Tick tick tick tick tick…

This guy writes some kickass stuff! He’ll lure you into a nice normal scenario and then blow your mind! You are going to want this book!

Timothy G. Huguenin

You hear that? It could be the sound of my countdown until the release of Little One, and if you check it it will say there’s only 20 days until launch!

Or maybe it’s that old grandfather clock that Kelsea Stone found in the back of her deceased parents’ house—but isn’t it supposed to be broken?

Can’t wait to start? Click the image below for a sneak peek!3d-book-white

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Incredible HP Lovecraft Graphic Novellas Soon to be Released!

HP Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other Stories
By Gou Tanabe
Dark Horse Comics
To be Released on July 25, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

 WOW! This is an incredible adaptation of three HP Lovecraft tales into graphic novella form by a very talented artist! I pretty much trashed my whole day so I could read this cover to cover! And you know what? I have a pretty strong feeling that a lot of other Horror fans are going to be doing the very same thing when Dark Horse releases this amazing work by Gou Tanabe on July 25th!

While I cannot claim to be an expert on Howard Phillips Lovecraft, I have studied him and read his stories in the wee hours of the morning during a full moon (for real!). Besides the issues that people may have with Lovecraft, the truth is that he was a damn good storyteller! His stories endure because of the way they engage the reader’s mind. They set the stage with “Valuable metals not of this earth,” and things so horrible that the narrator will only take a stab at describing. This kind of writing opens the floodgates of our imaginations wide for all the Demons to come out and play. Gou Tanabe has soaked in all the madness, dark shadows, and creepy details of each story and put them on paper for us to enjoy. I will readily admit that I am fairly critical of other people’s interpretations of what I read, but these stories have been done a high level of justice.

The Temple begins with amazingly intricate artwork. We’re aboard a Nazi U-boat that is out doing the business of war. This boat seems to be a successful one that has just downed a British ship. However, a problem remains. There is a dead soldier clinging to the U-boat’s railing. The ship’s lieutenant and a few crewmen go pry him loose, only to find a rare artifact on him. The lieutenant sees the monetary value of the thing and slips it into his pocket, thereby sealing the fate of everyone aboard the ship. Soon the men are sick, the ship’s engine blows up, and there is an attempt at mutiny. As a last hope for salvation, some of the crew members petition the lieutenant to get rid of the ancient stone idol. They are killed for their efforts. Eventually only the Captain and Lieutenant remain alone aboard a drifting sub with only battery power. Then it’s just the captain who finds his U-boat deep at the bottom of the sea in the lost city of Atlantis. As the ship runs out of power, the captain sends his diary to the surface in a sealed jar and enters a vast temple full of light and music. But how is that possible?

Ever consider robbing graves for fun and profit? The Hound illustrates why this is one very bad idea. As the young man telling the story says-

“God…May Heaven forgive the folly and morbidity which led us both to so monstrous a fate” Two young guys have been robbing graves and collecting rare items from the dead that might give them the powers of darkness if they keep studying The Necronomicon and abiding by the teachings of Abdul Alhazred. They entertain themselves this way for a while, until they make their really big score, a magic amulet taken from the neck of a grave robber in Holland who has been dead over 500 years. It is a jade idol of a winged hound, the legend of which the boys chuckle over as quaint. The Hound is enormous and very real. Many will die for their mistake.

Last, but definitely not least is The Nameless City which is about a man travelling through the desert in search of a lost city so horrible that it does not even have a name. A city of ancient powerful beings that were here on earth long before Christ and definitely before man. Our traveler sees how amazingly rich they were, yet their appearances under glass is horrifying. Why do they look so well-preserved? Is it because they aren’t really dead? Even the moaning wind betrays the truth of the temple and its inner world. Lovecraft often complained of horrible, frightening dreams that left him feeling weak and ill. Tanabe’s illustrations pound home the scary creatures that lived in those nightmares. This isn’t just a little noise under the bed or a tree tapping on the window. No funny monsters who want to be your pal like in a Pixar flick, either!

Should you purchase HP Lovecraft’s The Hound and Other Stories? Yes, you should! Then be ready to call in sick the next day. You won’t be getting any sleep!

 

About Brian James Lewis

Brian James Lewis is an emerging published writer and poet who, after spending many years of writing and saving his work for “the right time,” finally arrived after he could no longer do heavy garage work due to spinal injuries. Writing turned the situation into a much better thing than it originally was and has kept Brian from doing anything fun, like driving his car off a bridge. Currently Brian’s poem, “Garage Sense,” can be found on Trajectory Journal’s web page, and his short story, “Finally,” which is about a mentally ill homeless man who shoots a liquor store owner, will be coming out in the Fall issue of The Iconoclast. Besides writing, Brian repairs and uses old typewriters, including his star typewriter: a Royal KMM that was previously owned and used by Rod Serling when he lived on the west side of Binghamton, NY. Even though he loves music and writing, the biggest part of Brian’s heart belongs to his wife, Michelle. They live next door to an abandoned K-Mart with their rescue animals in the industrial city of Endicott, NY. He can be contacted @skullsnflames76 on Twitter, or check out his struggling blog at damagedskullwriterandreviewer.wordpress.com.

Review Of A Place of Skulls On Horror Review

A Place of Skulls and other Tales
David Ludford
Parallel Universe Publications
Released 10/4/2016
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

This interesting collection of twelve speculative fiction shorts by David Ludford have all been previously published in SCHLOCK! Magazine, so they are tried and true tales. Well, perhaps the author and magazine stay constant, but the stories do not. This a wide variety of tales that make for pretty good reading. Most of them are short enough to zip through in 15-30 minutes, which is handy for multi-taskers like…well, pretty much everybody in the world these days! Although the cover refers to these stories as Terror, that’s up for interpretation. I lean towards Strange and Uncanny, which gives this volume a much wider audience. There are a few swears in here, but nothing extreme or over the top. Since these stories are very English, you might be puzzled by a few terms or scenarios such as “the mobile,” which means cell phone and everyone has a garden.

Let’s get on to some of the stories:

Killing Clowns is definitely a creepy piece full of twists and turns. When the circus comes to each small European town it visits, the members take full advantage of the residents. They get free lodging, the best food, fine booze, and the freedom to shag any woman they desire. If the residents comply, they are allowed to live until next time the circus comes around. However, if they don’t, mayhem ensues. When the clowns are questioned about their rude behavior and then challenged, they kill. A few brave villagers stand up to the circus and suffer the comeuppance for doing so.

Dummies has costume shop mannequins escaping from the window they’re kept in and killing people for no apparent reason. The police don’t get very far on the case, so a newspaper reporter decides to take things on himself. He is scoffed at for his explanation that something supernatural is responsible for the seemingly random deaths. Even the Chief of police is murdered by these crazed dummies! More certain than ever, the reporter attempts to forge an allegiance with the chief’s successor. Alas, another sort of partnership has already been formed and our reporter friend is in the wrong place at the right time. The story doesn’t end. Instead it leaves us with the feeling that a LOT more bad things are in the future.

The Box –An eccentric fellow worships a small television set that he’s placed on an altar of sorts. It appears to be broken with its cracked screen and assorted damage, yet the fellow gets his instructions from it. The box tells him what to do and how to do it. When the man is no longer needed, the box gets rid of him. This story could be looked at as an actual happening or perhaps a person’s battle with extreme mental illness. It makes you think about all the crazy shooters in public places as of late and where their guidance comes from.

Sleepwalker is a cool story that takes a couple read-throughs to completely get everything in its proper place. Well, maybe it just took me that long to put everything together! Either way, you have a young woman in a nightgown meeting a dangerous creature in the middle of the night and interacting with it. Then we meet a couple of people who are in the midst of building a romance. It is all very cute until the young man comes to pick up his girlfriend for a date and finds a horror story instead. Lots going on in this one and I don’t want to be a spoiler!

A Place of Skulls and other tales is a good read with a wide variety to it. Definitely unsettling, but in a good way! Scary but not over the top with the blood and gore. Give it a try, I think you’ll like it!

Writing the Windblown, Schizophrenic World

Check out Jenny Maloney’s views into our creative personalities and self doubt nearly killing it

Place for the Stolen

I came across this fascinating book called Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954 — which covers the period of time when he wrote his first novel The Town and the City and his second On the Road.

Basically, it’s a log of his word counts, which are insanely high (but we talked before about how much he writes) and his emotions as he writes. Check this out:

This thought, concerning the change in my writing which now seems so important, came –: that it was not lack of creation that stopped me before, but an excess of it, a thickening of the narrative stream so that it could not flow. Yet tonight I’m really worried about my work. First is it good now? — and will the world recognize it as such. The world isn’t so dumb after all; I realize that from reading some of my…

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Book review: Monsters Exist – Anthology

Nice review! I am working on getting mine done soon as well!

Grim Reader Reviews

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I set the bar very high for anthologies. Why? because I’ve read some incredible books over the past 18 months and in these were some incredible short stories. Monsters Exist features a number of writers that I am acquainted with, though I never let this get in the way of me posting my honest opinion.

I much prefer a themed anthology rather than one that merely collects a number of “horror” stories that have little connection with each other. Monsters Exist is about…wait for it….MONSTERS! I like monsters quite a bit, so I was keen to dive into this. Cryptid horror, tales of myth and legend, it’s all good stuff, but where does this book stack up compared to other anthologies I have previously enjoyed? Well, as with a lot of anthologies and short story collections there are always some entries that speak to you more than others, and this…

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Stephen King’s CREEPSHOW Reissue Rocks!

Stephen King’s CREEPSHOW
Stephen King
May 9, 2017
Gallery 13
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Over my desk I have various treasures. There is the “shelf of fame” where I put my favorite books, many of which have been reviewed right here. I also have quite a few vintage horror comics hanging on the wall. How can anyone into our kind of stuff not love the art and storylines? There’s usually a creepy host or hostess and titles like “Frightmare!” or “Journey To Oblivion!” In these faded classics the bad guys usually get theirs and you often find yourself rooting for the monsters instead of the humans. That’s because the humans are ugly, greedy, and downright mean. Whereas, a monster is a monster. Cool looking in bright colors printed on pulpy paper. Life is simple for monsters. If anybody gets in their way, they just eat them up. It’s all the stuff we wish we could do, but can’t.

This is the same stuff that turned young Stephen King’s dials up to 10 and made him want to do what he does so well. However, since the modern world is much more complicated than it was in the 50s and 60s, so is King’s writing. He doesn’t usually have the luxury of jumping out of a closet and yelling “Boo!” Until CREEPSHOW a film that paid homage to that classic grooviness in spades. Working with George Romero, King brought the “Creature Double Feature” to life again. This graphic novel adaptation of the film has recently come back into print, thanks to the fine folks at Gallery 13. Now those of us who didn’t get it the first time can grab a copy! The art by Bernie Wrightson is perfect! He uses the limited color palette of vintage comics to great effect!

The stories are adaptations of the screenplay written by Stephen King and are introduced by The Creep they are just right. You get five great tales, including my favorite, The Crate! A mysterious and very old crate is found in the basement of a science building on a college campus by the janitor. He calls a bigwig professor and even though we all know it’s a bad idea, they soon have the crate open. It seems like nothing very exciting until it grabs poor old janitor Mike and eats him on the spot. The blood flows and the professor goes into shock. When he tries to get help from a colleague, the guy doesn’t believe him and has to take a look. He sure gets one, too! But then he’s torn to shreds and consumed. This seems like real bad news for everyone, except for a friend of Professor Stanley’s by the name of Henry who needs help getting rid of his mean drunk of a wife. For someone who’s constantly called dumb by his wife, this guy makes pretty good plans! In fact, Henry even figures out how get rid of the monster once it’s done all the dirty work.

Do bugs, especially cockroaches, give you the willies? Then check out They’re Creeping Up On You and keep the lights on! Because this story will make you stay afraid of the dark! You wouldn’t think that grass could be scary, but check out The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill and see if you don’t. Stephen King played the part of Jordy in the movie and did a great job!

CREEPSHOW is super fun and scary in a good way. You’ll find yourself chuckling just before something bad happens. I love this graphic novel and highly encourage you to pick up a copy real soon. The Creep is just dying to meet you!

CHECK OUT NO MERCY

No Mercy cover shot

NO MERCY
Alessandro Manzetti
June 8, 2017
Crystal Lake Publishing
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

 

This is dark horror poetry at its most intense and elaborate! Taking this poetic journey with Alessandro Mazetti, readers will surely recognize some names, things, and activities. But you will not know it all and that is good. NO MERCY truly offers no mercy! It is an unstoppable flood of images flickering past the readers’ startled eyes at warp speed. A frightening intensity set upon you like an attack of piranhas. I urge you to plunge your head into this waterfall and see what terrifying wonders await you! A magical technicolor nightmare, if you will.

Perhaps my words be too flowery, but I am struck dumb for mere words to explain what I saw in this collection of poems. NO MERCY brings to mind the first time that I read William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. It’s like taking an acid trip without actually dropping any acid! I don’t know about you, but I really like that feeling of being both frightened and yet laughing at the depravity. When you are done reading, the “real” world will seem so terribly normal and boring.

I like that Manzetti dedicated the book to Janis Joplin, aka Pearl, the ugly duckling who turned out to be royalty. The poems about her are beautiful and crammed with detail. But for writing, he chose Miles Davis’ Kind Of Blue because the melty tones and textures of jazz are perfect for writing poetry. Jack Kerouac even wrote his poetry to fit how a horn player would blow. This poetry has that Beat quality. You want to read it fast and feel the riffs. Don’t overanalyze because you’ll just ruin it. Great poetry is stuff that you can read multiple times and get something different. NO MERCY is a book that definitely deserves multiple reads!

Some of my favorites in the book are, No Mercy, The Ghost Subway, and one of the longer selections A Dream Of Milk and Blood. The imagery in the last poem is so detailed, yet constantly changing. A coin is required for many of the changes of scene and is inserted in many different receptacles. One of them is even the main character’s forehead. I dig the nod to Gregory Corso for Morning Suicide. I like a lot of things in this collection, especially the beautifying of terrible things. Sometimes the things you need will find you and not the other way around. Instead of eating, you may be satisfied by being eaten and becoming part of something greater.

A little aside about the book publisher: I really like it when you can see how much heart has gone into putting a publication together. Crystal Lake obviously really cares what we readers think. Not only that, but they invite us to get involved. Sharing the good word with friends can mean the life or death of an independent publishing company. It also makes you part of an extended family of sorts, which is cool.

Do I think you should get a copy of this book ASAP? Yes, I do! Unless you are a squeamish uptight person. If that’s the case, this book might not make you happy. However, rest assured that if you just take a look around on the Crystal Lake and Journal Stone sites, you will find a great read that fits you! Alessandro Manzetti is a writer with extensive publication credits who really knows how to grab you and not let go. Recommended!