Thursday 22 August 2013

DARK VISIONS volume one - Grey Matter Press

A date has been announced for the publication of Grey Matter Press's horror anthology Dark Visions, volume one: September 17th.

Publication Date and Brief Synopsis of Each Story

CHICAGO—The publication date of the much anticipated Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror – Volume One (DV1) was announced today by Grey Matter Press. The company’s premiere collection of dark fiction will be released and available for purchase on September 17, 2013.
“We are exceedingly happy to see the publication of this collection that will have readers cowering under their sheets,” said co-editor Anthony Rivera. “Everyone at Grey Matter Press is proud to see Dark Visions hitting the streets next month as it features a number of bestselling horror and fantasy authors with long histories in legacy publishing, national and international award winners, a selection of indie authors making huge waves, as well as authors whose work some may never have read.”
Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror – Volume One will be available for purchase on September 17. The collection will be published in both print and digital versions. Its companion volume, Dark Visions 2 (DV2), is slated for release later this fall.
When combined, the two volumes will make up a collection containing more than 25 tales of terror that the publisher hopes will keep horror lovers awake at night. The multi-volume collection is co-edited by Anthony Rivera and Sharon Lawson.
“We believe that Dark Visions is going to be quite a surprising thrill ride for readers and fans of horror, both old and new,” said Lawson. “Within its pages, there’s something for everyone.”
Collage by Jay Caselberg
What would you do if you lost your one true love? Most of us will be faced with that question at some point in our lives. That is, unless, we are the one lucky enough to get out first. It’s said that love hurts. But does it have to hurt this much?
Delicate Spaces by Brian Fatah Steele
There are places all over the world where the veil between the living and the dead is so thin that those on either side can sometimes see through. It’s when the dead choose to step across that line that it becomes a problem.
The Last Ice Cream Kiss by Jason S. Ridler
The mind of a disturbed child is a terrifying thing, like an abandoned building filled with dark and dangerous hallways. There are passages that should not be walked, doors that are better left unopened and rooms whose secrets were never intended be revealed.
Mister Pockets: A Pine Deep Story by Jonathan Maberry
Pine Deep, Pennsylvania is a typical small town with a not-so-typical dark and troubled past. But it’s just another ordinary day for young Lefty Horrigan until there is a mysterious murder and he come face-to-face with Pine Deep’s sole hobo. Has the trouble returned to “the most haunted town in America?”
Raining Stones by Sean Logan
A gruesome series of murders plagues San Francisco as the broken memories of an absent father point an alcoholic reporter in a direction he may not want to go. Are Lonnie’s dreams merely liquor-fueled hallucinations, or are they instead leading him down a darker path into the strange world of religious fanaticism?
Scrap by David A. Riley
Childhood should be a time for leisurely days spent playing in the sun. But for two abused brothers coming to grips with life on their new English estate, a day of adventure opens the door into a world of evil and sets in motion a chain of events from which there seems little hope of escape.
Second Opinion by Ray Garton
Greg is a failing author who hasn’t had a bestseller in years. But he believes he has just the right manuscript to revive his career. In need of a fresh set of eyes, he shares the story with a friend and fellow author who provides him with a bit more than a second opinion.
Show Me by John F.D. Taff
There is something very strange about Joe Middleton, and everyone on campus knows it. But that doesn’t mean the college junior is off limits when it comes to trying to get into his pants. But be forewarned, once you know Joe, you will never be the same again.
Thanatos Park by Charles Austin Muir
There are horrible things that exist just beyond the barrier of human perception. Sometimes we hear them in that steady, chronic drone of a world humming along around us. Other times we stumble onto the truth in the darkness, unprepared and incapable of grasping the sheer magnitude of our wholly inaccurate concept of reality.
Three Minutes by Sarah L. Johnson
For an orphan living in a group home, John doesn’t have much of a future to look forward to. Awakened each night by the same horrifying nightmare, he takes to sneaking out to the local lake in order to avoid the Dream Eater that plagues his sleep. His goal: to hold his breath underwater, for only three minutes.
The Troll by Jonathan Balog
The magic of summer is over, and the new school year has begun. Time that was once Marty’s to enjoy is now sure to be filled with the drudgery of homework and avoiding grade-school bullies. That is until he hears a strange voice calling to him from beneath a bridge.  One he meets the troll, life for Marty become a whole lot more interesting.
The Weight of Paradise by Jeff Hemenway
Humans have tried for years to live their lives without worry. For some this might mean a desire for wealth, fortune or fame. For Alfie it means trying to fight off the deadly form of leukemia that’s killing him long enough to enable his scientist girlfriend to find a cure. But sometimes it’s important to be careful what we ask for.
What Do You Need? by Milo James Fowler
John wakes up in an unfamiliar place that appears to look like any run-of-the-mill 1970s motel room. But the problem is, it’s not the ‘70s. What is he doing here? How long has he been here? And whose is that terrifying voice on the phone?
The long list of contributors to Dark Visions: A Collection of Modern Horror (Volumes 1 and 2) features authors from 4 continents, including Jonathan Maberry, Ray Garton, Jay Caselberg, John F.D. Taff, Jason S. Ridler, David Blixt, J.C. Hemphill, C.M. Saunders, David Murphy, Edward Morris, Trent Zelazny, David A. Riley and many more. The complete list of contributors and their stories is available at the Dark Visions website:
“The stories in both volumes truly epitomize the concept of unrelenting evil, and we believe the cover artwork shatters that old cliché about not being able to judge a book by its cover,” explained Lawson. “When both volumes are combined side-by-side, the artwork creates a diptych that reveals the true vision of darkness that we believe haunts this collection.” Featuring the sinister image of a monster with a hideous glowing eye, the cover artwork, additional information and insight into the overall concept is available at the Dark Visions website:
Grey Matter Press is a Chicago-based publisher whose mission it is to find and cultivate the best voices working in the dark fiction genre today. We are committed to producing only the finest products containing exceptional tales of horror, fantasy, science fiction and speculative fiction. More information about Grey Matter Press is available at:

Redesigned Blog

I thought it was time to redesign my blog, which has pretty well stayed much the same since I set it up in 2010. I wanted to make it a lot easier to read, hence the discarding of the black background and pale grey lettering. I hope anyone viewing it now finds it a lot better from this point of view - and perhaps more attractive too.

Any hints or suggestions would be gratefully accepted.

Wednesday 21 August 2013


I created a blog site for Parallel Universe Publications a while ago but did nothing with it. I have now updated the information on it and redesigned the site.

Our last publication was Craig Herbertson's short story collection The Heaven Maker & Other Gruesome Tales.

Saturday 17 August 2013

Sacrifice by Paul Finch - review

My review for Paul Finch's new DS Heckenburg novel is now on hellnotes.

This is the second Detective Sergeant Heckenburg thriller from the hands of Paul Finch. The first, Stalkers, was published earlier this year to great applause. Thankfully, I can confirm that its sequel has more than lived up to expectations, with Heckenburg and the rest of the Serial Crimes Unit facing the challenge of a series of particularly sadistic murders based upon annual festivals. The first body is a man dressed in a Santa Clause outfit, who has been bricked up to starve to death in the days before Christmas. On Bonfire Night a man is burned to death. On Valentine’s Day a young couple are impaled by an aluminium arrow through their hearts. Worse murders are to follow, graphically described in Paul Finch’s clear, no nonsense style. Under pressure from the media, the Serial Crimes Unit are struggling with little solid information to go on even as it becomes clear that more than one killer must be responsible, especially after a horrifically grisly re-enactment of the crucifixion.
The descriptions of the towns across Britain in which the murders take place are vividly described in all their sordid detail and it’s obvious that Finch knows them and, in particular, their less salubrious areas well. Likewise, with his experience in the police, in which he served for some years, he has a first hand knowledge of low life criminals, which adds authenticity to the book. Both these, and a vivid imagination, honed in the horror genre for years, make this a crime novel which no horror fan will be disappointed with. The action scenes pack a hefty punch and are certain to set the adrenalin flowing, particularly towards its violent climax, when all hell lets loose.
Ending the book are the first thirty pages of the next Heckeburg novel, Hunted, as a taster.

Friday 16 August 2013

Thursday 15 August 2013

Proof reading finished!

Finally finished my second bout of proof reading in the last month. The first was for my novel, The Return (Blood Bound Books). The second was for my much longer collection of short stories, The Lurkers in the Abyss & other Tales of Terror (Shadow Publishing). It feels like a marathon stint. All I have to do now is email Dave Sutton at Shadow Publishing with all the typos, etc., that I've found and I can go on holiday at the end of next week with a clean slate. May even find time to start writing something new!

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Sudden upsurge in sales of His Own Mad Demons

Comparing the sales position on I suddenly realised that it's leaped by over 3 million places since yesterday. I have no idea what this represents in terms of sales. It could be a ridiculously small figure for all I know - and probably is. But it's nice to see. It also coincides with a surge in the number of people accessing that part of my blog as well. hasn't been too bad lately either, though it would be nice to see that improve too. Hint! Hint!

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Dark Visions 1 from Grey Matter Press - cover art

This is the cover for Dark Visions Volume One from Grey Matter Press. The anthology is due to be published shortly and contains my 12,000 word story Scrap.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

The Return

Just received a pdf copy of the galley proofs for my Lovecraftian novel The Return from Geoff Hyatt at Blood Bound Books. It's due for publication next month. Things are moving quickly now. The rest of the year is going to be quite exciting, what with my novel out in September and my collection of short stories from Shadow Publishing, The Lurkers in the Abyss and other Tales of Terror to be launched in October at the World Fantasy Convention.

I'm printing out a copy of the pdf of The Return so I can give it a thorough going over for typos, etc before it goes to print.

Monday 5 August 2013

S. T. Joshi and August Derleth

The noted Lovecraftian scholar S. T. Joshi recently wrote an in depth review of John D. Haeffele's  A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos: Origins of the Cthulhu Mythos (Odense, Denmark: H. Harksen Productions, 2012).

The review is a fascinating critique of Derleth's interpretation of the Cthulhu Mythos and his involvement in developing it along his own lines. When I first became involved in reading Lovecraft back in the 1960s Derleth was the final word on everything Lovecraftian. Or so it seemed to me at the time. And I must admit I swallowed hook, line and sinker everything he wrote about the Mythos, even though I was never, even then, enthusiastic about his own Lovecraftian pastiches, which I thought pretty dull and formulaic. I did enjoy many of Derleth's non Lovecratian supernatural tales and was - and am - a great admirer of his skills as an editor. A Derleth anthology, usually reprinted in the UK by Four Square (later NEL) was always something to look forward to wading into. We don't seem to get anthologies of that calibre very often these days, and more's the pity.

Joshi's thoroughgoing demolition of Haeffele's defense of Derleth's version of the Cthulhu Mythos is ruthless, effective and convincing. Derleth's attempt to turn it into a warped version of the Christian creed always struck me as strange, given Lovecraft's atheism. Thankfully, this interpretation, though significant at the time, seems to have waned in influence over the years and it is good to see that Haeffele's attempt to give it renewed legitimacy has been cut short by someone as erudite and eloquent as Joshi  I still admire Derleth the editor and have fond memories of some of his non-Lovecraftian stories, but with so many writers using Lovecraft's creation today the last thing we need is for it to be warped into the Miltonic version Derleth seemed intent on foisting on us. The cosmic horror of a vast, indifferent universe that Lovecraft created is HPL's legacy to the weird tale and one that should not be softened with the safety net of benign Elder beings.

Friday 2 August 2013

The Adventures of Kyle McGertt: Hunt for the Ghoulish Bartender - review

My review of The Adventures of Kyle McGertt: Hunt for the Ghoulish Bartender is up on Hellnotes.

This is the first YA novel I have ever read. It’s also the first horror Western I’ve read too. In both instances I had a pleasant surprise – I enjoyed it far more than I expected.
Charles Day has a very readable style and the action moves rapidly, though not at the expense of character and some vivid descriptions. The Ghoulish Bartender himself, though completely evil in his actions, is far more than a two-dimensional villain. He has a back story every bit as tragic as any of his victims – and an awareness of what he has irretrievably lost to become what he is – a fate that not chosen by him, but forced on him as a curse.
Nevertheless he has grandiose plans to spread the curse of the ghouls on every community he comes across. In this, only Kyle McGertt, inheriting the crusade of his dead father, can hope to stop him. Robustly violent, yet with some subtle humour, this short novel is the story of how these two opponents finally come confront each other for a final showdown.

Thursday 1 August 2013

Slightly altered cover for The Lurkers in the Abyss

The lettering on the front cover has now had some red blended into the black to make it stand out more clearly. I think it also gives it a 3D effect too.