Tag Archives: Reading

Review: Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi

29 Mar

Author Travis Glasgow recently completed a novel titled The Ocean Serene, written as Travis’s way of dealing with the death of his brother Kyle, whom he felt he had killed years ago.  Thinking he had put his past behind him, he and his wife, Jodie, move to Westlake, Maryland to be closer to his living brother, Adam.  However, upon arrival to the house, Travis starts noticing strange happenings.  He is hearing noises and seeing strange sights in the basement.  What he witnesses makes him believe that Kyle’s spirit has followed him all this way and is trying to tell him something.  Then one day Travis notices another oddity; a staircase, floating in the middle of the lake outside their house.  As Travis’s confusion and fears increase, he decides to do an investigation of his own, wondering if there is more to the house than just a ghost from his own past.  Taking his research skills to the local library, he soon discovers that the previous owners of his new house have something in common with him; they also dealt with the death of a drowning boy in their family.  Travis becomes obsessed with finding out as much as he can about the previous owners of his house in order to find out what message the being that has been reaching out to him is trying to get across.

Of all the books I read in 2011, Floating Staircase was at the top of my list!  From start to finish I could not put this book down.  Having not previously read anything by Ronald Malfi I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this one, but I was pleasantly surprised and will definitely be looking up his other reads.  I’ve always been a fan of ghost stories and this book is definitely that.  In the beginning, Malfi leaves you wondering if maybe Travis Glasgow has gone just a bit crazy over the years due to the blame he had put on himself after his brother’s death.  But once he discovers that there is another presence in the house other than what Travis originally thought was his brother’s spirit, things really take off.  Mixing elements of both horror and mystery, Malfi has put together a page-turner that, even when finished, leaves you wanting more.  Powerful and chilling, Floating Staircase is one ghost story that horror fans should not miss.  Highly Recommended!

Contains: Adult Language & Adult Situations

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian

Kindle Freebies – 3/25/12

25 Mar

Sorry I haven’t posted any freebies the last couple of days, but I don’t always have time to create these blog posts as it takes a bit of time to get all the links and such together.  This should cover everything that I personally thought looked like good freebies over the course of the weekend however.  As always, click the cover art and/or book title to get to the book.  Also, prices can change at any time, I have no control over that.  

HIGHLIGHTS:  

Since I have previously read both of the following books for review in the past, I’m posting them here at the top as highlights with my personal review of the books.  Both of these are amazing reads, so don’t miss out on them while they are free!

Love crime?  Love noir?  Love bizarro?  Love comedy?  If you said yes to any of these questions, then Squid Pulp Blues is for you!  The book is made up of three novellas and has been described as squishy-noir, and contains all of the genres I just listed.

The first novella, The Haberdasher, is about bad drugs, missing feet, and other weird things that Red Henry Hooper is up against after obtaining parole.  The Longheads is the second novella and has probably one of the most interesting, yet disturbing characters I’ve come across in a bizarro title to date… Peachy, a diaper-wearing gangster.  I’ll leave it to your imagination about exactly WHY Peachy wears a diaper, as it’s best to find out for yourself.  Peachy is actually not the main focus of this story, however.  The story centers on a group of veterans called the Longheads who are tracking down other characters who end up having a run-in with Peachy.  The final novella in this collection is titled The Apocalypse Donkey.  This was my favorite of the three stories, though they are all extremely good.  The Apocalypse Donkey is about Simon, the artist of a popular comic book, who is on his way to an autograph session when someone hands him a package.  Unfortunately, it’s a case of mistaken identity and the package isn’t really for him.  Once this is discovered by the other party, the chase is on!

All three novellas in Squid Pulp Blues are loosely connected, making for an even more interesting read.  Characterization is one of the strongest points of Squid Pulp Blues, as is the case for all of Krall’s books.  Each story contains several characters and each and every one of them has special attributes/features that are unique to them.  I keep thinking that Krall will run out of ideas for new and interesting characters, but he hasn’t disappointed yet.    Randomly gross, most often hilarious, and almost always full of squid references, this is one of Jordan Krall’s finest works.  I would recommend this to anyone as there is something in it for everyone.  Highly recommended!

Contains:  Adult Language, Adult Situations

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian.

YOU.  Yes, “you”… are a poor soul in the hospital on your last legs.  And as it is, you’ve “given birth” to one of the most horrible “people” ever possible…

MORBID.  Born from “your” rectum, Morbid dispatches many other patients in the hospital in extremely horrendous and painful ways.  However, the main suspect of these murders isn’t Morbid, but instead…

WESTPHAL.  Living with his ghost step-dad, Sammy, and his pet aborted fetus, Chip, Westphal works as a night shift nurse, getting stuck with all of the worst patients.  All those that no one else wants to fool with.  Just to get through the day, Westphal has to dope himself up with the strongest narcotics possible and that doesn’t always help make things easier.

These three characters, as well as a host of other interesting “people” make up Steven Rage’s You Morbid Westphal. Both the characters and story format are unique- Rage has created a one-of-a-kind voice with this novella, which has enough story to fill a full-length book.  A large chunk of the story follows Westphal day-to-day as he suffers through many horrendous tasks at work, in his dreams, and even just trying to obtain more drugs along the way.

As soon as I read the final chapters of this book I was ready to re-read it.  I ended up waiting a few months before doing just that, but after a second read, I would be more than happy to do so yet again… and again… and again…  You Morbid Westphal is one of those novellas that never get tiresome, as you pick up something different with each read through.  You Morbid Westphal is not for the faint of heart, as it is full of numerous crude scenes that Rage describes in graphic detail.  For many seasoned horror/bizarro readers, this will be a plus, but for those that can’t handle things over the top, beware!  Highly recommended!

Contains:  Adult language, Adult Situations, Sex, Rape, Violence, Gore, Heavy Drug Use

Review also posted at MonsterLibrarian.

HORROR & THRILLERS

A janitor, a former junkie, a cab driver, a waitress, a high school senior. Strangers in life, they each receive a blue card in the mail. Now they are connected in death by blue cards found on their bodies. The enigmatic letters on the cards mean something to the killer, something Homicide Detective Jayson Weis has to decipher before he can rid the city of this madman. Confronted with the bodies of the present, haunted by the bodies of the past, Weis knows there will be more bodies in his future unless he can stop the Card Killer. When the few witnesses can’t agree about the killer, not even the race and sex, Weis begins to dread the possibility of a second killer. His relationship with long time girlfriend Lois Fremont is deteriorating. The pressure from City Hall mounts. His own uncertainty about his future dulls the edge of his investigation. Help comes from an unexpected direction, a paraplegic teenager who has also received one of the cards.

A personal loss throws medium Tess Schafer’s beliefs into question and severs her communications with “the other side”. Unable to move on with her life, she takes a healing vacation to a haunted resort on the coast of Maine. Her arrival triggers a spike in paranormal activity and the return of her spiritual connection.

As the spirits of two young lovers reach out to her, Tess soon finds herself in the middle of much more than a tragic love story. Why are they afraid and why are they warning her away? Personal doubts, skeptics, a growing sense of menace and a distracting attraction to another guest will not stop her from uncovering the resort’s secrets.

This omnibus contains the novels WHERE DARKNESS DWELLS and THE NIGHTMARE WITHIN. A monster of a volume, this single ebook is over 195k words (or 700+ pages if in print).

WHERE DARKNESS DWELLS
Summer, 1934. Two boys, searching for a local legend, stumble upon the Underground, a network of uncharted caverns. Time holds no sway there; people no longer age and their wounds heal as if by magic. By morning, one boy is murdered, while the other never returns.
Below a town ravaged by the Great Depression, an immortal society thrives, built on the backs of slavery and pervasive immorality.

THE NIGHTMARE WITHIN
Maury can pull dreams into the waking world, giving them corporeal form. From a boy named Kevin, he removes a nightmare dubbed Mr. Freakshow. Mr. Freakshow knows the rules: a dream becomes immortal by killing its dreamer. When the nightmare escapes his confinement, he has but one goal.

Will Kevin survive his nightmare?

OTHER HORROR & THRILLERS

Crack in the Glass by Jonathan Carter

Dead Man #1: Face of Evil by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin

The Fall by Reverend Steven Rage

Medi-Evil 2 by Paul Finch

The Empty Heart: A Collection by Derek Murphy

Merciless Pack by R. Thomas Brown

Flashes From the Grave by Lisa McCourt Hollar

Eyes of the Seer by Peter Dawes

Falling Awake by Charles J. Harwood

McGrave by Lee Goldberg

Covert Reich by A.K. Alexander

Rotten Apple: Seven Sins, One Deadly City by Simon Dunn

The Innocent by Vincent Zandri

Hunt, Hunted. Murder, Murdered. by Michael McBride

Dead But Not Buried by Iain North

Mayhem: A Collection of Stories by R. Thomas Brown

Brujas Behind Bars by David Bain

Dirty Eden by J.A. Redmerski

The Grid by Amy Cross

Welcome to Demos by Jonathan Lister

Monster Story by McCarty Griffin

EROTIC HORROR

Final Cut by Jonathan Carter

Nocturnal Cravings 2 by Various Authors

TWISTED FAIRY TALES

Horrors! While out on a lovely boating jaunt with her sister Lorina and Charles Dodgson (otherwise known as Lewis Carroll), poor Alice finds herself caught up in the tentacles of madness. Inspired by the brilliant and haunting Dreamlands works of the pre-eminent author of horror-fantasy, H.P. Lovecraft, CTHULHU IN WONDERLAND: The Madness of Alice hurls the reader down the Zoog Hole and into Wonderland to experience the sanity-leeching terror of Cthulhu, Shoggoths, the Jabberwock, the demoniac Duchess, the tyrannical Queen in Crimson and the King in Yellow himself. Filled with macabre, sophisticated and antediluvian humor, CTHULHU IN WONDERLAND is certain to leave a permanent aethereal scar upon the reader’s already frail and faltering psyche.

From the author of THE NECRONOMICON ~ THE CTHULHU REVELATIONS and the editor of THE COMPLETE ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

(Disclaimer: Publisher not responsible for death, dread metamorphosis, transmogrification, loss of sanity, permanent neural damage or horrific titillation. If you experience a trans-dimensional journey lasting longer than 4 hours, cease all bodily activity and go the emergency room immediately. Read at your own risk. Ingredients: Earth-Shattering Revelation 43.6%, Apocalyptic Waking Nightmare 33.1%, Things Man Was Not Meant to Know 23.3%. May contain trace amounts of morbid amusement and partially hydrogenated peanut oil.)

OTHER TWISTED FAIRY TALES

Blackstone & Brenwen: The Mirror & The Meretrix by Andrew D. Mellusco

Snowy & the Seven Wharves by Patricia Green

Royal Historian of Oz by S.D. Brown

PARANORMAL ROMANCE/EROTICA

Meet Vivian. She’s a 580-year-old vampire who exudes sex, has a talent for drama, and is passionate about two things: her human husband, Rafe, and their resort for the undead. Her ability to project physical illusions has created the perfect vacation spot — a dark, isolated Alaskan hideaway where visitors can have their wildest fantasies come true.

Vivian knows the best performance requires perfect timing, but the powerful vamp is put to the test when she discovers a corpse in a locked guestroom minutes before the next arrivals. Always cool-headed, Rafe hides the body, convinced he and Vivian can find the culprit without disturbing their guests.

Juggling the increasingly outrageous demands of their customers while tracking a killer isn’t easy. Will their poking and prodding give them the answers they need, or will it uncover secrets Vivian would kill to protect?

Warning: This book contains very explicit sex scenes, intended for mature readers over 18 only.

OTHER PARANORMAL ROMANCE/EROTICA

Just One Taste by C.J. Ellisson

Another Sip by C.J. Ellisson

Echo in the Dark by Marc J. Riley

Something Wicked This Way Comes, Part One by Amileigh D’Lecoire

Love Immortal by Kelly Wallace

PARANORMAL YA

Seattle’s demons are scared and wreaking havoc in the rainy city. They’ve burned their way through the Seattle underground, threatened to topple the Space Needle, and sent a twenty foot statue rampaging downtown.

It’s up to Nathaniel Grimlock, the teenage Demonkeeper, to control them, but when he discovers what’s stirring them up—a legendary monster known as the Demoneater—he finds that he’s in over his head yet again!

MORE PARANORMAL YA

Dead, Sweet Angel by Susan MacQuoid

Changes by Patricia Reed

Marty Boggs & The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb by M.T. Acquaire

Approach to Reading

22 Mar

Was just thinking about the fact that it seems I do a bit more reading nowadays with the whole e-book world out there.  I still don’t get nearly as much read as I’d like given how many books are waiting for me on Mt. TBR.  I just hope that there will be a way to take them all with me when I leave this world one day.  🙂  At any rate,  I now read 3 different ways…

1 – Print Books (the old-fashioned way) – this is actually my least favorite method of reading nowadays, but it is still nice to occasionally pick up a print book.  And since some of my review books I receive are in print rather than electronic format, I don’t have a choice.

2 – Electronic Books via my Kindle Fire – My favorite method of reading ’cause I *SO* love my Kindle Fire!!!  On there I have access to almost 2,000 books I’ve gotten from Amazon (most for free as there are so many generous authors out there) plus I have put all of my waiting-to-be-read review books on there and some other books that I want to read sooner rather than later.  I read on this as much as possible as I especially like that I can read in the dark in bed at night without a reading light of any kind.  In addition to reading on it, I also can check my email, facebook, play words with friends, etc… on there so it’s a handy all-in-one tool for me whenever I’m anywhere with wi-fi accessibility.  🙂

3 – Electronic Books via my Droid RAZR Phone – Yes, despite now having the Kindle Fire I do still read on my phone.  I know I’m bad in doing so, but I do read some while driving… especially at stop lights and such.  *grin*  I can usually get in a short story or a chapter or two between work and home each day by doing so and I do hate losing reading time.  Also, the phone is easy to have with me no matter where I go since it’s small and light, plus it’s ALWAYS with me anyway.

So what about you?  How do you like to read?  What formats do you read in?  I know that some people hate the idea of e-books and I’m not trying to start any kind of bashing war here.  We all have our preferences on how we do things so I’m just curious of your own preferences.  🙂

The other thing I wanted to talk about here is picking your next read.  Since I read in three formats as I mentioned above, I am typically in the middle of three books.  I tend to read shorter stuff on my phone, typically short story collections and novellas.  But as for exactly what I choose to read, I just go for what strikes my fancy at the time.  I know that I should probably read the review books I get in the order they come in, but if I did so I’d either be reading a LOT slower or end up giving more negative reviews due to reading books that I really am not in the mood for.

How do you decide what to read next?

If you look over to the right of my blog you should be able to see my current reads via the GoodReads widget I have plugged in there.  In case it’s not working however, my current reads are as follows:

In Print:

Image

On my Kindle Fire:

On my Droid RAZR:

 What are you reading?

Kindle Freebies 3/21/12

21 Mar

Since FaceBook doesn’t seem to like the way I am posting the freebies on my wall there, I figured it’d be best to just post the links here, though it’s MUCH faster to do it the other way since I have to grab the pictures and stuff to post them all here, but whatever.  I’ve gotta help feed the book addiction of my peeps.  🙂

So, without further ado… here are my top picks of today’s freebies.  As always, the price can change at any time and I have no control over that.  Click cover images to get to each book.

What would you do if, while taking a late night shortcut through the woods, the trees started whispering your name? Would you convince yourself the voices were only your imagination or would you run?

What would you do if your child told you they saw faces in the walls? Would you believe them or put it down to a case of a child’s night terrors?

What would you do if strange termite mounds started to appear in your greenhouse? Would you call the exterminator or wonder if something unnatural was responsible for the weird constructions?

From horror and paranormal author, Marissa Farrar, comes a collection of haunting, horrifying and surprising short stories.

Content Advisory: This collection totals seven short stories, with a word count of approximately 24K. Bonus content of the first three chapters of Marissa Farrar’s latest novel, ‘The Dark Road’, have also been included for your enjoyment.

THE REAL: The award-winning Amazon.com supernatural thriller, #1 “Ghosts” bestseller and 2011 overall top 100 Amazon ebook bestseller!

A SEQUENCE OF SEEMINGLY UNRELATED STRANGE AND TRAGIC EVENTS TRANSFORMS THE ORDINARY LIFE OF JEREMY SPIRES INTO ONE FILLED WITH ADVENTURE, INTRIGUE, AND PERIL.

Who wouldn’t want to become cognizant of secret realms?
When seven hippies burned to death 39 years ago in a tragic fire, a ghost story was spawned. The legend, passed down by students at the local University, centers on Claire Wales, a.k.a. the Hippie Queen. Graduate student Jeremy Spires thinks nothing of the tale until he stops on a deserted road to help a stranded motorist, Grady, who retells the ghost story as if it and the Hippie Queen are real. Despite Grady’s warnings to stay away, Jeremy and his devoted girlfriend, Jinni Malone, plan a camping trip to the very place – Reefers Woods – where the hippies died. After a near-death experience, an ultra-vivid dream and bizarre visions of children roaming about, Jeremy wonders if there could be some extraordinary power manifested in Reefers Woods. Can Jeremy, in his role as a cynical scientist, dare to believe in the supernatural? Can he discern what is real and what is not?

Do you know what it is to burn?
No? Neither did Jeremy, at least not before a girl, a beautiful stranger, kissed him unexpectedly in a bar. In the days that followed, and despite his love for Jinni, Jeremy cannot turn his thoughts away from the provocative encounter. When Jeremy gives in to his forbidden desires and seeks out the mysterious Monika, he is thrust into a shadowy subculture of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, of which he had been completely unaware. It is Monika who asks the question, and subsequently reveals what it is to burn.

I can’t believe she’s dead!
The intrigue and suspense intensifies after a ritualistic murder at the University draws the attention of the nation. After learning that the victim is someone very close to Jeremy and after finding evidence linking him to the crime scene, the police focus on Jeremy as a suspect, forcing him to search for the real killer and to try and make sense of the many unforeseen twists and turns his life takes.

What is THE REAL?
THE REAL may be described as a murder-mystery, an action-adventure and a supernatural thriller, deftly folded into one. The observant among you might see the novel through an allegorical lens or even as an extended fable. Regardless, this book can be experienced on several levels. It is up to you, the reader, to decide how deeply you wish to delve.

A collection of 5 short ghost/horror stories.

The Haunted Carousel- From chasing the urban legends of Corona to visiting Mr. Pitchord’s creepy house, the seniors from Corona High, 1985 get more than they bargain for when they run across an old carousel on the deceased owner’s property. Amidst a wicked storm, Donovan and his friends find that the ghost of Pitchford is the least of their worries.

Petrified- Surlee’s, Big Sur California, is the place to go to get unusual petrified statuettes. For Ramona and Tom, the beautiful agony depicted on the expressions of the carvings became an all too real horror when they realized Surlee’s secret for success.

Music Box- Sometimes, true love really does last forever.

I Am Ellis Moore- He doesn’t remember the past and he doesn’t understand the future. Ellis only lives for the present, avoiding the hateful witch Zhena who resides in his basement. On October 31st, he’s reminded why he creeps through the hidden corridors of Moore Manor when his father pays him an unexpected visit.

Chameleon- A day in the life of Thaddeus Grey, a man compelled to blend into his surroundings. Literally.

 

Faith’s torn affection between the two angelic brothers, Kort and Seth, is once again tested, and then put aside as an unexpected threat looms. Satan and all of his followers are scrambling to tempt, touch, and invade humanity again; thus, weakening God’s rule and unlocking the chains of…The Irin.

Kort, who is to be of truth and honor, wants to keep Faith in the dark about the ex-archangel hit squad with powers that supersede those of the two angelic brothers in love with her. Seth wants to tell her everything; including the fact that the leader of The Irin, Samyaza, is not only cruel, but takes the virtue of human women to give his angelic powers a boost. And if he can take the virtue of ‘the chosen one,’ he will gain power over all of mankind as well. Well…no more piddly-ass-little-girl crap, Faith’s tired of being the damsel-in-distress, and she’s not about to be any longer. God bestows Faith with some unique weapons against The Irin—useful blessings, for not only does sexuality ooze off Samyaza like rays of light bursting off the sun, his features would buckle any human girl’s knees.

Can she resist Samyaza’s charms? If so…can she escape his cruelness? Because, he will have her ‘power’ one way or another.

Moonlight City lies on the border between this world and the next, so it’s only natural that there should be some extra-ordinary citizens in town. But when that supernatural element turns nasty, it’s time to call in the Moonlight Monsters Detective Agency.

In this action-packed Christmas adventure, half-demon detective Tina Peterson finds herself facing off against a coven of Krampi – chaotic winter demons – who are masquerading as store Santas at Shopping Malls all over Moonlight City. But can she save the city from total bedlam without enlisting the help of smooth-talking British vampire Sam Parker? Even though she has an outstanding warrant for his arrest?

Hells Bells! can be read as a stand alone story or in order as part of the series.

And lastly, as I just couldn’t resist this title/cover (*giggles*)… 

Another short paranormal sex story by Lucy Pire.

Managing to buy her first house at 20 thanks to the money she makes as a well known medium, her first day moving in doesn’t go exactly as she plans.

Erica soon finds out there’s a ghost in her house, not that she really minds. And this one seems to be quite helpful, in more ways then one…

Descriptive, and guaranteed to turn you on.

 

Other books being re-offered for free today:

Dark Horse by J. Carson Black

The Desert Waits by J. Carson Black

Ultimate Thriller Boxset by Lee Goldberg, Scott Nicholson, J.A. Konrath, J. Carson Black, and Blake Crouch

Brother’s Keeper by Glen R. Kirsch

Knock, Knock by S.P. Miskowski

Freeze by Daniel Pyle

Attic Clowns Vol. 4 by Jeremy Shipp

As always, these are just a sampling of free books available today.  I’m sure there are many other goodies out there, but these were the ones that looked most appealing to me.  Enjoy!  🙂

Interview with Lisa Morton

26 Feb

(Me with Lisa Morton in Vegas at KillerCon 2011)

Rhonda:  Hi Lisa!  This is the 3rd annual Women in Horror Recognition Month and I could think of no one better to interview for MonsterLibrarian to recognize this month.  Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions of mine.

Lisa: Thank YOU, Rhonda. And I think you’re a pretty darn good example of Women in Horror month yourself.

Rhonda:  Let’s start with some easy questions.  How did you get your start in the writing industry?

Lisa: I studied screenwriting in college, and so my first few sales were tiny little options on various screenplays and teleplays, but it wasn’t until I sold the screenplay for MEET THE HOLLOWHEADS (which I co-wrote with Tom Burman) that I had what I’d call my first real sale. That happened largely on the strength of Tom’s name; he’s one of the great grandmasters of special makeup effects, and we tailored the script (which was originally titled LIFE ON THE EDGE) to include a lot of makeup effects, which Tom offered to do at basically his cost (and I think he even may have lost a little money on them!). My first prose sale, though, was to Stephen Jones and David Sutton for DARK VOICES 6. I’d met Steve at a convention and we’d hit it off, so he invited me to submit.

Rhonda:  Going along with the previous question… who were some of the most influential authors for you when you were starting out?  And also today?

Lisa: I wanted to become a screenwriter when I saw THE EXORCIST at the age of 15, so I’d certainly have to list William Peter Blatty. Then the writer who made me really want to write prose was Dennis Etchison, who remains one of my favorite writers.

Rhonda:  How do you go about your writing process?  For example, how do you go about your research, what kind of timeframe do you give yourself for writing, what kind of setting do you place yourself in to write?

Lisa: It depends on what I’m writing. Over the last few years I’ve switched back-and-forth almost equally between short fiction, long fiction, non-fiction, and screenplays, and I take slightly different approaches to each. For short fiction, I’ll get any research out of the way, work it out in my head for a while, then just dive right in. For book-length stuff, though, I have to outline in advance, or I lose track of where I’m going (and since endings are often what I come up with FIRST, it’s important for me to keep track of how I’m getting there). For non-fiction, of course, the research can be insane; I spent around two years on THE HALLOWEEN ENCYCLOPEDIA. And of course with screenwriting, everything’s often set for you – including those deadlines.

As for setting…I tend to sprawl on the couch at home with my netbook. I’m not one of those people who can go sit in a coffee shop or some other public place; the last thing in the world I want to deal with when I’m in the writing groove is the inevitable, “Oh, are you writing?”

Rhonda:  I’ve read all of your fictional novellas and your novel, The Castle of Los Angeles, and noticed that every book had a very powerful female lead.  I even noticed this in some of your short stories.  I was
wondering what made you choose this personality for your characters?

Lisa: First off all – thank you for reading everything! That kind of blows me away, frankly.

That use of female leads hasn’t really been a deliberate choice. I think part of it stems from the situations in the stories – in THE SAMHANACH, for example, because I was dealing with a creature that stole children, it made sense to focus on a single mom. In CASTLE, so much of it was taken from my own experience in small theater that it just seemed unthinkable to make the lead something other than my own gender. In my last novel, MALEDICTION (which is still being shopped by my agent), there’s a theme of a powerful, destructive antagonist going up against a nurturing protagonist, so again – the circumstances kind of dictated the sex. As to why so many of my stories seem to thematically involve feminine attributes…well, I guess that’s just who I am.

Rhonda:  Your collection of short stories, Monsters of L.A., includes a special feature section detailing a bit about where the ideas for your stories came from.  Do you come up with the ideas for your longer fiction in this same manner typically?

Lisa: I think so. Los Angeles has obviously been a big part of my life and a source of inspiration again and again, be it short or long fiction.

Rhonda:  You have done a lot of non-fictional work on the history of Halloween.  How did you gain such a fascination with this holiday and how did you get involved with writing The Halloween Encyclopedia?

Lisa: This is kind of a disappointing story, because it really wasn’t some lifelong obsession or something! Back in 2001, I’d just finished my first non-fiction book – THE CINEMA OF TSUI HARK, about the godfather of Hong Kong movies – and the publisher asked me if I’d consider doing another book with them. I looked at their current catalog at the time, and saw that they’d just published THE CHRISTMAS ENCYCLOPEDIA. I had a small collection of Halloween books I’d acquired as a sort of mild interest, so I said, “How about THE HALLOWEEN ENCYCLOPEDIA?” They said yes, and that’s how it really started. I accrued so much material researching that first Halloween book that it made sense to roll it over into more.

Rhonda:  Going back to this being Women in Horror Recognition Month.  It seems that the fictional horror genre has an abundance of male authors compared to females.  I had wondered if it was due to the fact that more male authors tend to push the boundaries on the genre with the excess gore, mutilation scenes, etc… Do you have any thoughts on this or do you have any idea why the percentage of female horror authors would be less?

Lisa: It’s something that’s been discussed a lot over the last few years, and I think the answer’s kind of complicated. For one thing, a lot of women writers are enjoying tremendous success with paranormal romance and urban fantasy, and making a lot more money writing those than they would horror (and I don’t mind confessing that I sometimes _wish_ I could write in those areas, but I just don’t have it in me). Now, here’s where I’m going to say the bad things: That fiction you’re mentioning, the stuff with the excessive gore and mutilation – take another look at those books, and you’ll see that they center on violence directed at women. Rape is often central to these books, and so is referring to women by a variety of derogatory terms. If a lot of women writers are looking at this stuff and saying, “Uhhh…no thanks,” who can blame them?

Rhonda:  Adding on to my comment above regarding many male authors writing such gruesome stories nowadays… Your latest novella, Wild Girls, also has quite the darkside in it compared to your previous work.  What made you choose to write something with quite a bit of mutilation included and was it harder for you to write in this fashion compared to your typical style?

Lisa: I really think of WILD GIRLS as a very dark satire. I wanted to take those cliches of rape and mutilation and excessive gore and flip all the genders, primarily as a way of pointing out how silly some of that stuff becomes. Given that I was approaching it as almost humor…it was actually pretty fun to write!

Rhonda:  In addition to yourself, what other female horror authors would you recommend to our readers?

Lisa: Wow, there are a lot these days, and I’d say I’m pretty equally split between male and female writers in my list of favorites. I loved stuff by Roberta Lannes and Lisa Tuttle and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro before I even started writing prose. More recently, I’d name Sarah Langan, Alex Sokoloff, Gemma Files, Kaaron Warren, Allyson Bird, and Maria Alexander as writers whose works I’ve enjoyed. And I’m thrilled to meet young female writers at conventions and online and see their talent and dedication, so I expect that list will grow considerably soon (aside from the fact that I’ll probably think of a dozen more names I’d mention as soon as I hit the “send” button on this!).

Rhonda:  Time for the dreaded question!  Of all your books, which is your favorite and why?  And, this could be the same answer, but, which of your books did you most enjoy writing?

Lisa: Hmmm…hard question…okay, I’m sorry to do this, but it would probably have to be a book that hasn’t been published yet: My first novel, NETHERWORLD. Up until I wrote that book, I really wasn’t sure if I could write a novel or not; I was so used to short form things (including screenplays) that writing something fiction-wise that was 90,000 words long just seemed impossible. But I finally sat down to do it, and it was great, and I had a blast writing it, and I wanted to write more. I’m sorry my agent hasn’t been able to get a deal on that one yet, because it would make a great series and focuses on another of those strong female leads: A 19th-century British noblewoman named Lady Diana Furnaval, who travels the world (and other worlds as well!) fighting evil and inadvertently advancing the cause of suffragettes. It’s a really fun story, and I still remain hopeful of it finding a good home someday.

However, of the works I’ve published…I’ll probably go with THE CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES. It’s the book that bears the closest resemblance to my real life, and it was also great fun to create the Castle and the mythology behind it.

Rhonda:  Would this book be the book you would recommend to new readers of your work or is there a better starting point for someone wanting to check out your writing?

Lisa: I’d probably go with CASTLE.

Rhonda:  Not only are you an amazing writer, but you also have experience in the fields of movie, tv, and theater.  Can you tell us a little bit about your involvement with these industries?

Lisa: I’ve covered them a little already, but I’ll add here: Screenwriting is something I’ve come back to throughout my life, largely because it pays off my bills in ways that fiction hasn’t yet! I’ve made some good friends and good connections in the film industry, so I still get called up every once in a while. There is, for example, right now a cable mini-series involving pirates that’s looming as a possible job for 2012…

Rhonda:  Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects you are working on?

Lisa: One fun book I’ll have out later this year is a collection of autobiographical essays called ADVENTURES IN THE SCREAM TRADE. I’ve had some pretty bizarre experiences working in the movie business (hey, how many writers can claim to have literally blown a roof off?), and for years friends have been telling me I should write this stuff down, so I finally did. It’ll be Bad Moon Books’ first non-fiction title.

I also have a non-fiction graphic novel (yes, I know how that sounds) coming this year from McFarland – WITCH HUNTS: A GRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE BURNING TIMES, co-written with my friend Rocky Wood and illustrated by a very talented young Australian named Greg Chapman; and my first narrative history of Halloween, TRICK OR TREAT?: A HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN will be out from Reaktion Books.

Beyond that…there’s a deal pending right now that I can’t say much about yet, but it would combine my film and prose writing and be possibly the biggest deal of my life. And it involves working with people I adore, so I’m very hopeful that’ll go through…even though it will eat my life for a long, long time!

Rhonda:  Where is the best place for our readers to find out more about you and keep up-to-date with future releases?

Lisa: I try to keep my website, www.lisamorton.com, up to date, but for the very latest, I welcome anyone to follow me on Facebook.

Rhonda:  Thanks again for your time Lisa!  It’s been fun interviewing you for Women in Horror Recognition Month.  Keep writing!

Lisa: Thanks again, Rhonda! And I’ve got no choice on that “keep writing” part!

Interview also posted at MonsterLibrarian.

Kindle Book Recommendation: Romance Novel by P.J. Jones

6 Feb

My awesome friend, Jenn, just recommended a book to me via her blog.  The book is ROMANCE NOVEL by PJ Jones.

 

This is a spoof of many different romance novels, including Twilight.  Yes, that was a major selling point for me.  *grin*  I haven’t read this novel yet, but did start into the first chapter and it appears to be hilarious, cheesy fun.  And since Jenn recommended it to me, I know it’s going to be fun throughout the whole book.  So… I just thought I’d toss it out as a recommendation to my blog followers as well.  You can click through to get the book by clicking on the image above.  It’s only $0.99 for Kindle so it’s a good deal.  Hope you enjoy!  🙂

Fast Zombies Suck by Brian Keene

4 Feb

Getting a late start on the Wicked Winter Read-A-Thon this morning as I REALLY needed extra sleep after the week I’ve had, but I’ll get some reading in today for sure.  A link popped up to Briane Keene’s blog on FaceBook this morning as I was catching up on things so decided to give it a read.  In doing so I found that Brian had posted a video of himself reading FAST ZOMBIES SUCK, so decided instead of reading myself first thing this morning, I’d allow author/friend Brian Keene to read to me instead.  🙂  I enjoyed the story so much I thought I should share it here with you guys as well.  Check it out!  And if you enjoy it, be sure to check out his other books on Amazon.