July 30, 2013

Tangled Up In Youth: an interview with Ilan Mochari, author of "Zinsky the Obscure"

About the author: Ilan Mochari’s short stories have appeared in Keyhole, Stymie, Oysters & Chocolate, and Ruthie’s Club. Another short story was a finalist in a Glimmer Train competition. He is Chief Writer for The Build Network and a contributor to Cognoscenti, the online magazine for Boston's NPR news station. (Listen to his radio interview.) He has a B.A. in English from Yale. He used it to wait tables for nine years at various restaurants in the Boston area. - bio from http://www.zinskytheobscure.com/

About Zinsky the Obscure: Thirty-year-old Manhattan bachelor Ariel Zinsky is still recovering from his abusive childhood when he realizes no one -- including his few living relatives -- is truly interested in his narrative. While they numb themselves with the latest celebrity rehab story or the third-world atrocities replayed without ceasing on cable news, he sets out to write his autobiography as an exercise in his own self-medication, recasting himself as the hero in a coming-of-age story. Fans of A Confederacy of Dunces and The Perks of Being a Wallflower will relate to this tale of overcoming your childhood's traumas, and the world's indifference to them.

Gef: Zinsky the Obscure has garnered a fair amount of praise, even provoking mentions of the names Charles Dickens and John Irving. Not too shabby for a debut novel. So, just how many years have you been working on this overnight success?

Ilan: About the song "Tangled Up In Blue," Bob Dylan once said that it took him "ten years to live and two years to write." A similar calculus applies to Zinsky. On some level, I'd been preparing most of my life to write it, probably beginning in 1987 or 1988 when I was in seventh and eighth grade. It was at this time I started to have strong emotional reactions to the novels I was reading both in and out of school. It was also at this time I began writing short stories. In terms of the actual time spent composing Zinsky, the beginning was in the summer of 2003. The first four years were intense drafting and redrafting. From 2007-2011, I continued to revise, but it was something I'd turn to for a few months every year. Then there was the final edit in late 2011, once Fomite Press accepted the manuscript. 

Gef: If there's anything more difficult than writing horror, it's gotta be writing humor. Did you find any difficulties adding those lighter touches to your novel or did they just come about organically while you wrote it?

Ilan: Most of them came organically. When you're creating characters, part of what you're doing is creating their myriad senses of humor. Once these characters are in certain scenarios within the novel, you find that they'll crack a joke or two, making light of a situation or trying to impress or offend others in the room. In other words, they joke for the same reasons most of us do. They'll also joke to get their minds off sadder situations. That's something Ariel Zinsky learns to do as a very young boy.

Gef: I've heard it said that writers always put a bit of themselves in the characters they create. In Ariel Zinsky's case, he's gone whole-hog and cast himself as the star of a coming-of-age book. Is that something you've ever felt tempted to do yourself?
Ilan: No, but I've always appreciated David Copperfield's line, "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." That line in particular, and David Copperfield in general, informed a lot of my thinking about how Ariel would tell his own story. 

Gef: Since Ariel Zinsky is seeking a bit of catharsis in writing an autobiography, have you ever had a similar attitude towards your own writing?

Ilan: Absolutely. And it pertains both to minor, daily problems, and longer term issues. For example, I keep a journal, and there's no question that it helps cleanse me from everyday nuisances -- road rage, rejections, a busted Internet connection. Likewise, the fiction and poetry I write help me deal with larger questions -- heartbreaks, family ties, existential and spiritual woes. 

Gef: Since you worked as a waiter in Boston for a few years, how does that measure up to the abuse one might endure during childhood?

Ilan: It doesn't compare at all. As a waiter, you're a grownup, and you're compensated for your problems. You don't last at the job if you don't find a way to get professionally numb to all the crap that customers and employers will give you. As a child, you don't yet know how to fortify yourself. You're often not even conscious that you're being abused -- it's just what's happening to you at a given moment, and only years later do you realize that it was severe mistreatment, and not just another interaction where someone was mad at you. 

Gef: Thanks, Ilan. As for the rest of you, be sure to keep track of Ilan's blog tour by visiting TLC Blog Tours. Just click here.

July 29, 2013

The Muse and the Madness: a review of Sandy DeLuca's "Messages from the Dead"

Messages from the Dead
Sandy Deluca
DarkFuse (2013)
ISBN 9781937771928

If you were placing bets on what places in your town were haunted, I'm pretty sure the community college would be about the last place you'd put money on. My community college had all the haunting atmosphere of a telco call center. Castell Community College, on the other hand, is about as creepy as any institution of higher learning could be.

Donna's life was been one heartbreak after the next. As a child, her father abandoned her and her mother. Then her mother was killed by a boyfriend while Donna slept in the adjacent room. Now Donna's married to Jonathan, a good man, but a man she doesn't love anymore. She wants to leave him, but can never bring herself to walk out the door for the last time. Her plan is to hone her skills as a painter by attending the art school at Castell Community College, while saving the money she makes from her artwork to pay for a proper education in New York. But, while Donna might be tormented by guilt in relation to her crumbling marriage, the true torment is building within the walls of the school as spirits seemingly awaken, calling to her.

Messages from the Dead had a very well-designed, modern gothic atmosphere, as Sandy DeLuca presented Donna's tumultuous personal life in juxtaposition to the increasingly morbid hauntings at Castell. With the author also an accomplished painter, that aspect of Donna's life was brought out to full vibrancy. And while DeLuca may not share in Donna's cheating heart or clairvoyant abilities, those were also wrung for all they were worth.

Castell felt utterly ominous, once serving as a children's hospital and site for some atrocities against the children, and more than one mysterious death. If not for Donna's innate ability to see spirits, I might be left to wonder how so many people could attend the school without incident, while Donna's attendance incrementally reveals such a malevolent presence creeping through its corridors. Her instructor, her classmates, the kindly security guard, just about everyone of flesh and bone in the place feels like they could just as easily exist as specters--and perhaps some do--keeping Donna off-balance at every turn.

The novella was really hard to put down and had that subtle tone reminiscent of Sara Gran's Come Closer and Sarah Langan's Audrey's Door. The dread comes slowly like a rising tide and you have to ask yourself as you read what will do in Donna first: the ghosts or herself.

July 26, 2013

Chasing Tale [7/26/13]: Should I Care About Summer Reads?

Chasing Tale is a regular look at the books that I recently added to my to-be-read pile. Some are advance review copies, some I bought from one store or another, and others are freebies from promotional offers that caught my eye.

Summer seems like the only time of year where books get any mainstream attention. Well, there's the Christmas rush, but the big push on TV, radio, and the like seems to hit around June when the big question is: what are you reading this summer? It's all about the beach read, I guess. What, pray tell, will those folks who read but one book a year decide to schlepp in their carryall when they hit the beach?

I've become a bit disillusioned with the whole notion of summer reads, mainly because I read constantly, and the idea that being a regular reader puts me in a slim minority among the population is rather depressing--not to mention book sales apparently lag during the summer months. I hear folks talk about the golden age of television, but I don't get HBO, and I really only have a couple shows that I watch with anything resembling devotion (and with Fringe off the air, the number shrinks even more). Meanwhile, Hollywood churns out a would-be blockbuster every other week, summer or otherwise, but there's really only a handful that I get amped to see, and even then I'm content to wait for DVD releases and spare myself the annoyances of movie theaters. Books are what glue me to the living room couch. Books are my blockbusters. So why the hell shouldn't I be happy to join in on the whole "what are you reading this summer" bandwagon?

I'm not a beach-goer, so there's that, but I think there's more to it. I just can't really articulate why I've soured on the summer reads festivities. Maybe I'm a bit like an ardent football fan, sticking it out all year long rooting for my time, suddenly surrounded come Superbowl time by fairweather fans and folks only interested in checking out the commercials. It's fashionable to be a fan during the Superbowl, just like it's fashionable to be a reader during the summer. But I do this all year long. I don't need a beach. I just need a book.

Speaking of which, I've got a whole bunch more on my TBR pile. Have a look.

Cruel Poetry by Vicki Hendricks - Top Suspense Books had a Kindle promotion not too long ago, and one of the books that caught my eye was this one. I'd been meaning to buy a Hendricks novel for some time, but just let her books slide off my radar screen--like too many authors--so now I have no excuses.

The Big Reap by Chris F. Holm - This is the third book in Holm's Collector series through Angry Robot Books. Hard-boiled urban fantasy might be my favorite genre, and Dead Harvest did a pretty good job in kicking this series off, so I'm keen to see how it progresses, as I dive into the second book, The Wrong Goodbye.

Trapped and Haunted House by Jack Kilborn (aka J.A. Konrath) - Konrath's latest novel, Haunted House, came out in May, and while the title is about as generic as it gets, the premise is not. Spend a night in a haunted house and earn a million dollars, plus bring any provisions, weapons, et cetera you like, since no one has ever gotten out alive. It sounds cool as heck, as well as Trapped, a prequel of sorts that features a character or two that appear in the new novel.

Those Poor, Poor Bastards by Tim Marquitz, J.M. Martin, & Kenny Soward -  Weird westerns are kinda my thing. At least I'm hard-pressed to think of one I haven't enjoyed so far, and this collaboration that serves as a kickoff for a new series sounds pitch-perfect for me.

Frank Sinatra in a Blender by MatthewMcBride - I mentioned this book on the blog not too long ago (WLW#140), and I'll be damned if a signed copy didn't find its way to my mailbox. Hard-boiled, eighty-proof, detective noir with a dog named Frank Sinatra. Tell me you don't love the sound of that, I dare ya.

After: First Light by Scott Nicholson - This is a novella that prequels the post-apocalyptic series, so I guess that it makes it just plain apocalyptic. I already have several of Scott Nicholson's books on my Kindle, but what's one more.

The 'Geisters by David Nickle - This new novel from Chizine Publications by Canadian author, David Nickle, sounds delightfully creepy. A poltergeist haunting a woman since she was little, now sought after by a group called the Geisters? Yeah, right up my alley.

Forever and Ever, Amen by Liv Rancourt - Romance isn't a genre I read a whole lot of, but I try to step out of my comfort zone from time to time. I won a copy of this novel a little while back and figure the next time I go for a stroll along the sandy beaches of the genre, I'll pick up this one.

Silver and Viral by Steve Savile - Silver is the first book in Savile's Ogmios Team series, while Viral is a collection of novellas with a central plot that sounds like a cool techno thriller of sorts. I really liked Savile's collaboration with David Niall Wilson in Hallowed Ground, so I'm optimistic about both of these.

The Hunter by Richard Stark - One of the greatest things about digital publishing is that old novels find a new venue, a new audience. Donald Westlake wrote this book back in the 60s, kicking off a whole slew of novels in the Parker series. I haven't read them, but the first book was only a few bucks on the Kindle Store, and since I couldn't track down an old paperback copy locally, I'm happy to settle for an e-book copy.

The Baddest Ass by Anthony Neil Smith - I read and enjoyed Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith, the first Billy Lafitte novel, and I have the second book, Hogdoggin', on my to-be-read pile, and this third book in the series just got released about a month ago. Best title in the series yet, too.

I, Hell byBen Stevens - This one is a novelette about a young man's attempt to escape Hell. Preachin' to the choir, buddy.

AshStreet and Torn by Lee Thomas - One of the blogs I read is The Bag & The Crow, which reviewed Ash Street a while back. Then there's Ed Kurtz and his blog, which turned me towards the novella, Torn, at the end of last year. The former is published by Sinister Grin Press, the latter through Cemetery Dance, and both look great ... and gruesome.

Fifty Shades of Decay edited by Stacey Turner - Zombies are a bit like cheese: they make everything taste better. In this case, they're about the only thing that could make me stomach reading Fifty Shades of Grey. This book's actually an anthology though, published by Angelic Knight Press, including some talented authors trying a hand at erotic horror.

Maritime Murder by Steve Vernon - The Atlantic provinces of Canada are so quaint, so rustic, so welcoming; rather hard to imagine so much killing goes on. Well, it looks like Steve Vernon has dug up a great many true stories of murder from around the Maritimes for Nimbus Publishing. This should be good.

On top of all those books, Prologue Books had an e-book sale on Amazon in June too, pricing a slew of their digital reprints at a buck each. I grabbed quite a few from their line of crime novels, some real pulpy, hard-boiled gems by authors whose work has been recommended to me multiple times.

The Bitch and Wild by Gil Brewer - The first book features Sam and Tate Morgan, the latter has private-eye Lee Baron, and both sound deliciously sleazy. Not having read Gil's work, I can't help but wonder how much of a feminist he was in life. But, heck, the mid-twentieth century wasn't exactly swimming with 'em, was it?

Death House Doll by Day Keene - The title alone was a draw. A femme fatale sitting on death row, holding a secret, with a Korean war vet the only man willing to stand between her and the electric chair.

Obit Delayed by Helen Nielsen - I hadn't heard of Nielsen before, but there was something about the premise for this short novel that appealed to me. A Mexican setting, with murder and intrigue, I figured I could roll the dice on it.

The Thrill Kids and The Young and Violent by Vin Packer - Vin Packer, one of the pen names for Marijane Meaker, is a pretty prolific writer who dabbled in multiple genres.

A House in Naples by Peter Rabe - A crook hiding out in Naples, Italy, gets shot and has to rely on the help of a beautiful stranger as he works out an escape plan. This sounds like it is saturated in pulpy, noir goodness.

Drawn to Evil by Harry Whittington - It seems the more I dip into the crime genre, the more recommendations from authors I enjoy tend to look to the past, and Whittington's hey-day goes right back to the rise of the paperback.

July 24, 2013

Wish List Wednesday #142: Simon R. Green's "Something from the Nightside"

WLW is a recurring blog segment in which I highlight a book I have on my wish list. Sometimes it's a new release, sometimes a beloved classic, and sometimes it's a hidden gem.

I only heard the phrase "Secret London" last year, not being all that familiar with urban fantasy by British authors, but it's something I feel I could easily get on board. And one name that seems synonymous with fantasy novels entailing secret worlds within or underneath London is Simon R. Green.

I've read a few of Simon's short stories in assorted anthologies and mags, but never a novel, and I think the one I'd like to start with is Something from the Nightside.

The Nightside series sounds like a promising fantasy franchise with a private eye hired to find people and items in an otherwordly section in London called--you guessed it--Nightside. It sounds like the kind of book I would absolutely gobble up, but I only looked it up this year, and it was published ten years ago. Damn.

What books and series have you discovered only recently that have been around forever?

July 23, 2013

This Future Is Not Yet Rated: a review of Jodi Lee's "Into a Long Ago Future"

Into a Long Ago Future
self-published (2012)
120 pages
ISBN: 978-1-926912-69-1

My familiarity with Jodi Lee's work stems primarily from her editing and toiling away in the trenches of the indy publisher, Belfire Press. I've read a couple of her stories in anthologies here and there, but this was my first chance to read a book that was entirely hers.

Into a Long Ago Future is a relatively compact collection of stories, clocking in around 120 pages, featuring several short stories, as well as bits of poetry and flash fiction. Even a piece of super short fiction that must not be any more than a hundred words. It's a pastiche of Jodi's work from 2006 to 2010, including her passion project, New Bedlam, a sleepy little town that would make Twink Peaks look like Disneyland.

Things kick off with a glimpse of New Bedlam in a flash piece called "Down the Street," beautifully written, but too brief to my liking. A change in tone comes next from "Trip 'Em," a story that reads more like a tutorial on how to survive the zombie apocalypse with a less than altruistic approach. "Jogger" comes a little later, this creepy bit of fiction that starts with a couple joggers finding someone's eyeball discarded on the park's path. Gross. "The Legless Ones" had a bit of a fairytale vibe to it, but not any kind you'd find in Disney's vault.

"Ring a Ring a Rosie" was a standout for me, with a nurse working a graveyard shift in New Bedlam's quiet ER only to wind up alone with a decrepit and diseased old woman, and from there things get really weird--and pretty gruesome, too. Some of the meatier visits to New Bedlam come from "On the Road" and the aptly titled "New Bedlam," and then the book finishes off with a novel excerpt set in the ominous little town. I'm not sure if Into the Mirror has been published yet, but the teaser offered here is enough to whet the appetite and I would hope offer a more panoramic perspective of Jodi's creation.

The collection can be considered either a mish-mash or a mosaic of Lee's dark imagination. I'm not sure how effective the book is in introducing the town of New Bedlam to readers, as I think the full-length novel might be the preferable avenue for that--for my bias, anyway. The book, however, does give a good sense at how the dark little machinations in Lee's head crank out some genuinely ghastly tales. Keep an eye on her, 'cause I think it only gets better from here.


July 22, 2013

It Won't Fly If It's Filled With Shit: a guest post by Michael Kelly, editor of "Shadows and Tall Trees"

Michael Kelly is the editor and founder of the literary journal, Shadows and Tall Trees (Undertow Books), which I had the good fortune to read and review recently. Along with editing, Michael's also an accomplished author, but it's his experience with the meat grinder that is running a short fiction magazine that'll be the focus of his guest post for today. If you've ever had an itch to get into the racket, or you just wondered what might go in to bringing a magazine to life, you'll want to read this. Enjoy.

It Won’t Fly if it’s Filled With Shit:
A Short Primer on Starting Your Own Magazine
By Michael Kelly

 So, you want to publish and/or edit a magazine.

First, get some editorial experience in the field/genre you want to work in. Second, get some editorial experience in the field/genre you want to work in. Third, get some editorial – well, you get the idea. I can’t stress this enough. The only way to cultivate your editorial voice and taste is with experience. Whether you cultivate good taste or not, is an entirely different matter. Just reading the magazines and journals you admire isn’t enough. Those magazines may be shit. Yes, you simply may have bad taste. I bet your favourite band sucks, too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t develop good taste. Hopefully. Start reading the magazines and books that top editors and writers mention on convention panels or in yearly summations. Taste is subjective, yes, but try to figure out why esteemed editors like certain magazines. Chances are, even if you don’t like all the stories, the writing is top-notch. You have to read good writing before you read bad writing. And if you are editing a journal, you will read bad writing.

Which brings us back to editorial experience. You have to dive in there and read some slush or assist another journal/magazinein their editing and selection process. More bad writing. Lots of it. Keep at it. Act professionally. Try and earn a spot on the magazine’s masthead. In short, make a name for yourself. Easier said than done, of course. It’s a long hard road.

Now, even though you’ve gained some experience, writers worth their salt are not apt to submitwork to a fledgling publication unless you are paying professional rates. You are not offering professional rates, are you? Didn’t think so. So how can you attract professional writers? Simple. Put out a professional publication. Act like a professional. Always. Okay, it may not be that simple. This is also where other experience, like previous writing credits, help. It’s hard to drum up submissions fora new venture if the publisher/editor has no experience. If you have a decent reputation, and act professionally and can say “Hey, I was published in that magazine alongside you and I’m starting a similar journal and would love to see something from you,” or “I came across your story in the slush, passed it up and they bought it. I’m starting my own magazine and would love to consider your work” it certainly helps. But say it better than I just did.

Decide what you might want to publish besides fiction. Reviews? Essays? Interviews? It might be a good idea toget an interview with a name author or editor for the journal, as that lends a bit of credibility to theventure straight away. You might have to pay for theinterview. It’s the writer’s time, after all.

Be prepared to lose money. I don’t know of too many smallventures that make money. By claiming expenses on tax returns, you might break even. Of course, if you’re in it to make money, you’rein it for the wrong reasons. Do it because you love it. That’s the best reason to do anything.

Pay your writers. Even if it just a cent-a-word and a few copies, you have to pay your writers. It’s a small token that you are appreciative of their efforts. You can’t pay them what they are worth, perhaps – more power to you if you can -- but they will appreciate the gesture. And you can pay them in other ways.

Be a big advocate for your contributors. Send the journal to all the ‘Year’s Best’ editors, plus jurors for the all the major awards. The writers appreciate this. This is part of acting like a professional.

Have a plan, and have an editorial vision. Maybe your idea is a “literary horror journal with mainstream sensibilities.” That could pretty muchbe your editorial vision, as well. And perhaps you want it to be a small lit journal because you like that sort of thing, and because it’s cheaper to mail a smaller journal. Make sure the covers and paper are quality. People do judge abook by its cover. If it looks professional, you’ve a better chance of attracting professionals to the pages. Conversely, there are some ‘professional’ magazines, which shall remain nameless, that are so poorly designed and feature covers that look like they were designed in Microsoft Paint by an overly-caffeinated 12-year-old, that even the most desperate writers are advised to steer well clear of. But it is the contents that the magazine will ultimately be judged on. It won’t fly if it is filled with shit. If you can, solicit work from writers you like for the first issue. And don’t accept it unless it is good. This can be a difficult thing for the fledgling editor. But you only want good work, don’t you? If not, if all you want to do is publish ‘name’ writers regardless of the quality of their submission, then stop now. There are already too many magazines out there doing just that. When you solicit writers, introduceyourself, tell them your credits/experience, and explain what your journal is about. Compareit to other journals (Shadows & Tall Trees, Black Static, etc.), or whateveraesthetic you’re going for. Make sure you spell out the exact terms you want(you’ll need a contract), like payment, rights, length of term, etc.

So, now you’ve gathered all your quality submissions, procured great cover art, had the text professionally laid out and typeset, etc, and sent the files off to be printed. Now is the time to announce your venture, not before. If the community sees this new journal with a great cover and a terrific line-up of writers, they will take notice. Writers, artists, and readers will show an interest. Hopefully, you can sell a lot of copies of the inaugural issue to lay the groundwork for future issues. But don’t count on it. And don’t count on making any money. Ever. It’d be nice, sure. Just don’t ever count on it.

Finally, be very picky about the work you publish. Sounds easy, I know, but quality is the only way to get the journal noticed. When a new market opens, writers will toss their trunk stories at it. Be prepared. This is where editorial experience helps. And this is why you solicited writers for the first issue. Also, if you feel you don’t have enough quality material, delay publication. If you’re planning a quarterly, you might feel pressured to get the issue out at a certain time, and you might accept work that isn’t quite up to snuff. Let your taste dictate publication schedule, not an arbitrary deadline.Writers and artists, like everyone, are temperamental. Be polite and professional. Go slow. Work out a budget. And act like a professional. As long as the product is good, you’ll attract good writers.

July 19, 2013

Caught Up in the Undertow: a review of "Shadows and Tall Trees 5" edited by Michael Kelly

Shadows and Tall Trees 5

edited by Michael Kelly

130 pages

ISBN-13: 9780981317724

Michael Kelly and Undertow Publications put out the latest issue of Shadows and Tall Trees a couple months back, a passion project that has garnered praise each time from some of the heavyweights in the realms of dark fiction. I managed to get my hands on a review copy of this fifth edition, and possibly the last in its present form, as it looks like S&TT is transitioning into trade paperbacks and e-book formats from now on.

Rather than strictly horror, the stories are quite diverse, spreading all over the realm of the weird. All of which displaying the quiet, literary bent that can go under-appreciated at times. Right off the bat, Gary Fry's "New Wave" reminded me why I needed to keep an eye out for this talented British author. The story of a grieving widower left to care for a psychologically stressed young boy, who may or may not be sharing in the same mental illness his late mother did, carried this striking balance of sympathy for the father coupled with dread over the scarecrow in the neighboring farm's field and how it relates to the sins of the father. Really good stuff.

Claire Massey's "Casting Ammonites" was barely a thousand words, if that, but packed a sizable punch, as did Richard Gavin's "A Cavern of Redbrick," which had a bit of a Bradburian vibe with its boy discovers a ghostly girl in a gravel pit that may be more than she lets on. Veering into something that might be more in Clive Barker's territory was D.P. Watt's "Laudate Dominum" and a wanderers encounter with a museum along a path that houses mechanical wonders with a musical bent--and the terrifying project underway by its caretaker.

Among the engrossing fiction was a bit of nonfiction too, in V.H. Leslie's "A Woman's Place," which served as an examination of a gothic novel called The Yellow Wallpaper. Gothic novels can be a bit hit or miss with me, all depending on the author I suppose, and it sounds like there's a weighty bit of storytelling going on in Perkins' novel. I may need to look out for that one.

I've helped myself to a steady diet of some rather raucous horror fiction recently, so the quiet horror depicted in the stories of this book served as a bit of a palette cleanser. If you're also a fan of dark fiction that likes to play with language and style, you're bound to get hooked by at least one of the tales in Shadows & Tall Trees.

Available via

July 17, 2013

Horror Is Every Genre: an interview (and giveaway) with Edward Lorn, author of "Life After Dane"

What is Life After Dane all about?A mother’s love is undying… and so is Dane.

After the state of Arkansas executes serial killer Dane Peters, the Rest Stop Dentist, his mother discovers that life is darker and more dangerous than she ever expected.

The driving force behind his ghostly return lies buried in his family’s dark past. As Ella desperately seeks a way to lay her son’s troubled soul to rest, she comes face to face with her own failings.

If Ella cannot learn why her son has returned and what he seeks, then the reach of his power will destroy the innocent, and not even his mother will be able to stop him.

Who is Edward Lorn?:  Edward Lorn is an American horror author presently residing in the southeast United States. He enjoys storytelling, reading, and writing biographies in the third person.

Once upon a time, during a session of show and tell, a seven-year-old Edward Lorn shared with his class that his baby brother had died over the weekend. His classmates, the teacher included, wept while he recounted the painful tragedy of having lost a sibling. Edward went home that day and found an irate mother waiting for him. Edward’s teacher had called to express her condolences. This was unfortunate, as Edward had never had a baby brother.

With advice given to her by a frustrated teacher, Edward’s mother made him start writing all of his lies down. The rest, as they say, is history.

Edward Lorn and his wife are raising two children, along with a handful of outside cats and a beagle named Dot. He remains a liar to this day. The only difference is, now he’s a useful one.

an interview with Edward Lorn

Gef: You're one of the first authors to work with Red Adept Publishing--maybe THE first--so how have you found the experience thus far? Any surprises or revelations you'd care to share?

Edward: I have yet to find a better publisher. When you compare their royalty split (50/50) with the amount of work they do, you will not find another publisher that even comes close to offering the same deal. Red Adept books are as good, if not better, than the products pushed out by the “Big Six.” Even the covers we receive are some of the best I’ve seen in the small press/indie market.

On a more personal level, I’ve become good friends with most of the staff, so working with any one of them has been a great pleasure. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked on three books with them so far, and each time, the process is smoother and more enjoyable than the last time. I know all this sounds too good to be true, but it’s really not. The only real downside of working with RAP would be if an author is lazy. Because let me tell you, they make you work. But in the end, it’s all very much worth it.

Gef: Dastardly Bastard was published a little over a year ago, and since that time, it seems you've been a bit of a workhorse, with multiple books published including a short story collection and a couple novellas. Making up for lost time?

Edward: Not really. All I do is write. As of right now I have 18 “trunk novels” that no one will ever see and over 800 short stories I’ll probably never do anything with, all written over the past fifteen years. I keep telling people, you have to write to become a writer. Simply thinking about writing isn’t going to do you any good. You must write everyday, without fail. Yes, most of what you create is going to be garbage, but that doesn’t matter. You can’t just sit around and wait on the next bright idea. You have to be proactive. Sooner or later, you’re going to get better. Or, you’re not. Then you’re left with other things, like knitting and watercolors.

Gef: Okay, so now that you're a year into the whole published author racket, how long does the road behind you look from where you stand?

Edward: The road behind me used to be a dirt track leading to a crumbling old shack out in the middle of the woods. Now, when I look back, I see construction, a work in progress that isn’t likely to be completed as long as I live. This is a good thing. As long as I’m constantly learning I will create new and exciting roads on which people can escape from local troubles. Books create highways in our minds; as long as people take my exit every once and a while, I’m a happy guy.

Gef: While you're an author who isn't bashful about his affinity for horror, it's not the only genre you work in. Have you found the word "horror" brings up some nasty preconceptions with prospective readers, or has your audience been forgiving with your genre-hopping?

Edward: See, that’s the thing, Gef. Horror is every genre. In fact, I probably have fewer “horror fans” than any other horror author. I know I constantly disappoint those readers who come looking for bloodbaths and torture porn, and that’s okay. I cover all genres when I write: comedy, drama, action, mystery, all that real life entails. No one’s life is all horrific, not even while horrific things are occurring. We laugh when we’re stressed; cry when we’re happy; continue to look even when we know we should turn away. It’s human nature. I try to touch upon all that in my writing. At the end of the day, though, I am a horror author. With every one of my books, you will find at least one scene where you’re likely to question my social stability. And that’s why I love the genre. You can write about anything you please as long as you eventually come back to the scary stuff.

Gef: Dare I ask what you have next on the horizon?

Edward: Next thing coming out is the follow up to my novella, Hope for the Wicked. Pennies for the Damned is the first full length Larry Laughlin novel. I wouldn’t call it a sequel as much as I would call it a continuation of the first story. The book is done and awaiting edits. Right now, though, I’m working on a collaboration with friend and fellow author, Jeff Brackett. We’re tackling the end of the world in a book called Chucklers. It should be one hell of a fun ride. And, of course, you’ll see many other stand-alone novels and Larry Laughlin sequels in the years to come. I’ll be here for a while, I promise. But for now, I want to set your teeth on edge. Go read my newest effort, Life After Dane. You won’t be disappointed. 

Gef: A big thanks to Edward Lorn for stopping by the blog, and to Red Adept Publishing for organized the blog tour and publicity blitz, which includes a great giveaway that all of you can check out via the Rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And if you can't wait any longer, you can visit the links below to grab yourself a copy of Life After Dane: