Monday, April 30, 2012

She Never Slept Interviews Horror Writer M.R. Gott

From She Never Slept

Hello friends, followers, and fellow devotees of the dark and weird.
I am pleased to announce that I will be interviewing M.R. Gott, author of the supremely dark Where The Dead Fear To Tread on Saturday the 5th of May at 5:00pm Eastern Time (2:00 Pacific).
We hope you will listen and please call in with questions! The player will be posted here on the day of the show, so tune in!
Marc Nocerino

 Click for access-

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Joss Whedon The Complete Companion by POP matters

Joss Whedon The Complete Companion by POP matters is not complete, as Whedon’s career does not seem to be anywhere near over.  That said I cannot imagine a more thorough collection of thoughts on the man.  With over 40 authors the book covers Whedon’s overarching themes with technical comparisons of his scripts versus the finished products.  TV, webisodes, comics and films are all covered in detail.  Some of the material is examined with an eye for storytelling tones, braking it down to a philosophical degree.  Other essays cover insider technical deatails of how the shows and films came to light.  Whatever your mood, if it involves Whedon you will be covered.  

This book however is not simple hero worship.  One aspect I found very interesting as an Alien fan is the chapter ‘Alien Resurrection, the Script that Shaped Joss Whedon’s career.’  This is generally accepted to be the weakest film in the series, and Whedon does not get a pass.  As an avid geek is interesting finding a source with new insight and information on an older film.     

In full disclosure I am a big fan of Whedon, except Buffy.  I loathe to an unfair degree stories surrounding high schools.  That being said I still found incite to appreciate in the essays provided.  I am however a huge Angel fan.  The essay, ‘The Strength and Conviction to lose So Relentlessly,’ summed up perfectly everything I found so appealing about Angel.  Included is this enclosed quote from Angel in episode 2:16 Epiphany.  “Well, I guess I kinda…worked it out.  If there’s no great, glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do, because that’s all there is, what we do.  Now today.”

POP Matter’s book is cited to a meticulous degree, allowing you to easily find the episodes or comics you seek, because despite the acknowledged flaws and weaknesses in his work.  This book will make you want to revisit old stories told by Joss Whedon.  Now if you’ll excuse me I feel the need to watch my old Angel DVD’s.

If you seek an examination of Joss Whedon’s career I would be shocked if you could do better.   

Personal Note;This review feels incomplete to me, because there is so much information contained within its pages.  

Asylum by Mark Allan Gunnells

Overview;  Curtis has allowed Jimmy his college friend to take him to his first gay club.  Jimmy promised Curtis a memorable night of drinking dancing and sex.  The night becomes more memorable than either could have imagined.

“I’m going to call 911 again,” Toby said, pulling his phone back out. Gil smirked.  “You do that.  Now does anyone want to help me do something useful?”

“When the dead arose, Jimmy was going down on the balding accountant.”  The first sentence is one of the best grabbers I have seen in awhile. Mark Allan Gunnells’ novella Asylum is a briskly paced people trapped by zombie tale, that stands out first and foremost for Gunnells’ ability to create a diverse cast of characters the reader can identify with.  Curtis, Jimmy and the rest of the cast are diverse sympathetic and most importantly not idiots wandering into the dark alone to investigate. 
The intelligence of the characters add to the horror of the situation, because even the best choices in a bad situation can get you eaten.  Gunnells’ fleshes out his characters with deft pacing allowing for the a sense of nearly nonstop fear.  The only exception is a section where characters are pontificating about the horrible treatment of gays by popular media.  While I was in total agreement with the points made, it was preaching to the choir.  The people who need to be told this would not make it that far into a story with an almost entirely gay cast.  Gunnells creates a tense sense of impending dread, we know something worse is just around the corner.  But of what is the question that will keep you reading.
Gunnell’s descriptions of the zombies are short and sweet, and his eye for realistic action is well realized.  The tone is tense and the reader believes any character could die at any point.  Despite the classic set-up Gunnells’ Asylum feels fresh. 

In the End;  Mark Allan Gunnells has written a classic zombie set up and found in depth with his terrifically realized characters.  Long time genre fans will find much to enjoy here.     

 Click for my interview with Mark Allan Gunnells

Friday, April 27, 2012

She Never Slept Reviews Where the Dead Fear to Tread

"M.R. Gott is certainly not afraid to take a new and intriguing look at some old horror staples..."

Click below for She Never Slept review of Where the Dead Fear to Tread

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Overview;  After eleven years in Hell James Stark has escaped.  He has only one mission now. To kill the men who sent him downtown and then killed his girlfriend Alice.   

“There are people walking the earth that the moment you meet them, you want to punch them and keep punching them.”  James Stark

Review;  If James O’ Barr turned Eric Draven over to Raymond Chandler it would have probably played out a great deal like Sandman Slim.  I came to this book while reading a review of my book by Verushka at the Open Book Society, comparing a similar flair for action sequences between myself and Mr. Kadrey.  I am flattered.  Kadrey’s creative action pieces convey a sense of the moments, allowing the reader to follow each blow.  The violence has great physical repercussions, not only in body damage, but Stark keeps needing new clothes from all the fight he ends up in.   It always bugged me that Superman’s suit never had a bullet hole in it, he was bullet proof not his clothing.

Kadrey’s greatest strength in Sandman Slim is of tone and world building.  His writing crackles, it is quick and sharp as the reader moves with Stark on his quest for vengeance.  The dialogue is reminiscent of the clever and hostile exchanges from old pulp masters such as Chandler and Hammett.  Stark never goes soft either, in a time of watered down anti-heroes it is refreshing to have an unflinching bad ass wiping out the nasties without pause or hesitation.  A plethora of villains populate the world of James Stark, a personal favorite was when Stark beat the shit very thoroughly out of a collection of Neo-Nazis. 

The supporting cast rounds out the noir feel to the book. Mysterious women, a sympatric bar tender, shady doctors, and men with odd talents and convoluted backgrounds abound throughout.  The distrust Stark has of authority also fits well within the pulp motif. 

Kadrey keeps the mood dark and enigmatic throughout.  Details about Stark’s life come forth slowly, creating greater empathy for this incredibly well realized hero.  Reoccurring Tom Waits lyrics move with Stark, creating a fitting somber soundtrack to the work.  Kadrey has three other novels in this series, and I could not be more glad of this.  I rarely like series following a clear single protagonist.  Personally it often takes an element of suspense from me, Kadrey has crushed my prejudice in this department. I look forward to spending more time with James Parker.   

In the End;  James Stark is my new favorite character.  With the mouth of Sam Spade, and the unflinching single mindedness of Eric Draven, the dark minded have a new anti-hero.  Richard Kadrey’s fast sharp novel propels you into a dark world, reminiscent of what many of us see in our own.  Highly recommended.   

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

30% Off All Untreed Reads Titles Right Now!

Just a reminder to everyone that all of our titles are 30% off until April 27th, as we're celebrating Earth Day all week long. The sale is ONLY good in The Untreed Reads Store

Also: don't forget that when you purchases a title from the store, you get it in every available format. That means they get up to five different formats of the book to read on any device for the same price as just one format at Amazon!
 Now is a great time to purchase the book that is being called;
“The world of William Chandler starts out dark and grim and M.R. Gott is not afraid to make it darker and grimmer with every page.”
Dana Fredsti author of Plague Town

“…a combination old time detective pulp story, a revenge story and a good old fashioned horror story.”
Famous Monsters of Film Land

“Where the Dead Fear to Tread is an immensely enjoyable read; jam-packed with great action sequences and wonderfully horrific monsters that will chill you to the bone.”
Dark Rivers Press

“Four and a Half Stars…with enough of a horror element to keep you cringing and maybe looking around for a set of eyes watching your every move.”
Double Shot Reviews

“The book starts out fast and violent, and ratchets up the intensity and carnage from there.”
Literary Mayhem

“…if you are in need of an action fix, with some supernatural horror thrown in, this is for you.”
Open Book Society

The Cabin in the Woods

Horror fans relish certain ideas, we want to see certain things, yet we want to be surprised and scared.  This is a difficult feet to pull off, however Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon have.  The Cabin the Woods, takes the most cliched horror setup and finds new ideas and perspectives.  The film succeeds as both horror as well as containing some deliberate and genuinely funny moments.  While I understand this is incredibly vague, trust me.  The less you know going into this film the more you will enjoy it.

For those who need more after seeing this film, The Official The Cabin in the Woods Visual Guide is incredibly thorough.  With a forward by Drew Goddard and afterward by Joss Whedon, the book has a strong opening and closing.  Also there is a 40 page interview with the two as they describe the entire process from writing to directing and producing.   The book also contains the entire screenplay, with concept art and movement notes for the actions sequences.  I don't have a single question about this film after paging through this volume. 

If you need more Cabin in the Woods this will hold you over until the DVD/Blu-Ray release, though I cannot imagine the special features containing any new info.  This is currently available on Amazon marked down to 12 dollars from 20. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

M.R. Interviews...Naima Haviland

Amazon readers call Bloodroom “romantic, sexy …a Moulin Rouge type of story” and “an exciting,
intricate, and delicate foray into the seductions of the vampire …” Bloodroom is currently a paperback
and Kindle e-book, and will be available in all digital formats this June.

 Enter to win a free Autographed copy of Bloodroom at April 24-25. The Kindle edition will be a free download from
Amazon April 27-28.

Amazon and Smashwords readers say Night at the Demontorium is ” …not unlike The King in Yellow or
even Lovecraft …” and “An exceptional collection lovingly crafted of dark, thoughtful visions …” Ranked
among Amazon Kindle’s Top 20 Bestselling Horror Anthologies, Night at the Demontorium is a twisted
journey through realms of madness and addiction.

Please Welcome Naima Haviland

Where did the ideas from Bloodroom come from? 

My ideas usually arise from something visual. I dreamed I was walking in a forest at night and happened upon a pack of dying wolves. The mystery of the wolves' fate was the genesis of Bloodroom. Swisher's look was inspired by a girl in the Penguin's entourage in Batman II. Julian's antebellum mansion actually exists; it's Drayton Hall outside of Charleston, SC. And Natalie is primarily inspired by the ballerina who died at my feet when I was five -- in her role as the Swan Queen in a performance given at our school. She lay gracefully folded in on herself, trembling as Tchaikovsky's score soared above and through me. She was so beautiful, so doomed. When she stopped shaking and lay still and "dead", I think I might have stopped breathing for a moment. I didn't know what would ultimately happen to Natalie till I finished writing Bloodroom. I wondered when Julian kills her, what will that be like? Julian wonders the same thing throughout the story; he can't stop thinking about it.

What sets Julian in Bloodroom from other vampires?

Julian's hubris sets him apart. He believes his every decision is the right one, regardless of its cruelty. He's never challenged and has never suffered the consequences of any action. His sense of entitlement is as much a part of him as breathing is to humans. Julian character is similar to someone with antisocial or narcissistic personality disorder. His conscience and empathy are compartmentalized into seeming nonexistence. He puts off killing Natalie because he enjoys their affair but comes to care about her, a surprising development he's completely unequipped to handle. It's Stockholm syndrome in reverse. But it's against the law to let her live. Procrastination can get him killed.

 Who do you think Bloodroom will appeal to the most?

My first instinct is to say women, but I've known a lot of guys who enjoyed it. I like to say Bloodroom lives at the crossroads where Jane Eyre and Nine Inch Nails meet. Women whose deepest romantic fantasies are edgy, dangerous, sharp, and dark will like Bloodroom. But readers who believe there should be limits to what a good romantic male lead can get away with probably won't like it. 

Bloodroom combines sexual elements within a horror setting.  Is it more important for you to be 
sexy or scary?  Do you find combining the elements to be difficult? 

To answer the first question, it's good to understand what you really think is sexy and what you really find scary. In real life, I must confess they have sometimes overlapped. So in writing I can exaggerate what's at stake and add a supernatural element. I don't find combining the elements to be difficult at all. It's yin and yang: life and death, joy and pain. So, what is sexy? Someone hot and new. What is scary? Hottie has a body in the basement. I want you. Can I trust you? In the next instant, scary trumps sexy. If I'm fast enough, I might make it out alive.

Do you have a particular favorite story from your short story collection, Night at the Demontorium?  Why?

Probably Bedring. Night at the Demontorium is completely different from Bloodroom, but it's a recurring theme in my writing that what looks safe probably isn't. In Bedring, a man who is successful in every aspect of life arrives at his showcase home in a gated community to find an alien entity in his unmade bed. In his perfect world an unmade bed is an abnormality in itself, but in short order the bedring will destroy every fabrication the man has so carefully constructed – including that of his own personality. 

How is your process for creating short fiction different from that of a novel?

Well the process is a lot shorter! LoL - seriously. Most of my short stories begin as nightmares. I spend all of the following Saturday with my laptop, transforming my nightmare into a short story.

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?

As a pre-schooler, I pored through my father's horror comics and illustrated books. I was fascinated -- Aubrey Beardsley's Art Deco Salome holding a tray with John the Baptist's head on it and blood running over  the edge -- are you kidding? As an adult, I read Stephen King's Pet Cemetery and realized that I had become literally too terrified to move. My impulse was to read more and more horror. Not much of it scares me to the degree Pet Cemetery did, but I do find the genre to be fascinating because of what it says about us. I don't think the horror genre gets enough credit for tackling the great issue of life -- namely, that it will end. Writers and readers are literally fearless to take that on again and again, and to do it in a fun format!

What fictional character had the greatest impact on you?

Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter, written by the great horror writer Nathanial Hawthorne. Forced to wear a huge red 'A' on her bodice to proclaim her sin to the world, she countered her community's injustice with independence, dignity, and defiance. In writing and reading horror, I find that the monster isn't always the point. It's the characters' reaction to the monster that is the true point of a story.

What active genre authors are you still excited to be following?

I can't put down any book by Sara Waters. Her haunted house novel, The Little Stranger, is amazing. She is the heir apparent to Shirley Jackson, who wrote novels like The Haunting of Hill House that turn and churn around the psychological makeup of her characters. I also really like a new writer, Kenya Wright, whose urban fantasy novel, Fire Baptized, is original, humorous, sensual, and engrossing.

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

The Bad Death is an antebellum vampire-slayer novel. Its heroine, Anika, is a slave on a South Carolina rice plantation in the late 1700s.(This sounds awesome) Novels and movies set in a dystopian future are really hot right now, but what we conveniently forget is that we had a dystopian past. I did a lot of historical research to create a convincing story that unfolds across lines of race, class, and power. In that region, at that time, much of the slave population was African or first generation African American. Their culture, known as Gullah, survived intact almost to the present day due to the geographical isolation of the region. Gullah folklore has a rich and diverse array of monsters that drive the plot of The Bad Death. The novel is due out this fall and is the first in a trilogy that shares some characters with Bloodroom.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Attention All Book Groups

Attention Book Groups,  M.R. Gott author of Where the Dead Fear to Tread and the forthcoming Where the Damned Seek Redemption is available for your questions and comments.  If your group selects Where the Dead Fear to Tread to read you can contact M.R. through Good Reads or Facebook to be featured on M.R. Gott’s Cutis Anserina.  Your feature will include background information on your group as well as a group photo.  M.R will also post your group’s review of Where the Dead Fear to Tread, and take and publish your questions.