Monthly Archives May 2017

Flash interview with Bracken Macleod

What makes the Twice Upon an Apocalypse anthology so special?

Bracken MacLeod: I think what makes this anthology special is the care the writers have taken in blending familiar childhood tales with cosmic horror and the weird tale. Naturally, all fairy tales are well within the realm of the weird. A witch living in a house made of candy in a dense and secluded forest so she can lure lost children to her oven is clearly irrealism (realism in literature being a relatively recent development in the history of story-telling). But, I think what really makes it special is blending the absurdity of the fairy tale with the near-realism of the cosmic horror tale. I love the idea of the alien Cthulhu “mythos” being fused with the very terrestrial mythology of the traditional childhood weird.

Tell us more about your contribution.

MacLeod: My story, “The Most Incredible Thing,” is an adaptation of a lesser-known Hans Christian Anderson story about a King holding a competition to find an appropriate suitor for his daughter to marry. Naturally, the contest goes to a very dark place in Anderson’s story. It was actually very easy to update into a modern realist setting. Reality television shows and the aspirations of competitors for not only the financial awards of winning them, but also the social rewards of merely participating in the public eye, are a pervasive part of our cultural landscape. Anderson’s story was a perfect vehicle to be critical of the modern aspiration toward celebrity for its own sake. On the other side of it, my inspirations in cosmic horror owe more to Robert Bloch and Robert Chambers’ work than Lovecraft’s, so, my story is also a Yellow King tale.

Why should readers give this horror anthology a try?

MacLeod: As I mentioned above, I think this anthology offers a novel perspective in taking stories that are pretty firmly rooted in our collective (un)conscious and upending them by adding elements of greater cosmic horror that refresh them for a modern audience. This is especially important, considering the impact that pop culture’s bowdlerization of these stories has had on our recollections of them (how many people know exactly how dark The Little Mermaid really was?). I think it’s important to try to rediscover the darkness that used to live in them.

Come and get it!

  Crystal Lake Publishing   May 30, 2017   Blog   0 Comment Read More


These aren’t your mother’s fairy tales.

Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we’re pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.

These stories will scare and delight ‘children’ of all ages!

  • Introduction by Gary A Braunbeck
  • “The Pied Piper of Providence” by William Meikle
  • “The Three Billy Goats Sothoth” by Peter N Dudar
  • “Little Maiden of the Sea” by David Bernard
  • “The Great Old One and the Beanstalk” by Armand Rosamilia
  • “In the Shade of the Juniper Tree” by JP Hutsell
  • “The Horror at Hatchet Point” by Zach Shephard
  • “The Most Incredible Thing” by Bracken MacLeod
  • “Let Me Come In!” by Simon Yee
  • “The Fishman and His Wife” by Inanna Arthen
  • “Little Match Mi-Go” by Michael Kamp
  • “Follow the Yellow Glyph Road” by Scott T Goudsward
  • “Gumdrop Apocalypse” by Pete Rawlik
  • “Curiosity” by Winifred Burniston
  • “The Ice Queen” by Mae Empson
  • “Once Upon a Dream” by Matthew Baugh
  • “Cinderella and Her Outer Godfather” by CT Phipps
  • “Donkeyskin” by KH Vaughan
  • “Sweet Dreams in the Witch-House” by Sean Logan
  • “Fee Fi Old One” by Thom Brannan
  • “The King on the Golden Mountain” by Morgan Sylvia
  • “The Legend of Creepy Hollow” by Don D’Ammassa

Brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths

Read it today!

  Crystal Lake Publishing   May 30, 2017   Blog   0 Comment Read More

The Deep End interview…with Armand Rosamilia

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?

Armand Rosamilia: I grew up in a small fishing village in New Jersey named Belford. It really shaped my life in a positive way because it was a small, tight-knit community. You knew all of your neighbors and I had over a dozen kids to play with on our dead-end street. It was a loving, positively influencing experience. I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to. As kids we played in the nearby woods, kickball in the street, hide and seek at night… We used our imaginations. I would spend nights reading instead of watching TV. Making up stories and playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends and my brother. It was an ideal situation for being creative.

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?

Armand: Six years ago I lost my job as a retail manager. While I was looking half-heartedly for another mindless retail job I decided to quietly polish up some of my stories and see if I could get published on a consistent basis instead of when time permitted. I’d been in retail for 25 years and hated every minute of it, to be honest. It was scary to not have a steady paycheck for the first time in forever, but I got lucky and began selling my work right away on a steady basis and never looked back. Hopefully I’ll never have to look back, either.

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?

Armand: My first actual story I had published was a short, Beastie, which was published around 1988 in a side-stapled Xeroxed zine. I received a contributor copy for it. I was ecstatic. I felt like all the years of writing had finally paid off. Little did I know the rollercoaster that writing would be for me nearly thirty years later.

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

Armand: I’ve been divorced twice. Was in a long-term relationship with a woman who didn’t understand or want to understand my passion for writing. They all thought I should shut up and go to work and make money busting my ass for 50-60 hours a week in retail. When I went full-time as an author that last relationship failed because she didn’t believe in me. It was a huge motivation to prove her and my ex-wives wrong. I still use that when I’m feeling down on myself. My wife now is the greatest. She helps with the career part of this. Motivates me to write and promote more. Really understands this is my dream and I’m living it. She couldn’t be more supportive or happier how well I’m doing, either.

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

Armand: Dean Koontz. At 12 I read every one of his paperbacks. My mother is a huge horror reader. When I was a kid she’d read a book and if it didn’t have lots of sex in it I could read it. Nowadays I get motivation from newer authors who are hungry for that first sale or that first big contract. I love talking shop with them, which is why I started Arm Cast Podcast. I could chat with another author all day if they’d let me because it gets my creative juices flowing, too.

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?

Armand: The novel The Enemy Held Near, which I co-wrote with Jay Wilburn. That book was a tough one for me because Jay is such a great writer, and having to keep pace with what he was doing and where he was coming from was tough at first. He really upped my game and I still think it’s the best writing I’ve ever done. We recently co-wrote a second book together and we’ll be shopping it to publishers soon. It might even be better than the first one because I really had to bring my A game to the table.

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

Armand: Not as horrible as I used to. I’ve really started to understand my focus needs to be not only on the writing but on the promotion. I own a podcast network now, too, so there is a lot of work that goes into that on a daily basis. My wife made spreadsheets and bought me dry erase boards so I can track my progress. Not only for the actual writing but deadlines and promoting and all the rest. The writing is about 20% of the work in my opinion.

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

Armand: This will sound odd but writing about animals. I’m not a pet owner and I’m not really a fan of pets. My wife is allergic to dogs and cats, which is fine with me. So at times I forget about giving a character a pet because it’s foreign to me. I also feel like I don’t know enough about animals to include them in a story without feeling like a liar. See? Odd.

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

Armand: I love baseball. I’m a huge Boston Red Sox fan. I grew up in a big baseball family, too. My wife and I have season tickets to the local minor league team, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, and I go to every game as long as I’m in town. I love the strategy and everything about the game. I can sit and watch and get so involved I turn off my brain about writing and work for a few hours.

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

Armand: Definitely. When I wrote Dying Days 2, in my zombie series, a woman named Tosha Shorb was a huge fan and I made her a character. I thought she’d die quickly and I could move on. I just finished writing Dying Days 8 and the Tosha character is still around and readers either love or hate her. Hate in a good way because of her actions, I might add. The woman it is based on is now married with children and it’s fun to see after five years or so how her life has changed and how the character has, as well.

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

Armand: Seeing the big picture. I used to get frustrated if I missed my writing goal for the day but now I can look back and see all of the other things I did during my day and know I did as much as I could. It was still a positive because I completed other tasks that will help my career. Of course, the best days mentally for me are when I blow through my daily goal and get in the zone and write and write.

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

Armand: I look at every situation as a possible story idea. Every conversation I have gets filed away for future use. People I meet might end up being a character in some small way. Places I visit I always think of what book I could use it in. You never turn off being a writer, even when you’re not physically writing.

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

Armand: I think the first time I got a review from someone on Amazon and I had no idea who the person was. It was someone who had read my book and I had no connection to them. It wasn’t another author, it wasn’t a friend or even a friend of a friend who’d been recommended my book. It was a random person and they enjoyed it enough to take time to leave a review. It still excites me when someone new finds my work.

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

Armand: To keep living the dream. I’ve been full-time for six years and love every minute of it. This isn’t a job to me because I can’t wait to get on my computer (after the coffee is ready) and see what today brings. We’re able to travel and see parts of the country and as my career keeps rising and my wife (who has an awesome career as a commercial property manager) gets to take time off to travel with me, it will only get better.

Joe: What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Armand: I want to be known as an author who helped other authors. I see too many authors with minimal success charging new authors a lot of money for career advice. I do it for free on my podcast and in person. Send me an email and I’ll answer it to the best of my ability. I want to be known as a guy who wants to help, because on my way into this business I had the help of authors who took the time to answer all of my questions.

Armand Rosamilia
Shallow Waters: Volume 1
Twice Upon an Apocalypse: Lovecraftian Fairy Tales
Horror 201: The Silver Scream
Children of the Grave

Children of the Grave

Six talented zombie authors take on the After-life in an interactive shared-world zombie anthology.

More info →

Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
For the Night is Dark

For the Night is Dark


Darkness, our most primitive fear since shadows first moved.

The Dark is coming!

Call your friends. No one should wander through the dark alone.

More info →

Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon

  Crystal Lake Publishing   May 28, 2017   Blog   0 Comment Read More

Cover reveal…for WHISPERED ECHOES by Paul F. Olson

Cover art by Ben Baldwin – out June 23rd.

They come in the middle of the night. They rise from the shadowed corners of a lonely house, from the deep woods, from beneath the midnight waters. Listen, and you will hear them: the whispered echoes of your darkest fears. In this masterful new collection, Paul F. Olson takes you by the hand and guides you down the twilight byways into a world teeming with darkness and dread. There you will uncover eleven long out-of-print tales of uneasy spirits, dark entities, and unspeakable mysteries, along with a stunning new novella of loss, longing, and chilling horror written especially for this book. With a foreword by Chet Williamson and an introduction by the author, Whispered Echoes is an unforgettable journey through the quiet heart of terror.

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

Author Thomas Brannan talks about his APOCALYPSE anthology contribution


So, Lovecraft is my jam. The reason I started writing in the first place was a combination of Robert B. Parker and H.P. Lovecraft, meaning, that's what I wanted to write, those two things together (still working on that, by the way). So when this anthology came along, with the option to write fairy tales with either zombies or Mythos, of course I chose Mythos.

I knew there were a lot of good authors out there, thinking the same things I think. We're all surfing the same brainwave, on some level or other, so I wanted something short but impactful, so as not to cross too many lines with other authors. Jack the Giant Killer, all his stories were short things, so that was the foundation for what I built here. It was great fun, and I hope it's as much fun for you.—Thomas Brannan

Check out the dedicated webpage for more info on this anthology.
Twitter hashtag: #LovecraftFairyTales
We even have an Apocalypse shirt!

  Crystal Lake Publishing   May 15, 2017   Blog   0 Comment Read More

Blitz interview with author Richard Thomas

In 2016 we published our biggest anthology to date in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories. One of those beautiful horror stories was written by the acclaimed Richard Thomas. With another story by Richard coming up in our Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders anthology (out July 28th), I thought it best to share some of Richard’s thoughts with you:

Joe Mynhardt: What makes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories so special?

Richard Thomas: To me, the whole reason I wanted to be a part of this anthology was to take a run at the idea of beauty and horror, and where the intersect. Maybe it’s me going back to memoires of watching Hellraiser, or even my own dark days when I used to cut myself, seeking answer in the pain and release, but I’ve always found tragedy, and what comes out of it, a compelling story. I know the Nietzsche quote, “What does not kill me makes me stronger” is cliché at this point in history, but really, I think of my darkest days, whey I was lost, abusing myself, stuck in horrible job in isolated communities, the days I saw death around me—at the base of the St. Louis arch, a sheen of blood as wide as the structure, or my friend on the local news, drowned in a creek—and how that shaped me as a human being. You appreciate what you have, you are grateful that the fog has cleared, and you are hopeful that the days ahead will be better.

Joe: Tell us more about your story.

Richard: “Repent” taps into my feelings as a father, and as a man. I have always carried with me a nugget of compressed rage, just in case I need it. I don’t like to fight, I don’t like violence, but I’ve been there a few times, seen things, done things. I know that I would protect my family against society, but what about the things you can’t control—like sickness? What would you be willing to offer up to save your son? What if you’d had a life that was tainted, dark, bad deeds done under the cover of night? The chance for redemption, the ability to save a life, especially that of your own son—well, I think I’d do just about anything to make that happen. So with this story, I want the reader to witness everything that has happened, and to dislike my protagonist, but also see that people can change, and that not every story has to end with death and destruction. Sure, sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a train bearing down on you, and sometimes it’s a flashlight to show you the way out.

Joe: Why should readers give Gutted a try?

Richard: I know there is some dark material in here, but I don’t think these stories are without hope, without redemption. So, if you can handle the content, and are looking to feel some strong emotions, to react, then pick it up and dive in.

Richard Thomas
It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares To Life
Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories
Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders
Shallow Waters: Volume 3

  Crystal Lake Publishing   May 10, 2017   Blog   1 Comment Read More