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Out now – Fantastic Tales of Terror: History’s Darkest Secrets

There are unbelievable things that happen in this world and others. Things that push the boundaries of reality, that touch on the supernatural. These are the tales of those fantastic and horrifying things.

Come discover the lost supernatural stories behind some of the most famous people and events in history. Explore the secret history that has been hidden in the shadows of the world, and even alternative histories from other worlds: a young man seeking the secret of immortality from none other than Bela Lugosi, the tragic story of how the Titanic really sank, the horrifying lengths the people of New York city would explore to rise above the Great Depression, and many more Fantastic Tales of Terror.

Edited by Eugene Johnson. Artwork by Luke Spooner. With an introduction by horror icon Tony Todd (Candyman, Night of The Living Dead).


Lineup:

  • Introduction by Tony Todd
  • “The Deep Delight of Blood” by Tim Waggoner
  • “Unpretty Monster” by Mercedes M. Yardley
  • “The Tell-Tale Mind” by Kevin J. Anderson
  • “Topsy-Turvy” by Elizabeth Massie
  • “Ray and the Martian” by Bev Vincent
  • “The Girl with the Death Mask” by Stephanie M. Wytovich
  • “On a Train Bound for Home” by Christopher Golden
  • “The Custer Files” by Richard Chizmar
  • “Red Moon” by Michael Paul Gonzalez
  • “The Prince of Darkness and the Showgirl” by John Palisano
  • “The Secret Engravings” by Lisa Morton
  • “Mutter” by Jess Landry
  • “La Llorona” by Cullen Bunn
  • “The London Encounter” by Vince Liaguno
  • “Bubba Ho-Tep” by Joe R. Lansdale
  • “Gorilla my Dreams” by Jonathan Maberry
  • “Articles of Teleforce” by Michael Bailey
  • “Sic Olim Tyrannis” by David Wellington
  • “The Washingtonians” by Bentley Little
  • “Scent of Flesh” by Jessica Marie Baumgartner
  • “Rotoscoping Toodies” by Mort Castle
  • “Lone Wolves” by Paul Moore
  • “The Great Stone Face vs. the Gargoyles” by Jeff Strand
  • “The Return of the Thin White Duke” by Neil Gaiman
Fantastic Tales of Terror: History’s Darkest Secrets

Buy from Amazon
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  Crystal Lake Publishing   Oct 26, 2018   Blog   0 Comment Read More

The Deep End interview . . . with Dino Parenti

Joe Mynhardt: Before we dive into your backstory, tell us a bit about your upcoming release?

Dino: Dead Reckoning and other stories is a collection inspired to an extent by Stephen King’s penchant for having characters in one story appear in a totally different work, i.e. a connected universe. I’m intrigued by the idea of connectivity—a six-degrees-of-separation world—and I got to wondering what if someone in the distant future were to read a compendium of human existence, that just how many (or few) dots can be connected between people to illustrate not just the common things that made us happy, but those that filled us with fear, worry, pain, desperation, etc. And yet it was never about wallowing in it, but finding the empathy in the hurt. This collection of 16 stories was born from trying to weave connective tissue through time, pretty much from the year I was born to far into the future.

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?

Dino: I grew up (and still live) in Los Angeles, CA. I spent my youth in a northeast town called Eagle Rock, just west of Pasadena. It was located close enough to downtown that the jr./sr. high school I went to was a virtual revolving door of kids from not just different parts of town, but the world. LA has some of the largest—if not the largest—collectives of peoples outside their native countries, specifically China, Korea, and Mexico. My friends growing up came from all kinds of cultures, encompassed all kinds of lifestyles, sexual orientations, races, religions, etc. Part of it was difficult because based on LA’s inherently way-station type make, so many people I grew to like quickly transitioned or relocated out; people would move there for a year or two, not make it in their work (usually the film industry), and return home or go someplace else. There were precious few natives around, and even fewer than I connected with, so basically I made friends quickly as a youth just out of survival. But it was also rewarding getting to know such a big cross-section of people, both American and foreign-born. As cheesy as it might sound, you learn quickly that we have more in common than we don’t. That we both fear and love the same qualities in people. I feel that’s been instrumental in my writing exploration, the commonality we share.

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?

Dino: It was never about a new career choice (though I hope it will be!) for me early on so much as heeding the call to creative self-expression. I’ve always written as a kid and teenager, but mostly goofy, serialized choose-your-own-adventure type stories with a friend of mine. I finally got “serious” in my late twenties after really discovering a love for reading, and tried to write a novel. After the 650+ page incomprehensible behemoth, complete with created news articles, magazine clippings, and other assorted ephemera, I realized that I needed to get serious and actually learn some craft, so in my mid-thirties I joined Litreactor, found a peer group, and got to the business of learning writing through short stories. It’s been a love-affair ever since.

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?


Dino: My first success was both a boon and an eye-opener. I submitted a flash-fiction piece called “Visitation Rights” (included in Dead Reckoning and other stories) to a magazine called The Lascaux Review, for their inaugural flash fiction contest in 2012—and it won! The prize was publication, cash, and what I thought the coolest: a print by the photographer of the abstract piece used as the writing prompt. Of course I foolishly thought that that’s how it was going to be from them on: write, submit, get accepted, and win. WRONG. Not that I didn’t get published anymore after that, but became business as usual like any other writer—a fat, messy struggle of blanket submissions, blanket rejections, and heaps of self-doubt. But it was also huge, and more importantly, EARLY validation, and I’m still propelled by that six years later.

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

Dino: I only kind of “came out” to most friends and family in the last couple of years. Certainly not to equate this coming-out with much more serious and heavy versions faced by many—all my love and respect to them—but the idea of writing as faddish, or a phase, or a time-waster is ever-present and real in many writer’s lives, and it’s a worry many of use face in sharing so intimate a process with our nearest and dearest. I was lucky that almost universally everyone in my life either was stoked by the idea, and some even rolling their eyes and lovingly chiding, “Well what the hell took you so long?” It’s been nothing but support ever since.

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

Dino: Early on it was Stephen King. Period. The first of his I read was “Misery,” after overhearing an older cousin whisper furtively to a friend about this nasty book where a woman holding a man hostage first hacks off his foot with an axe before cauterizing the stump with a blow-torch. I was at Barnes & Nobel the next day when they opened with my chore money and bought a copy. Since then I’ve gone through many of the classics as well as delving into other horror writers like Poe, Rice, Jackson, Straub, then later with Baron, Graham-Jones, Abbott, and Ketchum. But once I discovered the later southern gothic/rural noir writers—Annie Proulx, William Gay, Daniel Woodrell, Donald Ray Pollock, and most importantly, Cormac McCarthy—I’ve discovered my “wheelhouse” as it were. These are the writers that fuel me.

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

Dino: I would have to say that the opening story of Dead Reckoning, “Entropy,” most captures the element of empathy that drives the collection. It’s about a man trying to capture brief moments of happiness while going in-and-out of prison because of his anger, essentially. In the end he pretty much destroys himself, but it was an act motivated less by anger than by an expression of love he’d never experienced before, and that will fuel him for the rest of his life.

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

Dino: I don’t have a target word count so much as just a feeling of completion for the day. Could be 500-1,000 words (probably what I average), or a perfect 100 word paragraph. I edit as write as opposed to purging it all out on paper in a continuous string.

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

Dino: I would have to say direct visceral violence/gore. I prefer implying and/or ramping up the threat of violence. Much of my violence happens “off-screen” as it were, but sometimes the story or a moment demands it happen in-your-face, and those are the hardest to do. Some of it is just the difficulty of hurting another human being, even if fictional, but a big part of it is not wanting it to sound corny or unbelievable. I figure if I’m going to depict violence, I need to be honest about its reality, which often requires research, which then requires a textual means by which to best depict it.

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

Dino: I’m always thinking about writing, and truth be told, I don’t want that to stop. I feel no need to relax from it because the thinking part is not a taxing part of the process.

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

Dino: There isn’t any one person that I utilized in the research of these stories. It’s a varied mix of professionals, academics, friends, friends of friends, and research. There’s no one I’m still friends with whom I was friends with already.

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

Dino: For me it’s becoming more comfortable in “people” settings: going to readings, meeting new writers, networking. Getting out of my solitude and general homebody ways, and not being afraid of promotion and getting my work out there. I figure this will serve me in other aspects of life as well.

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

Dino: I think most of the answer to this lies in the previous question, but I’ll also add here that it’s given me more confidence and opened up my world as a consequence. I feel like I have a tribe now when before I didn’t.

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

Dino: I got into an argument with someone online once after they read my story “Entropy” for a critique on Litreactor. After going out of her way to compliment the story, she asked from where in the south I came from (the story takes place in Kentucky), since she was herself, if I remember correctly, from Florida. I replied that I wasn’t from the south—that the only thing “southern” about me was that I was from Southern California (for those of you not from the U.S., NOT the south). Well, she didn’t buy it. She insisted rather vehemently that only someone from the south could’ve captured that voice, and that I was lying to her. It took quite a bit of convincing that I not only grew up in Los Angeles, but I’ve never lived in the south, much less been to Kentucky. To this day her believing the truth of my writing rather than the actual truth of me the author remains the best compliment I ever got, and worth the often contentious hour-long back-and-forth on a chat forum.

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

Dino: To earn enough from it so that it sustains a living and a career. That’s the pipe-dream that comforts me to sleep. I’d be happy though if it becomes a nice supplement.

Joe: What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Dino: I think just to be known as an honest writer who did his best not to judge his characters nor our species in general. I truly believe that most of us are trying to do our best and our intentions are generally honourable and decent, and even if we invariably fail, I want to honor the intentions of the good.

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Oct 02, 2018   Blog   0 Comment Read More

The Deep End interview…with Tommy B. Smith

Joe: Before we dive into your backstory, tell us a bit about your upcoming release?

Tommy: The Mourner’s Cradle is a tale of rain, ice, and dead legends. It’s the journey of Anne Sharpe. Her husband, the independent researcher Damon Sharpe, became transfixed by the ancient world and obscure Peruvian relics in particular. He’s spent the last months of his life obsessing over this aspect of his work. Now he’s dead.

Anne finds herself alone in an empty house without answers. When an unwelcome visitor shows up at her husband’s funeral, things begin to unravel. Anne’s fury comes out and ignites her desire to unearth the dubious answers she seeks.

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?

Tommy: The early years weren’t such an easy time for me. I was imaginative to the extent that it sometimes worked against me. My qualities severely compromised my relationship with the social norm, or lack thereof.

Moving ahead, I remember during my last year in high school, the school launched preparations on a literary journal and invited students to contribute. I wrote a story about a young man whose brother was killed in a gang-related incident, and who sought revenge on the gang. It was a bloodbath. I graduated before the journal came out and didn’t order a copy, so never knew whether they had printed the story. This was well before the Columbine incident and school shootings weren’t the norm in those days. Otherwise, I probably would have been hauled in for a psychological evaluation. I actually was called into the principal’s and counselor’s offices and questioned about drugs and talk of suicide on a few occasions, and was accused of vandalism as well.

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?

Tommy: Many people tried to discourage me years ago. Back then, I listened more than I should have, but I’ve learned to ignore people. The only choice in that respect was to do something or to do nothing. The odds of success strike considerably higher with the former option, so that’s the route I chose.

My push into active writing and publication came after moving to a new home and into a new set of circumstances, around 2005. I launched into writing short stories, something I appreciated and still do, given the ability to bounce between worlds at a moment’s notice. It helped me to craft my abilities over the years. Sometime later, I sold some of my short stories to magazines and there it began.

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 underwhelming, which motivated you to even greater heights?

Tommy: I was happy about seeing my work in print. I don’t know that it motivated me, since I had already committed myself and the question of motivation seemed already answered.

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

Tommy: Most have been supportive, although some wonder why I write what I write. I got a laugh when my mother started reading my short story “Chronicle of the Golden Pyramid” and five seconds into it looked up and said, “So depressing!”

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

Tommy: We had a lot of books in the old utility room when I was younger. Tolkien was an early favorite. I enjoyed mythology as well, the old Greek, Norse and Mesopotamian tales. When I first began writing, I wrote fantasy as well as horror, but the darker slant of my fantasy material turned off some of the fantasy readers and I gained much more appreciation from the horror crowd.

I’ve enjoyed a variety of authors. I remember reading works by John Coyne, Stephen King, some Alfred Hitchcock anthologies, and even some science fiction authors such as Poul Anderson. I was a fan of the old Twilight Zone. It’s such a mix with me.

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

Tommy: Agony of Being. It was one of the earliest surviving short stories I wrote, along with Patient #37. Those two are close in proximity, as it happens, but Agony of Being is the longer story and encapsulates a broader portion of my creative spectrum from those days.

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

Tommy: I don’t set a specific target word count, but I make the effort to write every day. Some days are complete chaos, which means I only gain a few paragraphs or even a single paragraph at worst. But at least that’s something. Other days, I might sit down and write a 6,000 word short story in one session.

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

Tommy: The topic that doesn’t interest me. I do well by keeping it interesting for myself. Otherwise, I don’t tend to stay with it.

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

Tommy: The creative aspect never wanders far, but I enjoy music and live shows. I’ve seen a lot of metal acts in concert. I read every day and enjoy traveling.

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

Tommy: As an author, my life has become something like a research project, so yes. I’ve met a lot of creative individuals. But some research can be a lonely affair. Visiting cemeteries, for example, because everyone is dead.

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

Tommy: I remember the days when I had only a few short stories in print, back around 2007, and I hardly wanted to get out of my house at that time. I didn’t care much to go into public or to deal with others. Off-and-on, those periods of time have presented themselves. When I began doing book-related events and, once my debut novella came out, signings and the like, it gave me more of an avenue to interact with others, and I can connect with others more easily now.

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

Tommy: It helps me to focus, but now I have a lot more homework.

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

Tommy: I’ll go the route of responses rather than specific comments, if that works. When someone comes up to me at a book signing and then I see them at another event or signing, and they want to pick up the new book, I love that. Those people are my readers, and we share a connection through this experience.

My readers are a diverse bunch from a variety of walks of life. Those I’ve met in person, at book signings or any other events, or even connected with across social media, have been intelligent and open-minded, the best kinds of people. I’ll be happy to have them on my side when the apocalypse comes smashing down.

I should mention the friends who knew me before I came into print as an author, the ones who have stuck around and who support what I do. Some of them have told me they’re proud of what I’ve accomplished, and some have even come out to support me at some of the book signings and events I’ve done. Some support me by ordering books I’ve written or been featured in. I notice it and always appreciate it.

Joe: What is your lifelong goal as an author?

Tommy: I have a lot of stories to tell. Hopefully, I will have time to tell most of them, or most of the important ones. I’ll do what I can while I can. I haven’t set a finish line, except death, of course, and after that I suppose it’s over.

Joe: What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Tommy: Hopefully, I can leave my wife some money after I’m dead. And I hope someone will take care of my cats. As for those books and stories I’ve written and continue to write, perhaps they will haunt the world for generations to come if I’ve fulfilled my work as a storyteller and pen-wielder of the dark arts. Time will tell.

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Sep 12, 2018   Blog   0 Comment Read More

Crystal Lake 2.0!

With the help of fans and hardworking staff, we’ve managed to put together a pretty awesome press in Crystal Lake Publishing. And instead of standing still and congratulating ourselves, I want to upgrade it to the next level. I want to put trusted editors and division managers in charge of certain sections and even start a few imprints. I want to fund these divisions, have them appoint their own staff, and open for submissions as soon as possible.

I’ll still run a few special projects (the annual daily planner and author mentoring comes to mind) and stay in charge of publishing anthologies (my favorite division due to my love of short fiction). I’ve already contacted next year’s authors to assure them their books are still on schedule. Mainly I’ll just run the day to day business while promoting the company. The stuff I’m best at. More info on those special projects later.

What really excites me is offering other industry professionals an opportunity to publish under the Crystal Lake banner while training and guiding them as best I can. Not to mention the amazing opportunities we’ll be able to offer authors. And so many more authors will now have the opportunity to get their work seen.

Luckily I’m no idiot when it comes to this industry. I’ve seen small presses stumble. I’ve seen companies grow too fast and ignore the signs. So we’re going to phase this in over the next few years. How far we leap forward at the end of this year will depend on the success of our upcoming IndieGogo campaign (looking at the success we had last year, this should be quite interesting). And we’re naming it Crystal Lake 2.0!

Our aim will be to help fund these deparments at certain financial intervals. Our first aim will be novels, which will be run by a division manager. Then novellas, and then two possible imprints (more on that later this week). Followed by non-fiction, collections, poetry, etc. So each stretch goal reached opens up a new division.

If we reach the success I believe possible, we will be opening for novel and novella submissions really soon (as soon as the end of this year). I’ll share the names of the amazing folks lined up to take over these departments throughout the week, as well as share info on the submission windows. And even some TALES FROM THE LAKE VOL.6 submission guidelines.

To sum up, there would be more opportunities, more jobs for the amazing folks who put together books (art, layout, editing, etc.), more books for readers (as well as a wider variety), and a lot of opportunities for authors to get published. I’m also considering continuing our Writers On Writing series on our blog, and that means non-fiction submissions from authors. Together we can all build on this.

So please support this in any way you can. Spread the word, pledge once the campaign goes live, check out our other announcements this week, or email us if you can assist us in any way.

And if all goes well next year…who knows what’ll be next. Crystal Lake Comics? Our own magazine?

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Sep 03, 2018   Blog   0 Comment Read More

Out today – WELCOME TO THE SHOW

Another great Crystal Lake anthology out today!

17 horror Stories. One legendary music venue.

 

We all know the old cliche: Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Now, add demons, other dimensions, monsters, revenge, human sacrifice, and a dash of the truly inexplicable. This is the story of the (fictional) San Francisco music venue, The Shantyman.

In Welcome to the Show, seventeen of today’s hottest writers of horror and dark fiction come together in devilish harmony to trace The Shantyman’s history from its disturbing birth through its apocalyptic encore.

Featuring stories by Brian Keene, John Skipp, Mary SanGiovanni, Robert Ford, Max Booth III, Glenn Rolfe, Matt Hayward, Bryan Smith, Matt Serafini, Kelli Owen, Jonathan Janz, Patrick Lacey, Adam Cesare, Alan M Clark, Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering and Jeff Strand.

Compiled by Matt Hayward. Edited by Doug Murano.

Bring your curiosity, but leave your inhibitions at the door. The show is about to begin…

TOC:

Alan M Clark – What Sort of Rube

Jonathan Janz – Night and Day and in Between

John Skipp – In the Winter of No Love

Patrick Lacey – Wolf with Diamond Eyes

Bryan Smith – Pilgrimage

Rachel Autumn Deering – A Tongue like Fire

Glenn Rolfe – Master of Beyond

Matt Hayward – Dark Stage

Kelli Owen – Open Mic Night

Matt Serafini – Beat on the Past

Max Booth III – True Starmen

Somer Canon – Just to be Seen

Jeff Strand – Parody

Robert Ford – Ascending

Adam Cesare – The Southern Thing

Brian Keene – Running Free

Mary SanGiovanni – We Sang in Darkness

Experience it today on Amazon.

Or add it on Goodreads.

 

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

 

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Aug 03, 2018   Blog   0 Comment Read More

Out today – LOST HIGHWAYS anthology

It’s dangerous out there…on the road.

The highways, byways and backroads of America are teeming day and night with regular folks. Moms and dads making long commutes. Teenagers headed to the beach. Bands on their way to the next gig. Truckers pulling long hauls. Families driving cross country to visit their kin.

But there are others, too. The desperate and the lost. The cruel and the criminal.

Theirs is a world of roadside honky-tonks, truck stops, motels, and the empty miles between destinations. The unseen spaces.

And there are even stranger things. Places that aren’t on any map. Wayfaring terrors and haunted legends about which seasoned and road-weary travelers only whisper.

But those are just stories. Aren’t they?

Find out for yourself as you get behind the wheel with some of today’s finest authors of the dark and horrific as they bring you these harrowing tales from the road.

Tales that could only be spawned by the endless miles of America’s lost highways.

So go ahead and hop in. Let’s take a ride.

Lineup:

  • Introduction by Brian Keene
  • doungjai gam & Ed Kurtz — “Crossroads of Opportunity”
  • Matt Hayward — “Where the Wild Winds Blow”
  • Joe R. Lansdale — “Not from Detroit”
  • Kristi DeMeester — “A Life That is Not Mine”
  • Robert Ford — “Mr. Hugsy”
  • Lisa Kröger — “Swamp Dog”
  • Orrin Grey — “No Exit”
  • Michael Bailey — “The Long White Line”
  • Kelli Owen — “Jim’s Meats”
  • Bracken MacLeod — “Back Seat”
  • Jess Landry — “The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane”
  • Jonathan Janz — “Titan, Tyger”
  • Nick Kolakowski — “Your Pound of Flesh”
  • Richard Thomas — “Requital”
  • Damien Angelica Walters — “That Pilgrims’ Hands Do Touch”
  • Cullen Bunn — “Outrunning the End”
  • Christopher Buehlman — “Motel Nine”
  • Rachel Autumn Deering — “Dew Upon the Wing”
  • Josh Malerman — “Room 4 at the Haymaker”
  • Rio Youers — “The Widow”

Experience it!

There’s even a shirt!

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Jul 20, 2018   Blog   0 Comment Read More

Cover reveal – WELCOME TO THE SHOW

Cover reveal – WELCOME TO THE SHOW

Out August 3rd in paperback and Kindle!

17 horror Stories. One legendary music venue.

We all know the old cliche: Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Now, add demons, other dimensions, monsters, revenge, human sacrifice, and a dash of the truly inexplicable. This is the story of the (fictional) San Francisco music venue, The Shantyman.

In Welcome to the Show, seventeen of today’s hottest writers of horror and dark fiction come together in devilish harmony to trace The Shantyman’s history from its disturbing birth through its apocalyptic encore.

Featuring stories by Brian Keene, John Skipp, Mary SanGiovanni, Robert Ford, Max Booth III, Glenn Rolfe, Matt Hayward, Bryan Smith, Matt Serafini, Kelli Owen, Jonathan Janz, Patrick Lacey, Adam Cesare, Alan M Clark, Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering and Jeff Strand.

Compiled by Matt Hayward. Edited by Doug Murano.

Bring your curiosity, but leave your inhibitions at the door. The show is about to begin…

TOC:
Alan M Clark – What Sort of Rube
Jonathan Janz – Night and Day and in Between
John Skipp – In the Winter of No Love
Patrick Lacey – Wolf with Diamond Eyes
Bryan Smith – Pilgrimage
Rachel Autumn Deering – A Tongue like Fire
Glenn Rolfe – Master of Beyond
Matt Hayward – Dark Stage
Kelli Owen – Open Mic Night
Matt Serafini – Beat on the Past
Max Booth III – True Starmen
Somer Canon – Just to be Seen
Jeff Strand – Parody
Robert Ford – Ascending
Adam Cesare – The Southern Thing
Brian Keene – Running Free
Mary SanGiovanni – We Sang in Darkness

 

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Jun 23, 2018   Blog   0 Comment Read More

Out now – WAR by Alessandro Manzetti and Marge Simon

Look in my eyes. My bronze skin reflects the flames of the battles.

I feed on bullets and shrapnel.

I have trenches instead of veins and a bombardier’s whirring plays my favorite symphony inside my big head. This is my story, with some of my best camouflages and disguises, and you should expect your peace plans to fail. Because that’s what I do for living.

Look at my million golden teeth necklace. Ring any bells? Maybe you’re too young. I probably should have mentioned the fireworks over the Baghdad night sky, my new friend, or the live broadcast of two great skyscrapers disintegrating. You know what I’m talking about, right? So, you can call me by one of my many names: Great General, Lock-box of the Powerful, Red Rain, Lord of Steel or, more simply, WAR.

I appear as strife of many kinds, from Stalingrad to Scotland. Africa to Afghanistan, the civil war of Italy and the War Between the States, ghostly wars, drug wars, the battle of the sexes, World Wars I, II and visions of a holocaust yet to come. It’s all herein and more, with poems both collaborative and individual.

War: Dark Poems

War: Dark Poems

Look in my eyes. My bronze skin reflects the flames of the battles.

I feed on bullets and shrapnel.

I have trenches instead of veins and a bombardier’s whirring plays my favorite symphony inside my big head. This is my story, with some of my best camouflages and disguises, and you should expect your peace plans to fail. Because that’s what I do for living.

Look at my million golden teeth necklace. Ring any bells? Maybe you’re too young. I probably should have mentioned the fireworks over the Baghdad night sky, my new friend, or the live broadcast of two great skyscrapers disintegrating. You know what I’m talking about, right? So, you can call me by one of my many names: Great General, Lock-box of the Powerful, Red Rain, Lord of Steel or, more simply, WAR.

I appear as strife of many kinds, from Stalingrad to Scotland. Africa to Afghanistan, the civil war of Italy and the War Between the States, ghostly wars, drug wars, the battle of the sexes, World Wars I, II and visions of a holocaust yet to come. It’s all herein and more, with poems both collaborative and individual.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Order Now!

Details
Authors: ,
ASIN: B07DCF1B9F
ISBN: 9781643167718
eBook Price: $3,99

Order Now
Buy from Amazon
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  Crystal Lake Publishing   Jun 08, 2018   Uncategorised   0 Comment Read More

The Deep End interview…with Mark Allan Gunnells

The Deep End interview…with Mark Allan Gunnells

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?

MAG: My pre-college years were rough. I was that geeky Stephen King kid, the butt of everyone’s jokes. It made school fairly traumatic for me. I didn’t do as well in school as I might have just because I hated going so much. In a way, that really helped me develop as a writer because I lost myself in fictional worlds. When I went to college, it was a whole different experience. I flourished, my grades were much better, and I was probably never more prolific. I became known around campus for my writing, and it was my first real experience feeling like a writer.

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?

MAG: I was always aware that the chances of me making a living from my writing were slim, but that never made me question my passion or my desire to be a writer. So when I started college, my thinking was to find a job to pay the bills that I didn’t hate and would allow me time to write. Initially that was human services, but that proved to be so stressful and consuming it actually did have a negative impact on my writing. I ended up becoming a security guard, which does pay the bills, it is a job that I like, and it provides me ample time to write. Next to actually making my living writing, I feel it’s the best possible scenario.

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?

MAG: I began submitting when I was just a teenager, with no success. In fact, I didn’t sell my first story until I was in my 30s. I was so accustomed to rejection that when I opened my email and got that first acceptance, at first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. I only made 15 bucks off that first sale, but honestly I was beyond ecstatic that someone was paying me money for something I made up in my head. I sold short stories to e-zines and magazines for several years while trying to put out my own book, but I wasn’t finding any publishers that were willing to take a chance on me. When Sideshow Press put out my first book, it was just unadulterated joy when I held it in my hands for the first time. And honestly, I’ve never really lost that. Each new book, when I get the acceptance and then when it is officially out, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning. I hope I never lose that.

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

MAG: I don’t come from a big family of readers, but they are proud that I’m doing what I love. One thing all my friends and family have come to learn and accept is that anything can end up in one of my stories. Anything they tell me or do may be fodder for the fiction.

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

MAG: Early on, it was without question Stephen King. His stories wove a spell around me that sucked me in totally. Reading his fiction inspired me, made me want to be a better writer. And honestly it still does. Clive Barker was also a huge influence because as a short story lover, he showed me you can really make a name for yourself with short fiction. Also, as a gay man, he showed me you could be open about who you are and still be successful. These days I also really admire people like Joe Lansdale and Neil Gaiman because they are not slaves to genre but write just whatever they are compelled to write. Anne Rice is also someone I admire, because she is clearly very passionate about her art and really inspires me to believe in myself and preserver.

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?

MAG: That’s a tough one; asking a parent to pick favourites. My novel The Summer of Winters is special to me because more than any other book, I put a lot of my childhood into that one. The settings are places of my past, the experiences of the character often mirror my own. It’s a very personal book in that way. I also have a really strong connection with Where the Dead Go to Die, which I co-authored with Aaron Dries, because there is a character in there based on my own mother. It allowed me to put all the things I love about her down on paper. I also have a short story entitled “Jam” (which was the first story I ever sold) that I think really represents me as a writer; it’s just the bizarre but somewhat humorous kind of story that appeals to me.

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

MAG: I don’t do target word counts. I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself, and make writing into a chore. When I sit down to write, my only goal is to write. Some days I get a lot out, other days not as much, but on the days when the output isn’t as great, I refuse to beat myself up over it. Nothing good comes from that.

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

MAG: I don’t shy away from any topics, but some topics are harder to write about. Sadistic violence, abuse of children… They can be painful to write about, but if a story calls for that, I don’t turn away. I will say, action-heavy scenes aren’t always my favourite thing to write because I worry about the mechanics of things, and if I’m getting bogged down describing each element that it takes away some of the excitement.

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

MAG: Writing is my passion, but I fill my life with many things. I love live theatre, I love hiking, I love travelling, I love reading and watching movies. That said, even when it’s not in the forefront of my mind, somewhere my writer instincts are still at work because I’ll get ideas for stories almost anywhere. In the theatre, on a hike, on a vacation, while reading another book, while watching a movie. Hell, I get a lot of ideas in the shower, so I guess the creative wheels are always turning.

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

MAG: I’ll tell you one of the most interesting instances of people I met while researching a book. I was writing a book that dealt with witchcraft, but I didn’t want to make it a cartoonish version. I wanted to ground it. My fiancé was friends on Facebook with some Wiccans in our area, so we arranged to meet. We went out back to their “circle” and they allowed me to ask anything I wanted, they talked a lot about what Wicca means to them and how they use it. It was actually quite a fascinating evening and I was glad I got to do it. The things I learned from them actually informed the story, inspired aspects that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. When the book came out, I sent them a copy as thanks. I still communicate with them online, but we haven’t been back to their circle since.

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

MAG: I’ve learned that the writing community—specifically for me, the horror writing community—is full of generous souls that are willing to reach out, give advice, offer encouragement. It feels like a family, and I’m happy to be a part of it.

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

MAG: This may sound strange, but I believe being a writer has made me more empathetic. The very act of envisioning other lives, trying to inhabit them, trying to understand them, makes it easier to put myself in the shoes of others and consider things from their perspective.

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

MAG: A gentleman named Larry Meier reached out to me on social media, telling me he had read some of my books and I had become one of his favourite authors. It was one of the first times someone I didn’t already know contacted me about my books, and he continues to buy and comment on everything I put out. I’m forever grateful to him. Fellow author John R. Little also said some beautiful things about my first short story collection when it was released. I didn’t know him at all, and knowing that another writer thought enough of my work to spread the word touched me absurdly.

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

MAG: I just want to continue writing stories that I love, that I’m passionate about, stories that entertain me. And hopefully entertain readers. I’d love to expand my readership, and I definitely want to keep improving my craft, but above all I just want to still be excited about what I’m writing.

Joe: What legacy do you want to leave behind?

MAG: I want to be remembered as a writer who had a great passion for his stories, and I hope that my stories continue to entertain people long after I’m gone.

Mark Allan Gunnells

  Crystal Lake Publishing   Jun 01, 2018   Blog   0 Comment Read More

Out Now – HOUSE OF SIGHS with sequel novella by Aaron Dries

Out Now – HOUSE OF SIGHS with sequel novella by Aaron Dries

This award-winning, psychological experience is back in print, and includes the exclusive sequel The Sound of his Bones Breaking, a novella that will leave you leave you truly shaken.

Board for free. But the cost might be your life.

“This taut, grisly thriller reads like a sick and twisted extreme horror SPEED. You don’t know who, if anybody, will make it. Catch this bus at your own risk.”Eric Red, The Hitcher and Near Dark 

House of Sighs full cover

In House of Sighs, Local bus driver, Liz Frost, pulls the gun from her mouth and decides to live with her loneliness for one more day. She dresses, combs her hair, and goes to work. Nine souls board her route that fateful morning in rural Australia, nine souls who Liz drags back to her home against their will. She wants to build a new family from these passengers, men and women who are willing to kill to avoid becoming her kin. The bus leaves a trail of carnage in its wake as it rockets towards a house that has held its secrets for far too long, a place where crows now gather, ready to feed on whatever is left behind.

“Prepare to be blown away.”Dread Central

Includes the sequel novella The Sound of his Bones Breaking:

Trauma has teeth. Big ones. And it’s always hungry for seconds.

Aiden and Danny down their beers in the open bar overlooking the road, legs brushing together, about as far as they let their public displays of affection go in that part of Australia. The warm breeze and pounding music—their last happy memory. Everything changes when the taxi pulls up and its drunken driver stumbles out, starting a street brawl that leaves Danny broken and bleeding on the ground. In an attempt to give his lover the space he needs to heal, Aiden accepts an employment opportunity in Thailand, and the two men set off overseas, their fates sealed air-tight within the confines of the airplane. But in the claustrophobic hush of their tiny Bangkok apartment, and while Aiden goes off to work, instead of mending, Danny’s old scars begin to sing.

The lonely walks. The woman cooking bones in a vat of broth, whispering at him to eat the parts that hurt. The flies nobody but Danny can hear.

A burning desire to trace his heritage of hurt back to ground zero, and there, find someone to blame.

The Sound of his Bones Breaking is the dread-infused sequel to House of Sighs.

“Aaron Dries is a master of emotional horror. And there is horror here, but it’s heightened by his authentic characters and their raw emotions. Dries makes you feel, makes your heart break. He also surprises you, taking the story in directions you’d never see coming.” – Mark Allan Gunnells, author of Asylum and Companions in Ruin

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Aaron Dries
House of Sighs

House of Sighs

eBook: 3,99
Author:

This award-winning, psychological experience is back in print, and includes the exclusive sequel The Sound of his Bones Breaking, a novella that will leave you leave you truly shaken.

Board for free. But the cost might be your life.

“This taut, grisly thriller reads like a sick and twisted extreme horror SPEED. You don’t know who, if anybody, will make it. Catch this bus at your own risk.” – Eric Red, The Hitcher and Near Dark

In House of Sighs, Local bus driver, Liz Frost, pulls the gun from her mouth and decides to live with her loneliness for one more day. She dresses, combs her hair, and goes to work. Nine souls board her route that fateful morning in rural Australia, nine souls who Liz drags back to her home against their will. She wants to build a new family from these passengers, men and women who are willing to kill to avoid becoming her kin. The bus leaves a trail of carnage in its wake as it rockets towards a house that has held its secrets for far too long, a place where crows now gather, ready to feed on whatever is left behind.

“Prepare to be blown away.” – Dread Central

Includes the sequel novella The Sound of his Bones Breaking:

Trauma has teeth. Big ones. And it’s always hungry for seconds.

Aiden and Danny down their beers in the open bar overlooking the road, legs brushing together, about as far as they let their public displays of affection go in that part of Australia. The warm breeze and pounding music—their last happy memory. Everything changes when the taxi pulls up and its drunken driver stumbles out, starting a street brawl that leaves Danny broken and bleeding on the ground. In an attempt to give his lover the space he needs to heal, Aiden accepts an employment opportunity in Thailand, and the two men set off overseas, their fates sealed air-tight within the confines of the airplane. But in the claustrophobic hush of their tiny Bangkok apartment, and while Aiden goes off to work, instead of mending, Danny’s old scars begin to sing.

The lonely walks. The woman cooking bones in a vat of broth, whispering at him to eat the parts that hurt. The flies nobody but Danny can hear.

A burning desire to trace his heritage of hurt back to ground zero, and there, find someone to blame.

The Sound of his Bones Breaking is the dread-infused sequel to House of Sighs.

“Aaron Dries is a master of emotional horror. And there is horror here, but it’s heightened by his authentic characters and their raw emotions. Dries makes you feel, makes your heart break. He also surprises you, taking the story in directions you’d never see coming.” – Mark Allan Gunnells, author of Asylum and Companions in Ruin

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

More info →

Buy from Amazon Kindle
Where the Dead Go to Die

Where the Dead Go to Die

eBook: $4,99

There are monsters in this world. And they used to be us.

More info →

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Tales from the Lake: Volume 2
Horror 201: The Silver Scream

  Crystal Lake Publishing   May 11, 2018   Blog   0 Comment Read More