Friday, May 21, 2010

A little news from an idiot

Been a busy bee so I’ve slacked off on the blog because other things have taken precedence—mostly regular work. And the little bit of reading and writing I can squeeze in lately.

Recently read:

Erik William’s “Blood Spring” which was a cool little novella from Bad Moon Books, though I wish it would have been a little longer because I really liked the sheriff and wished I’d learned a little more about the bad guys. There is a lot of potential here and I think Erik is definitely a writer you should watch.

Sam W. Anderson’s “Postcards from Purgatory” was an excellent collection of 16 stories from the creepingly subtle to the downright wild. A stunning mix of horror. I hope he writes a novel.

Recent purchases:
I picked up two awesome books from Gauntlet. A signed limited Ray Bradbury novella (with lots of extra goodies) called “Somewhere a Band is Playing.” As well as signed limited Jack Ketchum: “Only Child (Stranglehold)” which is beautiful and I’m looking forward to because I haven’t read any Bradbury or Ketchum in a while and they’re two of my favorites.

My buddy who promised me a million dollars when he’s rich, the sexy beast Ben Eads, has a story called “Stray” coming out in Shroud issue 11. It’s a fine tale. A disturbing monstrosity. Pick it up.

And the great magazine Shock Totem has their second issue coming out soon. I’m sure it’s going to be as great as the first issue. Maybe even better! Visit Ken Wood’s blog to see the cover here: Sexy.

I had some good news lately in that I heard my story “Daddy Screamed With Us” was recommended for a Stoker-award in the short fiction category. Woot! Totally unexpected, but very much pleased. It was also the #3 bestseller in Digital on Horror Mall for the month of April. Pretty cool. Thanks to everyone who bought a copy!

My story “Crawl” is live on the great podcast Pseudopod. Alasdair did a fantastic intro and outro. And Dave Thompson did an excellent job reading it. Give it a listen and if you’re a long time fan of Pseudopod and haven’t thrown money in their tip jar, feel free to. They’d love it. Hell, they deserve it.

My story “At Least the Dead” is also live at Dark Recesses. I’ve had some people say some great things about it. I was surprised there too, because to be honest, it’s a weird effing story. But thanks to all who have taken time from their busy lives and shared it with me. You rock!

I’m going to have an upcoming interview with Sam W. Anderson soon. Like I said, his collection is outstanding. He’s also a pretty funny guy and he’s going to make you spit milk out your nose. And if you haven’t read my previous post—an interview with Steve Clark, the god of Tasmaniac Publications —you should. Because Steve is one cool cat.

I hope everyone is getting some sunshine and smiling. Be good to yourselves!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Interview: Steve Clark/Tasmaniac Publications

***Steve Clark is an awesome dude—witty, and funny, and kind—as well as a great publisher. Tasmaniac’s limited edition novellas are beautiful and the stories gripping. I first stumbled onto them when Steve released Tom Piccirilli’s The Nobody and Mr. Clark hooked me up with a special deal (I know, I’m lucky.) Since then we’ve exchanged a lot of emails and I signed up to receive #12 of each book he puts together. They are a steal and some of my favorites to curl up with.

LT: When did you realize you wanted to publish some of the best authors in the business?

SC: I’d been wondering what it would be like to be a small press publisher ever since I started collecting small press titles some ten years ago, thinking it must be a wonderful endeavor to commission a piece from an author you admire, have it illustrated, bound and released to the public in the hope that they appreciate their talent too. The beginning of 2007 became a turning point, when I realized the only thing stopping me living out this dream was myself. Life’s too short to dwell and ponder so I went for it!

LT: What was your first title?

That would be Paul Kane’s THE LAZARUS CONDITION. A very different take on the zombie theme that was unlike anything I’d read before. I was asked to review Paul’s SIGNS OF LIFE, a year before Tasmaniac was established, and loved it. I was also a sub-editor on DARK ANIMUS issue 10/11 and pushed for Paul to offer a story, he came back with DIG THIS, and the rest is history.

THE LAZARUS CONDITION was such a special project. Wonderful illustrations from Dion Hammill with an introduction from US director Mick Garris (The Stand, The Shining). Paul also wrote the bonus short story, DEAD TIME, which later became adapted by Steve (30 Days of Night) Niles as NEW YEAR’S DAY, an episode for the US series FEAR ITSELF. With blurbs from Simon Clark, Tim Lebbon and Christopher Golden I just couldn’t of asked for a better launch.

LT: How long have you been involved in this nitty gritty biz?

SC: Woops! Kinda answered this in question one but yeah, 2007 was when I put my serious head on and pulled my finger out.

LT: What titles/authors can we look forward to in the future?

SC: What? And give away all the surprises in one hit! 
Next up is Tom Piccirilli’s THE LAST DEEP BREATH, our second Pic release following THE NOBODY. If you like fiction to grab a hold of you and threaten a swift kick to the gut then give this man a try, his noirellas take some beating.

We have our second FESTIVE FEAR anthology due out Christmas along withBrett McBean’s CONCRETE JUNGLE – the first of three novellas based on Brett’s Jungle mythos. There are going to be a couple of guest writers (one established, one new blood) offering their own take on this apocalyptic vision with each release. I’ve recently seen the cover from Steve Crisp (renowned for his UK Headline / Laymon series) and it’s excellent. Steve will be doing all three covers with Keith Minnion providing all the internal illustrations.
Next year will see our first all-hard cover release, BONE MARROW STEW by Tim Curran. A massive collection of Tim’s work heavily illustrated throughout by Keith Minnion. Beyond that my lips are sealed!

LT: Who’d win in a fight- You or Chuck Norris?

SC: The Good Guys Wear Black Norris would kick my ass quite easily thank you. The Walker, Texas Ranger Norris would also kick my ass with those terrible one-liners.

LT: Why did you specialize in novellas?

SC: Simply put, I personally enjoy reading them. Kinda nice to take a break, stretch out and read a substantial story in one sitting. I think for as long as Tasmaniac is around novellas will always be our main focus, but that isn’t to say there won’t be a different kind of project thrown into the mix from time to time.

LT: What interest do you have outside the publishing world?

SC: No prizes for guessing reading is high on the list! Always seem to have a book close at hand. Used to have a hobby farm and enjoyed breeding pigs (Large Whites) but my wife and I sold that property and bought a general store & post office, which pretty much takes up our time. My bulldog, Bubba, is getting on in years now and I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my constant companion. I enjoy watching cricket and the occasional box set on DVD. I also enjoy putting a smile on my wife’s face.

LT: What do you think of the growing digital formats? Will you incorporate any more e-packages like the great Simon Clark bundle you offer now (I bought and read it, and it’s a steal at 99 cents)

SC: Digital is here to stay, offering the publisher a cheaper option to distribute titles, whether they are novels, novellas or short stories. It also makes the decision easier for a publisher to give new authors some exposure, which is good for the genre. The Simon Clark e-package, THE CALLING & OTHER WRAITHS, was released in 2008 (before the digital hoopla boom) and was an exciting project for the author and myself. Incorporating the story, THE CALLING, being an accompanying piece to the novella, STONE COLD CALLING, a non- fiction piece where Simon offered writing tips to the budding scribe in us all and a short video shot by Simon, it was a fresh extension to the novella release.

Having said that I have no desire to release titles through the digital format. Better publishers than myself are doing it, and to be honest I don’t enjoy the experience. I much prefer a physical page to turn; as it stands I spend too many hours in front of the computer screen. A book in my hand equates to leisure time and is a million miles from anything work related.

LT: Real quick: Three favorite horror movies?

SC: Jaws - will always be my number one choice. Parents took me to the cinema to see this when I was seven and I’ve never been that scared since. I can watch it again and again.

Session 9 – because the last line freaked me out!

Angel Heart – great book, Mickey Rourke was at the top of his game, Robert De Niro, Courtney Pine on the soundtrack. Just perfect.

LT: What three books have moved you the most?

SC: Will There Really be a Morning? - Frances Farmer (autobiography)

Factotum – Charles Bukowski

Tooth Fairy – Graham Joyce

Touch Tasmaniac links: Killer Novellas at Tasmaniac

LT: Thanks a bunch for giving us your time, Steve!

SC: My pleasure Lee! Currently reading your novel NURSERY RHYMES 4 DEAD CHILDREN and it’s a wonderful page-turner. Keep it up!

LT: Hey, you’re not supposed to give me a shout out. LOL. Thanks again. You rock, man!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A big thank you...

*** Over the last couple years I have met so many people that have enriched my time here in this little pocket of my world, both in the fiction area and even more importantly, in life. Some are encourager's, others rain down sunshine, some push you, some lift you up. So, thanks to all these people for making my life better, some are old friends, and some are new, but most of all, they're all true...

From Editred: Shaun Jeffrey, Wanda Clevenger, Wendy Benton Parker, John, and Teri.

From Zoetrope: Shaun Ryan, Kevin Wallis, Linda Evans, Linda Manning, Sue Babcock, John Miller, AJ Brown, Steve Lowe, Bogey, Michael Louis Dixon, Boyd Harris, R.J. Cavender, Erik Williams, John Mantooth, Sam W. Anderson, Michael Pennington, Rick Taubold, Scott Gamboe, and Shanna Wynne.

From other places: Ben Eads, Grace Patri, Steve Clark, James Beach, Ken Wood, Kara McElhinny, Mercedes Yardley, Claire Nixon, David North-Martino, R. Thomas Riley, Shane Ryan Staley, Tom Piccirilli, Mark Allan Gunnells, Kaelen Patrick Burke, Bec Zugor, the CafeDoom team, Catherine Edmunds, Jason Sizemore, Maggie Jamison, Jassen Bailey, Greg Hall, Jezzy Wolfe, and Kristen Finley.

And those who've known me forever: My mom and dad, Dale and Corrie, my little brother, my dead bestfriend-Jeremy, and my best alive friend-Greg.

That is all. Count how many people add some depth to your life. I bet it's more than you expected.