Best Movies Ever?

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. This week, let’s all share our favorite movie. Like books, movies are hard to narrow down to a single, all-time favorite, but we did try. Most of us anyway.

Liam: There are many movies that I can, and do, watch again and again. The three that I quote the most (and I quote them almost daily, even though most folks have no idea what I’m talking about) are Animal House, The Great Race (with Tony Curtis and Jack lemon,) and The Scalphunters (Burt Lancaster, Ozzie Davis, and Telly Savalas.) If I absolutely have to only pick one… I’m going to go with The Scalphunters, because I love the soundtrack too.

Katrina: Any of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Don’t @ me.

JaCk-SmilE-pirates-of-the-caribbean-31949132-500-206.gif

Mike: Barry Lyndon.

giphy (8).gif

**We googled it. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072684/ You’re welcome.

Tony: There’s a list of favorite movies and they’re usually the ones I’ve watched more than once. It’s rare anymore I watch anything twice, but there are certain movies that are more enjoyable the second time around. The most recent ones are The Fountain, Mr. Nobody, Inception and Bladerunner 2049. They all have stunning cinematography and a layered or non-linear story arc. But all time favorite? I suppose that’s Bladerunner, the original. I think I watched that 50 times in college, back in the day when I could watch something that much. That was the movie that really influenced what I write today: what it means to be human. Side note, I’ve watched Stepbrothers half a dozen times in the last couple of years, so I suppose that deserves a mention.

giphy (9).gif

Peter: If I could choose two, they would probably be Pan’s Labyrinth and City of God. They certainly rank highly on the list, but so does Dumb and Dumber which is my level of humour.

Christian: My choice might surprise a few people. Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a 2008 romantic comedy written by Jason Segel, who also stars in it with Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Russell Brand, who steals every scene he’s in. It’s pretty much the perfect movie. Great script, amazing acting, lots of belly laughs, a touch of sentimentality, and beautiful scenery. Watch the unrated version. It’s longer. “When life gives you lemons, just say ‘fuck the lemons,’ and bail.”

tumblr_lwdjerAX481qb9pa3o1_500.gif

Words to live your life by.

Renee: It’s a tie between Labyrinth and Dirty Dancing. I’m a sucker for fantasy and happy endings. I know, I don’t give a lot of happily ever after in my writing, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love it. Also, David Bowie and Patrick Swayze dancing around in tight pants? Come on.

Steve: The most influential movie in my life was without a doubt Evil Dead 2. It’s such a unique and interestingly handled schlock horror, and an iconic cult classic- often mimicked, never bettered. I first found this movie as a surly teenager, and there’s something about its low budget charm that really got me thinking about the mechanics of film making. What followed was ten years of plotting out my path to indie film making, which sadly ended when I realised no one was going to give me a big sack of money. Still, time spent on your passions is not time wasted. Shit, I think I can actually hear my student loans laughing at me…

giphy (10).gif

Now it’s your turn. Tell us what we should be watching.

 

Advertisements

What Are You Reading?

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. This week, let’s all share our favorite book. Yes, he expects us to narrow it down to just ONE. Sigh.

 

Christian: For me, this is almost impossible to answer. But I guess that’s the fun in trying. Of all the books I have ever read, probably the one that had the most lasting impact was Luke Reinhart’s Dice Man. It’s about a guy who gets sick of making decisions in life, so decides to literally roll a dice and leave everything to fate. It’s enlightening, and inspirational. I read it when I was at university, so I probably particularly impressionable. I even spent a few weeks living the dice life in Spain. It was an unforgettable time of personal growth. And beer.

giphy (7).gif

Peter: Impossible to choose one, you may as well ask me to pick a favourite limb (my right arm, if you are asking). But the ones that spring to mind first are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Noah Finn & the Art of Suicide by E. Rachael Hardcastle, and Red (extreme horror) by D.J. Doyle. That said, I’m also a big fan of Dr Seuss.

tumblr_m6qox2hgiL1qdlkkio1_500

Steve: The book I return to most often is Terry Pratchett’s Guards Guards. It’s a narrow favourite to all my other favourite Discworld books, but it’s still my favourite. I don’t think there’s any more of an appropriate view point to take in a fantastical city than those who have to arrest the drunks and sort out the domestic disputes. Guards Guards introduced us all to The Watch, and the no nonsense grizzled copper Sam Vimes. Some of the best Discworld stories gravitate around these wonderful characters.

Renee: I have a lot of favorite books. Narnia Chronicles, IT, The Handmaid’s Tale, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Outlander, The Mayfair Witches Series, Game of Thrones, and so many more that I’ve read more than once would have to be at the top of the list. I’m sure I’m forgetting some.

So, I’m not really answering the question.

lame

Liam: I believe that it is thermodynamically impossible for me to choose only one book as my favorite ever. There are just so many that have had a dramatic impact on my life, and that have influenced my writing. That being said, I’m going to pick one at random, and go with Dennis McKiernan’s Eye of the Hunter.

Katrina: Of course you’d ask me to choose ONE book. Sadist. I don’t know if it’s my FAVORITE of all my favorites (of which Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, and The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin rank pretty high), but I reread The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern at least once a year. It’s a multi-layered story with half a dozen points of view, unforgettable characters, vivid imagery, and an extraordinarily inventive circus that appears only at night and never announced in which two magicians battle each other using the circus as their chessboard and the performers and patrons as their pieces. Morgenstern is (supposedly) writing a new book—I’ve been waiting on something from her for YEARS—and I hope it can hold a candle to The Night Circus.

Mike: Impossible to answer, let the reader choose: Boneland where every word is imbued with power.

Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy as well as Blood Meridian. The Trilogy is a magnificent reminder that you cannot neatly divide history into self-contained epochs. In some parts of America (the Texan/Mexican border) the ‘old west’ still existed in 1900 its ghost lingering until 1952 where the trilogy ends. Blood Meridian on the other hand is firmly in the old west where sunsets are soaked in blood.

Wolfhall Hilary Mantell. After the first chapter you are so thoroughly in Thomas Cromwell’s head you can never get out, nor do you want to.

source.gif

Okay, now’s your chance to give a shout out to your favorite writers. Let us know which books you can’t forget.

August’s Deviant News and Books

In July, we had all kinds of things happening, and it looks like the Dolls won’t be slowing down in August.

First, C.M. Saunders is having a sale! Out of Time, Apartment 14F, No Man’s Land: Horror in the Trenches, and Human Waste are all 0.99 for a very limited time. Grab ‘em quick.

 

Find these and the rest of his books here:

author.to/Page

Saunders’s latest short story, Lakeside Park, is included in the anthology Terrors Unimagined out now on Left Hand Publishing.

TU-Cover_FRONT-SMALL

 

Lakeside Park is an old-fashioned creature tale about a down-on-his-luck, ex-alcoholic custodian who agrees to take a job looking after a remote caravan park deep in the Welsh valleys during the winter. Suffice to say he doesn’t get the anticipated peace and quiet.

 

 

Also, check out the super snazzy trailer!

https://youtu.be/ow4XfWt2q7w

You’ll also be able to find one of his drabbles, My Tormentor, on the Horror Tree on July 29th.

Meanwhile, on his blog, he takes an introspective look at Ringu, the original Japanese version of the seminal movie Ring. Next up for the RetView treatment is the Hammer Horror classic The Witchfinder General. Finally, , if you’re a non-fiction reader with a taste for the paranormal, he has an article on the Nelson Mandela Effect (false memory syndrome) in the latest issue of Fortean Times (FT368).

And we’ll never forget Steve Wetherell’s debut installment in the Authors and Dragons “Shingles” series, The Monkey’s Penis. In August, Steve’s second Shingles tale, “Put Your Hand in My Ass” will be available. Pre-order it now!

51MPUujLUuL

 

Will Monroe wants to be a famous entertainer more than anything, and he knows the high school talent show is the first step. Unfortunately he has no talent.

What he needs is a mentor. What he gets is Sloppy- an enchanted puppet with weird sexual proclivities and an extremely problematic approach to comedy.

Does Will have what it takes to make it in the cut-throat world of showbiz? And how deep is he willing to stick his hand to find out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

In July, Steve also had a story included in Beyond Midnight: Volume One.

61+tA+BvUQL._SY346_

 

Magic. Mystery. Mayhem.

Dive into the pages of this alluring anthology and enter a world of mystery and adventure. Stalk the streets of sprawling metropolis’ and hunt terrifying creatures. Explore towering cities where the supernatural is everyday and magic is as common as coffee.

Devour 13 all-new urban fantasy stories from debut and best selling authors.

Pick up your copy of Beyond Midnight today and join the adventure.

 

 

 

In July, Renee Miller released Eat the Rich, with Hindered Souls Press (audio and paperback coming very soon).

Eat-The-Rich-Front-Cover

Some fantastic reviews are already in from Book Review Village, Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews, Hellnotes, and more. Renee’s also been visiting a few blogs, including Kam’s Place, Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews, and Kendall Reviews. Renee also wrote a little thing called The Women We Should Be Writing over at Inkheist.

And if you missed it, check out her Eat the Rich podcast over at Deadman’s Tome. Lots of shits and giggles happening there. Also at Deadman’s Tome, look for Renee’s story BITER in The Meat Grinder contest. Stories should be up the first of August, so if you want her to win, you should go on over, read the story, like it (unless you hate it) and comment.

On August 14th, look for Renee’s dark comedy, Contractual Obligations, in Books and Boos Press’s “A Sharp Stick in the Eye” anthology.A Sharp Stick in the Eye—Front Cover

 

Renee will also be releasing Howl, an erotic horror novella, with Grinning Skull Press later this summer, as part of GSP’s Grave Marker series.

And finally, we missed it in July’s announcements, but it’s not too late to take advantage of the sale. So, Katrina Monroe’s Sacrificial Lamb Cake is just 99 cents from July 26th to 30th. Definitely take advantage of this awesome deal.

510Vh3qg+JL._SY346_

And that’s all for August (so far.) We’ll try to keep the excitement at this fever pitch in the fall as well.

 

 

Negative Nancy’s

Negative reviews suck. Doesn’t matter if the reviewer is making good points or if they’re just being malicious. They all suck. Each of us has our own way of dealing with them, right or wrong, and we thought this might help some of you dealing with the same for the first time, or maybe it’ll help you decide, as a reader, how to write that review that says you didn’t like a book at all.

Christian: If they have something constructive to say, I take what I can from them. Writing is a constant learning curve. I’m better at it now than I was when I was twenty, but if I wrote until I was three hundred, there would still be room for improvement. For some reason, though, most negative reviews just tend to be scathing and offer nothing of value whatsoever. That’s how you spot the malicious ones. They just say something like ‘Awful!’ or ‘Terrible!’ Thankfully, I haven’t had too many of them.

One of the worst ones I’ve had was from a woman who read my novel Sker House and called me a misogynist just because one of the characters (a 21-year old student) used the term ‘friend zone.’ That was harsh, and untrue. I would have liked the chance to explain to the woman that whatever our characters do or say, it isn’t a reflection of the writer’s core values. If it was, Thomas Harris would be a serial killer.

Renee: I try not to think about the negative reviews that don’t offer me some constructive criticism I can use to improve in the future. I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t had any truly nasty reviews. (Probably just jinxed myself.) There was one reviewer that called me and my book a man-hating, nazi-feminist, blah, blah, etc. All I could do is laugh and move on, because I can’t do much about that kind of thinking, even if it’s a totally inaccurate description of me and the book.

Most of the not so great ones at least tell me why they didn’t like the story/book. That’s helpful and I can use that moving forward. I’ll admit to bitching about them in private, though.

Steve: Poorly. Especially the ones that make a valid point. I hate those suckers.

Peter: I have been very lucky in not having received many negative reviews, and when they do come I’m way more confident now that I could take / ignore any criticism. The only 1 star review I have had was actually from a close family member, so that stung, but I don’t think they actually read the book.

Liam: I stalk them online and plot their death. Not really, I just shrug and move on. Just the fact that they actually read it counts as a win for me. Everybody has different likes and dislikes, and not everybody is going to like my stuff. They probably absolutely love something that I detest.

Michael: Purse my lips.

Katrina: I just pretend they aren’t there, like I do with ALL the problems in my life.

 

Flame Wars

By C.M. Saunders

I’ve had a few interesting experiences recently. My life is full of interesting experiences. I seem to attract them. But these particular interesting experiences involved social media. Wow. What a strange world we’ve created. Sometimes, it’s a free-for-all. Other times it’s worse.

A couple of weeks ago, a guy sent me a friend request on Facebook, closely followed by a copy-and-pasted ‘Please fund my Kickstarter’ message. He was trying to raise funds to make a horror movie. I replied, saying I would be happy to support him, if he would support me in return. If he would be so kind as to buy one of my books, I would make a donation to his Kickstarter scheme. Seems like a fair deal, right?

You know what he did? He blocked me.

Even Kickstarter guy couldn’t match another dude I ran into recently for pure assholery This guy claimed to be a ‘Hollywood Celebrity.’ I messaged him, out of genuine interest, and asked how he won this celebrity status. In all fairness, he took time out of his busy superstar schedule to respond with a chirpy, ‘Hard work, motherfucker!’

I replied with, ‘What work is that?’ Quite reasonable, I thought. I wanted to get to know my new celebrity friend. Yup, that sucker blocked me, too.

I HATE it when people block me. I rarely feel strongly enough to block others. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a universal rule. Some blockings are completely justified. Like the fake profiles fronted up by stolen pics of babes in bikinis that just want to spam your page with ads for sunglasses, or the ridiculously attractive Filipino girls who want you to send them money for a new phone. You can also add angry exes, potential sex offenders, terrorists, asylum seekers, and assorted gold diggers and career criminals to that list. But the truth is, it’s rarely so dramatic. Most blockings result from trivial online disagreements.

For example, you might be involved in one of those ridiculous group chats at two in the morning discussing the merits (or not) of Metallica’s new album, when someone disagrees with something you say and instantly hits the block button. That really gets my goat. It’s the equivalent of farting and leaving the room. What would happen if we all just blocked everyone who had a different opinion to us? Our narrow online world would soon be populated by a bunch of people who all think the same way we do. Our online world would become an echo chamber. And how boring would that be?

It’s a sad indictment of the human condition that most people just want to hear empty platitudes. They want their ego stroked. They want you to agree with them.

They want validation.

What they DON’T want is to be challenged. Some do, obviously. That’s why they actively seek out controversial topics and discussions and say ridiculous things, just to get a reaction. But the vast majority just want people to agree with them. Say how they are right, and everyone else is wrong.

Well, here’s an idea. How about us, as a race, manning the fuck up? If someone doesn’t agree with you, stand and fight your ground, put your ideas and opinion across in a calm, rational manner. Help the other person see things the way you do. Don’t just go crying off like a little gutless little prick. That’s weak.

Some people jealously guard their Facebook page, as if anyone actually cares what they say on it. They keep their ‘friends’ to a minimum and have rules like, ‘If I don’t know you in real life, I don’t want to know you on FB.’

That’s understandable. But it’s not how I roll. My Facebook page is a free-for-all. An open window into my life. Being a struggling indie writer (we’re all struggling) I need the exposure, so the more ‘friends’ I have and the more interaction I can promote, the better. It’s an integral part of my platform. I also move around a lot. I’ve lived in eight cities in three countries over the past decade or so. Facebook makes it easy to stay in touch with people who would otherwise disappear from my life. So yeah, my Facebook page is utter carnage.

One of my pet hates is people coming on to one of my social media profiles and telling me off. My pages are my domain, you may as well run in my house and yell at me. Not cool. The Brexit debacle of 2016, closely followed by the American election, prompted a whole new level of Internet assholery. One acquaintance wrote ‘Get a better brain, get better friends,’ on my wall then promptly unfriended me. I messaged him to ask what his problem was, and apparently my crime was ‘liking’ something he didn’t approve of. I shit you not.

In the resultant fallout from Brexit, I was called things I’d never been called before. Right wing thug, fascist, Nazi sympathiser.

The problem stemmed from the fact that at the time I had a red dragon as my cover picture on my Facebook page, because Wales were doing well at the Euros (it’s a football tournament). Some people decided that because I had a dragon on my page, I must be a racist. What’s gone so wrong with society that people confuse national pride with racism? When you take these accusers to task, they try to show their superior intellect by nit-picking. In one conversation I misplaced an apostrophe, in another I used the common abbreviation ‘U’ instead of ‘you.’ Both were jumped upon with great delight, as if that was the only thing that could justify their argument. MISPLACED APOSTROPHE? HA! YOU MUST BE A THICK RACIST!!

Not really, mate.

Block.

The saddest and most ironic thing of all was that these ‘Remainers’ who supposedly pride themselves on a liberal attitude and racial tolerance made a snap judgement based on a picture. That isn’t very tolerant. They believed what they WANTED to believe. They wanted to assume the moral high ground and label me a ‘Leaver’ and, by extension, right-wing fascist scum. The truth is, I didn’t even vote to leave. Okay, I didn’t vote to remain, either. I was one of the apathetic 27.3% who couldn’t be arsed to vote at all.

More recently, I made a tongue-in-cheek comment on a friend’s status, about him posting too many statuses, and one of his friends told me to go and kill myself.

Harsh.

And another block. I don’t need the hostility.

So what’s the takeaway from all this? Use social networks as tools, not weapons, and don’t be dicks.

That is all.

 

61yusXRXjwLX3, the third collection of fiction by C.M. Saunders featuring revised versions of stories taken from the pages of The Literary Hatchet, Siren’s Call, Morpheus Tales, Gore Magazine, Indie Writer’s Review and several anthologies, is available now. X3 also includes two previously unpublished stories, extensive notes, and exclusive artwork by the award-winning Greg Chapman. 

Meet the airline passenger who makes an alarming discovery, the boy who takes on an evil troll, an ageing couple facing the apocalypse, a jaded music hack on the trail of the Next Big Thing, the gambler taking one last spin, and many more.

 

Are You Indie?

by Renee Miller

What Is Indie? Fuck if I know anymore. I used to think I knew, but now I’m not sure. (I see all of you clamoring to give me a definition. Go on. If you must.)

I guess I should explain what made me ask this question. You see, I’ve published books myself. I’ve published fiction with magazines and small presses as well. I’ve had people say things like, “But I thought you were supposed to be Indie,” when I shared links to stories published in online magazines. My take away from that was they felt not publishing books/stories myself somehow makes me not Indie.

What is Indie, though? What does it mean? Well, the term indie doesn’t include just self-published authors. I know some of you are confused by this. Hell, I’m confused. Has the definition changed? I didn’t get the memo, but then, I’m terribly disorganized, so it might be here somewhere.

My understanding of indie is that it means “independent.” So this means a self-published author or one published by an independent or boutique publisher. Small press. Not one of the Big Five or Six, or however many of those are out there. Someone who self-publishes but also has traditionally published work is called hybrid.

The thing is, in my head, I prefer to use the term “author.” I’m an author. I write books. I like people to read said books. How those books get to the readers is really not important to me, as long as they get read. Publishers are awesome, because they take care of the tedious shit I don’t like to deal with, like formatting, cover design and finding my mistakes. Self-publishing is also awesome, because I’m in control. We know how much I like my control.

I don’t like either label because there’s so much stigma and judgment attached to both types of publishing. On one hand, we have these indie pricks with their low-quality, cheap books bringing everything down and ruining the industry for everyone. On the other hand, we’ve got these elitist traditional fuckers with noses stuffed firmly up their own asses. They think their shit don’t stink. Am I right?

None of that is true, of course. Each side struggles with stereotypes. I’ve dealt with self-pubbed authors who basically feel anyone who goes traditional for any reason is a traitor to the indie cause. (I’ve never been quite sure what that means. The bloody battle for mediocrity perhaps?) Why would I give a cut of those two dollars to someone else? (Sarcasm) There are also hard-core traditional authors who will wash their hands of colleagues who try the indie waters. How dare they step down from the golden pedestal to slum it with the unwashed masses?

My point is, this is all stupid. Why do we need labels? Yes, so the reader knows how you published… Is that really important if you’re putting good work out there?

I’m not ashamed of being an indie author. I take great pride in the fact that I conquered my fears of inadequacy and failure and published myself. I find no shame in being a traditionally published author either. I’m proud someone else sees value in what I’ve worked extremely hard to produce and are willing to put themselves out on a limb (even a short one) to help me get it out there.

Is there a problem with just calling ourselves authors and leaving it at that? I guess there is, because we’re all special snowflakes, blah, blah, and a label gives us a “place.” It helps readers know what we’re about and… I don’t know. Labels just define things, which, apparently, is very important.

No thanks. I’d rather be undefinable, because I’m the specialest of all the snowflakes. (More sarcasm.)

What do you guys think? As a reader, is it important to know if a book is indie or not? As an author, is there a reason you’d prefer to be considered one or the other?

July’s Deviant News and Books

 

We’ve got a few goodies coming in July, but first, let’s see what C.M. Saunders has going on right now. First, you can get Human Waste FREE from June 21st to June 25th.

human waste

 

Dan Pallister is a survivalist and prepper. Much to the annoyance of the people around him, he has been surviving and prepping since childhood. He just didn’t know what for. When he wakes up one morning to find the world overrun with bloodthirsty zombies it all becomes clear, and despite the fall of civilisation, he can’t wait to get started. He just needs to stock up on supplies from the local supermarket first.

But is everything what it seems?

Bonus Content:

Til death do us Part (short story)
No Man’s Land: Horror in the Trenches (exclusive extract)

WARNING: This book contains descriptions of graphic violence and/or sex, and is not suitable for children.

“A fast paced, disturbing read” – Amazon Reviewer

And he’s got a couple of new RetViews on his blog:

 

Thinner

thinner

 

It didn’t exactly set the box office alight, either. In fact, it barely broke even. But this is another example of a film overcoming an indifferent initial reaction to slowly evolve into an underground cult classic.

 

 

 

 

 

Eyes Without a Face

eyes

 

During its screening at the 1960 Edinburgh Film Festival, seven audience members reportedly fainted prompting director Franju to remark, “Now I know why Scotsmen wear skirts.”

 

 

 

 

 

And from Renee Miller, the long-awaited (not really, but she likes to be dramatic) weird horror novel, EAT THE RICH, will be released on July 13th by Hindered Souls Press.

Eat-The-Rich-Front-Cover

 

When Ed Anderson discards his life to become a homeless person, he has no idea of the shit storm about to happen. Almost overnight, the city’s homeless population spikes.

So does the murder rate.

Ed learns that aliens posing as homeless people are eating the city’s wealthiest residents. he tries to warn the police, but they think he’s crazy.

The situation is worse than Ed describes, though.

He’s right about the aliens. They’re here to free humans from wealth and poverty. The flesh of the rich is just a tasty reward for their hard work. And if humans refuse to embrace the utopia imagined for them, there is a Plan B:

KILL EVERYONE.

You can pre-order your copy now. It’s okay. We’ll wait. Oh, and this one will be available in audio book, so we’ll add those links to her books page as soon as that’s available.

And, because it’s Canada’s birthday next month, Renee’s put Sex, Peanuts, Fangs & Fur: A Practical Guide for Invading Canada on sale for just 99 cents from July 1st – July 7th. You can also get her bloody awesome short stories, HUNGER and KILLERS for free from July 1st – July 5th.

 

house, moody bkgrnd

 

And in case you missed it: This month, Michael Keyton announced his new release THE GIFT, which will be available on Amazon and such VERY soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

51DmpDRsQaL._SY346_

 

 

Also new in June, Tony Bertauski released The Roots of Drayton: A Drayton Chronicles Novel, which is available NOW.

You don’t want to pass on this one. It’s a fantastic series.

 

 

 

 

The Green Monster

We don’t like to admit that we’re jealous of other writers’ success, talent, or any of that, but let’s be honest, the green monster invades our hearts from time to time. Even the Dolls struggle with envy, but it’s a good thing. Makes you work harder so you can be the object of someone else’s envy right?

So, we decided to share the books we wish we’d written, for whatever reason.

Katrina: A recent book I wish I’d written was The Hazelwood. It incorporates original fairy tales into the narrative, it’s dark and twisty and original.

Liam: I wish I had written my idea of an historical fiction book about the prisoners of Dunbar (1650.) The research involved is just so daunting, I will probably never start it… and just wish it was behind me.

Steve: It’s tempting here to steal the success of other authors, but often books capture the zeitgeist for reasons not just connected to their quality or ideas, but by being the right book at the right time. My taking them could leave them languishing in obscurity. So too, it’d be tempting to claim a work I dearly love for my own, but would it then be as magical? Would I lose something by not discovering it? Best to go for utility here, so I’d wish I’d written Donald Trump’s biography. I mean, it’d make a lot of money, and it’s not as if he’d ever actually read it.

Michael: Boneland by Alan Garner. The dialogue crackles and there’s an economy of language that hints rather than spell everything out. It demands more from the reader because each word is loaded and no word is wasted. Flabby books you can skim.

Christian: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It’s fantastic. I learned more about the mind of a woman from that one book than I did from half a dozen failed relationships. Also, it sold about a gazillion copies and the movie ripped up Hollywood. I’d never have to work again.

Renee: I was going to say Gone Girl, because it’s one of those books you just can’t get out of your head, but even more haunting was The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. I think I wish I’d written almost everything I’ve read by her. She’s brilliant.

Also, kind of wish I wrote Fifty Shades of Grey, but better, and only for the money.

What about you? Any book you’ve read recently (or long ago) that you wish you’d written?

 

Take Us Away

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. Since it’s summer, when most people embark on holidays and gloriously awful family vacations, let’s all share our favorite holiday destination. Personally, I can’t afford a holiday, but let’s play along just the same.

Katrina: Hahahahahahahaha. Vacation? You’re hilarious.

Here’s a holiday destination for you: My living room, after the children have gone to bed, with a glass of bourbon sweating on the coffee table and something mind-numbing on the TV. Heaven.

Tony: Mountains. We like a good couple of days to day-hike and stay in a cabin with a view. Our current number one spot to visit next is the redwoods in California.

Liam: This one is easy… Okracoke Island North Carolina. Specifically, Howard’s Pub. The place isn’t what it was back when Buffy Warner, the original owner, was alive, but I still love the place. I will carry so many good memories of that most delightful spot for the rest of my life.

Peter: There are plenty of places I’d like to go, of course, but camping is a favourite. We go at least once a year and have a week in a field with food, drinks, and books. It’s also a great time to get some writing done (if you’ve read my story ‘21’ you may not want to go camping any time soon, though).

Christian: London is a great place to visit. Not such a great place to live, with all the noise, pollution, inflated prices and danger. I spent a long time in China, so I’m going to go for Pingyao, a little ancient village in Shanxi province not too far (in China terms) from Beijing. Most of the big cities in China have been modernised, which is probably a good thing, Pingyao hasn’t. It’s like walking through a film set. The whole place has a massive wall built around it, cars are mostly banned, and the local delicacy is Pingyao beef, which is a bit like corned beef. There’s even a beef museum there. A beef museum!

Renee: I don’t go on holiday, so I guess my favorite destination is right here at home. I’d love to go camping as often as I did as a kid. We’re in “cottage country” so there are a ton of great spots, some of which aren’t too touristy. But it doesn’t really matter where I go, as long as it’s quiet and relatively mosquito free. I’d rather avoid bears too.

You know what? I’ve never been to the Maritimes, but that’s on my bucket list, so while I’m not sure if it’ll be my favorite destination once I’ve gone, I’ll say it’s number one right now.

Mike: I’ve been lucky. Not everyone has walked down the Grand Canyon, and walked up again. More people have visited Pompeii, which is magical in a different way. There you swim through heat and stone into a deeper past. I’m usually not a fan of revisiting places, but Pompeii and America in general would tempt me. America especially. From early childhood I’ve fantasised about the early days of the ‘Wild West’. A lot of Liverpool kids did, to the extent of playing cowboys and Indians wearing World War II gasmasks found abandoned on railway sidings.  But first things first. The holiday destination this year is a cruise. Not because I’ve joined the pink jumper and cavalry twill brigade, fox trotting on giant floating cities. My dad was a Chief Officer in the Merchant Navy, and at fifteen I trained to become a ship’s cook intending to follow in his footsteps. Life took me by the scruff of the neck and threw me in a different direction, but I’ve never lost the urge to go to sea. Trouble is, I’m too old to be a ship’s cook now, and so the only way I’m going to ride the waves is via a cruise. During World War II he was on Atlantic Convoys, and several times did the Murmansk route. We’re off on a smallish ship to Iceland, which is somewhere between the two. A pilgrimage, you may say.

Your turn. Any holiday destinations you’d recommend? What about places you wish you never visited? We’d love to hear the story behind those.

June’s Deviant News and Books

What’s up with the Dolls this month? Well, it’s pretty quiet, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have something for you.

Last month, Michael Keyton released Anthony Trollope: Power, Land and Society 1847 – 1980

31154185_10156148952966777_2708272631576002560_nTrollope was no deviant. He was though a writer and describes a world long gone. As such, there is much to learn from him. And if you don’t feel the urge to read all of his forty-seven books, you can read just this one. It may even persuade you to give him a go. Failing that, check out Alan Rickman’s first starring role as Obadiah Slope in The Warden – key snippets available on YouTube.

One of Trollope’s last books, The Fixed Period reveals his vision of the 1980’s; one still dominated by steam and landed power. The British Empire remains intact, ruling unchallenged in lieu of America, which has fragmented. It explains the title of this book. For Trollope, landed power and its politics controlled the future. He could not foresee—or didn’t want to—any alternative. The sci-fi aspects of The Fixed Period are risible. His exploration of Euthanasia is, on the other hand, profound.

Books on Anthony Trollope have tended to emphasise the biographical, social convention or else offer analyses of Trollope’s moral code. There has been little, if anything, written about Trollope as the literary expression of a landed society during a period of flux.

Anthony Trollope: Power, Land and Society 1847 – 1980 makes the argument that Trollope’s canon constitutes a profound exploration of Nineteenth Century landed society, providing insights into the cultural and political mores of great and small landowners, as well as the economic opportunities and problems they faced during a period of transformation; his characters, too, subtly illustrate the dilemmas, moral and social that so many Victorians encountered as economic circumstances changed.

Get it here.

He’s also been busy spiffing up another new release THE GIFT, which will be available on Amazon and such VERY soon.

house, moody bkgrnd

Born in a Liverpool slum, Lizzie McBride is the daughter of an Irish seer who dies when Lizzie is barely twelve, leaving her in charge of two younger sisters and a grieving father. When her father commits suicide, Lizzie is caught between two worlds: An aunt and uncle who decide the three orphans would be better off with them in America, and her mother, who appears in a dream and urges her to stay. Just as they are about to board ship, Lizzie runs away and her life changes forever.

Pursued by her aunt, Lizzie cannonades into the young and charismatic magician, Aleister Crowley who takes her under his wing. He introduces her to Lady Gwyneth Morgan, daughter of the richest family in Wales and sister to the flamboyant occultist, Evan Morgan. At this point Lizzie doesn’t realise she has a gift; the ability to open Hell and control its greatest demons. When the occult world discovers this, governments and powerful individuals seek her out. Only one man can protect her: the magician John Grey.

Also new this month, Tony Bertauski will be releasing The Roots of Drayton: A Drayton Chronicles Novel on June 12. Pre-order now!

51DmpDRsQaL._SY346_

 

Drayton can’t leave the Lowcountry.

He once believed he was a vampire when he terrorized villages and slaughtered for blood. Now he absorbs essence from the dying’s final breath and rarely stays in one place. He has been in the Lowcountry far too long.

Everything is about to change.

After witnessing an elderly man’s death, Drayton vows to protect his wife. He assumes the job of her gardener in Charleston’s historic district. But when a young woman named Amber enters the garden, he soon questions who he is protecting.

And from whom.

Drayton will finally discover why he has roamed the planet for so long. He will learn the purpose of his existence and why he has absorbed human essence all of his life. Before he uncovers his roots, he will return to his blood-thirsty days of old.

For the first time, Drayton will become the prey.

 

And in case you missed it, last month, P.J. Blakey-Novis announced the launch of Boxes of blood.

THFLo2Dc_400x400

 

 

 

Boxes of Blood, a new service, offers ‘mystery boxes’ of hand-picked horror books delivered to your door. Available in a variety of sizes, and including exclusive tote bags and bookmarks, Boxes of Blood is an essential service for horror readers everywhere. And with a library of almost one hundred books, and counting, no two boxes will be the same!

 

Stay informed about this awesomeness at;

www.facebook.com/horrortoyou

www.twitter.com/redcapepublish

www.instagram.com/boxesofblood

And looking forward to July, keep your eyes peeled for Renee’s weird horror novel, EAT THE RICH, which will be released by the awesome Hindered Souls Press.

Eat-The-Rich-Front-Cover

When Ed Anderson discards his life to become a homeless person, he has no idea of the shit storm about to happen. Almost overnight, the city’s homeless population spikes.

So does the murder rate.

Ed learns that aliens posing as homeless people are eating the city’s wealthiest residents. he tries to warn the police, but they think he’s crazy.

The situation is worse than Ed describes, though.

He’s right about the aliens. They’re here to free humans from wealth and poverty. The flesh of the rich is just a tasty reward for their hard work. And if humans refuse to embrace the utopia imagined for them, there is a Plan B:

KILL EVERYONE.

And if you’ve been under a rock, you might not know that Steve Wetherell has re-released THE LAST VOLUNTEER with Falstaff Books, AND he was at ConCarolinas with his Authors and Dragons besties. For more details, and a few good laughs, check out the podcasts and the book.

51-1Egr4TBL._SY346_

Fans of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – your long wait for a successor is over!

The fate of the world lies with one man: Bip Plunkerton.

Talentless psyentist and frequent drinker at The Empty Goat, young Bip Plunkerton will follow in his father’s footsteps as a Volunteer…footsteps that have yet to return from the wilds of the wide world outside.

Traverse the harsh weather of the formidable Ice Plains, navigate the Boiling Sea, and suffer the ravaging heat of the Bone Desert. Bip’s impossible task, continually thwarted by the semi-corporeal Mr. Random, is to warn the rest of the world of the coming doom of the Massive Ball of Death hurtling through space.

Will the last volunteer be any more successful than the first? Will Bip save planet Bersch from a fate set into motion millennia before?

Probably not, but we can likely drag this question out for a couple more books, though. Right?

Finally, Renee and Christian were both included in Digital Horror Fiction’s new collection, DIGITAL HORROR FICTION VOLUME 1.

41EeO94HjoL

Inside you’ll find Renee’s horror story, WHERE THERE IS LIFE and Christian’s bloody tale, ROADKILL, along with a few other pretty awesome horror authors.

And that’s all for now. Stay tuned for next month’s news, and keep an eye on our Books pages for anything we may have missed here.