In Stefan’s House: A Weird Fiction Tribute to Stefan Grabinski is Here!

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This one has been in the works for a while! Now available from Dunhams Manor Press, In Stefan’s House: A Weird Fiction Tribute to Stefan Grabinski is one of the most personally signficiant anthologies I’ve ever been involved with. Why? Because of the man who inspired it.

Stefan Grabinski has often been called “the Polish Poe” and “the Polish Lovecraft,” and while those comparisons properly evoke the enormity of his talents and the level of renown he should have had, they don’t really do justice to how unique his work really was. Grabinski’s “psychofantasy” or “metafantasy” stories (as he liked to call them) were informed by his lifelong interest in mysticism, demonology, and the occult, as well as by his dueling emotions of awe and anxiety towards industrialization (manifested most notably in the author’s many depictions of thunderous, fuming, untamable steam engines). These are stories that are both folkloric and psychological, obsessive and inquisitive, erotic and surreal.

And yet, within his lifetime Grabinski achieved only modest success in his native Poland, and not much at all outside of it. He was summarily forgotten, for the most part, following his death in 1936. I can’t say I remember how I first heard about him, but I’m thankful that I did. He’s become one of my all-time favorite writers, easily among my top five. In recent years, there’s been a small but noticeable upswing in Grabinski appreciation. Though he remains somewhat obscure, his work has come to mean a lot to me over the years, so it’s energizing for me to see him slowly but surely receiving the acclaim he is long overdue.

It’s even more energizing to think I might get to play some small part in that process.

In Stefan’s House has been a labor of love a long time in the making. My story, “The Witch Engine,” is an attempt is to look at some of Grabinski’s major recurring themes through the lens of my own experiences as a child of the modern age. To Grabinski, locomotives were the vessels of the future. To me, they are relics of the past. With “The Witch Engine” I wanted to explore the tension that lies between those two perspectives. I hope I managed to do the idea at least a small measure of justice.

My fellow contributors for this anthology include such humblingly talented individuals as Brian Evenson, Steve Ransic Tem, Michael Faun, Christian Wiessner, C.M. Muller, and more. To preview the entire contributor list, and to buy yourself a copy, go to the Dunhams Manor Press webstore. Paperback editions are just $15. If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, though, a very limited edition hardcover version will soon be available for $45, featuring new cover art and original interior illustrations by artist Mutartis Boswell. Down below you’ll see a jaw-droppingly gorgeous piece that accompanies my story. If you want to see the rest, buy the book!

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Behold the Undead of Dracula is Now Available!

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Halloween is fast approaching. What better way to spend the coming weeks than delving deep into a macabre universe of classic movie monsters… with a twist? Lucky you, Behold the Undead of Dracula: Lurid Tales of Cinematic Gothic Horror is now available!

An affectionate tribute to the crumbling castles and lysergic psychedelia of ’60s and ’70s creature features, this new anthology from Muzzleland Press features the kind of bawdy, bloody tales that would make Peter Cushing, Roger Corman, and Mario Bava proud, but filtered through a modern lens. From straightforward homage to postmodern revisionism and self-aware metafiction, the stories in Behold the Undead of Dracula read like descriptions of lost Hammer Pictures productions that never existed, couldn’t have existed, should have existed.

My own contribution, “Diabolus in Musica,” is a riff on Dennis Wheatley’s devil-worship potboilers. It features a b-movie music composer who finds himself the victim of hellish visions and satanic machinations while trying to finish his latest film score. Check out the full table of contents down below for a taste of what the rest of my creepy compatriots have in store for readers.

Behold the Undead of Dracula: Lurid Tales of Cinematic Gothic Horror is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Muzzleland Press bookstore. Buy it so I don’t starve!

“Go to the Devil” by Matthew M. Bartlett

“Over the Violets There That Lie” by Gwendolyn Kiste

“George Strait and the Black Orchard Grimoire” by Mer Whinery

“Vengeance of the Blood Princess” by Dominique Lamssies

“Diabolus in Musica” by William Tea

“Taste of Fear in the Night (European Release Title: Curse of the Mountain Witches)” by Tom Breen

“You Should Smile More: The Blood Coven of Arkana” by Heather L. Levy

“Mina’s Castle” by Sean M. Thompson

“Cleaver Castle of Carnage Presents: The Coven Strikes Back” by Christa Carmen

“The Bloody Cask of Rasputin” by Thomas C. Mavroudis

“The Filthy Creation of Frankenstein” by Gemma Files

Con Report: Things I Did at (and After) NecronomiCon 2019

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H.P. Lovecraft’s birthday has come and gone again once again, and with it another trek to NecronomiCon Providence, a biannual convention for writers, readers, artists, and academics working in and around that tentacle-wrapped eldritch realm known as weird fiction.

This year I not only attended the con but also visited with some close friends who live in the area, and I took my mother with me for the purpose of treating her to a post-convention mini family vacation in New England. Altogether I was in Rhode Island for about a week, seeing the sights, eating delicious food, talking horror, blowing money on things I absolutely cannot afford, and just generally having a good time. I thought I’d share some of that with you now.

But first a note: Back when I went to NecronomiCon 2017, I wrote an exhaustive two-page write-up about the entire event. I’m pretty sure no one bothered to read it, and anyone who did was probably bored out of their mind. So for that reason, for NecronomiCon 2019 (and likely any literary cons I blog about in the future) I’m going to use the same format I used for my blissfully short StokerCon 2018 report.

Besides, let’s face it, my life sounds a lot more interesting as a series of out-of-context bullet points.

That said, here’s what I did at (and after) Necronomicon 2019:

I…

…picked up my contributor’s copy of Behold the Undead of Dracula: Lurid Tales of Cinematic Gothic Horror from Muzzleland Press.

…talked Zardoz, ethical cannibalism, and obscure leprechaun movies with Scott R Jones, Sonya Taaffe, and Teri Zin over steaming plates of spicy squid and pork belly at Mokban.

…got to meet (and hug!) Farah Rose Smith, who is not only one of my favorite writers working today but also one of my favorite human beings living today.

…bought a Deep One fetus in a jar from sculptor Joe Broers.

…shared burgers and milkshakes at the Haven Bros. Diner with Christopher Ropes and Barry Lee Dejasu.

…rambled on about my love for the novel F4 to its author, the incredibly talented and kind Larissa Glasser.

…paid my respects to Sam Gafford and Wilum H. Pugmire at a special memorial event.

…met Mississippi Bones frontman Jared Collins, who inflated my already swollen ego by telling me he liked my story “Reset” from Terror in 16-Bits.

…attended a surprise late-night event by Matthew M. Bartlett and Jon Padgett, where the pair took turns reading the entirety of their new collaborative novelette, The Latham-Fielding Liaison (available for preorder now from Nightscape Press).

…geeked out about Japanese mushroom-monster b-movies with kindred monster-kid Orrin Grey.

…took a tour of the Lizzie Borden murder house, which is now a combination museum and bed & breakfast.

…went comic book-hunting at a local indoor flea market (I found some nifty ol’ Atlas/Seaboard issues for hella cheap).

…stopped off in New Haven, Connecticut, to indulge by pizza obsession by eating the famous coal-fired “tomato pie” at the original Pepe’s Pizza location on Wooster Street.

…made a new friend:

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Behold the Undead Dracula Gets Its Own Soundtrack!

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Hey now, here’s something cool that doesn’t happen to a schmuck like me every day. Remember that upcoming anthology I recently posted about having a story in, the one kick-assedly titled Behold the Undead of Dracula: Lurid Tales of Cinematic Gothic Horror? Well, in keeping with its cinematic theme, the book is getting its own official soundtrack album, comprising an all-original score by Black Mountain Transmitter.

Below are the full details, as announced on the Muzzleland Press website. And because editor Jonathan Raab is straight-up one of the most fun people working in genre fiction today, he wrote it up as if “Behold the Undead of Dracula” were a real long-lost forgotten monster movie. Who knows? Maybe it is.

The dread count has risen from his grave and teamed up with a mad descendant of Baron Frankenstein to raise an army of ghouls augmented with the power of forbidden science!

Graphic, gothic, sensual, lurid, and banned in twelve countries, Behold the Undead of Dracula is an infamous, blood-drenched, and lurid forgotten classic of the gothic revival period. Overtly weird and violent, with cosmic horror elements fused into the classic vampire tale, it terrified and confused audiences during its early 1970s debut, only to be forgotten shortly after its release… until now.

The film’s official soundtrack has been discovered in a secret chamber of a cursed film studio vault deep within the dark woods of Northern Ireland, and is available now for the first time since its aborted vinyl release in 1974 (all copies having been destroyed in a fire that preceded the filmmakers’ grisly murder-suicide pact). The mad musician behind Black Mountain Transmitter will be handling distribution of the digital and physical copies!

Get your copy of the soundtrack FREE with your purchase of our new anthology, Behold the Undead of Dracula at NecronomiCon Providence August 23-25 (vendor/dealer’s room)! Limited to the first 100 copies sold. After the convention, the remainder of the initial run will be available on our storefront exclusively, and will include download codes!

A Cordial Invitation to The Phantasmagorical Promenade

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Well, this is a pleasant surprise! An anthology I contributed to which I thought had been delayed is now available!

The Phantasmagorical Promenade, from Planet X Publications, is a tribute to the classic ghost story and its many variations. From Victorian gothics and M.R. Jamesian chillers to surrealist weird tales and ambiguous psychological thrillers, The Phantasmagorical Promenade explores what it means to be haunted in every sense of the word.

My story, “Social Medium,” is an updated riff on an old urban legend. It’s about a young woman who sends a message to the social media profile of a deceased peer… and gets a response. (Cue spoopy music.)

The Phantasmagorical Promenade is now available in both paperbook and ebook. Full TOC below:

Table of Contents:

Ashley Dioses – Behind Dead Eyes, part one
John Paul Fitch – Ray
Jill Hand – Not a Ghost
Matthew St. Cyr – All Through the House
Roger Taylor – Chatterbox Chatterbox, We All Fall Down
Sarah Walker – Be Careful What You Wish For
Rob Martin – We’re All Haunted Houses
Zoltán Komor – The Ghost Molester
Justin Burnett – The Slave House
Can Wiggins – Haint
John Claude Smith – You Cannot Live Here Forever
Alessandra Bava – Star-Child
S.L. Edwards – Aurora
Sean M. Thompson – Avaunt
S.E. Casey – Gods Rushing Madly
James Fallweather – The Philip Experiment
Philip Fracassi – The Taker
Debra Robinson – G Is For Ghost Fever
Alan Sessler – A Bitter Pill
Mer Whinery – The Children of the Crow Hollow Skillet
Scott J. Couturier – Ten Cents a Bottle
Manuel Paul Arenas – Night Hag
Russell Smeaton – Purpose
Frank Coffman – The Forsaken
Farah Rose Smith – An Account Above Burnside Park
E.O. Daniels – War Over Walter
Duane Pesice – Ghost Tracks
Levi Dunn – Something Wicked in the Hills
William Tea – Social Medium
K.A. Opperman – A Ghostly Lily
Ashley Dioses – Behind Dead Eyes, part two

Cover/TOC Reveal: Behold the Undead of Dracula

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Few things thrill me more than getting to announce the publication of one of my stories in an upcoming anthology, except for maybe getting to announce the publication of one of my stories in an upcoming anthology… that has cover art by Trevor Henderson!

As if that wasn’t thrilling enough, the anthology in question just so happens to be a tribute to the colorful carnage of Roger Corman’s Poe pictures, the psychedelic psychosis of Mario Bava, and the grisly, gloomy gothicism of Hammer Film Productions.

Edited by Jonathan Raab and published by Muzzleland Press, Behold the Undead of Dracula: Lurid Tales of Cinematic Gothic Horror will debut at NecromiCon Providence 2019 in August. Paperback and ebook copies will be available online shortly thereafter. In the meantime, sink your fangs into the table of contents below:

“Go to the Devil” by Matthew M. Bartlett

“Over the Violets There That Lie” by Gwendolyn Kiste

“George Strait and the Black Orchard Grimoire” by Mer Whinery

“Vengeance of the Blood Princess” by Dominique Lamssies

“Diabolus in Musica” by William Tea

“Taste of Fear in the Night (European Release Title: Curse of the Mountain Witches)” by Tom Breen

“You Should Smile More: The Blood Coven of Arkana” by Heather L. Levy

“Mina’s Castle” by Sean M. Thompson

“Cleaver Castle of Carnage Presents: The Coven Strikes Back” by Christa Carmen

“The Bloody Cask of Rasputin” by Thomas C. Mavroudis

“The Filthy Creation of Frankenstein” by Gemma Files

Cover art by Trevor Henderson

Mannequin: Tales of Wood Made Flesh is Finally Here!

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Summer is almost upon us. The sun is shining and the temperature’s rising. If you’re a normal person, that means backyard cookouts, trips to the beach, and vacation plans. If you’re a shut-in like me, though, it means cranking up the AC and curling up with a couple dozen books. Luckily, there’s a brand new anthology out today that’ll make a perfect addition to that stack. And best of all, I’m in it.

The debut anthology from Silent Motorist Media, Mannequin: Tales of Wood Made Flesh is available now in both paperback and ebook formats. It features 16 stories about glassy eyes that should not see, wooden mouths that should not speak, porcelain bones that should not break, and plastic hearts that should not hate… but they do. They do.

My story, “Husks,” is about a man plagued by guilt over refusing to make amends with his estranged, now deceased father. Upon inheriting the family farm he becomes obsessed with making its soil flourish once again, even if doing so wreaks havoc on his marriage, his health, and his sanity. All the while, his efforts are overseen by a lone scarecrow, its burlap face blank but for a garish painted grin.

Check out the full contributor list below, then click on over to Amazon and order yourself a copy.

Ramsey Campbell
Michael Wehunt
Christine Morgan
Richard Gavin
Kristine Ong Muslim
Nicholas Day
William Tea (hey, that’s me!)
S.L. Edwards
Matthew M. Bartlett
S.E. Casey
Austin James
Jon Padgett
Duane Pesice
Daulton Dickey
Justin A. Burnett
C.P. Dunphey

Introduction by Christopher Slatsky