Review: THE EIGHTH by Stephanie M. Wytovich

eighthDisclaimer: The author and I share a publisher for her poetry collections and I consider her a friend. However, I purchased a hardcopy version of this novel for full price.


I hate starting reviews with “I don’t usually read this genre, but…” In this case, however, it’s 100% true. I’m not a horror reader (or viewer). It’s not my chosen form of escapism. However, I’ve been in love with Dante’s Inferno since the first time I read it in high school, and I because I’m lucky enough to know this author personally, I was intrigued by Wytovich’s version of Hell.

I could have easily devoured this book in mere hours, but I took my time in order to stop and reflect on a regular basis. Comparing The Eighth to Inferno does both books a disservice, because they both serve very different purposes. In Inferno, you shadow Dante and Plato through a sterile museum tour filled with curiosities and historical tidbits. In The Eighth, Wytovich drags you kicking and screaming in Paimon and Arazel’s wake, thrusting you into the gory trenches, forcing you to be a participant rather than a spectator. Not only is it a different view of Hell, but it’s a more visceral experience that provides its own agony and depth. Continue reading

Review: HOME BIRTH (Kaiju Revisited #2) by Jessica McHugh

home-birthDisclaimer: The author and I share a publisher and I consider her a friend. I received an ebook version of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

Despite this being the second in a shared-world series by many authors, this story works well as a stand-alone tale. It included just enough science-fiction world-building to give me the information I needed for the story without feeling bogged down. In fact, I would happily read more set in this world because the details I was given were so intriguing. Continue reading

Review: SNOWED by Maria Alexander

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Disclaimer: The author and I share a publisher, and I helped proofread this novel before publication.

If I had not been reading this novel on an expensive electronic device, I’d have thrown it across the room when I got to the ending. But not because it was a bad book. On the contrary, this book was such a fun adventure that the cliffhanger ending made me want to lose my mind. I did, however, accost the author to find out whether a sequel was forthcoming. Good news! One is definitely in the works. Continue reading

“Evolution of Vampires in Popular Fiction” on Speculative Chic

impalings-of-vlad-the-impalerAbout a year ago, I was lucky enough to be featured on SF Signal, an amazing blog that featured all things speculative fiction. To help promote my own brand-new, nontraditional vampire novel, I condensed years worth of research into a short article on the evolution of how vampires have been represented in popular fiction throughout the modern literary age.

Sadly, SF Signal discontinued publication. But I was proud of my article and hoped to find a new, permanent home for it.

Enter Speculative Chic!

Though my ridiculously busy life had so far precluded me from participating beyond short write-ups for group posts, the editor invited me to submit this previously published article. So if you missed it a year ago, now is your chance to check out my take on vampire representation in different literary mediums (including film, television, and graphic novels).

Do you agree or disagree with my assessments?

Did I miss your favorite vampire?

Who would win in an epic battle: a vampire, werewolf, or zombie?

Feel free to comment either here or at the original post, and I’d love to discuss these things with you!

You can read about how my vampire characters differ from the norm in the first book of the Steel Empires series, Steel Victory.

 

Speculative Chic is LIVE

I’m pleased to announce the launch of a new blog focused on all aspects of speculative fiction: books, film, television, games, and more!

Speculative Chic

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Please join us for our soft launch today, and consider subscribing to continue receiving great content from a bunch of awesome people (like yours truly). We’ll have everything from in-depth reviews to regular features to advice columns and more! Right now I’m only a part-time contributor, but I’m hoping to have the time soon to submit monthly projects that focus on the areas that I’m passionate about.

That’s something I think will really make Speculative Chic a fun place to be: all of the contributors are very involved with their chosen areas of SF/F/H fandom and their enthusiasm absolutely shows through their writing.

Any help spreading the word as we get things rolling would be greatly appreciated. And let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see us highlight! There are so many people involved in this project that there’s bound to be someone who will also be interested.

Review: “Method Writing” by K.W. Taylor

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“Method Writing” by K.W. Taylor

Disclaimer: This author and I share a publisher, and I consider her a good friend. However, I purchased this short story for full price.

“Method Writing” is one of those short stories that covers characters and events that deserve to be a novel. However, it is the rare sort of writer who knows that sometimes a better story can be told through short fiction.

The main character is fascinating, and as a fellow speculative fiction writer, I can more than identify his irritation at a former teacher’s insistence that writers can only write what they know. But rather than more “normal” sorts of research, John goes above and beyond to inhabit the worlds of his characters. Despite the fact that I also write about vampires, you certainly won’t find me sleeping in a coffin or switching to a liquid diet!

Thought I expected the ending, it was still well executed. I wanted a bit more of it, but making it any longer would have overbalanced the rest of this story story.

Well-worth the read for anyone who wants reassurance that the writers in their life are actually fairly normal people.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Currently reading: The Jinni’s Wish by B. Leslie Tirrell (40%)

Cover Reveal: STOLEN AWAY by Kristin Dearborn

Congratulations to fellow RDSP author Kristin Dearborn on the amazing cover! This is definitely one of those books that make me go, “I’m not one for reading horror, but…” Can’t wait to read this!

Shotgun Logic

Today I have the honor and the pleasure to be presenting to you for the very first time the cover to Kristin Dearborn’s new novel STOLEN AWAY, coming on June 25 from Raw Dog Screaming Press. I’ll be reviewing that book over on This Is Horror soon, so watch for that, but don’t wait for it by any means. You can pre-order the book right now. In the meantime dig this lovely cover art by the talented artist, Daniele Serra. Thanks to Raw Dog Screaming Press for allowing me to share this with you.

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About the Artist:

The cover was created by Italian artist Daniele Serra. He is a winner of the British Fantasy Award and has worked with companies such as DC Comics, Image Comics, Cemetery Dance, Weird Tales Magazine and PS Publishing. Visit his web site to see more of his art: http://www.multigrade.it

STOLEN AWAY Synopsis:

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Dog Star Books Author Spotlight: K.W. Taylor

This Saturday in Xenia, Ohio, Bluejacket Books is hosting three Dog Star Books authors for readings, signings, and a bit of Q&A!

13072850_1035666533171331_8028260265636519397_oToday the spotlight is switching over to the newest Dog Star Books author, K.W. Taylor. (Note the way the air seems to shimmer and glow about her. But don’t let the halo fool you! K-Dub may have us all dazzled by her awesome steampunk time-travel book, but the woman has also written some creepy horror in her day.)

K.W. and I met about two years ago the 2014 Pennsylvania Lit Festival, where we shared a table to sell books, discovered we had Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program in common, discussed shopping malls, and then discovered we had the hometown of Dayton, Ohio, in common, too! We’ve been fast friends ever since, and I was delighted when her novel The Curiosity Killers was selected for publication by Dog Star Books. (I may have done some behind-the-scenes manipulation there, for which I am completely unapologetic.)

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I have previously reviewed The Curiosity Killers, The Red Eye, and We Shadows Have Offended, and I look forward to reading more of Taylor’s work in the future! (Especially if it happens to be a second book in the Jonson’s Exotic Travel Series. Not that I’m hinting or anything.)

(Okay, I’m totally hinting.)

SF Signal hosts my blog post about vampires in popular fiction!

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I took a film genre course in college, and wrote an entire research paper on the evolution of vampires in film. No knowledge is ever wasted, so with a little more work, I was able to write a (much shorter) essay on the evolution of vampires in popular fiction. SF Signal was lovely enough to host me here in the spirit of Halloween.

Though the post mostly discusses works of literary fiction, I also touch a bit on vampires in movies, television shows, and graphic novels. Its fascinating to me how vampires can be portrayed so differently in each form of entertainment.

What’s your favorite vampire in popular culture? I couldn’t cover all of them in the blog post, but I’d love to chat about it in the comments here!

DogCon IV this weekend in Philadelphia!

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I am so excited to be attending DogCon IV this weekend, the annual convention hosted by my phenomenal publishing company, Raw Dog Screaming Press. This will be the third DogCon I’ve attended, and both previous events have been a blast. With the fantastic line-up of activities planned for this weekend, this DogCon will be right up there in terms of fun and merriment.

The full schedule of events is here, and includes a lecture by Michael Arnzen on the uncanny valley, a tour of (supposedly haunted) Eastern State Penitentiary, a tour of Laurel Hill Cemetary, and the book launch of D. Harlan Wilson’s BATTLE WITHOUT HONOR OR HUMANITY. You’ll be able to find me at pretty much everything! The major highlight is Saturday night, The Nightmare Before Halloween. This is a free event at the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art that will feature readings by many RDSP authors (including me) and a show by Stoneburner (Steven Archer of Ego Likeness). About a dozen RDSP authors will be on hand to sell and sign books, so this is your opportunity to get most of us in one place (where usually hijinx ensue).

Huh, that’s a lot of horror-themed stuff. Maybe next year the Dog Star Books authors can get some sci-fi activities going!

Will I see you there? Do you have a request for me to read a specific passage from STEEL VICTORY? Let me know in the comments!