Masks anthology from KnighWatch unveiled

Masks cover artwork by James Powell

Masks cover artwork by James Powell

I am always excited to announce my involvement in a new book, this time for my first of hopefully many publications with the UK-based KnightWatch Press. Masks is a new anthology compiled and edited by Dean M Drinkel anticipated to release later this year.

Inspired by the great Shirley Jackson, my story “Blood, Gingerbread and Life” is set in a secluded community where bizarre annual rituals keep death at bay. It explores the raw human need to control, holding domain over violence, nature, families, behavior, life, and death. What happens when that power is disrupted?

The table of contents features a group of diverse talents, including a handful of authors with whom I’ve had the honor of sharing other anthology titles.

Many Happy Returns – Kyle Rader
Trixie – Christopher L Beck
An Absent Host – F.A. Nosić
Variety Night – Russell Proctor
The Silencing Machine – Clockhouse Writers
After The End – Christine Morgan / Lucas Williams
The Face Collector – Stephanie Ellis
The Jar By The Door – Icy Sedgwick
Porcelain – James Everington
The Man Who Fed The Foxes – Phil Sloman
The House Of A Thousand Faces – Chris Stokes
Blood, Gingerbread and Life – David T Griffith
His Last Portrait – Adrian Cole

If you are interested in reviewing Masks before publication, please send an inquiry to theresa.derwin@yahoo.co.uk.

Am I a horror writer?

question mark coverI’ve had stories appear now in six horror anthologies. Some of those books, in full disclosure, I had a hand in designing the covers or page layouts, though completely separate from my story submissions and inclusions. A few more horror-genre publications containing my work are on the way to print in the next few months, but I still often wonder whether I am truly a horror writer.

Before anyone lambasts me for such a self-serving ponderous statement, I’m being completely honest about this question, and this is my personal blog. All organization and personal blogs are self-serving regardless of their intents and purposes, don’t blind yourself to this one truism.

Thing is, I never set out to be a horror writer. I am always drawn toward dark material for the books I read or TV shows I watch, which in turn influences or inspires what I write. I’ve tried my hand at happy stories and they never feel authentic to me. Difficult decisions, personal conflicts, and imperfect flaws that lead to dramatic and usually tragic conclusions are what drive me. They are sometimes allegories, other times criticisms on or responses to our current day culture and society. The messages may not be obvious to everyone, and I don’t expect them to be; they typically serve as starting points from which a story takes on its own life. As a story should for every writer.

These statements or criticisms on the world, our society, or our culture come from a perspective of gritty realism, they are neither optimistic nor pessimistic. They just are. The world exists as we shape its existence, both good and bad. This perspective spawns the perpetual evolution of my creativity: a dark point-of-view mired in grit and horror; a creative process carried by a glimmer of hope that challenges an ominous darkness and crushing fear. Think Baroque music and painting. Think Gothic architecture and literature.

Looking back at these paragraphs I just wrote I realize just how subjective it is to define one’s work in any particular genre. This is art and not science after all, there are no mandated axioms on the natural world’s behaviors that dictate creativity, just concepts and ideas.

So my stories may not contain much gore, graphic sex or violence, or the standard supernatural creatures that account for many horror movie and story tropes, but they do contain accounts of mental anguish, trauma, shock, and the deterioration of one’s mental faculties. In that sense, these attributes are real life everyday horrors of the human experience, whether they are set in a dystopian backdrop or a current-day real-world environment that may or may not be affected by a supernatural influence depending on the protagonist’s perspective.

The answer, then, is yes. I do write horror.

The Grimorium Verum

Grimorium-Verum-cover-FRONT-WEB-600x900I am excited to announce The Grimorium Verum has published today from Western Legends Publishing, containing my story “T is for Transformation: Cacophony in B Minor.” The story tells the account of Duane, a talented musician and computer programmer, who is wrapped up in his self-loathing over a congenital disability. The combination of his mood, desire, and music open the gate to a supernatural intervention.

» More about The Grimorium Verum on the Western Legends site.

Where to buy:

Amazon US

» Paperback
» Kindle eBook

Amazon UK

» Paperback
» Kindle eBook

CreateSpace eStore

» Paperback

DUST OF THE DEAD now available for Pre-Order!

From my good friend and fellow writer John Palisano. Horror, dystopia, zombies, and dark comedy.

All that withers

DustOfTheDead cover fixed
The day has come! I’m thrilled to announce that DUST OF THE DEAD is now available for Pre-order. I sure hope folks find the book and enjoy reading it. Here’s a little bit about it.

Reboot the apocalypse!

For a while, it looked like the living had won. The war against the walking dead lasted almost a decade, but it’s mostly over. There are only a few straggling zombies left to take care of. Los Angeles has returned to its lattes and long commutes. It’s up to a small Reclamation Crew to clean up the Zoms left behind. But when the undead dry up, their skin turns to dust. Now the hot Santa Ana winds deliver a new threat…because the Zoms were only the beginning of something far worse.

“John Palisano crashes the zombie apocalypse genre into dystopian fiction at high speeds. Clever, brutal and highly entertaining.”

—Jonathan Maberry, New…

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The Grimorium Verum – Table of Contents Revealed

I’m excited to be a part of this next publication from Western Legends as both a contributing author and book cover designer. The book comes out very soon. Please help support this project – lots of talented storytellers – you won’t be disappointed! I’ll share purchasing info once available.

The Grimorium Verum – Table of Contents Revealed.