Holy Balls!!!

I should point out that I’m not a Walking Dead fan at all. When the show debuted my wife and I split up and well, the last thing I had time for was television. I knew about the show but just never saw it due to not having cable. Now that it’s on Netflix I may check it out. I did hear the internet lose their collective shit over Glenn’s death. The violence was unnecessary, and they went over the top and just went straight for the gross out for ratings. I watched it. Three times even, and at some point I want to watch the entire episode. I know that there are a few whiner babies that have actually swore to never watch the show again and my question is: Do any of these people watch horror films? What the hell did they expect. A guy has a bat named Lucille for fuck’s sake. You know at some point he was going to use it right?

On the one hand I can see why people lost their shit. That one shot of Glen’s pulpy head and his hand is still twitching!  Jesus! Talk about powerful television! Negan should play for the Cleveland Indians. What I respected was the shows balls. They followed the comic I guess and really swung for the fences (that was funny!). You have a villain that is truly vile and shows just how sadistic he can be. That was what made the death so powerful. When villains are done correctly you as a viewer either love them or hate them. There’s no middle ground. What the shows creators have done is given us a fucked up psychopath that you want to see killed and badly.

It was brilliantly filmed and as you watched it you felt just like the characters did. Except they already knew what was going to happen. Was it too violent? No, and the reason I say that is because it wasn’t violence for the sake of violence. As a writer myself I can see why they chose to film this the way the way they did. It was to shock you and show just how psychotic Negan is. All of those people that don’t watch this show will now tune in. I know I will because I really like the Negan character. He’s my kind of villain. The show writers were trying to turn a corner and they did it by taking their fans into  a very dark place. You felt every swing of the bat and if they hadn’t shown it the way they did no one would have given a shit. They wanted to make an impact and they did.

Watching the entire episode was intense because it was a moment where the balance of power shifted and all you can do it watch helplessly as everything these people worked for slips away. Want a happy ending? Not going to happen here. You truly went on a ride and you really felt their loss and helplessness. It was brutal, but it had to be. There was no way to do something like this without the violence. That was where it really hit home. All of these people whining and crying that the show went to far are kind of right, yet imagine the entire episode sanitized for a wholesome audience. It wouldn’t have the same effect.

So what if The Walking Dead lost a few fans. I bet after that premier episode they’ve gained a whole bunch of new ones. They’re going to watch just to see what Negan will do. Now that he’s in control how is he going to stay in control? Will he force Rick to chop off his son’s arm again just to prove a point? Did you really think that zombies were the only thing to fear in an apocalypse? Shit, I’ve never seen the show I expected this happen way sooner. Not everyone sees a new world as a love in. People are going to become violent and selfish. Negan had to show Rick that things were changing and what a way to do that.

I didn’t find the episode too violent. I found it to be engrossing, and powerful. I couldn’t stop watching and as the credits rolled I knew that next week I’d be watching again just to see how things played out. I just hope that no one listens to the whiner babies who are all butthurt and calling for a boycott of what was once their favorite show. They saw a couple of dudes get their fucking brains bashed in and now they’re crying foul. I love a good violent story that involves great characters and that’s exactly what I got. I also got to see a guy twitching while his head was beaten into bloody pulp. This is what you do to get noticed and holy shit I was riveted! All I can say is I can’t wait until next week.

My Favorite Books Of 2015

Picking a favorite list of books for the year is hard. Imagine for a second sitting at your laptop trying to come up with a list that stands heads and shoulders above whatever everyone else picks. It’s hard as hell.  As a reviewer I’ve received a lot of great books this year. When I decided to write this blog I felt a little like this.rr.jpg

I have noticed that horror is doing quite well this year. Guys like Matt Shaw, Stuart Keane, and Kyle M. Scott are waving the horror banner and consistently writing great horror novels. I’m still waiting patiently for the latest novel from Jim Goforth. Goforth is one hell of a writer too. When you look at the bizarro side of it there are  guys like Brian Ellis, Matthew Vaughn and even new guys like the man beast Pedro Proenca who have wrote really good novels as well. It’s been a good year for fans of books. I have never attempted a blog like this so the goal was to write it and feel like this: 11201624_10206319273122818_4656938562605036666_n.jpg

Here is what I did. I drank some coffee and decided that yeah, this has to be numbered, but these are all books you should read. Doesn’t matter where they’re at numerically. It matters where they are in your heart, and in your mind. So here are about fifteen books that I felt were true standouts of 2015. No order at all despite being numbered.

15. Shaun Hupp  – The Shaun Hupp Collection Volume 1. 51GL5H8xe1L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Short story collections are often hit or miss. You have writers that may have one or two good stories and then fill up the rest with whatever they had left on their hard drive. Not the case here. Shaun has talent and writes reality based horror that really sits in your head and festers. As a horror fan I love stuff that deals with people themselves as the monsters that we all fear. Hupp’s debut collection is one that grabs you by the throat and squeezes until you feel as if you’re going to pass out.

14. With Tooth And Claw – Jim Goforth

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Goforth isn’t like normal writers. He makes his own rules and writes stuff that reminds me of how awesome classic old school horror was. When I read Plebs it was hands down one of my favorite novels of 2014. When this was released I bought it immediately. It may be a short story collection but it also shows a writer that has grown quite a bit. For newer fans it gives you an opportunity to check out a writer who is taking the splatterpunk genre into the future.

13. The Mind Is A Razor Blade – Max Booth III

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The influences here are too many to name but if you like dark noir fiction, or ever wonder what Dark City would look like if David Lynch directed it you have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for. Booth just doesn’t write in one genre. He experiments in many and it all flows seamlessly. You have elements of bizarro and splatterpunk making out with science fiction, but it never bogs down the plot. If anything all of these different genres make the overall story that much better, and stronger.

12. Motherfucking Black Skull Of Death – Matthew Vaughn41f693AnirL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Not for the easily offended and one of the craziest novels I have read this year. Add one part splatterpunk, one part bizzaro and boom! I picked this knowing that people would balk at reading something like this, but if you choose not to read it you’re missing out on one hell of a book. Vaughn is a talented writer that knows how to blend all of the violence and insanity into one of the coolest novels of 2015.

11.  Hexad – Andrew Lennon, and Matt Hickman51iNYYlOqTL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Two writers each contributing stories? Sounds sketchy as fuck right? Not at all. These guys bring the horror and this collection is all about finding the balance and challenging the other writer to top what the other just wrote. It’s a great horror collection from two new horror authors. I realize that there are a few short story collections here, but trust me when I tell you that when you read them you’ll thank me later.

 

10. The Ancient Lawman – Ian David Noakeslawman.jpg

This is a classic novel that is a tribute to the classic slasher films of the 80’s. Well written and a blast to read. I love that sometimes horror gets this bad rap of being terribly written and derivative. Not the case here and Ian is a writer to keep your eyes peeled for. I think when you ask me why I like horror you’ll peek at this blog and you’ll have the answers you seek.

09. Aftertaste – Kyle M. Scott

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This is another writer that came into 2014 with a phenomenal debut. Aftertaste is exactly what horror fans crave in their novels. Kyle has writes like a man possessed. Is it dark? Check! Is it violent? Check! The point is that Kyle writes novels that use the violence to fuel the story and Aftertaste is all a part of a movement to make horror exciting again. If you’re a fan of dark violent horror then this is certainly one you shouldn’t miss.

08. A Head Full Of Ghosts – Paul Tremblayghosts.jpg

This is on everyone’s must read list for a reason. It takes everything you think about horror and throws it on its head. It’s hard to be original these days and Ghosts manages to be just that. It doesn’t make things easy and allows you draw your own conclusions. Are they right? You’ll just have to find out on your own.

07. Cine – Stuart Keane

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Picking just one Stuart Keane novel is hard because this guy just isn’t capable of writing a bad novel. Cine is my favorite for a handful of reasons. Cine shows that Keane has a knack for writing highly addictive fiction that has a meaning behind it. Every time I crack open one of his books I’m reminded of the late Richard Laymon. For horror fans who are looking for something different here you go. Keane is one of my favorite authors and there will probably be another book of his on this list. It’s my list after all.

06. Tables Without Chairs #1 – Brian Ellis, And  Bud Smith

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A bizarro novel about making shit up as you go along. There is no way to accurately describe this collection because it’s a variety shit thrown against the wall to see what sticks. If you’ve never read a bizarro novel this is a fine place to start.

05. Flashes Of Fiction: Halloween Special 2015: A Flash Fiction Collection

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This was a lot of fun to write for and I swear that I’m not picking this because I have a story in it. It breathes new life into the werewolf, zombie and vampire genre while keeping the stories short. All of the authors in here have done an amazing job and each story is original and proves that horror can fresh and exciting.

04. Kill For A Copy

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Dark Chapter Press has unleashed one hell of a debut that assembles a wealth of talent that proves that horror is still a force to be reckoned with. As a new publisher it’s important build a solid brand with talented writers and this does exactly that. While the press is still building a solid foundation with amazing titles this was the one that put them on the map.

03. Gillian’s Marsh – Michael Faun

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Michael Faun is a relatively new to most people but this is writer has already established himself with the indie scene. His debut with Riot Forge is impressive due to its originality. It takes history and blends in with horror, but never grows stale or boring.

02. Grin – Stuart Keane

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A tale of revenge and further proof that as a writer Keane continues to write solid novels that take horror to the next level. This is the kind of book that gets writers noticed. If you’re looking for classic horror this is one not to be missed.

01. Protection – Kyle Scott

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This was a surprising novel and one that Kyle didn’t think I’d like, but I did because it’s not the usual style that we’ve come to know. It’s a gripping and haunting novel that is based more on atmosphere than gore. Either way this is the best book that Kyle has written.

My Year In Review Or My Greatest Hits

For me to able to do this is pretty rad because for quite some time I haven’t been able to look back at an entire year and say; “This was a kick ass year!” The downside is that people will read this and get butt hurt because I have managed to have 365 days that didn’t suck. Sure, I got sick, and I’ve been through quite a few changes but I have to say that they were all for the better and it made the year that much better. I’m not one to toot my own but toot toot. I could have done this on Face book in a montage of selfies and useless knowledge about random shit but they don’t tell the entire story. I want people to read this blog and say; “Gloat much?” I can say in all fairness and honesty that I don’t. When I look back on the last few years I can tell you that there were moments that were great and I was awesome, but in the huge scheme of say 1 to awesome it wasn’t really all that awesome. I deserve a good year and god damn it I am going to gloat and toot my own horn because I can, and I haven’t been able to say that a year has been great in a very long time, This year I can say that it doesn’t suck to be me.

Right now I have my beautiful girlfriend next to me watching Firefly while I try and figure out how  to put this year in some kind of linear fashion that proves that this was a year worthy of a review. The mere fact that this woman loves me and lives with me is one of those things that makes me scratch my bald head a little. I am not the easiest person to live with yet she accepts me for the mess that I am. Moving in with her was one the best decisions I have ever made. She completes me which I know sounds cliched but it’s true. She keeps me focused on my writing and makes me feel less like a total fuck up. I think we all need someone like that. She puts things in perspective which I need because the ADD makes it hard to stay focused. I never thought that I would be in a relationship again and I sure as hell never thought that I’d want to spend the rest of my life with anyone but she’s someone that I see where I am and where  I want to be and I see her standing next to me.

This has been the year where I discovered that I actually am a damn good writer which is still surreal and bizarre. I have experimented with different genres and have discovered that I am capable of writing more than just stories that are filled with gore. As a writer I have finally grown comfortable to an extent and over the last year I have had stories published by J Ellington Ashton Press and even one of my favorite publishers Dynatox Ministries.

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To have a story in a book published by Jordan Krall is pretty fucking cool. This is an indie pub that specializes in limited edition chap books and they look amazing. It was cool to have a book published but to have other people include my work in their anthologies is just as rad. One of those anthologies has been published and there are more coming out soon. As a writer I’m at that point where I feel comfortable which does sound weird but I look at Legacy as my jumping off point. Who knows where I’ll end up next .

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I wrote that and what really surprised me is that other writers have read it and have liked it enough to give it some pretty solid reviews. Just having a book published was enough, but when writers actually thank you in their books for being an inspiration and cool it’s mind blowing. The one thing that I learned is that it’s important to never lose who you are. Yes, I have a book published but that doesn’t make me any better than any other writer struggling to get their shit out there. I was very lucky to have a book published and at the end of the day I wrote and indie novella that a few writers and people in the UK dig. My career is slowly building momentum and it’s humbling to know that people are buying my little novella. Getting published was a high point for me. Getting the sequel to Legacy done is the next goal that I’m working on achieving.

What I love is that my girlfriend is 100% supportive. She allows me to branch off into these other projects and not once does she complain. She loves me despite the ADD and the side projects and never complains, That is how you know you’ve got a good woman. She loves you despite your flaws and many many side projects. Not many women would put up with me, and I know how lucky I am. Even when I do shit like this

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She may just gives me an eye roll and a look that tells me I’ve truly lost my fucking mind.

I was able to accomplish a lot this year and my love of hair metal has really amused her to the point where I’ve become accustomed to that look that tells me I’ve truly lost my fucking mind. I did try and listen to newer music but it just wasn’t as awesome as the hair metal. I tried, I really did, but I did discover that I really like 30 Seconds To Mars. I also branched away from my normal diet of splatter punk and bizarro fiction and started reading the Harry Potter series because she fucking loves that shit and because I love her I wanted to see why she likes it so much. It’s that balance that I admire. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and it’s been a bit weird but a good weird.

I was also able to write reviews for a website called brutal books. I have read a lot of great books this year and I like the creative side, and I also like getting a chance to introduce books to other people. The hardest part is knowing what it takes to create a book so I tend to look at the story itself and not how many mistakes are in a story. Only an asshole does that. I want to read a book and get sucked in. A great story is all I want and through brutal I have been able to read some really good shit. Horror isn’t dead folks.

Here it is my year in review. I got a book published, met a hot nerd and fell in love, was offered a chance to review for brutabooks.com and because the authors liked my reviews they sent me advanced reading copies of their new books, I started Legacy 2 and was then asked to take part in Rejected For Content 2 and was accepted, I began work on L2 once again and then was offered a chance to sub for Autumn Burning: Dread Time For The Wicked Soul and my story  The Pumpkin man was included which I have to say was pretty fucking cool.

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I sent stories to Jordan Krall and have two stories in two of his anthologies that were given a limited release. Was offered a chance to sub a story in a very cool clown anthology and was accepted. Moved in with hot nerd and fell even more in love. Resumed work on L2 and even received threats that I should finish the book or else.  It was a great year and I cannot wait for 2015.