Monthly Archives February 2017

Tales from The Lake Vol.4 line-up reveal

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Reddit

 

 

 

 

 

After reading 720 submissions for TALES FROM THE LAKE VOL.4, editor Ben Eads, and Crystal Lake Publishing, is proud to present the line-up (out August 30th):

Joe R. Lansdale
Kealan Patrick Burke
Damien Angelica Walters
Del Howison
Gene O’Neill
Max Booth III
Michael Bailey
Timothy G. Arsenault
JG Faherty
Cynthia Ward
Leigh M. Lane
Sheldon Higdon
Bruce Golden
E. E. King
Darren Speegle
Maria Alexander
Michael Haynes
Jeff Cercone
Timothy Johnson
Jennifer Loring
Hunter Liguore
David Dunwoody
T.E. Grau
Mark Cassell

Series: Tales from the Lake
Tales from the Lake: Volume 1

Tales from the Lake: Volume 1

$3,99
Dive into fourteen tales of horror, with short stories and dark poems by some of the best horror writers in the world. More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Tales from the Lake: Volume 2
Tales from the Lake: Volume 3

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Feb 25, 2017   Blog   1 Comment Read More

Bram Stoker Awards, 2016

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Reddit

 

In case you missed it, the final ballot has been announced right here. Our Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories anthology made it onto the Superior Achievement in an Anthology category, and one of the stories in this anthology, “Arbeit Macht Frei” by Lisa Mannetti, is nominated for in the Superior Achievement in Short Fiction category.

To celebrate GUTTED’s Bram Stoker nominations, from now through March 2nd we’re donating 50% of all profits received from Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories to the American Civil Liberties Union.

In doing so you’ll support a small press, horror fiction, the written word, and foundational liberties.

Please show your support by picking up a copy:
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Available from all other Amazon retailers, as well.

 

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Feb 24, 2017   Blog   0 Comment Read More

Full cover reveal for Beatrice Beecham by Dave Jeffery

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Reddit

Beatrice Beecham’s Cryptic Crypt – A Supernatural Adventure/Mystery Novel (coming March 3rd, 2017 in Kindle and paperback)

Dorsal Finn is a sleepy coastal town facing the gleaming Atlantic Ocean. It is a town with quaint customs and inhabited by people who are as welcoming as they are weird.  It is also a place where long lost tombs hide long held secrets.

Because beneath Dorsal Finn lies The Dark Heart, an ancient and malevolent entity determined to be free of its eternal prison. It has lured allies to the town, people with corrupt agendas determined to resurrect the greatest evil history has ever known, and in doing so release The Dark Heart upon an unsuspecting world.

Now the fate of mankind rests in the hands of a fifteen year old girl and her gang of oddball friends.

What could possibly go wrong?

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from the Darkest Depths

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Feb 23, 2017   Blog   0 Comment Read More

The Deep End interview…with Brian Kirk

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Reddit
Joe: Tell us a bit (or a lot) more about your childhood. Primary school, high school, etc. How do you think your experiences benefited or influenced your career?

BK: I moved around a bit growing up. I was born in Santa Monica, then moved to Atlanta when I was four after my parents divorced. Then from Atlanta to Dallas when I was five. My mother, who is an absolute saint, got duped into marrying a conman who was pulling one of those Bernie Madoff Ponzi schemes and took a bunch of people for a lot of money, including family members of mine. We moved back to Atlanta five years later when he got busted and sent to prison, which was a rather shocking revelation for all of us. I was really close with a group of friends in Dallas and we were forced to split town on a moment’s notice, so I never got to say goodbye to anyone, which was hard. Having to insert myself into a new school and make all new friends was hard, too.

I felt a lot of pressure to try and impress people when I was a kid in order to be accepted. Writing was one of the ways I felt I could make a strong impression, so I worked to cultivate that skill, and have relied on it ever since to support myself financially, and also, at times, to bolster my sense of self-worth.

Joe: Can you recall a moment where you had to choose between being an author/artist and another career? A decisive moment where you decided to go all out?

BK: Yes, definitely. I walked away from writing when I graduated college and got a job at a large ad agency in Atlanta. Figured writing was a frivolous hobby that I no longer had time for now that I was an adult embarking on my “big career”. It only took a couple of years for me to realise I had made a mistake, and that something vital was missing from my life. I went through a rather dark and self-destructive period while wrestling with my lack of fulfilment, feeling trapped in a job I didn’t like, travelling a path that was leading me farther away from my happy place.  

It became very clear to me that writing would make me happier, even if it was something I just did for myself. So I took a creative writing course at a local college to jumpstart the process, and began writing at night and on the weekends. Writing provided a renewed sense of purpose almost immediately, and soon began to consume my daily thoughts. Everything else in my life either became a distraction from writing, or inspiration for it.

My wife, I think, was the one who first encouraged me to submit my work for publication. She bought me my first issue of Cemetery Dance, which is how I learned about the magazine, and others like it. They were the first market to reject me, and have many times since. But I eventually wrote a story that got accepted by a semi-pro press. Then another. After a couple more sales, I put together a plan to quit my job and work as a freelance creative consultant, which is what I do now, in order to free up more time for fiction writing. I pitched the idea to my wife, and she bought it, and we set the plan in motion. Then we got pregnant with twins, and that gave us momentary pause, but we decided to stay the course. She was six months pregnant and on bed rest when I submitted my resignation letter. It was a heavy moment, but everything has worked out great so far, thank God.  

Joe: How did you respond to your very first success as an author? Was it just rewarding, or did it motivate you even more? Or, did it perhaps feel underwhelmed, which motivated you to even greater heights? 

BK: I was surprisingly underwhelmed both when my first story was accepted for publication as well as my first novel. I expected to be much more elated, and for the achievement of that life-long dream to propel me to a new plane of satisfaction. It didn’t. For me, each little success, from a business prospective at least, provides a blip of enjoyment, and then I’m back to baseline almost immediately.

This confused me at first—what’s the point of doing the work if the results don’t provide sustained gratification? But then I realised that it’s the work itself that sustains me, and that this was a good thing. I can’t always control the outcome of my efforts, but I can control the energy I apply to my writing. If all of my gratification came from circumstances outside my control, I’d be screwed. The fact that writing itself gives me such joy, regardless of outcome, is a blessing because no one can take that away from me. Every day that I commit myself entirely to the project at hand is a day well spent.   

Joe: How has your career as an author affected relationships with friends and family? 

BK: I’d say it’s bettered them. I was pretty miserable when I wasn’t writing. This general discontent gave me a dreary worldview and negatively impacted my personal relationships. I was trying to become someone I’m not, and it wasn’t working; was trying to conform to societal expectations that didn’t align with my authentic self. Once I recommitted myself to writing, I began to return to my former self who was much happier and more compassionate to those around me. While I’m sure there are certain friends and family members who question the decisions I’ve made, especially the type of material I tend to write, everyone has been incredibly supportive and I feel that my relationships have flourished since I returned to a place of purpose and contentment.

Joe: Which author most influenced your early career? And who still does?

BK: Growing up it was Stephen King for sure, my first exposure to him being Skeleton Crew, and he still holds a spot near the top today. There’s a darkness inside of me, in all of us, really, that needed an outlet, and King showed me what that outlet could be. I’ll be forever thankful to him for that.

I’ve since branched out quite a bit, and have fairly eclectic tastes in fiction. I read broadly and prefer to change up genre, subject, style, etc., from one book to the next. Influence to me is synonymous with inspiration. I take note of authors whose work floors me, makes me feel woefully inadequate, and inspires me to do better. I then try to understand what it is about their writing that made me feel that way so that I can attempt to provide the same experience for others. Following are some of the specific authors who have, and continue to inspire me.

I appreciate the lush writing and quirky humor of luminaries like Roald Dahl, Richard Matheson, and Ray Bradbury. I like the stark, gothic realism of Joyce Carol Oates, Flannery O’Connor, and Cormac McCarthy. The ambition of David Mitchell and genius of John Fowles. The psychedelic mind-bending of Philip K. Dick. The heroic storytelling of Robert McCammon and Joe R. Lansdale. The gritty darkness of Gillian Flynn. 

Joe: Instead of just focussing on your most successful work, which story are you the proudest of, a story that managed to capture a piece of who you are? 

BK: I can’t say that I have one. To be honest, pride isn’t something that I find useful when it comes to writing fiction. The more I can suppress my ego’s attachment to my work, the better it tends to be, so I consciously strive to detach myself from my writing. Cheesy and trite as it sounds, I try and view myself as a vessel through which stories flow more so than the “author” of the material I write. 

Joe: How do you feel when you don’t make your target words for the day?

BK: Depends on the day. While I strive to meet my daily writing goal, which for me is 1,000 words, I also work to be a well-rounded individual. I’ve got another job that helps pay the bills, a wife I fall more in love with every day, twin sons who crave attention, a reading addiction, in addition to other interests. Missing a day or two doesn’t bother me too much. Same as having an unproductive writing session. It’s when two days turns into a week or more that I start getting itchy, irritable, and grossly insecure.

Joe: What’s the most difficult topic for you to write?

BK: Sex, probably. I grew up believing sex outside of marriage was a sin that could condemn me to eternal hell. Not very romantic. Therefore, the subject is loaded with conflicting viewpoints that I haven’t effectively sorted out. I can’t seem to write a sex scene without it feeling gratuitous, or like I’m writing for the Penthouse forum.   

Joe: What do you do to distract you enough to actually relax a bit? Or do you always think about writing?

BK: While I don’t know that there’s anything that can stop me from thinking about writing—it’s definitely my greatest obsession—there are plenty of other things that I enjoy doing, none of which are overtly relaxing other than reading, though. I enjoy strenuous exercise. I enjoy bullshitting with friends. I enjoy live music, and attend concerts and music festivals as often as I can. I look for novelty in the mundane, and seek out peak experiences that make me feel so alive it almost hurts. Natural beauty can provide these emotional highs, as can certain entheogens taken with the right combination of set and setting, or so I’ve heard.      

Joe: Tell us a bit about the people you met while researching a book. Are you still friends with some of them?

BK: Not much to tell, really. I interviewed a few people while conducting researching for my debut novel, We Are Monsters, including the Medical Director for the mental institution at Emory University in Atlanta, but have not kept in touch. They were all incredibly helpful, though, and I appreciate their time.

Joe: Outside of the actual craft, what is the most useful skill you learnt from being an author? 

BK: Discipline is an extremely useful skill for a writer to have. My best work comes from a sort of waking dream state – a state of being where my critical mind falls silent and I enter into what feels like a hypnotic trance. In many ways, entering into this trance is like falling asleep; therefore, I approach writing in much the same way I do when preparing myself for bed. I like to do it at around the same time every day, in a similar setting, typically a quiet place with a chair and flat surface to rest my laptop. So, in the same way that my mind prepares to shut off and begin to dream at night, I look to facilitate a similar mental shift when I approach my writing desk, wherever that may be. Having the discipline to follow a consistent routine helps me to more readily and reliably enter this dream state where the stories come from.

Joe: How did being author change you as a person?

BK: Writing is something I’ve enjoyed doing all of my life; therefore, crafting stories and novels was always something I felt naturally inclined to do. I feel most like my true self when I’m working on a story, so I’d say that writing, or being an “author”, is my true nature. While I’m thrilled to have people read my work—whether they love it or hate it—the act of writing itself is what I enjoy most, and would continue doing it whether I could find an audience or not.

Conversely, I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable calling myself an author. There’s no way I could refer to myself like that at a cocktail party.

“Hi, what do you do?”

“Who, me? I’m an author, thanks for asking.” Even writing that feels pretentious to me for some reason. I guess I’ve got a case of imposter syndrome, and am okay with that.

Joe: Which response/comment from a reader has touched you the most throughout your career?

BK: There were two in relation to We Are Monsters—a novel about mental illness—that I found particular touching.

1) A reader sent me a note saying that she routinely gave money to the homeless, but purposefully avoided people she considered to be “crazy”, out of fear, and the thought that money couldn’t help them. She had a revelation, though, after reading my book and began to see the humanity underneath the illness, and made giving money to the mentally ill a priority now that she saw them through this new light.

2) I had a pharmacist approach me at a signing to say that We Are Monsters changed the way he viewed his profession, encouraging him to approach his job with more compassion for the people who require the medicine he provides. 

Both of these interactions took me by surprise and had a lasting impact. It’s amazing to be able to touch someone in such a meaningful way.

Joe: What is your life-long goal as an author?

BK: My only goal is to work as hard as I can to entertain myself and others as much as I’m capable for as long as possible.

Joe: What legacy do you want to leave behind?

BK: I’d like for people to feel that I was a nice fellow who produced more joy than suffering, and perhaps inspire others to do the same.
  Crystal Lake Publishing   Feb 16, 2017   Blog   1 Comment Read More

The Deep End interview…with Robert Frazier

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Reddit
Joe Mynhardt: Tell us a bit (or a lot) more about your childhood. Primary school, high school, etc. How do you think your experiences benefited or influenced your career?

Robert Frazier: My father was a cryptographer stationed with the US contingent that joined Bletchley Park during the war and worked on the Enigma codes.  He later taught code breaking for Army Security at Fort Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts, where I was born. There were yellowed binders and notebooks full of strange strings of language and blocks of lettering and numbers stored in boxes in the attic of our barn. Of course I found them fascinating. And as a teenager my mother had studied with Emile Albert Gruppé of the Rockport colony, so fine art was always a part of my life growing up. I like to say, that for me, the mystical science of deciphering gibberish into plain text meshed somehow in my youth with a penchant for impressionistic imagery. Or, simply, my parents’ passions in life rubbed off.

Joe: Can you recall a moment where you had to choose between being an author/artist and another career? A decisive moment where you decided to go all out?

RF: In the latter 1970s I was painting oils under the tutelage of Philip Burnham Hicken, a serious semi-icon of American art. And also writing a good deal. I wanted to spend more time on both pursuits, but after a long work day it’s hard to switch gears to even do one. Phil chewed on his cigar stub one day in his studio, looked me square in the eye, and said something that made obvious sense. Choose between the two, dedicate yourself, then don’t get distracted. So I quit painting and wrote for a decade. Then, I quit writing, pretty much, and relearned painting until it came easy enough that I could write again as well. So now I’m dedicated to both. But making more of a living with paints than with pixels.

Joe: How did you respond to your very first success as an author? Was it just rewarding, or did it motivate you even more? Or, did it perhaps feel underwhelmed, which motivated you to even greater heights? 

RF: I wrote a short story that ended up almost immediately in Jack Dann’s seminal fiction anthology In the Field of Fire. Kind of “Ghost Riders in The Sky” meets the Vietnam experience (which I felt only from protests at home) meets the drug-addled 60s. I was lucky to make that first pro sale. And I felt lucky.

Joe: How has your career as an author affected relationships with friends and family? 

RF: Well, I gift away my books at Christmas. So they must think I’m pretty woo-woo strange. I doubt Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest will change their view.

Joe: Which author most influenced your early career? And who still does?  

RF: I wrote bad poetry as a teen. Not drivel per se, just impossible to understand when I come across it now in a stack of old papers. But, miracle of miracles, I discovered Andrei Voznesensky and W. S. Merwin in the high school library. And Diane Wakoski’s Inside the Blood Factory. They saved me, I guess. These days I reread those early-influence poets, and adore Michael Ondaatje  (The Cinnamon Peeler and Handwriting) and Diane Ackerman (Jaguar of Sweet Laughter and I Praise My Destroyer).

Joe: Instead of just focussing on your most successful work, which story are you the proudest of, a story that managed to capture a piece of who you are?

RF: That would have to be “How I Met My First Wife, Juanita” (Asimov’s Science Fiction, Oct. 1991), the events of which, other than actually meeting my wife, I experienced on a hitchhiking road trip in the late 60s. The three-legged Doberman squatting the campsite on the Platte River in Colorado. The hunter who hobbled into the campfire at night and could only communicate in Spanish about his broken leg. The hail that came for 20 minutes every afternoon in the mountains. How that time affected me. To write about what you know is something you take as advice, but have to learn that tenet on your own. My youngish daughter and her best friend burst into my writing room when I’d nearly finished with “Juanita” (they’d read some of it off my computer, I guess), and said, “We have a title for you.” I used it.



Joe: What’s the most difficult topic for you to write?

RF: The most difficult writing for me is filling out tax forms and to-do lists. Otherwise, all topics can be important.

Joe: What do you do to distract you enough to actually relax a bit? Or do you always think about writing? 

RF: I never think about writing. I think about all those things that eventually leak into my writing. But when I’m drifting down into sleep or half awake in the middle of the night, I often start weaving the lines of a poem. If I’m lucky I’ll remember them when I awake in the morning. And if I forget them, they often reappear in something later on. Transformed. I was in a two-day fever when I wrote my first Mutant Rain Forest piece. Maybe I’m still there…

Joe: Outside of the actual craft, what is the most useful skill you learnt from being an author? 

RF: Listening and observing. If you can’t absorb the rhythms and imagery of what swirls around you day-to-day, then you have a limited vocabulary for honest expression.

Joe: How did being an author change you as a person?

RF: I guess I think before I speak rashly.

Joe: Which response/comment from a reader has touched you the most throughout your career?

RF: Unconditional support by peers in the fantastic writing community. Particularly from the fiction writers at the informal Sycamore Hill gatherings, and the poets I met through the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Like Bruce. Especially Bruce.

Joe: What is your life-long goal as an author? What legacy do you want to leave behind?

RF: He came. He saw. He concocted. (At least some decent shit worth keeping.)
  Crystal Lake Publishing   Feb 13, 2017   Blog   0 Comment Read More

New Release: The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Reddit

TAKE OFF YOUR MASK!

Thirty years ago, a progressive rock band called The Yellow Kings began recording what would become their first and final album. Titled “The Final Reconciliation,” the album was expected to usher in a new renaissance of heavy metal, but it was shelved following a tragic concert that left all but one dead.

The sole survivor of that horrific incident was the band’s lead guitarist, Aidan Cross, who’s kept silent about the circumstances leading up to that ill-fated performance—until now.

For the first time since the tragedy, Aidan has granted an exclusive interview to finally put rumors to rest and address a question that has haunted the music industry for decades: What happened to The Yellow Kings?

The answer will terrify you.

Inspired by The King in Yellow mythos first established by Robert W. Chambers, and reminiscent of cosmic horror by H. P. Lovecraft, Laird Barron, and John Langan, comes The Final Reconciliationa chilling tale of regret, the occult, and heavy metal by Todd Keisling.

Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from the Darkest Depths

 

Find out more (and sign up for exclusive content directly from the author) on the dedicated webpage.

Or you can just go straight to Amazon to purchase.

It’s even on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33958141-the-final-reconciliation

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Feb 03, 2017   Blog   0 Comment Read More