Thursday, September 5, 2019

Cover Reveal: Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror

Here it is! Cover reveal for:

Huge thanks to Dean Samed for his diligence in creating this cover. Dean personified the attitude and feel of this project, and he’s created a magnificent piece of art. The vintage look. The Lullaby theme. You can see the stories inside.

Look for presale date in October, publication date in January

October 22, 2019

Publication date:
January 21, 2020

This collection is a follow up to Garden of Fiends but certainly not a sequel, for the scope is larger, and the volume bigger. Each story features the insidious nature of addiction. Damaged humans craving for highs and wholeness but finding something darker, more tragic, and more horrific on the other side.

Addiction may start like a sweet lullaby sung by a trusted loved one, washing away the pains of the day and wrapping you in the warmness of the womb. But soon enough, this warm state of bliss becomes a cold shiver. The ecstasy and dreams become nightmares, and for the sick and suffering addict, we can’t stop listening to the lullaby. We crave to hear the siren song as it rips us apart.

An incredibly talented group of writers sing these songs of suffering. You’re invited to listen.

Table of Contents
Kealan Patrick Burke: Sometimes They See Me
Caroline Kepnes: Monsters
Mark MatthewsLizard
John FD TaffThe Melting Point of Meat
Gabino Iglesias: Beyond the Reef
Mercedes M. Yardley: Love Is A Crematorium

*Look for more exciting news about Lullabies for Suffering in the months to come, including a chance to win signed paperback copies from the authors on the table of contents*

What? You can’t wait that long?
Well, rest easy. The predecessor to Lullabies is on sale!

is on sale until September 10th for just .99 Cents.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror

Lullabies for Suffering: 
Tales of Addiction Horror,
with stories by:
Caroline Kepnes
Gabino Iglesias
John FD Taff
Mercedes M Yardley
Mark Matthews
Kealan Patrick Burke

coming January 2020

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Announcing: “Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror”

Happy as hell to announce a new project on the horizon.

“Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror” is in development and expected in early 2020.

This is a follow up to Garden of Fiends, but certainly not a sequel, for the scope will be larger and the volume much bigger. Garden of Fiends injected horror into your veins, Lullabies of Suffering will slice into your wrist while tenderly holding your hand. A fantastic list of contributors will be singing songs of suffering in the form of novellas and novelettes.

Addiction starts like a sweet lullaby sung by a trusted loved one. It washes away the pains of the day and pulls you into a world where nothing hurts and every dream is possible. For the sick and suffering addict, the warm bliss becomes a cold shiver and the dreams become nightmares -yet we can’t stop listening. We crave to hear the siren song as it rips us apart.

Such is the paradox of addiction, and dark truths such as these require a dark piece of fiction to do them justice. Expect compassion for the plight of the addict inside this volume of tales from a fantastic list of writers.

Here is the list of contributors:

Caroline Kepnes

“Hypnotic and scary,” said Stephen King of her work. Kepnes writes in a unique tone of darkness you’ll not find elsewhere, deconstructing relationships and taking deep dives into those tiny hidden crevices in your life we think nobody can see. Her novel YOU is one of the greatest second person point of view works you’ll ever read, and the inspiration behind the must-binge series on Netflix.

Gabino Iglesias

Like Kepnes, another master of the mosaic. The passion of this man is in every word, and he weaves his sentences as part sledgehammer, part harpsichord, beautiful but savage. Try to pin him into one genre, and it will change with the next sentence. Iglesias is the author of the ground-breaking, award-nominated Coyote Songs, with more songs to sing.

John FD Taff

The KING of PAIN is back and turning up the temperature to “The Melting Point of Meat” with a powerful piece on the obsessive urge of cutting and need for pain. His characters are vibrant but fragile, the cracks in their life where the light comes shining through. Taff was the backbone for Garden of Fiends, and he is back for round two with a savage, sweet, visceral piece.

Mercedes M. Yardley

The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the Pretty Little Dead Girls. Mercedes is criminally creative with wit and whimsy that turns her prose to music. To read her works is to live deliciously and walk through a field of poisonous wildflowers. The dark fantasist will be taking us to new territories with her story, "Love is a Crematorium."

Mark Matthews

My own work will be sandwiched in between, like the seasoning on that boiling piece of meat. Addiction horror has guided my works such as Milk-Blood and All Smoke Rises. I’ve got a few more words to say, this time about what happens when you’re the dreaded final girl after a mass heroin overdose.

Kealan Patrick Burke

"I am in awe of his talent,” said Bentley Little, and perhaps every reader of Kealan’s fiction. Kealan writes part Faulkner goth, part cosmic horror, listed here last as the grand finale of a firework explosion. His novel KIN is one of the greatest horror novels ever written. After his masterful story, “Wicked Thirst” from Garden of Fiends, it was impossible not to ask for more. We asked for more. Much more is coming.

There you have it. Check this space for cover art, excerpts, contests, celebrations, general notes from the underground, and giveaways of works from each artist.

Never too soon to sign up for advance reader copies. Emaill with ‘Lullaby ARC’ in the subject line.

*Presale expected Halloween night. For-sale date 90 days later.*

Saturday, March 23, 2019


I have Hamilton buzzing in my head, beating in my heart, running through my veins. I feel this urge to write these thoughts out of my chest before they burst. Forgive everything that comes next, for it is the result of a maelstrom of Hamilton stimulus.

In the span of three days I saw Hamilton twice, first time 3rd row after winning the 'Ham4Ham' lottery, second time with previously purchased tickets, and it just happened to be the performance when LIn-Manuel Miranda appeared on stage at curtain call to the delight of the crowd.

I saw the musical first time in Chicago last summer, and fell in love, for multiple reasons, and could speak at length on each character's arc.  I would see it again, tonight. I just like how I feel when I am watching it.

What the hell does that have to do with Horror writing?

Well, I'm declaring our country's foundation was built upon a work of Hamilton Horror. Yep, a work of Horror.

Um, what?

First off, the story of Hamilton is the story of a writer. Someone obsessed with its power, and who could wield it like a wizard. Hamilton's"skill with the quill is undeniable" and his opponents knew that "as long as he can hold a pen, he’s a threat."

His words were part of what made Eliza fall in love with him, as she states:

"You and your words flooded my senses. Your sentences left me defenseless. You built me palaces out of paragraphs... You built cathedrals..."

But his obsession with writing starts to confound her as she asks:

"How do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive? How do you write like you need it to survive? How do you write every second you’re alive?"

If it weren't for his writing skills, he would have never made it to America, and what a different country we may have become. After the devastation of a hurricane rained down upon his West Indies island, he documented the horrors, and the world took notice.

"Put a pencil to his temple, connected it to his brain, he wrote his first refrain, a testament to his pain - Well, the word got around, 'hey, this kid is insane? lets take up a collection and send him to the mainland.'"

In other words, he got his own scholarship from hell when the community, astounded by his talent, financed his move to the states, without which he might not ever have set foot in the country. 

The passage that set him free, found here,  screams of Cosmic Horror with its references to a supernatural forces, as if the hurricane was a creature, and the mortal humans powerless below. Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft would be impressed. I am taking an expansive view of horror, for sure, but if you define horror is an unflinching stare down at the pain of being human, the ever-present spector of death with its "unrelenting scythe, pointed, and ready for the stroke" and when facing down this darkness, we are forced to look inward at the 'deformity of our lives' - well, then, I'm saying it qualifies. 

Here's just a brief glimpse:

"Good God! what horror and destruction. Its impossible for me to describe or you to form any idea of it. It seemed as if a total dissolution of nature was taking place. The roaring of the sea and wind, fiery meteors flying about it in the air, the prodigious glare of almost perpetual lightning, the crash of the falling houses, and the ear-piercing shrieks of the distressed, were sufficient to strike astonishment into Angels"


"Look around thee and shudder at the view. See desolation and ruin where’er thou turnest thine eye! See thy fellow-creatures pale and lifeless; their bodies mangled, their souls snatched into eternity, unexpecting. Alas! perhaps unprepared! Hark the bitter groans of distress. See sickness and infirmities exposed to the inclemencies of wind and water! See tender infancy pinched with hunger and hanging on the mothers knee for food! See the unhappy mothers anxiety. Her poverty denies relief, her breast heaves with pangs of maternal pity, her heart is bursting, the tears gush down her cheeks. Oh sights of woe! Oh distress unspeakable! My heart bleeds, but I have no power to solace! "

Alexander lived through plenty of horrors; abandoned by his dad, his mom died of the same sickness that afflicted both of them, but Alex survived then "moved in with his cousin, but his cousin committed suicide." One can see how he "imagined death so much it felt like a memory." 

"I wrote my way out of hell," he explains, as his pride swelled and inflated to greek tragedy proportion, proclaiming in a howl: "When my prayers to God were met with indifference, I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance."

Well, Icarus flew too close to the sun, and when he tried to write his way out again with blunt honesty after caught in a sex scandal, the community wasn't ready to rejoice in the same manner. His opponents danced with glee "Never gonna be president now."

*I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the other elements that make the musical so special. 

Hamilton rewrites the narrative of our history to reflect the kind of country we live in today, with its inclusiveness and representation of minorities and people of color. It shows the founding fathers with all of their noble intentions, fatal flaws and foibles, delivered in a hip-hoppy music, with wit and wisdom. So often the lyrics cite actual, historical quotes mixed in with its colloquialism. It rewrites the narrative to include those who currently live within its unfinished symphony, and allows so many to feel part of our country who before only saw a bunch of white dudes. (and lets not forget, Woman in the sequel! 'Work'

Its delivery has reached an audience and taught our history in ways no other medium could. My daughter is in 6th grade and has President Washington's farewell speech memorized. She can describe the significance and unique precedence of transitions of power when he stepped down. These are concepts usually reserved for High School AP history. 

All of this is explained in numerous essays written with much more eloquence than I've managed here, but no time to rewrite. I'm off to play the Hamilton lottery looking for tickets to tomorrow's performance. There are a million things I haven't done, but just you wait, just you wait.

Nothing excites an obsessed man as much as a play about an obsessed man.

Friday, March 22, 2019

That Which Grows Wild, by Eric J. Guignard

Happy to have Eric Guignard on the blog today.

Eric is one of the nicest humans you will ever meet. He has this fantastic aura that bleeds kindness, and to spend a few moments with him, you can't avoid getting caught up inside. You also can't avoid noticing his intense appreciation for books. Their content, their presence. their power. I've seen him tending to his collection of signed paperbacks (can I share this? I hope so) as if each one was an ancient artifact, a rare gem. This appreciation is why he creates such fantastic books himself, including the groundbreaking anthology, A World Of Horror, and the fiction collection featured below, That Which Grows Wild.

If you don't believe me, believe this - BOTH of them were nominated for Bram Stoker awards in their respective categories. 

What was the inspiration for this collection?

The book is a collection (my first!) of previously published works, the stories having first appeared in various anthologies, magazines, etc. Each story in itself had its own inspiration or aim, so the collection is more about which stories would work well together in a grouping. I worked with editor Norman Prentiss at Cemetery Dance to select ones that showed a range, but at the same time weren’t too far “out of the box”. Originally I had some other choices that were more “weird” or satire or dark, and Norm suggested switching out those to ones a bit more in the same mood, so voilĂ , the finished product, which I’m happy with!

Story ideas and inspirations come, literally and figuratively, from everywhere: Dreams (both night and day), global news and current affairs, conversations with people, personal observations of the world, and playing the “What If?” game.

General inspirations for my creative works also stem from The Twilight Zone television show, comic books, and authors such as Cormac McCarthy, George Orwell, Dan Simmons, Seanan McGuire, Joe R. Lansdale, Neil Gaiman, and many, many others.

What are you working on and what can we expect from you in the future?

My most recent writing work is my debut collection, That Which Grows Wild: 16 Tales of Dark Fiction (Cemetery Dance Publications; July, 2018)

Quick synopsis: Equal parts of whimsy and weird, horror and heartbreak, That Which Grows Wild, by award-winning author Eric J. Guignard, collects sixteen short stories that traverses the darker side of the fantastic.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing fiction driven by the goal of publication since February, 2011. However, I’ve been writing and drawing stories ever since I was a child. I just did it then for my own interest, or for friends. I stopped in college, in order to pursue business and serious-minded life necessities... which, of course, I now regret. I don’t regret the pursuit of those things, but rather having given up writing for so many years. I only jumped into as a potential career after the realization struck me that I was missing out on something I was passionate about!

Cover Reveal: Lullabies for Suffering: Tales of Addiction Horror

Here it is! Cover reveal for: LULLABIES FOR SUFFERING: TALES OF ADDICTION HORROR Huge thanks to Dean Samed for his dil...