Books

Books

Thu
23
Jun

A Dark Lushness Reverberates Through Denver Grenell's The Burning Boy And Other Stories

"My devil had been long caged, he came out roaring." --Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Fri
29
Apr

Jack Harding's The Devil's Mountain Rife With Trepidation, Atmosphere And Mood

During the 1980’s a wave of hyper-explicit genre fiction emerged, dubbed ‘splatterpunk’ by the horror press, that focused less on classical story spookiness than visceral expressions of extreme violence. Led by a vanguard of young, hip writers like Clive Barker, David J. Schow, Craig Spector and John Skipp, Richard Laymon and, later, Poppy. Z Brite, the loosely-defined movement instigated a polarizing split among the practitioners of literary terror. Some critical authors, most vocally notable being the late Charles Grant, lambasted the new gory aesthetic and advocated a return to more traditional forms of written fear in the vein of Shirley Jackson, Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury, with their focus on atmosphere, mood, setting and character rather than imitative cinema slasher-style butchery.

Thu
28
Apr

A Guide to Writing a Children's Book

Childrens Books

Anyone out there has the potential to write a children’s book and with a little bit of advice and guidance, it can be a good one that is enjoyed by thousands of children. The steps involved in ensuring a children’s book is a success are listed below.

Find the best idea

Most writers of children’s books start off with an idea already in mind, although it often needs refining in order to make it a success. Do this by doing some research online and reading other children’s books that cover similar themes. However, it is important to make sure that it is different enough that it will attract people to pick it up and read it. One way of doing this is by including a plot twist or something that the reader would not necessarily expect to happen.

Develop the main characters

Sun
17
Apr

Terror Is A Vacation Destination In DarkLit Press' Beach Bodies Anthology

In ancient times, the concept of what we call a vacation--those rejuvenating get-away-from-it-all excursions to exotic locales--existed solely for the upper echelons of society. The equivalent of upper-middle-class Roman elites popularized the notion of visiting far-flung areas of their Mediterranean empire for relaxation, and during the late Middle Ages and into the Renaissance the nobility retreated to faraway countryside estates for extended leisure stays. Only in the nineteenth century, however, with the ascendancy of the true, widespread middle class and fostered by new and easier modes of transportation--railroads, steamboats, stagecoaches, the horseless carriage--did vacationing become available to the masses. In America, Florida, then California, established the first resorts to attract mass-tourism, and by the 1890’s, company-abetted vacations became the norm, allowing those early Clark Griswolds to indulge their adventurous spirits.

Tue
08
Mar

Horror Books A Vacation In DarkLit Press's Slice Of Paradise

Ahhhh, a vacation. To get away from the crushing rat race of the workaday world, to trade the million-and-one soul-corroding frustrations of modern life for exotic shores, white sandy beaches, blue skies, surf, sun, good food and plenty of umbrella-accented cocktails. To bask on your lounge chair, relax, and let your troubles slip away, steadfast in the knowledge that the ravenous horde of brain-hungry undead devouring the other beach combers will never get to you.

Wait, what? A zombie apocalypse on this beautiful tropical isle wasn't highlighted in the brochure at the travel agency. Is it too late to consider a refund?

Wed
05
Jan

Better You Believe a Vital Top Tier of Independent Horror

Better You Believe

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

                                        --H.P. Lovecraft

 

Horror stories, it has been contended, were likely the first types of tales created and told by humans. For primitive, cave-dwelling bands isolated in an unknowable, hostile world not of their making, surrounded daily by pain and terror and death, recounting ghastly events--both real and elaborately imagined--served to process their harsh surroundings in a way that not only entertained, but educated.

Do not venture into the valley over the next ridge, one aged Neanderthal says to the disbelieving youths of his tribe. If you do, you shall never return.

Tue
07
Sep

Who's Who in the DC Universe? A Whole Ominibus of Characters!

Who's Who in the DC Universe (Volume 1)

This may come as something of a shock to readers who have entered the world of DC Comics within the past 20 years, but there are actually more characters in that universe than just the ones appearing in the BATMAN comics. So many, in fact, that at one point in the mid-1980s, DC saw fit to publish a monthly index of each character in alphabetical order. Who's Who in the DC Universe ran for twenty-four issues to run through the DC pantheon from A to Z... and even then, it wasn't complete, because new characters were continually added, origins were being tweaked, universes were collapsing, and -- you get the idea. So update volumes were published, including an innovative production method of printing the pages on 3-hole looseleaf for collecting in two different 3-ring binders (with covers by George Perez and Brian Bolland, and I'm glad to actually possess both of them). 

Yeah, there was a lot to keep up with.

Sat
28
Aug

Batman Earth One Volume 3 Continues Saga of More Grounded Batman Becoming Less So

Batman Earth One Volume 3

The BATMAN: EARTH ONE graphic novels from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank represent a fresh take on the characters -- the heroes and villains -- of the Batman mythos and give them something of a more "real world" foundation. The crimes are more gruesome, the villains more demented, but to date the only presence of any real super-normal capabilities have been exhibited by Croc -- who in this telling becomes an ally of Batman instead of an enemy. Alfred is the butler, but only as a cover of necessity, having been a former merenary in debt to Thomas Wayne and saddled with young Bruce upon the death of his parents.

Thu
22
Jul

War Comes to Earth in Brooklyn Dean's 'Grieving the Spirit'

Grieving the Spirit

'For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.' — 2 John 7 (King James Bible)

 

From Roman Emperor Nero, infamous for his persecution of early Christians, to notorious English occultist Aleister Crowley and '90's shock-rock media-martyr Marilyn Manson, many throughout history have been labeled, for one reason or other, by one group or other, as the Antichrist. Even American president Ronald Wilson Reagan (accused, according to urban legend, of being In League With Satan due to having his first, middle and last names each consist of six letters) was believed by some to be an avatar of The Evil One, just as The Omen films built an unholy franchise upon Damien's slight shoulders.

Fri
02
Jul

Captain America: The First 80 years

Captain America First 80 Years

2021 marks the 80th birthday of Marvel's patriotic Avenger, Captain America. The brainchild of comic legends Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, he almost became known as Super-American, until Simon nixed it in favor of what has now become a household name, due in no small part to the string of successful movies produced by Marvel Comics.

Captain America: The First 80 Years is a by-the-decade retrospective of the hero's journey, detailing his origins, his evolution and adaptation to the threats of each decade, and his retroactive continuity changes that turned him into a beloved comic book hero. The crew at Titan have gone out of their way to not only tell the story of Captain America, they've nestled it in the story of the comic book industry and American 20th century history as well, so that a full and appreciable context exists.

Fri
14
May

IDW's New Coloring Book Not Just For The Birds

Smithsonian Birds

Coloring books for grownups has been a growing trend over the last handful of years, providing a therapeutic stress relief while offering up complex, highly detailed works of art just waiting to be filled with tones of one's own choosing. The subject matter ranges from animals to celebrities to kaleidoscopic designs.

IDW's latest contribution to this genre takes things up a notch, however, with this 80-page collection on heavy gauge paper. Birds: A Smithsonian Coloring Book is not merely a coloring book, but a fact-filled guide to the species. Each project is a two-page spread, with the bird to be colored on the right while the left page is devoted to a framed set of facts, figures, and trivia about the specific breed. As such, this isn't the kind of book where you'd be inclined to tear a page out upon completion to pin up on your refrigerator.

Wed
10
Mar

Cirsova Publishing to Reprint Nearly-Lost Julian Hawthorne Planetary Romance, The Cosmic Courtship

Cosmic Courtship

LITTLE ROCK, AR—Cirsova Publishing is proud to announce that it has partnered with Michael Tierney and Robert Allen Lupton to restore and reprint Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship [https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cirsova/the-cosmic-courtship-by-jul..., a never-before-collected pulp Planetary Romance by the son of famed American author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Mary Faust, a brilliant scientist, has developed a machine that can allow the conscious human soul to explore the cosmos! Her promising young assistant Miriam Mayne has accidentally transferred her consciousness Saturn, where she falls under the enchantment of an evil sorcerer! Jack Paladin, her love, sets out after her on a thrilling celestial journey to the ringed planet! Swashbuckling adventure and high romance await in Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship!

Tue
16
Feb

Johnny Boo and the Silly Blizzard: A Big Book for Little Readers

Johnny Boo and the Silly Blizzard

When Johnny Boo and Squiggle wake up in their hollow tree, they are greeted to a world that has been covered in snow overnight. It looks to Squiggle like the whole world's been covered in ice cream, so they get spoons to dig in. Competition soon arrives in the form of Ice Cream Monster, who tries to eat all the snow -- or "nothing-flavored ice cream" -- so there won't be any left.

But eating snow -- and being out in it for a long time -- leads to being really cold. And when more snow begins to fall, bringing a blizzard on our friends, Johnny's solution is to find his box of mittens so everyone has them to wear. But Squiggle and Ice Cream Monster disappear in all the snowfall and Johnny has to find them.

Tue
16
Feb

Dean's Deification a Thought-Provoking, Transgressive Masterwork

Deification by Brooklynn Dean

'Dies iræ! Dies illa; Solvet sæclum in favilla'

   'The day of wrath, that day; will dissolve the world in ashes'

  --Opening lines to Dies Irae (Day of Wrath), thirteenth-century Latin hymn

Our idea of the apocalypse, that period of final judgment when humanity's misdeeds are held to accountability and nations crumbles beneath worldwide cataclysms, has long cast a dark thrall on the collective unconscious, and from the fifth-century B.C. writings of Persian prophet Zoroaster to the ravenous civilization-devouring zombies of George Romero's seminal Living Dead films, the dire interpretations involving the time when time itself ends fascinates us. 

Wed
04
Nov

Put This One On Your Sith List - Star Wars: Book of Lists

Star Wars Book of Lists

When I was a middle schooler in the late 70s and early 80s, there were two books that would publish new editions which were required reading (three for me, if you count the Overstreet Price Guide to Comic Books): The GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS and THE BOOK OF LISTS. Both were filled with intriguing facts and figures that could keep me engaged for many an afternoon.

The STAR WARS BOOK OF LISTS tries to capture that same attention in a very handsomely bound hardcover with gold leaf imprinted on the cover. If you're a Star Wars fan, you'll pick this up immediately. However, you may also get disappointed quickly at what qualifies as 'trivia' in this compendium. For instance, "Caped Crusaders: Characters Who Rock Capes and Cloaks," which is immediately followed by "It's A Deal: Negotiations and Deals Made for Parts, Droids, and Information," are, kindly put, uninteresting. It screams out "I have to find 100 different lists to make from a finite set of films!"

Sat
31
Oct

The Flash 100 Greatest Moments Best 80th Anniversary Celebration of the Character

Flash 100 Greatest Moments

Of my forty-five plus years of reading comic books, my list of favorite characters has never really grown beyond two. The first to make my list was Batman. I've always told myself it was because he was just a normal guy who proved you could do anything with the proper training, mindset, and a billion dollars laying around, but truthfully it was because the television show kept me glued on my little four-year-old butt every time it came on.

The second was The Flash. The iconic yet simple costume, the thinking that went into the multiple applications of what was essentially a single super ability, and the Flash Facts that instilled a curiosity for science.

Robert Greenberger once again takes on the unenviable task of distilling eight decades of adventures into a concentrated list of 100 greatest memories, a task made even more daunting when taking into consideration the fact that there have been a handful of people to wear the mantle of the scarlet speedster.

Fri
16
Oct

Monsters Run in Mary's Family: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter

Mary: Advs of Mary Shelley's GGGGG-Gdaughter

Sixteen year old Mary Shelley carries a 197-year-old burden. She's the great, great, great, great, GREAT granddaughter of the original Mary Shelley -- you know, the lady who invented the science fiction genre with her story about a doctor who revives the dead? Right, that Mary Shelley, and that book. And ever since that fateful publication, the Shelley lineage has been populated with authors, including modern Mary's grandmother (recipes) and her mother, Tawny, who writes a mega-successful mystery series about a crime-solving sleuth, also named Tawny.

Mary is the one next in line, with the expectations that she, also, will find her voice and take up the pen. But there's a problem with that.

She doesn't want to. In fact, she doesn't know what it is exactly that she wants to do, but she knows it isn't that.

Fri
02
Oct

Up to the Hilt: The Lightsaber Collection Provides Detailed Look for Star Wars Fans

Star Wars Lightsaber Collection

Even the casual fans of Star Wars can tell you that the lightsaber is a deeply personal weapon to the one who wields it. Unlike a blaster, the lightsaber is not some mass-produced weapon made in a factory, with identically interchangeable parts. No, the lightsaber is crafted by hand by the Jedi or Sith who will take it into battle, making it an extension of themselves. "This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or random as a blaster. An elegant weapon for a more civilized age," as Obi-Wan put it to Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars film. And, really, that whole "random as a blaster" comment pretty much sums up why the stormtroopers could never hit anything they shot at.

Sun
27
Sep

Talking Craft with NYT Bestselling Graphic Novelist Kazu Kabuishi

Amulet Kazu Kabuishi

Between FLIGHT, COPPER, paperback cover illustrations of the Harry Potter books, and eight volumes of the best-selling graphic novel AMULET (with a ninth in the works), writer/artist Kazu Kibuishi is a role model for not excepting or expecting anything but success. His canny understanding of storytelling, as well as of where the market swings are in comic book culture, have made him an expert in the artform, capable of speaking on subjects from the most esoteric anime to your run-of-the-mill superhero arc.

Critical Blast is joined by UNSTITCHED creator Justin Dutton to spend an hour with Kibuishi discussing these aspects of the graphic novel industry, and what traits make for stories that stand the test of time -- and remain evergreen sellers in bookstores. Check the video below for all the details.

Fri
31
Jul

Bill Willingham Reaffirms $10K Embezzlement Claims Against HMH's Stephanie Cooke

Stephanie Cooke Bill Willingham Embezzlement

In the hotly anticipated second installment of Bleeding Fool's exposure of the Women In Comics Facebook group, colloquially referred to as the "Whisper Network" came surprise allegations from FABLES creator Bill Willingham against Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's Stephanie Cooke of embezzlement "in excess of ten thousand dollars."

The claim dates back to 2015 and references the period when Cooke was Willingham's assistant. Willingham reconfirmed that this is still an open case, hampered by the fact that Cooke had since moved back to Canada.

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