Monday, January 30, 2012

Precursor to Shaun of the Dead

Before Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes and Edgar Wright worked together on Shaun of the Dead they worked on Spaced a British Comedy from the late 90's.   In the episode 'Art' we are treated to a glimpse of what is to come.  Click below. 

Where the Dead Fear to Tread 33% off

All Untreed Reads titles are 33% off at Books On Board right now.  Click below for the sale.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Praise for Robert Dunbar's "WILLY"

Recent guest at Cutis Anserina has turned a great number of heads this year for his novel Willy.
WILLY a dark literary novel by Robert Dunbar - published by Uninvited Books - has been turning up on a lot of best-of-the-year and top-ten lists. The book has now appeared on the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association.
Critical response to WILLY:
"Unique ... highly recommended." ~ MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
"Dark and complex ... a book that will stay with you." ~ READER ADVISORY BOARD
"Profound ... honest and authentic ... a journey of healing." ~ THE READING REVIEW
"Dunbar, oddly, is a light in a world that is all about darkness." ~ LL BOOK REVIEW
"A literary horror masterpiece!" ~ THE KINDLE BOOK REVIEW
"Lyrical and suspenseful ... a tour de force." ~ SHROUD MAGAZINE
"Horror at its best, most fulfilling." ~ DARK SCRIBE MAGAZINE
"One of the most powerful novels this reviewer has ever read." ~ HELLNOTES
"Challenging and satisfying." ~ NIGHTS & WEEKENDS
"A genre-busting tour de force." ~ LITERARY MAYHEM
"A welcome change from the average horror novel." ~ DARK MEDIA MAGAZINE
"It just doesn't get any better than this." ~ HORROR WORLD
Best-of-the-Year lists on which WILLY appears:
Nights & Weekends
Literary Mayhem:
Serial Distractions:
Layers of Thought
Rabid Reads:
To the Bone Reviews:
SF Signal:
The Crow's Caw:

Monday, January 23, 2012

M.R. interviews.... Robert Dunbar

There are a few authors out there you only need to read briefly before you have to stop and say, "God Damn he is good."  Robert Dunbar is one of those authors.

Your novel Willy leaves its readers with many interpretations, allowing them to come to their own conclusions.  This is your creation; to you, are there multiple conclusions, or a few red herrings?

Everyone says this about the “many” conclusions; I’m not sure I agree. There’s only one story, one real story, and all the clues to it are there. The ambiguity creeps in because of the limited point of view of the narrator. The boy barely comprehends much of what occurs. He recounts events, yes, but his interpretations? Often wildly inaccurate. The reader understands this and is forced to consider what must really have transpired. That’s the heart of it for me. The most terrifying aspects involve what the reader will imagine between the lines.

In The Pines, you mix real world evils with those of the supernatural. In your mind does the accepted evil of the world add credence to the otherworldly elements?

Are there supernatural elements in THE PINES? I suppose there must be, but I never really thought of it that way. (Of course the book is meant to be about the Jersey Devil, but it isn’t. Not really. I use superstition as a metaphor for ignorance and evil.) But so many other things are going on. Certainly Matthew and Athena have a psychic connection. If anything, there’s more an edge of science fiction about the story than supernatural horror. What characters in the book interpret as a legendary monster turns out to be a genetic mutation, something that occurs with some consistency … but that usually leads to the death of the afflicted person (and others) before it fully manifests. Of course, what really interests me as a writer is where this will lead.

What were your thoughts when you set out to craft a sequel to The Pines? Was the end result – The Shore – what you envisioned when you set out?

THE PINES developed such a strong following: I wanted THE SHORE to continue the storyline while staying as far from the tone of the first book as possible. I mean, THE PINES seethes. It’s all summer nights. The emotions are scalding and miserable, and the (frequent) sexual encounters are steamy, tawdry. Everyone drips with sweat, and the air roils with insects. Yet, despite the meanness of their situations, some of the people possess a sort of innate nobility (which has nothing to do with conventional morality). They redeem themselves. They make sacrifices for love. They grow. (And die. Some of them.) If THE PINES seems to be occurring in an equatorial jungle, THE SHORE may as well take place on a polar icecap. The people barely speak. They huddle, move slowly. They harbor secrets. (And die. Some of them.) Where THE PINES is all bloody thunder and bolts of lightning, THE SHORE is an icy wind … and mounting dread.

When writing supernatural stories how do you ensure you never betray your reader’s suspension of disbelief?

By never writing a word that isn’t true.(God Damn he did it again)

Martyrs & Monsters is a collection of your short fiction.  Is there a specific story contained within that to you is the standout?

You want me to name my favorite child? Let me think. Okay. Some of the linked tales, specifically the ones about Conrad and Timmy, still resonate powerfully for me. They almost became a novel, but I actually grew afraid for my sanity (such as it is) if I went to that very dark place for such a length of time. It’s much easier to escape from a short story. You can finish it and walk away. Writing a novel is like being trapped in an elevator with your characters … for a year or so.

How does your writing approach differ when crafting short fiction as opposed to a novel?

With a short story you just want the essence – haiku instead of an epic poem. Harder to do in its own way. With a novel, I try to pull the reader into the world I’ve created, to seduce them not just with imagery but with sounds and scents and textures. The effects accumulate.

But one false note could destroy a short story. It must be an intense fragment – a shard that suggests the complete edifice. It must be satisfying in itself while evoking so much more.

No wonder I drink.

What is your favorite character that you created?  Do you love or hate him/her?

I closely identify with the narrator in WILLY. (I heard you mutter “duh” just then.) So many book critics mused at length about whether the ending of that novel was hopeful or sad. It’s both of course. He’s not out of the woods yet. Not even literally. The boy may even have killed someone, though in the development of an adolescent psyche a little thing like murder is a fairly trivial event. But the road into the light is there for him, and he will – in time – be able to follow it. For now, there’s pain and fear ahead for him, and terrible loneliness … but he’s already beginning to discover his own strength and to grope his way out of the maze of mental illness. He’s growing. And somewhere at the end of that road, he’ll even find love. On this score, I can speak with some authority.

What is the first book you remember genuinely being frightened by? Was your immediate reaction to run out and find other similar tales, or stash it in your closet and block it out?

The first one? Like something I read on a cave wall?

The first book I can remember that left me physically shaken was probably Fritz Leiber’s Conjure Wife. I’d suffered from a recurring nightmare through most of my childhood in which I tried desperately to prevent a little girl from realizing she was dead. I used to wake up in a cold sweat. About three-quarters of the way through Leiber’s novel something happens that echoed that feeling for me, and I swear it actually brought me up out of my chair. Moments of such intensity haven’t been easy to find. But there’ve been a few. I cherish them.

What prompted your decision to found Uninvited Books?

Idealism, I suppose, mixed with a certain amount of frustration with current publishing realities. As a writer, I’ve pretty much seen it all. My favorite rejection slip reads: “We find your manuscript to be riveting and important but do not feel that we could successfully promote it in the current marketplace.”

Umm … huh?

Riveting and important is a rejection? Most people never get a review that good. What am I missing here? If you were a publisher, i.e., someone in the business of publishing books, wouldn’t you wait in hope for a manuscript that was riveting and important? And if such a project were to find its way onto your desk, wouldn’t it become your job to figure out how to promote it?

Never mind.

Must be me.

Truthfully, I think I just wanted to make the point that there’s another way to go about all of this, that there is still such a thing as artistic integrity. Or at least there should be. Even in business. Our mission statement reads: “At UNINVITED BOOKS we believe that lovers of dark fiction will choose works of quality ... if works of quality are made available. Our goal is to celebrate visionary artistry, subtle craftsmanship and psychological sophistication in dark literature.”

What does Uninvited Books offer readers?

Zombie mashups and Sasquatch porn. Oh, wait. That’s what we were designed to counter. Umm … golly … I guess I’d have to say sophisticated, intelligent dark fiction of highly evolved literary quality.

Sorry. It’s just that the awareness of what’s mostly out there gets to me sometimes.

All of our titles are available in paperback and as ebooks.

Do you find the label of Horror fiction is restricting, or does it grant you a freedom to pursue any content or thought?

I despise labels, but if I must have one I’ll take Dark Literature.

Is it ever difficult to take off your proverbial author’s cap when editing the works of other authors?

Only an incompetent (and possibly unstable) editor makes changes to another writer’s content. Editing is just the craft, the mechanics of the language. Even a genius could use another pair of eyes sometimes. When editing, I simply do what I do with my own work. Check for inconsistencies. Solecisms. Accidental shifts in POV. That sort of thing. Sometimes of course, if you have a real creative connection with the author, you might want to make a suggestion. But there have been very few such moments so far, which probably has to do with the caliber of the authors I’m working with. What changes would I presume to ask Greg Gifune or T. M. Wright to make?

I feel very strongly about this. I’ve told the story of what happened with my first book so often that it’s become a sort of legend in its own right. An editor (with a great deal of autonomy) apparently decided that my African-American heroine … shouldn’t be. (I believe he felt it would hurt the book’s marketability.) All mention of her race simply vanished. As did a homoerotic subplot. Ah, such professionalism! Needless to say, these deletions made nonsense of my carefully constructed storyline, which was now full of bizarre gaps.

I discovered all of this at my first book signing. I had to excuse myself to go and vomit. Writers are such sensitive creatures.

Time passes. One gets over things.

A few critics did observe that “Mr. Dunbar appears to have been ill-served by his editor,” and a handful of perceptive readers even asked whether the character was meant to be black. That helped. But it was a very long time before a restored version of the book appeared in print.

It’s disgraceful what writers have to endure. Uninvited Books is all about redressing some of that, as well as about serving the sort of cultured reader who’s so often ignored. I thought about making our slogan “Horror! It’s not just for dummies anymore!” but was afraid a few people might find it provoking.

Do you have anything new coming down the pipeline you would like to share with us?

WOOD should be along quite soon, also from Uninvited Books. It’s about a teenage Hispanic girl who battles monsters (symbolic and otherwise) in a foreboding neighborhood. I’m really looking forward to seeing how readers respond to it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Killer Deal

Cemetery Dance is offering an all you can read e-book deal for $49 for the year of 2012.  To sweeten the pot they will also send you a hard cover signed edition from the stable of limited Press authors.  Click below for more.

A Man’s Gotta Eat What a Man’s Gotta Eat by Dana Fredsti

What would happen if Raymond Chandler and Frank Miller conceived a child in a cheap motel room while a Romero marathon played in the background?  Dana Fredsti’s, ‘A Man’s Gotta Eat What a Man’s Gotta Eat.’

The story centers around a private eye named T-Bone in a world where zombies are the dominant species and humans are collected to feed the population.  I am generally biased against these grand dark worlds, but Fredsti creates a vivid believable world comprised of small details rather than sweeping vistas and statements.  The world created is through and consistent supporting itself naturally within the narratives progression.  The best comparison I can make in successes, is Hell in Edward Lee’s infernal series. 
T-Bone himself speaks with a clear and distinct voice.  The story is told through his perspective.  He is a fully developed character in a fully conceived world.  What is most impressive about this feat, is how quickly Fredsti accomplishes this in the confines of a short story. 

The story itself revolves around a missing person’s case brought to T-Bone, by who else a sexy (for a decomposing body) fatale.  Fredsti respects the standard pulp/noir conventions.  This keeps the archetypes from delving into self parody and cliché.  Zombie and pulp fans should both be pleased with this fast paced distinct offering.       

A Man’s Gotta Eat What a Man’s Gotta Eat can be found in Danger City from Contemporary Press.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Trailers Released For the Resident Evil Franchises

Newly released Trailers for....

November 20th Resident Evil 6 will be released for the PS3 and Xbox 360

Resident Evil Retribution will be released in IMAX 3d in fall of 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 20th 2012

Two major theatrical releases occur on this day in direct competition with one another.  Haywire and Under World Awakening. 

Kate Beckinsale and Gina Carano compete for the ultimate bad ass title.  Did you think women would be competing headlining action flicks?  Will this prove profitable, will the predominately male audience of these flicks accept this?

I always enjoy seeing stereotypes called into question.

Expendables 2 is to be rated pg-13 
Gina Carano in Haywire is now unquestionably more bad ass then this...
 Click the poster for details.

M.R. Interviews... E.S. Moore

Please Welcome E.S. Moore to Cutis Anserina

What group of readers to you is the perfect audience for To Walk the Night?

I think those that enjoy a dark and gritty urban fantasy would be perfect, as well as those who like a little horror in their paranormal.  It’s definitely a darker world than some other series, but there are familiar bits any UF fan would recognize.  I’d like to think I’ve written a book that can appeal to a wide range of people.  Only time will tell...

What was the catalyst for the creation of the character Kat Redding?

I’m not real sure, actually!  She was one of those characters that came out of nowhere for me.  It just hit me one day and I plotted out the book.  I was trying to come up with a character that was different than another unpublished urban fantasy series I’ve been working on and the character just popped into my head.
To Walk the Night’s sequel, Tainted Night, Tainted Blood will be released later this year.  Do you have a clear end point for this series, or are you taking it novel by novel?
Sort of both.  I have an idea of where I want to go, how I want it to end, but things can change as the novels progress.  I won’t force my characters down a path they don’t want to go.  It wouldn’t be fair to the characters or the readers. 

What is your favorite character that you created?  Do you love or hate him/her?

Ethan, I think.  He’s the character that is most like me and really, I think I needed that in the story.  He might have a dark past and secrets of his own, but he still tries to keep a smile on his face.  I love that about him.
What is the first book you remember genuinely being frightened by?  Was your immediate reaction to run out and find other similar tales, or stash it in your closet and block it out?
Wow, that’s a tough one!  I’ve always read horror as far back as I can remember.  I’d have to say that maybe Pet Semetary by Stephen King was the first one that really rattled me.  I’ve grown up with cats and to think of one of my own coming back like that was scary for a kid.  I devoured the book and read everything else King wrote that I could get my hands on.  I really do like to be frightened, though that has happened a lot less frequently these days.

What current genre authors are you following/reading right now?  What draws you to them?

Jim Butcher and Stephen King are probably the top two.  I’ve always been a fan of King, and while a few of his books weren’t as good as some of the others, I’ve always taken something from them.  I’ll continue to read anything he puts out there!
As for Butcher, I was drawn to him because of the short-lived TV series, The Dresden Files.  I went out and bought the books and immediately was sold on urban fantasy.  I’d never read any of the other urban fantasy authors until then.  Something about his characters attracted me and I have yet to find the same feeling anywhere else.

As an avid gamer and storyteller, what game or franchise do you feel has the strongest combination of game play and storytelling? 

I think the two that stick out most in my mind are Final Fantasy 7 and Dragon Age: Origins.  I loved the story and gameplay for both of those games.  I got so invested in the characters, when something bad happened to one of them, it was quite a shock to the system.  I just wish the other games in each series were as good as those two. 

From any medium, who in your mind is the ultimate hunter of supernatural creatures?

Buffy and her friends!  I was never much into the love interests of the show, but really enjoyed the interactions between all the characters and how, really, no one was safe.  That’s one show I could actually watch again, which is something I can’t say for very many shows these days.

Do you have anything new coming down the pipeline you would like to share with us?  

Right now, all I have is the second book of the Kat Redding series, Tainted Night, Tainted Blood, coming, as well as book 3, Blessed by a Demon’s Mark.  Hopefully I’ll have more in the near future!  I’m working on quite a few projects and hopefully something will come out of them.