Darker Days

Darker Days tagline:
Now that you’ve warmed by the embers, submerse in darker days.

Where to read this book:

Crystal Lake Publishing

Blurbs:
“Wildly varied and always surprising, Darker Days is a fantastic collection of dark wonders. Cain is a gifted storyteller and a writer to watch.”  Jonathan Janz

“His prose is precise, his plotting and pace move seamlessly and quickly, and his stories are compelling.” — Gene O’Neill, The White Plague Chronicles

“A feast for the senses no matter your tastes!” — Rena Mason, Bram Stoker Award® winning author of The Evolutionist and East End Girls

Ranging from subtle horror to downright terror, from science fiction to weird fantasy, Cain demonstrates a breadth of styles that keeps you off balance as you move from one story to the next.” — JG Faherty, author of The Cure, Carnival of Fear, and The Burning Time

From reviews:
“Cain pulls it off with style.  His influences are apparent on every page.  When the mundane is combined with the supernatural, magic can happen, and Cain is a sorcerer.” — Signal Horizon

“Kenneth Cain has the ability to bring up hard topics without driving them into the ground or beating you over the head with them.” — SciFi & Scary

a great collection of tales that any fan of horror fiction would enjoy. There’s something in this book for everyone.” — HorrorAddicts.net

Kenneth W. Cain is an exceptional writer. His stories never fail to provide the chills and thrills you want from a horror anthology. Highly recommended.” — Goodreads review

 

Tales From The Lake Volume 5

Tales From The Lake Volume 5 tagline:
Where are the real horrors? Whether they be a family member returning from the dead, exploring the depths of depression or the deterioration of the mind, you’ll find them here.

Where to read this book:

Crystal Lake Publishing

Edited by Kenneth W. Cain

Blurbs:
“If you’re a short story reader, this is an absolute must-read. Volume five is even better than the four preceding volumes, which is a very hard bar to hit. Go buy this!” — John R. Little, author of The Memory Tree, Miranda, and Soul Mates

From reviews:
“…not a “look under the bed for monsters” volume, but one that has a pensive chill. The stories are like a tap on the shoulder; a reminder that good days end and that no one is protected from anguish.” – Hellnotes

“…an absolute triumph, a wonderfully inclusive celebration of the best that the Horror genre can produce, unhindered by the constraints of themes or specific topics. The individual stories within the collection are uniformly of a very high quality, and have been expertly brought together and edited by Kenneth W. Cain and Crystal Lake Publishing.” – Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews

“…edited by Kenneth Cain, one of the as yet unsung heroes of dark horror fiction–an author in his own right who deserves much more attention and spotlighting.” – The Haunted Reading Room

“…by far the best volume yet in the Tales from the Lake series!” – Amazon review

“Though the stories in Tales from the Lake Volume 5 are not themed in the traditional sense, they form a cohesive unit. Threads connect each to the others as if the authors had conspired to give the anthology its unique flavor.” — HorrorAddicts.net

“The most terrifying thing in the world is not a vampire or zombie, it is mankind and what we are capable of doing to each other. This collection from editor Kenneth W. Cain will eat at you for a long time. Horrifying, haunting, and unforgettable!” – Goodreads review

“I’ve been a fan of the Tales From The Lake anthology since the first volume and it’s amazing to see how much it has evolved over the years. Volume 5 is quite possibly the best yet.” – Goodreads review

“Kenneth W. Cain did an excellent job of weaving the stories together and they flow from one to another leaving the reader on a journey of terror and entertainment.” – Goodreads review

“…this one has some seriously fantastic offerings.” – A.E. Siraki

“Over the years I’ve read enough anthologies, short story collections and fiction magazines to refine my expectations for what comprises a premium horror story. So when I declare that I thoroughly enjoyed two-thirds of the fiction in TALES FROM THE LAKE VOLUME 5 – – that says a lot about the high quality of the contents.” – Pop Culture Podium

 

Embers

Embers tagline:
Where are the real horrors? Whether they be a family member returning from the dead, exploring the depths of depression or the deterioration of the mind, you’ll find them here.

Where to read this book:

Crystal Lake Publishing

Edited by Kenneth W. Cain

Blurbs:
“Not a squall, not a blizzard … It’s a pulp horror AVALANCHE!” — Mort Castle, Bram Stoker Award® winner

From reviews:
“I think I can safely say that this collection is one of my all-time favourites.” — Confessions of a reviewer

“Cain’s characters are anything but black and white. They are as multi-faceted as any real person you know. They are presented with difficult decisions and even worse situations, and they do the best that they can. Monster and man both are tested relentlessly, Cain never taking the easy way out. Some of the stories are predominately scary, some are predominately sad. All of them will evoke a range of emotions while you read and long after you’ve finished.” — Charnel House Reviews

“Prepare for the stretching of your mind and the expansion of your imagination as Kenneth W. Cain boldly goes into unexplored territory, sometimes speculative, other times horrific, but always enlightening.” — Mallory Heart Reviews

“Some of these tales take on a poe-esque quality, while others a more Lovecraftian tone, and then we find those that bestow upon us the moral musings of Rod Serling. Yeah, these stories are good!” — Horror Novel Reviews

“If you enjoy your horror with a touch of Lovecraft, I believe you’ll appreciate this body of work from Kenneth W. Cain more than you would otherwise.” — Cemetery Dance (Frank Michaels Errington)

“The market is flooded with short story collections and I sincerely hope that Cain’s Embers finds an audience as he has a strong voice and an obvious writing ability. A really good collection overall” — The Grim Reader

“Each story is connected by a little thread to the next one. Kenneth created a web of weird, sometimes gory, sometimes psychological and always scary threads.” — Banshee Irish Horror Blog

Embers is a collection that strolls into every corner of horror to gather bits before running them through the spin cycle, dial set to dread.” — Unnerving Magazine

“…from page 1 I enjoyed reading each and every word.” — Terror-Tree

“Books like Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark were always a fun read as a child right before bed. Cain’s Embers is like an adult version of those novels.” — The Horrific Network

“What makes his work scary is that he takes normal everyday situations with characters just like you and me and twists them into something horrific. These are tales that really could happen to anyone.” — S.J. Budd

“Overall, Embers is a well-constructed and put together collection of horror stories from Kenneth W. Cain that marks another quality release from Crystal Lake Publishing.” — A.E. Siraki

“I thought it was a great collection.” — Sci-Fi and Scary

 

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Robert Essig: The Genesis of People of the Ethereal Realm – Part Two

Rob pic 2

All stories have a genesis, a birthing into the world from writers’ minds, through their fingertips and into their computer (or onto paper for those who still write first drafts longhand).  In part one of this essay I wrote about how I came up with the idea for my novel People of the Ethereal Realm and a bit about the writing process.  If you haven’t done so already, you can read part one at Craig Saunders’ blog. I’ll be here waiting for you when you’re finished.

People of the Ethereal Realm was published as my second novel, however it was the first novel I’d written.  That’s not to say that I didn’t have opportunities for the book to be published before Post Mortem Press released it in July.  Bringing this book into the world began with several years of false alarms and disappointments that taught me a lot about the small press in the process.

So, after selling a number of short stories, I’d written my first novel, and I couldn’t have been more proud of myself.  I hit the Web and searched for viable publishers to send my manuscript.  This was before Post Mortem Press had opened for business, so they weren’t yet on my radar.  I’d sent the manuscript to a number of publishers, some of whom I had short stories published with, others with a sparkling clean reputation, and yet others I had little knowledge of.  The first thing I learned (something I should have learned from submitting short stories) was that research, particularly concerning unknown publishers, is a must.  I also learned to go with my gut, to listen to my heart. To ignore intuition is a fool’s game.

people of the ethereal realm cover

So I had several poles in the water and I got a bite from a publisher—whose name will remain concealed—that I had no prior experience with. They emailed a contract that could have been an offer on a new house it was so big. I read every word of it, mostly the same jargon typical of a publishing contract.  They offered a twenty-five dollar advance, and then later in the contract I was given the option to have my advance applied to the cost of the twenty books I was required to purchase at full price within a certain number of days after publication.

Let that sink in for a second.  How much is the average price for a trade paperback?  Somewhere around fifteen dollars give or take a buck.

I was shocked, so I ran a Google search (yep, should have done that first!), and found a great deal of bitching and complaining about this publisher.  They were a pay-to-play gig, and from what I read, they didn’t put much force behind their horror titles, as evidenced on their website where there were plenty of thriller and romance but no horror novels to be seen.  This is what I mean about following intuition.  That had struck me as strange from the get go.

Needless to say, I politely rejected the contract and waited for bites from the other poles I had in the great pond of small press publishing.

Soon enough another publisher emailed me with an acceptance letter, contract to follow.  The contract never showed up and they were unresponsive to my emails. As of this writing, they seemed to have fallen off the face of the planet. Dodged a bullet there, I suppose.

I was beginning to think that this book was destined for disaster.

Next I sent the manuscript to Twisted Library Press.  I’d had many a story published in their anthologies and even edited two of them (was taking submissions for a third anthology at the time).  I could see the signs on the wall, beginning with so many anthology submission calls that there would be no way for a publisher to possibly follow through with each one.  I also saw that there was what seemed like an equal number of novels to be published by an ever-growing list of imprints.  But still I submitted my novel when I should have taken a moment to realize what was very clear.

The book sat in limbo for a year.  The cover had been designed, it had gone through an editing process, and I had even started promoting it.  The contract expired and soon after Twisted Library Press became defunct.

So People of the Ethereal Realm was destined for disaster … or maybe not.

During the period of time that I had edited anthologies for Twisted Library, I discovered a brand new publisher: Post Mortem Press.  I sent Eric Beebe a story and it was published in their debut anthology Uncanny Allegories.  My novella “Cemetery Tour” was included in the PMP release The Road to Hell, as well as a few more shorts in other anthologies.

Having been with PMP from the beginning, I’d watched them grow. It was all the research I needed.  In Eric Beebe I found a trusting publisher and a man of determination and dedication.  I submitted my manuscript, and when I received the acceptance letter, I knew that People of the Ethereal Realm was finally destined for something good.

I learned a lot during the process of getting this book published, but I am no fool and realize that there is so much more to be learned in the strange and sometimes discouraging world of publishing.

On a final note, I would like to thank Ken Cain for being gracious enough to allow me the use of his blog.  I appreciate it, man!

Find more about Robert on his website: https://robertessig.blogspot.com or on Facebook.
Other books by Robert on Amazon.

Fresh Cut Tales

Fresh Cut Tales tagline:
Fans of classic TV series like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond, or any similar dark fiction or paranormal series will enjoy this collection of psychological speculative fiction where not everything is always what it seems.

Where to read this book:

Distressed Press

Blurbs:
“Solid combination from a writer to watch.” — Mort Castle, Bram Stoker Award winning author of New Moon on the Water

“Enthralling, eclectic collection of unputdownable speculative fiction.” — Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Black & Orange and Bottled Abyss

“Expect the unexpected in this macabre and thoroughly entertaining collection.” — Mike Davis, The Lovecraft Ezine

“Twisted tales that are guaranteed to keep you up at night.” — Michael McCarty, author of I Kissed a Ghoul

From reviews:
“I truly enjoyed this wonderful collection of dark fantasy/horror stories.  Each have their own unique storyline and the outcome is always surprising, and some will make you think.  I will be on the hunt for more from this author.” — The Holleman Household

“The author has a vivid imagination and some of his plots are quite good…” — Don D’Ammassa

“A solid collection for horror aficionados with plenty of variety.” — Trent Walters 

Post Mortem Press Featured Author – Lydia Peever


A QUICK LITTLE INTERVIEW WITH THE CURRENT POST MORTEM PRESS FEATURED AUTHOR – LYDIA PEEVER

Q: Tell us a little about your writing. What is your typical genre, your style, the voice you aim for and such.

A: I grew up in a moody little town reading a lot of dark fiction. That tends to dictate my personality today as well as how and what I write. As far as genre, I would like to say I write horror purely and simply, yet I do have a literary tone. As bad as I want to write a hot slasher that leaps off the page I get caught up in the bloody little details. The things that really make humans tick.

Q: What are some of the endeavors you have on the horizon, or have been participating in?

A: Lately, I have been planning a nice launch pad for short horror in a ‘zine format. ‘Single Tale’ will be a series of evil and horrific stories geared toward a very adult audience. Eventually, I also hope to publish a collection of my short horror under an anagram – because I adore anagrams – that has an audio book styled accompaniment. The prototypes of these projects are being tweaked. Over the winter of 2012 I will be doing a lot of planning with Hora Morior as well and hoping to bring a lot of others terrifyingly dark art out through them. Also, the sequel to Nightface. That is the biggest thing in my life right now. Bigger than eating food and getting proper sleep!

Q: Do you prefer longer or shorter fiction? And what do you think each provides for your writing?

A: Short fiction is a lot like a perfect dinner date. It starts, it’s nice, it’s over, you smile and go home. Everyone is happy and it is something nice to think about for a few days. Long fiction is… different. Long fiction is that distressingly hot crush. The toxic relationship that just can’t quit. It can go on for years and tear your mind apart. You love every other minute, but hate the next one. No matter how many short-fiction dinner-dates you go on, this is what is tattooed behind your eyes and thrumming within the beat of every song. I enjoy both and prefer to do them both on a regular basis. Sometimes on the same day.

Q: Let us know a little about your favorite character that you have created, and what makes them your favorite?

A: It is a toss up, really, but I would have to say Turner. Turner is a young man in my short story entitled ‘Thicker Than’ published by West Pigeon Press in the ‘For When The Veil Drops’ anthology. In some ways, he is a male version of me on a bad day even though he is based on someone I used to know. So dark, so sad, everyone can relate to that angst that leaves you nearly mute and a true ticking time bomb. I also like The Farmer in Nightface a lot since he does not really fit into any horror envelope neatly.

Q: What do you typically read and how do those authors help to define your own writing?

A: A tough question! I could list many authors and have people guess at who really influences me, but the truth is I am influenced by life. Non-fiction. The news. People I meet. That is the huge influence, and my own ‘extremely regular’ life. I read a lot so there is truly list of hundreds of authors that could be here but; Richard Laymon and Edward Lee to relax – a clense palate for reality as it were. Kathe Koja, Clive Barker, Chuck Palahniuk and Otsuichi may influence my style – but I did grow up on a steady diet of Stephen King novels and encyclopedias.

Q: What advice might you offer to other writers in their endeavors?

A: Find your groove, and the minute it gets slippery, slide into another one. Test yourself and write longhand. Nothing beats writing out tens of thousands of words with a pen on paper. Read your stuff aloud. Get lost in your words so you can see them from the inside, and how they really work. Then sell it.

Q: What things have you experienced as set backs and potential deal breakers? Also, what things have helped you to gain exposure, bring attention to your stories?

A: My family and friends from home have been a huge support, for sure. Associates at school and partners in business help as well, as I have had several careers in my short time. The musicians and artists I know are a constant boon and huge inspiration as well as those goth, kink, and fellow writer types I adore. Attending any horror-related event always helps and is a great way to blow off steam too. Setbacks? The only setback is not having as many hours in a day as I would like to just f’n write.

Q: Finish this sentence, “Lydia Peever is a…”

A: … typical girl.

Q: Anything else you would like to promote, say, or rant about?

A: I do horror-related work for Ottawa Horror and Hora Morior so please check them out. Also, I get a lot of support from Patron Saint of Plagues – phenomenal horror rock – designed their current website and helped produce a video for ‘Things Arn’t What They Seem’ [sic]. Along with other authors, I get a lot of inspiration from musicians, artists and photographers.

http://nightface.ca/
http://www.facebook.com/Nightface
http://typicallydia.com/
http://www.ottawahorror.com/
http://horamorior.com/
http://www.patronsaintofplagues.com/

Bio: 
Lydia Peever is a journalist and horror author living in Ottawa. With articles in some newspapers and magazines, she is currently working on the sequel to her violent vampire novel, Nightface.

With too many hobbies and diverse interests, you may find her researching genealogy in a dusty library, profiling artists for ottawahorror.com, or taking photos at a punk show. By day, she haunts trendy cafés, tends poison flowerbeds, and photographs roadkill.

 

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Post Mortem Press Featured Author – Brian Dobbins

A QUICK LITTLE INTERVIEW WITH THE CURRENT POST MORTEM PRESS FEATURED AUTHOR – BRIAN DOBBINS

Q: Tell us a little about your writing. What is your typical genre, your style, the voice you aim for and such.

A:  I tend to be genre challenged. At the moment I have two novels out. One is a western entitled Corryville. The other is a fantasy/adventure that sports the ambitious title Jasmine’s Tale: Darkness And Light, and involves a witch and her private detective husband, which in itself mixes genres. What both novels have in common are the elements that I consider essential to storytelling. Character development is probably top of the list; readers don’t care about characters that they can’t relate to. A story should be well-paced, which, for me, translates into fast-paced. Believability is crucial. No matter how fanciful the concept, the plot and motivations of the characters must make sense. I also like to sprinkle my stories with liberal dashes of historical references, so research is very important. Dialogue is also important… plus I love writing it.

Q: What are some of the endeavors you have on the horizon, or have been participating in?

A: Both novels have sequels in the works. Hopefully the sequels will have sequels, too.

Q: Do you prefer longer or shorter fiction? And what do you think each provides for your writing?

A: I’ll read anything from graphic novels (which I still occasionally refer to as comic books), magazine articles and poetry to short stories and novels.Some of those catagories, such as articles and short stories, often have set limits. A novel is a different kind of animal. I think a novel determines its own length. I can’t concentrate on writing a story if I’m preoccupied with a target word count that I want to hit. My books tend to be fast-paced and concise, simply by virtue of my writing style and what I like as a reader.

Q: Let us know a little about your favorite character that you have created, and what makes them your favorite?

A:  I’m not sure I can answer that. That’s a little like asking a parent which child they prefer. I like most of the characters I’ve created, for one reason or another. In Jasmine’s Tale, for instance, I really like Sam. He’s not always sure what’s going on, as he’s often pitted against powerful witches who can put the whammy on him. But he tries hard and usually gets the job done. On the other hand, McGowen, the antagonist in the story, serves as the perfect foil for Jasmine and her friends. The same dilemma presents itself in Corryville. I really like Wade Loveless and Moses White, the two determined and seasoned marshals, but Mike Kenney is a pretty fair villain. It’s really tough to pick favorites, so I usually don’t try.

Q: What do you typically read and how do those authors help to define your own writing?

A:  I just love to read. I grew up devouring sci-fi and spooky stuff, but I’ve spent the last few years kind of obsessed with both crime thrillers and westerns. Basically I’ll read just about anything. Except romance novels, and that’s all I have to say about that subject.

A lot of writers have influenced me…William Goldman, Robert B. Parker, Dashiell Hammett, H.G. Wells, Steven King and Larry McMurtry to name just a few.

Q: What advice might you offer to other writers in their endeavors? What things have you experienced as set backs and potential deal breakers? Also, what things have helped you to gain exposure, bring attention to your stories?

A: Write. Read. Don’t be afraid to put something on paper just because you don’t think someone won’t like it. Know your subject matter. If you don’t know it, research it. Readers of genre fiction, in particular, know their stuff, so you’d better know it, too. Remember to show your characters’ motivations for their actions. A story has to make sense, even when it doesn’t.

Exposure is a constant battle. Publishing has been changing dramatically for the last few years, so promotional options have as well. The internet is now probably the best tool going for the little-known writer, but traditional efforts like book signings, trade shows, and footwork still have their place. A book is a product. Sell it.

Q: Finish this sentence, “Brian Dobbins is a…”

A: … guy who doesn’t know how to describe himself.

Q: Anything else you would like to promote, say, or rant about?

A: Buy my books. Baby needs a new pair of shoes.

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