he wrote it which really helped me to understand the main idea of the book.

Some of the things I really enjoyed in this book was the opening chapters when you know whats going through Kari’s mind as she contemplates killing her children. I also liked finding out how the rest of the family deals with it. There is also a great scene with a Ouija board that was absolutely chilling. Just when you think its not going to get scarier there is a scene at an insane asylum that out does it. From there it is a roller coaster ride right up to a shocking ending.

My favorite part of this book wasn’t the scenes with the ghosts in it, it was reading about how the family deals with what they’re going through. I like hearing how Shane feels he doesn’t deserve a good family or a loving wife. Despite his feelings he does the best he can for his family. He also talks about how after the effects of the first two chapters he sees his wife as being a better person then she really was and since he sees her that way he is forgetting how she really was as a person. I was really hoping Shane would get a happy ending. I also liked how his daughter acts like she hates everyone but then thinks to herself: “why do I act this way, I don’t hate my family,” but she cant tell them that. Despite their circumstances you see they love each other and they just want to get back to the normal life they had before the events of the first chapter.

The next book I want to talk about is The Void by Brett J. Talley and it has a very different setting. The year is 2169 and Aiden Conner has just woken up on a space ship he is not familiar with and he doesn’t remember how he got there. Aiden was working on a transport ship that had a mysterious accident while traveling at warp speed.

In the future, man has mastered space travel, but when their ship goes to warp all crew members have to go into a sleep chamber and sleep until the ship comes out of warp. The downside of this is while sleeping the crew dreams and for some people on a ship the dreams are enough to drive them insane. While sleeping through warp, the crew sees the same dream every time. Some dreams tell of the future, some of the past, some are terrifying and a few people actually enjoy their dreams.

After the accident Aiden finds he can’t get a job on any other ship. That is until Captain Caroline Gravely comes along and hires him to work upon her ship, The Chronos. Caroline has waited a long time to command her own ship and she has assembled a six person crew with very diverse backgrounds. She also has her own problems with the dream state during warp drive. The rest of the crew also has their own issues and none of them are looking forward to what will happen when they enter warp. To make matters worse when they drop out of warp they are surrounded by black holes and find a long lost abandoned ship.

I loved the concept for The Void.  This is a good horror story with a science fiction background. Brett J. Talley does a great job giving a scientific explanation to how the space ships travel, how gravity is created for a ship and what is happening when a ship travels at warp speed. I also liked how all the crew member’s dreams were described and how there was a little mystery to what all of their dreams mean and how the dreams effect each person. It was a nice touch how all the dreams we’re very different and despite the fact that everyone fears the dream state not all of the dreams were bad.

I found myself thinking The Void would make a great movie that could satisfy both horror and science fiction fans. Brett J. Talley has done an excellent job bridging two genres. Brett has one another novel from Journalstone press called That Which Should Not Be which will make Lovecraft fans very happy.

Gothic Blue Book and The Cemetery Club

If you like horror stories that are short and sweet you should check out Gothic Blue Book The Haunted Edition from Burial Day books . This is a collection of 12 short horror stories and two poems edited by Cynthia and Gerardo Pelayo. This anthology honors the gothic story and includes old ghost stories and tales of misery, fear, despair, regret and dread. This collection would make Edgar Allan Poe proud. Don’t expect a lot of happy endings in this book.

Gothic Blue Book: The Haunted Edition is a tribute to the Gothic blue Books that came out in the late 18th and 19th century. These books included several short stories and were between 36 and 72 pages long. They were very cheap and not well liked by literary critics; despite that they were very popular.

When I started reading Gothic Blue Book, I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but there were quite a few good stories in the book. The first story is a poem which sets the mood for the whole book. Its by Helena Marie Carnes Jeffries and called The Beach House. It describes the emotional state of a woman who has just found out her husband is cheating on her. The depressed woman is walking on a beach and sees a very familiar looking woman in an abandoned beach house. Thinking the woman needs help she decides to go inside but doesn’t like what she finds, but maybe it was what she was looking for. I loved how the woman’s thoughts we’re described in this poem and how well written it was.

Another good story in this anthology was The Tapping by John Everson. This one was about three men who make a bet on who can be the first one to retrieve a skeleton’s hand from a graveyard so they can use it in a prank. This story was the kind of story I love to read as a horror fan. The way the graveyard is described and the main character’s fear as he starts to think he is not alone in the crypt are what horror is all about. Three men in an old graveyard digging up corpses on  a windy cold Halloween night in an attempt to scare a co worker. What can be more fun than that and of course nothing can go wrong when you disturb the dead. right?

Some other good stories in this collection include The Realtor, which tells the tale of a salesman trying to make a quota by creating a few urban legend. This one had me feeling sorry for the Realtor but also hoping his victim didn’t die. I also liked Where The Fault Lies by Greg Mollin and The Squatter by M.N. Hanson. Both are great ghost stories with very different moods and endings.

My favorite story in Gothic Blue Book was The Gravedigger by Cynthia Pelayo. It tells the story of a woman named Madeline who just doesn’t fit into society but tries to make everyone around her happy. When she finds out that someone has been using her, she decides to get her revenge by reenacting a death scene which is a  tribute to a very famous horror author. Madeline is a character that if you’ve ever felt like an outsider you will be able to relate to and I would like to see some longer stories with her in it. I highly recommend Gothic Blue Book The Haunted Edition and you will find it for 99 cents on amazon. So what are you waiting for, go get it.

The next book I want to talk about is from Journalstone publishing called The Cemetery Club by JG Faherty. The story is about four 16 year old kids who hang out in the Cemetery and call themselves The Cemetery Club. One day they accidentally unleash an ancient evil in the form of small monsters that look like aliens on the small town of Rocky Point. These creatures are vicious and spread their evil by climbing inside people’s mouths and turning them into zombies. The four kids defeat the evil but one member of the club spends 20 years in an insane asylum while another becomes an alcoholic. Now 20 years later, the evil has returned and only The Cemetery Club can stop it.

While I really did enjoy this story I do have to say that most of what is written in The Cemetery Club has been done and redone in several other novels. One book it reminded me of was Stephen King’s It. Even though the story will seem familiar to you this book is still well worth your time. All of the action scenes are well done. I also loved how the cemetery is described and how the creatures are described. The atmosphere in this book is spooky and stories about evil in a small town just never gets old.

My favorite part of the story is how JG Faherty presents the relationship between the four members of The Cemetery Club. You get to know them as teenagers and then you get to see them become very different people as 36 year olds. Despite there different paths in life and the fact that they haven’t talked to each other in years when there is trouble you see them come together and show that they never stopped being friends despite the passage of time.

The character with the most interesting story in this book was Todd. The idea of him coming home after 20 years in the mental hospital and trying to lead a normal life appealed to me and I felt a lot of sympathy for him.  I think JG Faherty was using Todd to make a point about how horribly people with mental health issues get treated.  The author describes quite a bit of illegal testing on the mental hospital’s patients and makes a point about how horribly humans treat other humans. This sets The Cemetery Club apart from other novels with similar stories and makes it a great book.