Monday, February 20, 2017

Developing Your Author Brand

There’s no denying that the publishing world is saturated, especially in the day and age of self-publishing and social media marketing, so how does one manage to stand out in the crowd and get their work—and themselves—noticed? While social media is an undeniable asset to the game, developing a strong author brand is also something that can help shine the light on you and your work.

Your author brand will refer to the unique identity that you build through your writing and marketing presence. Essentially, you will be become your own walking-talking trademark or logo, and regardless of the market you’re working in (fiction, non-fiction, journalism, poetry, etc.), the following tips will help you find your voice and style as a writer, and then target readers who are interested and hungry for what you’re publishing:

  • Do genre-oriented research.


How are other writers in your genre marketing themselves? Research the websites of your favorite authors to see what they are doing, and then make a list of what you like, don’t like, and want to see more of. It’s also a good idea to go to bookstores and newspaper stands and look at the cover art and design themes that are circulating in your market so you can get a better idea of what is most likely to catch your reader’s eye. This is particularly relevant to word choice, color schemes, headlines/titles, and font types.

  • Determine who your target audience is.


Take a look at your writing (language, style, word-choice, overarching themes, character ages, etc.) and think hard about who is reading your work. Ask yourself if it is age appropriate for children or if you think it’s more suitable for an adult audience, only. In some cases, maybe it’s fine for both! Once you determine this, you can start building your social media platform, website, and/or blog around those age groups and then market towards them specifically with like-minded material.

  • Think about how you will demonstrate the message that you want recognized with you and your writing.


What do you want to accomplish with your writing? Are you writing about a particular topic or theme? Think about what your interests and values are and how you want to incorporate them into the bigger picture of how people see you. This will become your brand statement, which is something that you should use consistently across all your social networks via the same title, tag line, photos, fonts, colors, etc. You’ll want to be sure to always link back to your website or blog, all of which should be similarly marketed with search engine optimization (SEO) techniques taken into consideration.

  • Consider whether or not a pen name is right for you.


At one point or another, many writers consider a pen name. For some genres, this makes    more sense than others, especially in speculative fiction where there is a trend to see the initials of the first and middle name, followed by the full last name to mask gender or in some cases, hide it completely. Some writers also are concerned with being completely in the public, both for professional and personal reasons, or are concerned that their sexual orientation/gender will create bias for the readership they’re writing too. Note that these are all valid concerns because people will be able to find you and your work by your name alone, so take time to consider what works best for you.

  • Decide what you will do that’s different from other authors in your field to keep your readership engaged.

Most writers have websites and newsletters that they send out, in additional to being on social media and updating their readers through a variety of outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. What will you do that breaks the mold? Maybe you’ll do live readings or author asides on Facebook once a month? Or host a private Q&A session for subscribers to your newsletter? Maybe you’ll even set up fanfiction writing contest and give away a free book to a reader with the best submission, or start your own radio show?

Look at the material you’re putting out and think about the fandom and following that you’re creating. What do you wish your favorite writers would do to stay in touch with you? What would you like to see? Be unique and daring. Your readers will appreciate it, and better yet, if it’s something that you consistency do—which I highly recommend!—they will look forward to it, expect it, and your audience will start to grow because your work has become part of their reading routine now.

These tips can be an asset to building both your brand, and consequently later on, your social media platform because in addition to selling your work, you’re also selling yourself, and once readers get a taste of your work, they will be curious and interested to learn more about the person behind the story. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

AWP#17 Conference: Washington D.C. Con Report

This past weekend, I attended the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Conference with Raw Dog Screaming Press and Anti-Oedipus Press. I signed books, fielded questions as RDSP’s poetry editor, answered questions about speculative fiction/poetry and got to meet and reconnect with a lot of wonderful and inspiring people. 

My books Brothel and The Eighth sold particularly well, and I'm not sure what to make of that, but it does make me smile a lot, and I hope their buyers aren't too damaged after reading them.

Wait, yes I do.

Who am I kidding?
Editors: Jennifer Barnes, D. Harlan Wilson, Stephanie M. Wytovich

Stephanie M. Wytovich and D. Harlan Wilson
Anyways, it was especially wonderful to spend time with Jennifer Barnes, John Edward Lawson and D. Harlan Wilson, but I also got to share some pizza and a pretty kick-ass World of Warcraft conversation with J. L. Gribble, too. Cue conversations with a lot of Carlow colleagues and students (shout-out to Gerry LaFemina and Kevin Haworth), as well as fellow bizarro and horror writers, Leza Cantoral (CLASH Media), Christoph Paul (New English Press), and Justin Grimbol, and you can count me as a happy girl.

As always, these conferences are so much more than networking opportunities and work. They are standing reminders that writing is in my blood and art is my happy place. It was beautifully moving to see so many writers talking about diversity and resistance, about the importance of free speech and how the voices of our brothers and sisters across race, gender and ethnicity need to be heard. I came home with bags of books and some pretty awesome RDSP/Broadkill swag, along with lots of memories and a new T.V. show addiction, and I’m looking forward to continuing along the new writing path that I’m on and to pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I expect there to be many more road trips and stories in my future, and once they earn their bearings in my mind and in my notebook, I’ll be sure to share them all with you.
At the intersection of literary and genre,
Stephanie M. Wytovich



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

WYTOVICH SIGNS BOOK DEAL AND YOU'RE INVITED TO A DINNER PARTY

YOU'RE INVITED TO A DINNER PARTY:

Who: Why, you of course, sweet child.
What: A dinner party in your honor
When: March, 2017
Where: Dark Fuse
Why: Because we all need to be fed.
How: Oh, I don't want to spoil the surprise!

I'm beyond thrilled to announce that I'll be working with DarkFuse on a short story project titled, Inside the Skin Bouquet. Once a month (starting in March) subscribers will be fed a deliciously horrific and erotic tale thanks to my editors, Shane Staley and Dave Thomas.
We will also be releasing the completed series in both limited edition hardcover and in eBook format included free to subscribers who have either the collector subscription or Kindle subscription. So an additional limited hardcover (to be delivered Q4 of 2017) and additional free eBook (to be delivered Q1 of 2018).

ABOUT THE SERIES:

Inside the Skin Bouquet is a collection of stories that meditate on a variety of obsessions with human flesh: the need to touch it, the desire to collect it, reconstruct it, wear it, eat it. If I were to compare the inspiration and thematic qualities behind this collection to classic and/or contemporary works, I would say this collection is what happens when Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) meets Norman Bates (Robert Bloch’s Psycho) at a dinner party hosted by Hannibal Lecter (Thomas Harris’s The Hannibal Lecter Trilogy). These stories will pain as much as they will pleasure, forever seesawing between the erotic and the frightfully sadistic. The foreplay is fixation, an inherent psychological and physical need to be surrounded by flesh, but the climax is one of consumption, an intense fetish turned pure passion.

So pull up a chair and sharpen your knives.
You’re in for the dinner party of your life…

Or maybe even, your death.

Monday, January 23, 2017

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: RICHARD CHIZMAR ON A LONG DECEMBER.

Hello Darkings:

Today in the MADHOUSE, we've captured Richard Chizmar for a chat about his latest collection, A Long December. Chizmar is the founder/publisher of Cemetery Dance magazine and the Cemetery Dance Publications book imprint. He has edited more than 30 anthologies and his fiction has appeared in dozens of publications, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and multiple editions of The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. He has won two World Fantasy awards, four International Horror Guild awards, and the HWA's Board of Trustee's award.

Chizmar (in collaboration with Johnathon Schaech) has also written screenplays and teleplays for United Artists, Sony Screen Gems, Lions Gate, Showtime, NBC, and many other companies. He has adapted the works of many bestselling authors including Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Bentley Little.

Chizmar is also the creator/writer of Stephen King Revisited, and his third short story collection, A Long December, was recently published by Subterranean Press. With Brian Freeman, Chizmar is co-editor of the acclaimed Dark Screams horror anthology series published by Random House imprint, Hydra.

Chizmar’s work has been translated into many languages throughout the world, and he has appeared at numerous conferences as a writing instructor, guest speaker, panelist, and guest of honor.

Needless to say, you’re all in for a treat this morning, my friends, so bit back, bite your bit, and get ready.
With chills and secrets,
Stephanie M.Wytovich

WYTOVICH: Tell us about your collection. What inspired you to write it and how did you go about doing so, i.e. what was your thought process/research like? How did you pick what stories went into the collection?

CHIZMAR: A Long December is my first collection in almost two decades, so it’s a hefty one, collecting thirty-five stories that stretch over almost thirty years of writing. The earliest story (“Cemetery Dance”) was written when I was a 20-year-old college student and the most recent (“A Long December”) was finished just shy of my fiftieth birthday. When it came time to select stories for A Long December, I decided to reprint the majority of my first two collections (both long out of print) and all the most recent publications from the past few years. I was tempted to include three or four more of my very early stories, but common sense won out in the end.

WYTOVICH: What made you title the collection A Long December?

CHIZMAR: When I first came up with the idea for the novella, “A Long December,” I instantly knew the novella title would end up doing double duty as the book title. It just…fit. It’s moody, evocative, and hopefully a little mysterious.

WYTOVICH: What was your favorite story to create and explore?

CHIZMAR: Hmmm, I’d have to go with either an older story called “Heroes,” which is pretty much a father and son love story with a Dracula twist thrown in there or the novella we just discussed, “A Long December.” I’ve always liked to explore secrets and the masks we wear and how people are often very different than we believe them to be. “A Long December” is a prime example of this and was a lot of fun to write.

WYTOVICH: What piece in the collection haunts you (whether because of the subject matter, or because it was the hardest to write)?

CHIZMAR: Hands down, that would be “The Silence of Sorrow.” Heartbreakingly tough subject matter and an impossible situation to imagine yourself living through. Second place would probably go to “Midnight Promises,” the title story from my first collection, which deals with cancer.

WYTOVICH: In regards to your writing process, what do you find is the hardest part? The most enjoyable?

CHIZMAR: Hardest part is extensive rewriting. I loathe it. I know, I know, I’m an editor, so how can I dislike it so much? Dunno, but I do!

Most enjoyable is the initial creation of a story, just laying down the words in a kind of feverish daze. That part of the process is, almost without exception, exciting and fun. I also enjoy that last polish, when you’re working with a scalpel instead of a chainsaw.

WYTOVICH: How would you describe your writing style to those who are new to your work?

CHIZMAR: I think I’ll let a couple of the fine folks who blurbed A Long December describe that for me (as they do a better job than I ever could): Stephen King says, “Chizmar writes clean, no nonsense prose…” and John Saul adds, “…his prose is sharp, simple, and to the point…his writing never gets in the way of the story. It flows so smoothly it’s as if you’re experiencing it rather than reading it.”

I consider myself much more of a storyteller than I do any kind of a stylist or master plotter. I just write about people and places and moments in time that matter to me, and I’m grateful that readers have responded in such a favorable manner.

WYTOVICH: Who are some of your influences in the genre? Do you have any writing rituals that you tend to follow either before/during/or after you write?

CHIZMAR: No rituals to speak of. My daily schedule varies quite a bit so there’s probably not a whole lot of wiggle room for rituals. As for influences, I could name a dozen or more, but I’ll stick with just a handful today: Stephen King, Ed Gorman, Joe Lansdale, Robert McCammon, and John D. MacDonald.

WYTOVICH: What books are sitting in your TBR pile?

CHIZMAR: The Bruce Springsteen biography and advance copies of Joe Lansdale’s Rusty Puppy and Christopher Golden’s Arabat. Plus a bunch of overdue manuscripts for work!

WYTOVICH: What is next in store for your readers?

CHIZMAR: Let’s see…I have a graphic novel, The Fallen (with John Schaech and Brian Keene) coming out in 2017, as well as a script book called The Washingtonians, and a half-dozen or so brand new short stories in various anthologies. I also have a solo novella, as yet untitled, due to see publication, and I’m just now finishing up a Top Secret collaborative novella that should also see print this year.

WYTOVICH: If you could give one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be?

CHIZMAR: Embrace the process. The Ups and the Downs. You have to fail to succeed. It all sounds like just so many clichés, but it’s right on target. Writing is not an easy business. Very few overnight successes and a long list of talented writers who gave up before they saw their due. Embrace the process, be stubborn as hell, and be prepared for a long road.

Praise for A Long December:


“Powerful…I love it... Richard Chizmar writes clean, no-nonsense prose...sets his tales in no-nonsense, middle class neighborhoods I can relate to...and writes terrific stories served with a very large slice of Disquiet Pie.”-- Stephen King

“Chizmar's stories are hard-hitting, spooky, suspenseful, poignant, harrowing, heartbreaking and most of all very well-written. Excellent work!”-- Robert McCammon

“Richard Chizmar’s talent is a fierce, poignant marvel. His exquisite stories shatter.”--Richard Christian Matheson

“Richard Chizmar has a very special talent for creating a homely, believable world -- the kind of world that you and I live in every day. But he gradually invests that world with a creeping sense of unease, and then he throws open those suburban front doors and brings us face to face with all the unthinkable horrors that have been hiding behind them.”--Graham Masterton

“Richard Chizmar is a master delineator of two phenomena – the human condition and the inhuman condition. Some of his people may be monsters, but Chizmar has the rare talent to make you see his monsters as people. His work eloquently and expertly expands the dimensions of the genre...and should concern anyone interested in exceptional writing talent.” -- Robert Bloch

“...a writer of great accomplishment. His work, always effective, is notable for its clarity and originality of concept. Chizmar has a great gift for the sinister.”-- Peter Straub

“Tight, imaginative and totally engaging writing make this a must have book. Grab a copy of A Long December. It's fantastic.”--Joe R. Lansdale

“Richard Chizmar writes like a man who’s been to hell and back and lived to tell its tales.”--Clive Barker

Please visit the author’s website at: Richardchizmar.com

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

THERE'S A WITCH HUNT IN THE MADHOUSE: AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH JULIET ESCORIA

Hello fiendish ones!

Today in the MADHOUSE we're going on a witch hunt with author, Juliet Escoria. Juliet is the author of the short story collection Black Cloud, which was originally published in 2014 by Civil Coping Mechanisms, and in 2015, Emily Books published the ebook, Maro Verlag published a German translation, and Los Libros de la Mujer Rota published a Spanish translation. Witch Hunt, a collection of poems, was published by Lazy Fascist Press in May 2016. She was born in Australia, raised in San Diego, and currently lives in West Virginia. 

Last month, I read Juliet's collection, Witch Hunt, and I really enjoyed the raw honesty that is her voice. Her poems are straight-forward, without any sugar coating, and I loved how raw the collection as a whole came off. Great read-- definitely recommend it. But while you're purchasing her book, let's learn a little bit more about our poet. 

While burning at the stake,
Stephanie M. Wytovich

WYTOVICH: Tell us about your poetry collection. What inspired you to write it and how did you go about doing so, i.e. what was your thought process/research like?

ESCORIA: I was trying to write a novel and it wasn’t going well—I felt confused and lost and insecure about my writing. Lucy K. Shaw asked me for a contribution for The Re-Up issue of Shabby Doll House, so I decided to write a few poems. They came to me quickly, and the process of writing them was really fun, which reminded me of a lesson I learned while writing my story collection Black Cloud – I write because it’s enjoyable. If the act of writing is more struggle than not, the work suffers and it means I’m doing something wrong. So I decided to do something impractical, which is put the novel on hold and write a poetry collection in the meantime. My husband, Scott McClanahan, and I had been joking that poetry isn’t real writing and that a poetry collection could be written in a month, so I decided to try and write it as fast as I could. Every day, I’d go into my office space for an hour or four, and write as many poems as I could in that time. It ended up taking longer than a month – I worked on it solid for around three, and then fiddled with it for a few months more after that. It was a really enjoyable experience. There’s something freeing about poetry, I guess because you are only juggling so many pieces.

 
WYTOVICH: How did you come up with the name for the collection?

ESCORIA: I started writing the book in November of 2014, which was in the middle of Alt Lit-gate. I was disappointed in what happened with that—it seemed like what started as a very important conversation quickly dissolved into sensationalism, a conservative take on female sexuality, and a minimization of the important work female writers had done under the guise of Alt Lit—so the term ‘witch hunt’ was fresh in my mind while I was writing the poems. I have a picture drawn by Carabella Sands above my desk of a witch burning at the stake, and one of the poems in the collections references witch hunts. It seemed like a fitting title for a number of reasons.

WYTOVICH: In regards to your writing process, what do you find is the hardest part? The most enjoyable?

ESCORIA: Waiting is the hardest part. I’m an impatient person. I get frustrated that writing takes so goddamn long. The most enjoyable is maybe the third or fifth go-around on a draft, when I’m doing the ‘embroidery’ – making sure the language sounds how I want it to sound, cutting out unnecessary words, and the like.

WYTOVICH: Who are some of your influences in the genre? Do you have any writing rituals that you tend to follow either before/during/or after you write?

ESCORIA: As far as poetry goes, I was influenced by Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. While I was writing Witch Hunt, I was exchanging poetry with Elizabeth Ellen (whose collection Elizabeth Ellen will be published shortly – it’s amazing) and her work influenced me as well. Noah Cicero sent me a draft of his collection Bipolar Cowboy in the writing process, and that also affirmed what I wanted to do with my book.

As far as writing in general: Scott McClanahan, Mary Gaitskill, Denis Johnson, Dennis Cooper, Grace Paley, Amy Hempel, Lucia Berlin, Joan Didion.

Rituals: When I’m having a hard time, I light a candle and some incense before I start for the day. I like to listen to music. The last thing I do before I ‘finish’ a piece of work is change the font and spacing, then print it out and read it aloud. I’m very partial to writing on my desk—it’s hard for me to write anywhere else, although sometimes I do fine edits on the couch.

 WYTOVICH:  What books are sitting in your TBR pile?

ESCORIAThe Outsiders is a re-read—I’ve loved SE Hinton since I was a child. The Michael Connelly is a not-so-guilty pleasure—my dad gave me this book for Christmas, and he’s one of the few writers we both like. Proof of the Spirit World I got for free from the local antique mall. It’s from the ‘20s and I am hoping it is haunted.

WYTOVICH: What is next in store for your readers?

ESCORIAI finished the draft of the novel that was giving me trouble and sent it to my agent a couple weeks ago. I’m hoping it’s not too awfully long before publication. It’s a fictional account of my teenage years, when I was having a lot of problems, and contains pictures and scans of old documents. Some of the documents are forged.

WYTOVICH: If you could give one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be?

ESCORIA: Nobody will miss your writing, so only pursue it if you can’t NOT write. Otherwise, do something more useful with your time, like studying engineering or cleaning your bathtub.

Book Summary: The much-anticipated full-length poetry collection by the critically acclaimed author of Black Cloud, Witch Hunt delves into the terror and beauty that occurs when love, madness, and addiction collide.

Promotional links:

Witch Hunt at Goodreads // Amazon // Indiebound


Review of Witch Hunt at Electric Literature
Notes on Witch Hunt at HTMLGIANT

Excerpt of Witch Hunt at the Fanzine


Monday, January 9, 2017

RARE BREED FOUND IN MADHOUSE: AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH ERIK HOFSTATTER

Hello Dark Ones,

Today in the MADHOUSE, I have the pleasure of hosting my friend from across the pond, Erik Hofstatter, to chat with him about all things dark and unsettling. Erik is a dark fiction writer and a member of the Horror Writers Association. Born in the wild lands of the Czech Republic, he roamed Europe before subsequently settling on English shores, studying creative writing at the London School of Journalism. He now dwells in Kent, where he can be encountered consuming copious amounts of mead and tyrannizing local peasantry. His work appeared in various magazines and podcasts around the world such as Morpheus Tales, Crystal Lake Publishing, The Literary Hatchet, Sanitarium Magazine, Wicked Library, Tales to Terrify and Manor House Show. Other works include The Pariahs, Amaranthine and Other Stories, Katerina, Moribund Tales and Rare Breeds.

I recently read Erik's novella this past month, and was blown away by the story, not to mention the ending, so once I recovered from the shock of Aurel and his sweet (ha!) sister, I had to to find out more. Lock and load, friends! This is going to be a rare treat.

With blood-kissed secrets,
Stephanie M. wytovich

·     WYTOVICH: Tell us about your novella, Rare Breeds. What inspired you to write it and how did you go about doing so, i.e. what was your thought process/research like?

HOFSTATTER: In a nutshell, Rare Breeds is about a nuclear family. It dissects a modern relationship and examines human complexities—both physical and psychological. Parental corruption and its inevitable consequences, personal greed and satisfaction, sacrifices in pursuit of desires—it’s all here. The novella focuses on Aurel, a man driven by need. A need for a family. A need to belong, to cosset. He foolishly marries an older woman (already burdened with a daughter) who refuses to bear any more children due to declining years. Aurel respects her wishes, but denial chews his heart. After consulting with his twin sister, events begin to escalate. The initial story slice was inspired by Hemoglobin, a cheap Canadian horror film (adapted from Lovecraft’s Lurking Fear) and it spoon-fed my thought process. My brain was suddenly pregnant with ideas and almost two years later—Rare Breeds was born. Research included human anatomy and DNA theories. I detested research in the past, but now welcome it like a lost lover. It’s fascinating to learn and discover.

·    WYTOVICH: Who was your favorite character to create and explore?
      
      HOFSTATTER: Aurel. He’s a victim of his past and peppered with multiple layers of wrong. The majority of his character defects were sowed by his parents. He was a product of their corruption and I enjoyed exploring his limits. To develop such a complex character required sacrifices of my own, though. I had to dig deep and visit places inside myself I never want to visit again.

WYTOVICH: In regards to your writing process, what do you find is the hardest part? The most enjoyable?

HOFSTATTER: Dialogue is a valued friend. The recipe for effective dialogue is simple—it has to be realistic but that’s about it. I enjoy that particular aspect of writing. Narrative on the other hand, requires skill. A skill I’m constantly honing. I also struggle to embrace my final drafts. What makes the draft final? When you’re finally (ha-ha) happy with it and no longer encounter problems? I have no such luck. I keep shuffling words and sentences until my final draft becomes the final draft of the final draft. I wrote the first part of my novel over a year ago and only recently read it again. It was atrocious. So I rewrote the part, but you know what? If I read it again next year—I’d feel the same. The pursuit of perfection is an illusion. Sometimes enough is enough. If only I believed that.

WYTOVICH: How would you describe your writing style to those who are new to your work?

HOFSTATTER: Someone sprayed me with the “schlock horror” term and I carried it for a while. But to be honest, subgenres confuse me so I’m happy with the generic dark fiction writer title. I write about the darker side of the human experience so call me what you want. As for my style, I don’t really know. My first collection of short stories was described as “Poe influenced” even though my knowledge of Poe was minimal at the time. That’s a good thing, right?

WYTOVICH: Who are some of your influences in the genre? Do you have any writing rituals that you tend to follow either before/during/or after you write?

HOFSTATTER: Primary influences include the kings of urban horror: Gary McMahon, Nathan Ballingrud, and Charles L. Grant. I connected with some gifted writers over the years, too. Karen Runge in particular. I view her as a mentor and consider myself lucky that she tolerates me.  Rituals? When I finish a story—I bathe in mead. Cool, huh?

WYTOVICH: What books are sitting in your TBR pile?

HOFSTATTER: I’m constantly drunk on Gary McMahon, but these books dominate my bedside cabinet: The Nameless Dark by T.E. Grau, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis by Anne Rice, A Long December by Richard Chizmar, Clive Barker: The Dark Fantastic by Douglas E. Winter, Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror by Ellen Datlow and so on. You could built an igloo with my TBR pile. 

WYTOVICH: What is next in store for your readers?

HOFSTATTER: Last year I mentioned writing a debut novel: Toroa. A second draft is currently in progress. The story is epic and spans across two continents. Again, the protagonist’s temperament undergoes a major transformation—life can be a cruel teacher. I suppose Rare Breeds contained similar ingredients. I would describe it as dark fantasy with a horror edge—an unfamiliar territory for me but still paved with visceral reactions. I also penned a short story entitled Fountain of Drowned Memories, which has been short-listed for an exciting anthology. Fingers crossed.

WYTOVICH:If you could give one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be?

HOFSTATTER: Persevere—there’s no recipe for success. Just keep doing your thing.

Rare Breeds synopsis:

Aurel and Zora Schwartz are a married couple trying to make a modern relationship work. But an old secret is going to affect them in ways neither of them can imagine. And Zora’s daughter Livie may find herself caught in a trap built long before she was born. The ending will leave you stunned and speechless. Get ready to scream.

Blurbs for Rare Breeds:

“Gleefully twisted.”—Gary McMahon, author of The Concrete Grove Trilogy

 “This tale of mounting dread and unusual horror creeps in like a night fog and wraps itself around your throat, and when its icy tendrils recede, what is left behind will shock you.”—Mary SanGiovanni, author of The Hollower Trilogy

“Erik writes the kind of old school horror fiction that is rarely seen these days, making him a rare breed himself.”—Paul Kane, author of The Rainbow Man

“A haunting, and yet touching story, with plenty of tension, Rare Breeds will seep into your dreams, razor blade glinting in the moonlight, eager to claim new flesh.”—Richard Thomas, author of Disintegration

“I’ve read just over one hundred books this year and Rare Breeds has the best ending of the bunch.” – Frank Errington

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: 130 Books to Madness

Hi Everyone,

Every year, I partake in the Goodreads reading challenge. In the past, my goal has been to read 52 books a year, but I’ve since challenged myself to read 100. This year, I’ve managed to read 130 books and I think you’ll see that no, not all of them are horror. I think it’s important to read outside of your genre, your form, and most importantly, your time period, so this is my latest attempt at continuing my education into being a well-read adult.

Here are some of my favorites off the list:

Poetry: The Sex Lives of Monsters by Helen Marshall
Novels/Novellas: M Train by Patti Smith
Short Story Collections: A Long December by Richard Chizmar
Graphic Novels: Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito
With tired eyes and a full mind,
Stephanie M. Wytovich

Poetry
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories by Tim Burton
Class Clown by Victoria Dym
Boneshaker by Jan Beatty
The Switching Yard by Jan Beatty
Mad River by Jan Beatty
The Lunatic by Charles Simic
Hotel Insomnia by Charles Simic
The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands by Nick Flynn
Some Ether by Nick Flynn
My Feelings: Poems by Nick Flynn
Underwater Fistfight by Matt Betts
Strange Vegetables by G.O. Clark
The Sick Bag Song by Nick Cave
The Collected Poems of Georges Bataille by Georges Bataille
Love Poems by Anne Sexton
The Man Suit by Zachary Schomburg
Room Where I Get What I Want by S. Whitney Holmes
Wait Till I’m Dead: Uncollected Poems by Allen Ginsberg
The Shadow Owner’s Companion by Eleanor Hooke
The 8th House by Feng Sun Chen
PseudoPsalms: Saints v. Sinners by Peter Adam Salomon
The Seven Yards of Sorrow by David E. Cowen
The Hospital Poems by Jim Ferris
Blood Song by Michael Schmeltzer
Rubbernecking by Molly Prosser
Voices from Empty Rooms by Lisa Lepovetsky
Elegy/Elk River by Michael Schmeltzer
Quarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke and Hangry by Samantha Jayne
Freakcidents by Michael A. Arnzen
Poems of My Night by Cynthia Pelayo
Field Guide to the End of the World: Poems by Jeannine Hall Gailey
The Darkening Trapeze: Last Poems by Larry Levis
The Sex Lives of Monsters by Helen Marshall
Witch Hunt by Juliet Escoria

Novels/Novellas
The Chimes by Charles Dickens
Next by Michael Crichton
Little Dead Read by Mercedes M. Yardley
The Incredible Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson
The Wizard of Oz by  Frank L. Baum
Stolen Away by Kristin Dearborn
The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
Hannibal by Thomas Harris
The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Asylum by Jeannette de Beauvoir
The Prague Orgy by Philip Roth
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy by Mercedes M. Yardley
Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille
Ring by Koji Suzuki
Ritualistic Human Sacrifice by C.V. Hunt
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris
M Train by Patti Smith
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch
God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian by Kurt Vonnegut
The Death House by Sarah Pinborough
Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Kangaroo Notebook by Kobo Abe
Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear by Margee Kerr
Sea of Trees by Robert James Russell
Point Hollow by Rio Youers
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
The Past Life Perspective: Discovering Your True Nature Across Multiple Lifetimes by Ann C. Barham
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Murrmann: A Tale of Van Helsing by Michael A. Arnzen
A House at the Bottom of the Lake by Josh Malerman
The Sadist’s Bible by Nicole Cushing
Rare Breeds by Erik Hofstatter
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs
The Eschatologist by Greg Chapman
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by Nikolai Leskov

Short Story Collections/Anthologies
While the Black Stars Burn by Lucy A. Snyder
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
Grim Mistresses by Stacey Turner (C.W. LaSart, Mercedes M. Yardley, Allison M. Dickson and S.R. Cambridge)
Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward
Monstrosities by Jeremy C. Shipp
A Long December by Richard Chizmar
Cartoons in the Suicide Forest by Leza Cantoral

Graphic Novels/Comics
Gyo by Junji Ito
The Enigma of Amigara Fault by Junji Ito
Human Chair by Junji Ito
Black Paradox by Junji Ito
Hellstar Remina by Junji Ito
Cat Diary by Junji Ito
Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito
Sandman Mystery Theater, Vol 1: The Tarantula by Matt Wagner
Sandman Mystery Theatre, Vol 3: The Vamp by Matt Wagner
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman
Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel by Lloyd S. Wagner
Frankenweenie by Tim Burton
Emily the Strange Vol 1-3: Long, Dark and Bored by Rob Reger
Emily the Strange Vol 2: This Cover Got Lost by Cosmic Debris by Rob Reger
Emily the Strange Vol 3: The Dark Issue by Brian Brooks by Rob Reger
George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead by Steve Niles
The Hills Have Eyes: The Beginning by Jimmy Palmiotti
Edward Scissorhands, Vol 1: Parts Unknown by Kate Leth
Edward Scissorhands, Vol 2: Whole Again by Kate Leth
Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
The Great and Secret Show by Chris Ryall/ Clive Barker
Monster, Vol 1 by Naoki Urasawa
Monster, Vol 2 by Naoiki Urasawa
Monster, Vol 3 by Naoki Urasawa
The Joker by Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo
Suicide Squad, Vol 1: Kicked in the Teeth by Adam Glass
Suicide Squad, Vol 2: Basilisk Rising by Adam Glass
Suicide Squad, Vol 3: Death is for Suckers by Adam Glass
Suicide Squad, Vol 4: Discipline and Punishment by Ales Kot
Suicide Squad, Vol 5: Walled in by Mat Kindt
The Green Woman by Peter Straub and Michael Easton
The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks
Stigmata by Lorenzo Mattoti
Exquisite Corpse by Penelope Bagieu
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola
Colder, Vol 1 by Paul Tobin
Colder, Vol 2, The Bad Seed by Paul Tobin
The Creep by Jonathan Case
Arkham Asylum: Madness by Sam Kieth
Batman: Joker’s Last Laugh by Chuck Dixon
Batman: Arkham Asylum Living Hell Deluxe Edition by Sam Kieth
Green River Kill by Jeff Jensen
Harley Quinn, Vol.1: Hot in the City by Amanda Conner
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel by Ransom Riggs