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Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

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(Reflection Nebula – NASA)

Welcome to the March 31, 2008 edition of a carnival of speculative fiction. Enjoy some very informative articles on publishing, macabre tales and more!

authors

Amy Grech presents Crimson Screams – Apple of My Eye Lipstik Indie Review posted at Amy Grech’s Horror Blog, saying, “Crimson Screams: The Official Blog of Horror Author Amy Grech”

Lincoln Crisler presents Our Shadows Speak Re-Release! posted at Lincoln Crisler : Despairs and Delights, saying, “This is the blog of author/editor Lincoln Crisler and is constantly updated with, amongst other things, updates on his fiction and anthologies.”

cross genre

Josef Assad presents The Banjo Players Must Die posted at Josef, or perhaps not, saying, “I thought there was a chance you might like this; it’s relesed online as Creative Commons, and it’s gotten over 10,000 downloads in the first 7 months!”

horror

Mike Philbin presents Mike Philbin’s Blog: the reader writer: posted at Mike Philbin’s Blog.

Kim Paffenroth presents Orpheus and the Pearl – Now Available for Preorder! posted at Gospel of the Living Dead, saying, “Updates on Kim Paffenroth’s horror fiction”

Jeffrey Thomas presents Fright(.com)fully Good! posted at Punktalk.

Aaron Powell presents The Hole: A Serial Novel of Supernatural Apocalypse by Aaron Ross Powell posted at The Hole: A Serial Novel, saying, “The Hole is a serial apocalyptic horror novel, based in Mormon mythology, about a global plague, zombies, and a small group of survivors making their way across a very weird Midwest.”

interviews

David Niall Wilson presents Cody Goodfellow Interviewed – a root chord of malign intellect posted at David Niall Wilson, saying, “Interview with horror author Cody Goodfellow – Lovecraftian horror with a modern twist…”

science fiction

CG Walters presents Spirit Story…an Old Genre Reawakening posted at Into the Mist, saying, “A path of communication with the subconscious—as opposed to a communication with the conscious mind—is alive, more a communion between the personal subconscious and the Collective Consciousness, possibly awakening or speaking to the personal consciousness a little along the way.”

Jesse presents Grey Survivors posted at Grey Survivors, saying, “A journal from a survivor of the invasion of earth.”

writers

Jason presents 1933: Giuseppe Zangara, who is not on Sons of Italy posters posted at Executed Today, saying, “My blog is historical, but this remembrance of the attempted assassination of FDR has helped key a couple of notable pieces of speculative “what might have been” fiction, including Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle” …”

writing

Mark Rainey presents Pitfalls posted at The Blog Where Horror Dwells, saying, “A few remarks about the dangers of falling for easy, alluring traps in the publishing business.”

eric cohen presents First in a series of chapters from a pulp novel posted at transgenderscripts.

Michael Arnzen presents Twisted Prompts for Sicko Writers posted at The Goreletter, saying, “Bram Stoker Award finalist Michael A. Arnzen posts the latest bizarrely stimulating creative writing prompts in his continuing “Instigation.””

Caroline Barnard-Smith presents Raw Offal, Bad Prawns and Rancid, Sweaty Cheese posted at Author or Bust.

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Buy M. A. F. I. A. at Borderlands Press

I recently did an interview with acclaimed horror writer Thomas F. Monteleone for the upcoming Maryland Writers’ Association Conference (it’s coming soon! I have to finish transcribing it/editing it on paper), and all around awesome guy that he is, after the interview was finished he offered to send me a copy of The Mothers and Fathers Italian Association. It’s the Borderlands Press omnibus collection of his “M. A. F. I. A.” column that has appeared in various publications over the years, currently at Cemetery Dance.

He asked me to let all you readers/writers out there know that you must have this book, and, frankly, he didn’t even need to ask! YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK. Seriously, it covers so much about the publishing industry, how it’s changed over the years, the ups and downs he and others have gone through in the writing and publishing business. It’s an entertaining and very honest look at all of it, no bs.

There’s years and years of experience in “M. A. F. I. A.” and it’s all laid out for you to read and digest. Learn from it, wince when you recognize your own missteps (I most certainly did), and take comfort in the fact that it’s all a part of the process. If you really want to know, I suggest you get a copy ASAP.

I will refrain from using the The Godfather line to persuade you 🙂 .
Buy M. A. F. I. A. at Borderlands Press
# # #
Nancy O. Greene

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Halloween is officially here. Like most holidays, consumer celebration of it starts a few weeks before and extends to a few weeks after. Here are a few suggestions to keep you entertained and in the Halloween spirit long after the parties are over and the trick-or-treaters have ransacked your candy stash:

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I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: A timeless tale of isolation and strange evolution, it’s been adapted several times. The latest movie will be released in December, starring Will Smith. As with any adaptation, it takes certain liberties with the book; it remains to be seen how good the newest film will be. In the meantime, read the book.

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Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe: Halloween just isn’t complete without mention of Poe. While he wrote in a wide range of genres and literary styles, he is legendary for short stories such as “The Fall of the House of Usher” and poems like “The Raven.” Edgar Allan Poe was a master of atmospheric and psychological horror, and every year his grave here in Maryland is visited by fans and curious tourists to get them into the holiday spirit.

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Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler: This book weaves together a thoughtful, well-paced tale of genetics, family, and mystery with a fairly different take on vampire folklore. It is the last book written by the highly admired author.

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30 Days of Night by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith: I have not seen this movie, but it’s on my list and so is the graphic novel. Based on reviews by both critics and audiences, the film is utterly terrifying, and the vampires are a far cry from the sympathetic, lovelorn bloodsuckers portrayed in books/movies like Interview with the Vampire.

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(November 4, 2007) The SimpsonsTreehouse of Horror XVIII“: Of course, Halloween really isn’t over until Homer says D’ oh!

Lastly, check out http://www.monsterlibrarian.com/halloween07.htm for reviews of Halloween based books.

Nancy O. Greene
http://www.portraits.bravehost.com

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This review came out last month, but I think it’s perfect to post closer to Halloween! Enjoy.

Sept. 2007. Bookgasm: Reading Material To Get Excited About
Bookgasm is a review site of speculative fiction, including comic books and magazines. Edited by Rodd Lott.

portraits in dark review
Perhaps Nancy O. Greene’s PORTRAITS IN THE DARK is about what you don’t see in the darkness. Her short vignettes try to shine some light on what we’re quick to dismiss, ignore, or avoid, and her slim collection of short stories provides a wonderful road map to the damaged psyche.

Greene is a writer in bloom. Crisp and vivid – like old black-and-white photographs you find in a drawer you were never meant to look into – each story sets up an interesting scenario, often leaving you with more questions than answers … and wanting more. The only drawback with her stories is that they’re too short. If the fascinating tales in PORTRAITS IN THE DARK are any indication what we can expect, her full-length work will be something to read.

Greene’s PORTRAITS IN THE DARK proves she’s a budding talent. Anything that has me thinking after I read it stays in my library. –Matt Adder

Buy it at Amazon.

*Read the rest at Bookgasm.com.

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On September 30th, 2007, I woke up from a very relaxing sleep to realize that I was late for the start of the last day of this year’s BBF. I had planned to make an early start of things in order to enjoy the readings of some of my friends and colleagues.

So I quickly got myself together and headed down to the festival. Fortunately, I was in time to hear most of the readings of Works in Progress, sponsored by Gregg Wilhelm’s CityLit Project and moderated by Paul Lagasse, MWAB’s President. Unfortunately, I missed the first reading by Edith Goldman of her work “Pan-delerium,” though I’m sure it was excellent.

Michael M. Hughes, a local horror writer, read an entertaining and funny piece called “Lunch Meeting.” Barabara Friedland read an excerpt from her upcoming novel A Member of the Force, based on the true story of a local murder case. Having heard and read earlier excerpts from the novel, it was wonderful to see that it is coming along so well. I think it could possibly become a Baltimore staple, one of those novels that people mention when they talk about Baltimore’s literary scene. Jen Michalsk’s reading of “The Movie Version of My Life,” from her short story collection Close Encounters, was another interesting read. It was, if memory serves correctly, my first introduction to her work.

Mathew Lee Gill’s novel excerpt “Broken Charm” was a telling piece about a shady characters. Lalita Noronha also read an excerpt from her novel in progress. Afterwards, I purchased a copy of her short story collection Where Monsoons Cry. The last time I heard her read at one of the MWA meetings, her writing stuck in my mind and I knew before she finished that I would be purchasing a copy. Lauren Eisenberg Davis read a selection from her memoir-in-progress. Eric D. Goodman read “The Silences” from Tracks, his novel of interconnected stories. It’s always good to hear Eric read; in fact, a few months ago he read “A Good Beer Needs a Good Stein,” one of my favorite pieces from the novel, on NPR. It’s an excellent example of how authors should read their work, and a first-person version of the story is available at To Be Read Aloud.

Last, but not least, Ian Hochberg read several of his poems. I was reminded of the beat poets, he just had an energy about him that was so fun to watch and his pieces were engaging.

I enjoyed the readings so much (despite having to take a seat outside of the tent because of my late arrival, and therefore baking in the hot, hot, too hot sun), and afterwards I chatted briefly with some of the other writers before heading off to find some food. Even though hadn’t had breakfast, I ended up waiting several hours to buy something to eat–a soda sustained me while I walked around and decided on what books to devour.

Last year I didn’t have much time to purchase. This year was different. Thanks to huge discounts, I walked away with two bags full of books, magazines, and miscellaneous items.

Raw Dog Screaming Press (publisher of the wonderful book Vacation by Jeremy C. Shipp) was on hand, and we talked and I browsed and on my second time around—after deciding on what I would and wouldn’t purchase—I bought The Bizarro Starter Kit: An Introduction to the Bizarro Genre. It turned out that one of the men I chatted with, John Edward Lawson, was also featured in the collection and he signed it for me.

I also purchased several copies of the literary journal Mosaic. It was a surprise to find out that such a professional publication was no longer stocked in bookstores. The publisher and I talked a bit about their attempts to get it back into stores now that the magazine is non-profit. I personally prefer to buy literary magazines from the stores, whether a big chain like B&N or a local independent, simply because of problems with receiving subscriptions in the past, but maybe I should re-evaluate that policy. Maintaining a lit mag is undoubtedly a difficult job.

There were many other events that I enjoyed, including a staged reading of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, musical performances, and I bought several more books. But eventually my legs wore out and I was nearly past my spending limit, so after a quick stop at the Walters Art Museum and a local aromatherapy shop, I grabbed my bags and headed home. Good times.
Nancy O. Greene
http://www.portraits.bravehost.com

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biggereverythingseventual.jpg (Click to purchase)

I recently went to see the movie version of “1408,” based on the short story featured in Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King, and here is my comparison of the two:

Whereas much of the short story takes place in the office of the hotel manager, Olin, and (after a short stint in the hotel room) follows Mike Enslin throughout the aftermath of his experience, the core of the movie takes place in the room 1408.

The author, portrayed to excellence by John Cusack, is self-assured, even a little cocky. His journey through haunted places in the world is more of a search for the supernatural for personal reasons rather than stemming from any real belief in the afterlife.

In the short story, the author is even more arrogant in his disbelief of the supernatural, though there is no personal connection for his search—he simply writes books on the subject and they have made him a great deal of money. But most of his bravado takes place in Olin’s office, out of the reach of “the thing in that room.” The hotel manager tries everything to convince him not to stay in 1408, and it seems that the long talk does have some impact on him; when he first reaches the infamous room, he believes that his eyes are playing tricks on him. The door looks crooked, then normal, then slanted again in the other direction until it is once again normal.

Things begin to happen almost immediately once he is inside the room. The paintings move, “something” tries to come into the space through the walls. To escape he finally decides to set himself on fire and is fortunate enough to escape, the flames put out by a passerby.

After the occurrence in room 1408, there is an obvious transformation in the main character. A sense of sadness and loneliness emanates from Enslin—a sense of defeat. It reminds me of the feeling that permeates another story in the collection, “Luckey Penny.” Through the second half of the story, Mike Enslin carries himself as a man that will forever be looking over his shoulders at the shadows, imaging that “they” will somehow drag him back into the confines of the hotel room to finish off the job.

In the movie, this is not the case. Cusack, as Mike Enslin, portrays a sense of increased strength, the will of the fighter that has seen the true horrors and survived to tell the tale. Whereas in the story the character tries to immediately forget what happened, in the movie he is shown playing the tape of his trusty mini-recorder, listening to what is arguably one of the most horrifying moments from his stay in the hotel–his encounter with his dead daughter. When his wife walks into the livingroom, she is stunned, and the look on Enslin’s face seems to say “Yes, it’s all true.” No fear, just a resignation to the fact that there is something else, and he’s not entirely sure that is a good thing.

The story and the movie are both executed smoothly, though the horror in the story (aside from the few pages that take place in the room) is far more psychological. It’s the type of fear that doesn’t necessarily get the adrenaline gushing; rather it’s the type of fear that puts an unsettling chill to the bones. The character experiences symptoms of someone that has lost his battle with life and perhaps with sanity–bad blood pressure, poor sight, bad nerves–he is old before his time. And as Enslin waits for his final days, he has the distinct feeling that whatever was in that room may be waiting for him on the other side.

In the film, the 70 minutes in the room are filled out with all sorts of nightmarish horrors—dead people appearing and disappearing, blood gushing from the walls, two particularly terrifying scenes in which Enslin sees himself die. At one point, he believes that he has escaped from the room, that is was all a nightmare brought about from a hit on the head with a surf board. Just as he believes that things are back to normal, he is thrust back into that nightmare of a room. However, instead of giving up, he keeps fighting. In a dramatic turn of the tables, he sets the room on fire and frees himself; in that action he makes sure (or does he?) that no person will ever be subjected to the inhuman presence in that room ever again.

I liked both versions, for different reasons. While for some the short story of “1408” may play out as a biting-your-nails type of horror, I felt that there was something of the scare tactic of mind over matter at play. As if the experience was something that could have been a hallucination brought on by a little too much to drink and the clever wordplay of a desperate hotel manager looking to put the scare into someone that doesn’t scare easily. It was something of a quiet horror that consisted more of Enslin’s health problems resulting from the event and the very real manifestations of something that could have all been in his head. In the short story, even when the main character wins, he loses. The movie, on the other hand, consisted of edge-of-your-seat horror, the thrill ride that goes faster and faster. If you haven’t yet viewed the movie, or read the short story, I suggest you do both and compare the terror for yourself.

Nancy O. Greene

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Portraits in the Dark on Barnes and Noble.com.

Portraits in the Dark through BookSense.

Portraits in the Dark

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I would just like to announce that for a limited time (one month) you can purchase Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales by Stephen King and Portraits in the Dark together on Amazon.com. By purchasing together, you will save an additional 5%.

And while you’re at it, go see the movie “1408” if you haven’t already. I’ll be seeing the movie soon and will let you know what I think of how it compares to the short story!

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Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King and Portraits in the Dark by Nancy O. Greene on Amazon.

AUTHORS OF MYSPACE INTERVIEW.

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I’ve long been fascinated by psychology and what it has to say about the possible variations in human behavior. I considered a double-major in psychology while I was in college but eventually decided to pursue other interests instead. Still, I explored many texts on the subject, and I would often consult those texts when writing short stories and coming up with character ideas. Unlike psychiatry, which seems to use medication to subdue not only seemingly irreversible mental conditions but some types of temporary problems as well, psychology appears to attempt to get at the root of issues through analysis of the human condition.

I used my own observations and personal beliefs regarding human nature when writing some of the stories included in Portraits in the Dark, and I also researched and read texts by various types of psychologists. At times while creating some of these characters, I needed to step outside of of what I thought was a normal course of action in order to figure out what the characters would or would not do. Some were easy–who hasn’t been annoyed at some perceived negative behavior or slight? Who hasn’t thought “what if…”?

But when it came to the decision-making process, I needed to be able to study how far certain decisions can go. Everyone has to make decisions and everyone makes mistakes, but some are more extreme than others.

For instance, in “Fine Print,” the character wavers between accepting an offer that he knows has dire consequences and living a life that he finds difficult to stomach. On the surface it is an easy enough decision but when other factors are included, the “correct” path isn’t the most desirable. Throughout the story there are clues to what type of man he is and why he would do the things he does–his decision is not just based upon a whim or upon what would be my own personal choice in such a situation.

Every day we are confronted with making decisions, how to approach this or that situation. And every day, in the news or in our personal lives, we find unanswered questions. Why did he or she do this, why did something turn out the way it did? How will this turn out, what should be done here? Without the aid of some fortune telling device, it is impossible to know how something will turn out with 100% accuracy. In “Darkened Sky,” the main character is confronted by the decisions that others have made, with deciding if those choices are options for her, or if she should take another route in life. She can’t forsee her future, but she gains some insight by the choices others have made and how she reacts to them. How she chooses is of particular importance being that she is a teenager and the situations in her life contain much danger for someone her age.

There are decisions that need to be made behind everything that goes on in life. Of course, in Portraits in the Dark, the characters and situations are taken to the extreme–bloody deaths, dealing with the supernatural, horrible creatures, surrealism. But there are also the real life quiet horrors of knowing that one decision can possibly have a huge and lasting impact on one’s life and the lives of others, of dealing with situations that one has little control over but must still learn how to navigate.

One reader commented to me that a story he read in Portraits in the Dark, “Fine Print,” changed his outlook on where his life was headed and made him question whether or not he was going in the right direction. I was glad that what I decided to include in the story had such an impact on him, even though he didn’t go into detail about his situation. That is one type of reaction that I think as writers some of us hope for–that our work will connect on some level.

How we view the world, our experiences, how we deal with things, even our genetic make-up can give us some clues as to what we, and others, will do when confronted with such questions. By exploring psychology, we as writers can use our natural abilities to make the characters real. Of course, there is a balance between enhancing the story with psychology and basically creating characters that are straight out of a text-book. Psychology, while helpful, doesn’t cover all of what a human being is capable of; nor does it cover writing style and storytelling ability.

But creating that written world can sometimes allow us to do what we can’t always do in real life–see why others truly act how they act, do what they do. And sometimes what our fictional characters do can leave a lasting, lingering impression on the mind of the reader.

PORTRAITS IN THE DARK ON AMAZON.COM

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My book, Portraits in the Dark, is now available through Locus Magazine Online (http://www.locusmag.com/2007/Books05d.html), one of the best online sources for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror.

You can purchase the book and support Locus Online by clicking on the bookseller links under the title listing.

Taken from Locus Online: Your purchase of books through Amazon.com and Amazon UK links (click on titles or covers) helps support Locus Online.

Also, if you live in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, you can also purchase the book from the Barnes and Noble in White Marsh, MD and the Barnes and Noble in Towson, MD. It is currently in stock and available at those locations. If you find that they have sold out of the books, please consider purchasing your copy through order and help to possibly put Portraits in the Dark on more bookstore shelves throughout the country!

Click these links to purchase through Locus Online: http://www.locusmag.com/2007/Books05d.html.

and

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0595392806/locusmagazine.

Portraits in the Dark web site: http://www.portraits.bravehost.com.

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This is an announcement that the popular group blog, The Writers’ Block, is seeking new members.

In order to join:
1) You must be a published writer with verifiable credits.
2) You must be able to post a minimum of one entry per month.
3) You must be proactive.

If you are active in promoting your work and your thoughts on various issues, and can spare the time to participate in a group blog, this can be a great opportunity for you. So far authors on the blog have generated increased sales and have been interviewed based on their posts on the blog. We are an eclectic group and all viewpoints are welcomed!

If you are interested, please send a reply to this message.

Thank you!

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