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GregorXane

Gregor Xane

I prefer science fiction, fantasy, and horror without the spaceships, dragons, and zombies.

Cover Reveal: TABOOGASM!

Summer 2016

 

Reblogging this for those interested parties who may have missed this post yesterday. You can still grab this at the below-advertised price at both the Amazon US & Amazon UK sites.

The Hanover Block for 99¢ - Kindle Countdown Deal

Reblogged from Gregor Xane:

The Hanover Block is available now (and for another 24 hours or so) for only 99¢ (down from the regular digital list price of $3.99).

 

If you've been wondering what the hell that thing on the cover is, now might be the time to find out.

 

What it's about:

 

Living in the long shadow of a tragic accident, Marion struggles through his solitary suburban life. He's resigned himself to a static existence, to living and dying in a world where every house looks exactly the same. Then he notices changes in his neighborhood. Tool sheds and playhouses are cropping up all over, hastily constructed and set at odd angles. The nutjob down the road builds an outhouse in the middle of his front yard, and the guy right next door is erecting two geodesic climbing domes, one nested inside the other.

People are doing strange things on their lawns.

 

Click to read a sample

(Click the cover to read a sample.)

 

Grab The Hanover Block at the Amazon US site for only $0.99!

 

Snag The Hanover Block at the Amazon UK site for just £0.99!

 

 

The Hanover Block for 99¢ - Kindle Countdown Deal

The Hanover Block is available now (and for another 24 hours or so) for only 99¢ (down from the regular digital list price of $3.99).

 

If you've been wondering what the hell that thing on the cover is, now might be the time to find out.

 

What it's about:

 

Living in the long shadow of a tragic accident, Marion struggles through his solitary suburban life. He's resigned himself to a static existence, to living and dying in a world where every house looks exactly the same. Then he notices changes in his neighborhood. Tool sheds and playhouses are cropping up all over, hastily constructed and set at odd angles. The nutjob down the road builds an outhouse in the middle of his front yard, and the guy right next door is erecting two geodesic climbing domes, one nested inside the other.

People are doing strange things on their lawns.

 

Click to read a sample

(Click the cover to read a sample.)

 

Grab The Hanover Block at the Amazon US site for only $0.99!

 

Snag The Hanover Block at the Amazon UK site for just £0.99!

 

 

My next book is dedicated, in part, to the man playing piano in this video.

March Reading Wrap-Up & Book-of-the-Month Selection

I only finished reading three books in March. Pretty lame.

 

Here's what I got through:

 

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, by Stephen King - The publisher did this collection a disservice by marketing this has a horror collection. It's not. You'll likely enjoy what's inside if you know going in that it's a mixed bag of story stuff. My favorites were "Ur" and "Herman Wouk Is Still Alive."

 

 

Fig, by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz - The writing in this book was excellent, engaging, layered and enviable for the first 75% of its length. Then it dipped down to just being okay for the last 25%. I'd still recommend it to those not turned off by a harrowing tale of a young girl growing up with a schizophrenic mother.

 

 

Bloodeye, by Craig Saunders - Another fine novella from Mr. Saunders. Again, I was impressed with the stripped-down, poetic prose. This one also had some very cool concepts and wicked imagery.

 

 

My March pick for Book-of-the-Month? I'm going to have to go with Bloodeye for the tight writing, vivid visuals, and the story that performed from beginning to end.

 

 

 

February Reading Wrap-Up & Book-of-the-Month Selection

Hey, here's what I read in February, folks:

The Thicket, by Joe R. Lansdale - I listened to the audiobook edition of this novel and loved every minute of it. This book seemed custom built for my enjoyment and instantly achieved 'all-time favorites' status.

 

 

The Chemickal Marriage, by Gordon Dahlquist - This is the third and final book in a series that started with the fantastic The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. Was it, too, fantastic? No. But it was a hell of a lot better than the structurally flawed second book in the series, The Dark Volume. For those who like steampunk, I highly recommend The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. It can be read as a standalone, too, if anything I've written here has put you off.

 

 

Sunglasses After Dark, by Nancy A. Collins - I've had this book waiting in the wings for a while now, and when I saw that someone had declared February Women in Horror Month, I decided to give this one a go. And it was pretty damn good. This has to be one of the primordial works of the wildly popular Urban Fantasy genre (kick-ass female characters beating the shit out of supernatural creatures). I looked it up, and it predates Laurel K. Hamilton's Guilty Pleasures by about four years. Sunglasses After Dark is a much better book. It is heavier on the horror than Hamilton's first Anita Blake book AND it's not dull. If you like Urban Fantasy, give it a go.

 

(Note: The Kindle Edition published by Open Road Media is pretty shitty. It's an OCR conversion nightmare with what amounts to at least one error on every page. This isn't the first Open Road book I've read with this problem. They seem to have a serious quality control issue on their hands.)

 


 

Margins & Burrito, by E. Lorn - (Full Disclosure: I beta-read these two shorts for my pal, E.) I'd recommend these to those fans of Edward Lorn the book reviewer and blogger guy who may not be fans of the horror genre.

 

 

The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle - A great novella from one of my favorite authors. Mr. LaValle, who happens to be a gentleman of color, has a love/hate relationship with H.P. Lovecraft, but instead of wholly dismissing Lovecraft over his well-known racist beliefs, LaValle decided to play in the old racist bastard's sandbox and make it his own. Highly recommended.

 

 

In the Broken Birdcage of Kathleen Fair, by Cate Gardner - This surreal novella has some cool imagery and neat ideas, but a lot of the humor fell flat for me, and the surreal geography wasn't explained clearly enough to keep me from scratching my head from time to time. I'd read another by this author. She's got a novella about Mr. Punch I'd like to get my hands on.

 

 

The Return, by Bentley Little - This is the second book I've read by Mr. Little, and I must say I like his style. His treatment of the supernatural invasion is grotesque and surreal and often downright silly. I'm glad that I've got a bunch more of his queued up on the old Kindle.

 

 

What is my pick for February Book-of-the Month? Hands down, The Thicket. I can't recall the last time I was so thoroughly enchanted and entertained by a work of fiction. Highest possible recommendation. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Joe R. Lansdale is a national treasure!

 

 

How to Become a Bestselling Author (and mislead the general public)!

Bram Stoker Awards 2015 Final Ballot Revealed

The Horror Writers Association has revealed the final ballot for the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards.

 

Check it out!

 

Congratulations to all the nominees!

 

Celebrating Women in Horror Month!

— feeling bloody

 

I'm reading the Bram Stoker Award-winning Sunglasses After Dark, by Nancy A. Collins, to celebrate the 7th Annual Women in Horror Month. If anyone would care to join me in reading this novel, which is considered a modern classic of the vampire genre, you can grab it on Amazon in Kindle format for just $1.99. 

 

If you're all set for reading this month, you should still check out what Women in Horror Month is all about. There are tons of events tied to the celebration and a massive blood drive.

 

See what Women in Horror Month is all about!

 

Grab Sunglasses After Dark for $1.99!

 

 

 

 

Horror Microfiction

 

read more »

January Reading Wrap-Up & Book-of-the-Month Selection

Puppet Graveyard - Tim Curran Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination - Rampo Edogawa, James B. Harris The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain, Stanley Tucci Click-Clack the Rattlebag - Neil Gaiman Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories - China Miéville You Shall Never Know Security - J.R.  Hamantaschen Flesh and Coin - Craig  Saunders Come: A Short Story - E. Lorn, Edward Lorn Hell House - Richard Matheson

January was a stellar month for reading. I finished a lot of fine books this month (but didn't necessarily read every page of every one of these in January). Here's the list:

 

Puppet Graveyard, by Tim Curran - This novella is quick and nasty, with great imagery. It was leavened with humor. And, of course, it had creepy puppets. Who doesn't love creepy puppets?

 

Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination, by Edogawa Rampo - This was an impulse buy. I got it on the cheap from Amazon mainly because I liked the cover. While reading the introduction, I thought the book was some sort of hoax when it claimed the author's pen name was basically a phonetic spelling of the name 'Edgar Allen Poe' spoken with a Japanese accent. I immediately looked the dude up and found out that he was the real deal and very influential in Japanese mystery fiction. Sorry, Japan. I did not know. And, man, I'm sure glad I know about this author now. His story "The Human Chair," which kicks off this collection, is simply fantastic. The remainder of the tales were very good, too, surreal and mysterious. I'll be reading more from Rampo.


The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M. Cain - I listened to the audiobook version of this classic noir tale, read by Stanley Tucci. Highly recommended.


Click-Clack the Rattlebag, by Neil Gaiman - This was a short freebie I downloaded long ago. If you downloaded it from Audible, a donation went to charity. It was a pleasant enough little horror story, but Gaiman's narration is a bit too treacly for my taste. (Note: This doesn't appear to still be available from Audible.)


Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories, by China Miéville - This was an excellent collection. After reading Miéville's first collection, Looking for Jake, I thought that perhaps he just wasn't a short story guy. This one proved me wrong though. I love Miéville for his imagination, his original ideas, and the way he's able to communicate some of the craziest concepts so effectively through prose. This book won't be for everyone. Some of these stories are experimental, many are abstruse, and many more are like wonderful unresolved mysteries. 


You Shall Never Know Security, by J.R. Hamantaschen - This is the second collection I've read by Hamantaschen in two months, which should tell you something. I enjoy the author's unique voice and the unrelenting hopelessness of his tales. They are so bleak that you have to throw up your hands and surrender with bewildered and uncomfortable laughter. I think of his stuff as being a sort of cross between Sam Pink and Laird Barron.


Flesh and Coin, by Craig Saunders - I am envious of Saunders's Spartan prose. It's always efficient and often poetic. I'll be reading all his stuff. Oh, the story? Yeah, yeah, that was good, too.


Come, by E. Lorn - A vicious little piece of viscous, passive-aggressive nastiness. 


Hell House, by Richard Matheson - I've been meaning to read this one for years. I shouldn't have put it off. Was it scary? Not really. But I  didn't expect it to be. Nor did I expect it to be so fantastically lurid; I was pleasantly surprised. 

 

My pick for Book-of-the-Month? It's exceedingly hard to decide, but I'll have to go with Miéville's Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories. It wins by the sheer brute force of imagination on display. 

 

 

Jason Parent Story on 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot

— feeling excited

I'm pleased to report that Jason Parent, my Bad Apples compatriot, has his Bad Apples 2 entry Dia de los Muertos listed on the preliminary ballot for the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards.

 

Congratulations, Mr. Parent! This story's inclusion is well-deserved, and congratulations to all of the creators whose work made it on the Stoker long-list this year.

 

Click here to view the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot.

 

 

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

Tipping

 

Amazon US | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia

This will make you cry. 

 

Sorry.

Prince of Nightmares, by John McNee

Prince of Nightmares - John McNee

Full disclosure: I do not know the author of this book, but I do greatly admire his collection Grudge Punk, and when he approached me with a review copy of this novel, I couldn't turn it down.

First off, Grudge Punk is one of my favorite books. Did I like Prince of Nightmares as much? Frankly, no. And I'm not quite sure they are comparable entities. One's a collection of intertwining stories set in a shared hard-boiled universe populated with rough characters made of metal, flesh, and plastic bits. The other is a novel which brings to mind the dark and icky kind of '70s psychological horror films in which you'd find a rather worn-down and unsavory Donald Sutherland. That type of film but directed by Ken Russell after he'd peered into the future to view Clive Barker's Hellraiser.

To me, Grudge Punk is a unique and exciting thing, whereas Prince of Nightmares isn't quite as fresh. Sometimes it even seems to be an homage (not in itself a bad thing at all). Don't get me wrong, Prince of Nightmares isn't a bad novel by any stretch. I'm just taking the long way around in saying that, to me, it suffered by comparison to his earlier work that I enjoyed so much. Also, I must admit that crazy shit like Grudge Punk is more my bag anyway. I can easily see differently wired individuals preferring this work over the other.

Some things that didn't bother me but I know will bother some readers:

1. Lack of sympathetic characters. 2. Dreams/nightmares are a huge part of the premise, so you're going to run into the 'is this or is this not a dream?' scenario at some point in the narrative. That's a given. If that bothers you, stay away.

What I would have liked more of:

Honestly, I'd love to read a prequel to this book. The backstory at times was more interesting to me than what was going on in the present.

Elements I really enjoyed:

1. The main character is a man in his eighties. 2. The imagery in this book is visceral and fantastic.

John McNee is an author to watch, and I'll be buying his next book on day one.

My Top 11 Reads from the Past 12 Months

Of all the books I've read in the past twelve months, these are my favorites.


Note: Only a couple of these books were published in 2015 (or in December, 2014).

 

11. Cipher, by Kathe Koja

 

 

10. We Are All Completely Fine, by Daryl Gregory

 

 

9. Kiss Me, Judas, Will Christopher Baer

 


8. Windeye, by Brian Evenson

 

 

7. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki Murakami

 


6. Black Hat Jack, by Joe R. Lansdale

 


5. Bleeding Shadows, by Joe R. Lansdale

 


4. Cruelty, by Edward Lorn
(I feel compelled to disclose that I know the author of this one, but in no way do I feel the need to apologize for this book's inclusion on this list. It deserves to be here as much as any other.)

 


3. It, by Stephen King

 


2. Bubba Ho-Tep, by Joe R. Lansdale

 


1. Summer House with Swimming Pool, Herman Koch