Thursday, July 29, 2010
The Vegan Revolution Adopt - a- Zombie and casting Call
In September 2010 I am releasing a novel with Eraserhead press called “The Vegan Revolution With Zombies.” It is a bizarro satire take place here in Portland. I'm not going to get to into the plot just yet, but we have some awesome plans for the book. It's really funny and I think everyone will enjoy it.
The book is about veganism...well it has a lot of zombies in it too. I wanted to do something to help give back to the vegan community with the book. So for the first four months the book is out I donating all my proceeds to to Try Vegan PDX. Try Vegan organizes events in portland like Vegan Iron chef, Vegan prom and of course our flagship event Try Vegan Week. We also run a year round vegan mentoring program here in Portland.
In late August we are planning on filming a trailer to promote the book, it will be filmed on zero budget but we intend to put some love into and make it look like a movie trailer. You can help us promote veganism and the book all while having fun.
Donate to our Adopt – A – Zombie program. For a $3 dollar donation to Try Vegan we will paint you up like zombies so you can join the zombie hordes trying to eat our vegan heroes during the trailer. This will be on the day of filming Exact date will be set soon. We will have vegan potluck on the set and a short preview reading from the novel. Plus you get to be a zombie in the book trailer! How awesome.
You can of course do it up yourself for Free.
The two best zombie voted on by a panel of experts will win prizes including Books, food, gift certificates and more.
We are still casting a few speaking roles:
Dani Joanna – the main character. Late twenties, early thirties woman. She is an editor by profession.
USDA food sampler – This character is giving away samples of “stress-free” label meats and might argue with the vegan a little.
Samantha – the abolitonist animal rights activist
A Prius – Yep the car, a Prius plays a major role in the book, Sun roof is super extra awesome. The provider of the prius gets door prizes.
The roles of Freegan, Hamburger eater, Mark, Magik, and Bru-Dawg have already been cast.
We need tons, and tons of zombies, be a zombie!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Blood Spring by Erick Williams
Bad Moon Books
I am going to try to avoid the political stuff in this review, Bad Moon as press is run by a man named Roy who seems to have picked a bit of a fight with my publisher Eraserhead press. At some point I would to address some of the critical statements that Roy at Bad Moon has made about us. At this point I would like address some of the things he has done right. The 100 page novellas Bad Moon are releasing are quite good. The Day Before by Skipp and Goodfellow, Jade by Gene O'Neil have already seen reviews on this blog. The 100 or so pages are perfect for a plane trip, or a couple morning bus commutes. The only problem is Bad Moon charges $18.95 for the books. Seems a bit expensive for 111 pages no matter how good it is.
None of that has to do with Erick Williams the author of Blood Spring. This is a hell of an introduction to an author, I was super impressed the amount story, characterization and general suspense that Williams packed in the short amount of pages.
Blood Spring is the story of a Florida couple Henry and Claire. After a failed attempt to start a family Clare turns her nurturing towards a deer named brownie who they they found hit by a car. After nursing the deer back to health it's time to release the deer back into the woods. They mean well but when they stray from the trail getting lost is only the first problem.
Once in the woods we are introduced to a backwoods family that has an agenda that this surburban family are perfect to fill. Williams does a great job with the characters who are rich in human details, this provides an emotional center that drives the suspense. Even the side characters like the sheriff who is Henry and Clarie's neighbor and the family stalking them in the woods are well written and believable. I went in blind and I think the less story you know the better. Trust me it is good.
Score another fine release for Bad Moon books, Williams has sold me I will follow him to his next book as I can tell he is a gifted story teller who thankfully for us enjoys scaring the shit out of people. Libraries add this to your collection, you'll be remembered for being ahead of the curve.
Joyride by Jack Ketchum
304 pages (including a bonus novella Weed Species)
Re-issue of 1995 novel (AKA Roadkill)
I really enjoyed Ketchum's novel Red, and let me just say that his novel “the Girl Next Door” is one of the most brutal and intense horror novels I ever read. I was excited to crack open this book, but in the end I was disappointed. Joyride is the story of Carole and her lover Lee. Carole's powerful ex-husband wouldn't leave her alone, and no matter how he harassed her, or in some cases violently attacked and raped her, he seems to get away with it every time. Lee and Carole make the decision to pull off the perfect murder. It would have been perfect if a bartender Wayne didn't happen to be in the woods watching them. After they show up in his bar, he decides to black mail them, not for money but to re-kindle the excitement of the murder on a trip of serial killings.
Ketchum has a excellent reputation in horror and Leisure understands that a Ketchum book will come packaged with a new Stephen King blurb. Each one of his last few books have hyperbolic King declarations my favorite being that you wont sleep until Christmas if you read this book. This time King says you shouldn't open this book unless your ready to finish that night. So maybe after you finish this review you'll take his word over mine. Without the well earned reputation that Ketchum has this novel would never have seen print.
The central plot to Joyride to me is too much of stretch. Wayne happens to be in the woods at the right time to see the murder, and they happen to come into his bar the next day. Ok fine I'll go with it, but the major problem here is the structure. The novel begins with Carole's ex-husband breaking in and raping her, at least I think it does. Everything happens so quick at the beginning I wasn't sure who was who yet. And when Carole and Lee murder her powerful ex-husband I didn't know enough about the story to really understand why I cared. Why murder? Why not go to police?
After the murder and before the main blackmail plot began, the novel's point of view shifts to the cop who had been following Carole's ex-husband and the case, now he is charged with investigating his murder. It is from his point of view that we get the horrible back story of Carole's marriage. This is the most horrific part of the novel. The problem is we are not shown this part of the tale, we are told this is part of the tale.
To me the abuse Carole suffered in her marriage and the breaking point she reaches is the most compelling part of the novel. By the time we learn those details there is no pay-off, no revenge to be had. He is already dead. I didn't find the storyline of Wayne black mailing them and taking them on a serial killing road trip to be compelling or believable. Characters are quickly introduced in obvious attempts to make us care in time for them to become victims.
Joyride reminded me of the Brad Pitt movie Kalifornia which did a better job of putting a couple in this situation. I did not enjoy this novel, only libraries that are serious about having complete horror collections really need to get this one. If you don't have any Ketchum in your collection your better off starting with Red, Offseason or The Girl Next Door.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Dark Discoveries #16
DD is a national distributed horror magazine that is produced locally here, across the river in Washington from Portland. Each issue it seems editor James Beach has been really pushing his small crew to make a better and better magazine. Certainly Cemetary Dance and Dark discoveries are all this genre can really count on, and that is reason enough to support both magazines with a subscription. These magazines are the last sources left for quality short story homes that are not online. I personally believe it's important to keep these markets alive.
The last couple issues DD has been following themes, the last issues being Twilight Zone, Lovecraft and now the pulps. It has excellent interviews with prolific horror comics author Steve Niles, Dark Horse comics (about it's revamped Creepy) and pulp horror author Hugh B. Cave.
It features a comic book style illustrated story by one of my favorite authors Cody Goodfellow, Several other works of fiction. The highlight for me was the wonderfully crafted “The Beheld” by Paul G. Bens. It is subtle, but unnerving tale that slowly worms it's way into your head.
I enjoyed issue #15 a little more, but I am more of a Lovecraft fan than a pulp fan. The Dark Horse interview about their creepy reboot was great and throughly enjoyed William F Nolan's column on Max Brand. Still it's the fifth issue in a row I read cover to cover. I came away from the issue wanting to find time to read Max Brand and Hugh B Cave. Can't wait for the Dark Sci-fi issue coming up next time.
Get a subscription and support the best horror mag out there today.
Jade By Gene O'Neil
Bad moon book
I reviewed O'Neil's award winning collection “the Taste of Tenderloin” last September. I jumped on Jade because of the strength of that book. Jade is a rare case where when I closed the book I wanted another 100 pages. This is a charming post apocalypse story, yep you read that right. O'Neil is a talented story teller through and through and this story set in the ruins that had once been San Diego is emotionally gripping from the first page to the last.
I am a huge fan of 100 to 140 page novellas in print. I mean those were novels back in the day before New York dictated that you need so many pages to justify cover price. What is nice is that I read this book in one sitting on a flight.
Since I lived in San Diego for several years mere blocks away from one of the settings of the book, I enjoyed this book deeply. The story of a slightly deformed child of a post collapse woman named Jade. She was adopted by a woman who survives in the ruins by being psychic for hire. Jade discovers she too has a talent for communicating with and easing the stress of animals. On personal level some of the ways she communicates with animals I found did not work for me. Since I don't view non-human animals as slaves for humans and suspect Jade might not either. Most horror fans would not feel that way, but it was my only small problem with the book.
The book also looks nice, Limited edition with beautiful black and white illustrations. Libraries should follow Gene O'Neil he is a bold new voice in horror that has the ability to perfectly blend the light and the darkness of horror fiction seamlessly.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
My short story collection Screams From a Dying World was nominated for a Wonderland award for best collection. This is the third year the bizarro lit movement has given out awards at it's annual bizarro con here in Portland. That will happen in November. I super excited that I was nominated along side Cody Goodfellow who was nominated for his amazing collection "Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars." I can't think of anyone I would rather lose to!
Congrats to all the nominees!
FISTFUL OF FEET by Jordan Krall
SHATNERQUAKE by Jeff Burk
WARRIOR WOLF WOMEN OF THE WASTELAND by Carlton Mellick III
ARCHELON RANCH by Garrett Cook
ASS GOBLINS OF AUSCHWITZ by Cameron Pierce
SILENT WEAPONS FOR QUIET WARS by Cody Goodfellow
A MILLION VERSIONS OF RIGHT by Matthew Revert
SEX DUNGEON FOR SALE by Patrick Wensink
SCREAMS FROM A DYING WORLD by David Agranoff
SEE JACK by Russell Edson