Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Release: Gravity Comics Massacre

Press Release from Bizarro Pulp Press!
Vincenzo Bilof's novella is on the way. The book cover has been finalized. We are in the editing stages now and should see that bad boy out very soon. The art was done by Sarah VonKain. 
A mind-bending trip down the rabbit hole of terror where aliens, comic books, and nightmares are painted onto a blood-red canvas…
Damien Shears is the best artist alive, but his favorite pastime is killing people. Armed with a pen designed by aliens, Damien illustrates his victims until they fall asleep; in their dreams, they confront their worst nightmares while Damien visits atrocities upon their flesh. His famous comic store has become the perfect tourist attraction for a group of five burn-outs who're looking for a place to party. Reality and dreams collide for the sake of murder and art; the aliens need more data for their analysis of human fear, and people will have to die.
"GRAVITY COMICS MASSACRE is a wild, fast-paced ride into the strangest sectors of your imagination. I dare you to read it without a smile carved into your face; unique and adorably quirky, you can't help but finish this in one sitting. Vincenzo Bilof is what bizarro fiction has been missing."
--Max Booth III, author of They Might Be Demons
"For original, literate, Horror that swings between the bizarre and the profane, look no further than Bilof's inventive rendition of the darkest Horror tropes. You might just get what you don't expect!"
--William Cook, Editor of Fresh Fear and author of Blood Related.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Washing Machine Holocaust by Alan Spencer

Tonight is Larry Koche's final shift working at "Get Loaded," a self-service laundry mat that has been bought out by a mysterious new owner. Larry's shift reveals what the new owner is really planning to do with the business, and those sinister washing machines. 

Washing Machine Holocaust is exactly what you think it is. Flying body parts, survival horror, double mutilation, surreal terror, and self-reflection loom in Larry's future. Can he save himself from the vicious washing machine's spin cycle of horror? 

Fear not life.

Fear not death.

Fear the washing machine.

*Washing Machine Holocaust has been deemed too graphic for general audiences by The American Literary Board of Public Decency. The risk is entirely yours!!!


An Ode to Gore 

Amazon stars 5/5

Alan Spencer knows the horror industry, and it continues to show in his latest bizarro offering: "Washing Machine Holocaust." Why does his knowledge matter? Spencer is an unforgiving author who punishes the reader with relentless amounts of gore and pain; while there is a metaphor and a theme embedded in his work, he doesn't hit you over the head with it. You can explore the work on a deeper level or accept it for the entertaining ride through the ocean of blood-red laundry detergent.

With each new chapter, I kept thinking things would improve for the protagonist, that somehow, Spencer would show a little mercy. Not only does this story shower you with gore, but I felt as if I could feel the pain and horror. Not many authors can pull that off. I didn't have any personal connection to the protagonist, but I wanted the story to just STOP torturing the poor guy. I wanted to feel the relief for this man just as I felt his agony; I knew while reading the story that I didn't care about the main character, but Spencer assaulted the reader's sensations with his details that were simple yet effective; this short tale is accessible and entertaining with vivid imagery, another difficult feat managed well by the author.

A criticism that any reader might have is that the book drags on with its sequences; the book could've contained one of the scenes and moved on to another character or just end altogether. I would argue that the visceral horror is designed to work toward a goal. From another writer's perspective, I feel that Spencer allowed the character to find the resolution on his own in the time that he needed to do it, which allows for the horror to feel more palpable for the reader. Indeed; this story is a fantasy like anything else that will greet you when you close your eyes, so anyone looking for "realism" (whatever that means to the world of fiction) should read something else. If you want to read Spencer's love letter to gore you'll be rewarded with an experience that goes beyond storytelling, just as Larry ventured beyond his isolated laundromat universe...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Next Big Thing-Necropolis Now: Zombie Ascension Book One

What is the title of your latest book? 

My latest novel is called Necropolis Now: Zombie Ascension. The book is available from Severed Press. 

Where did the idea come from for the book?
For this particular novel, I concentrated on the concept of redemption. Most of the characters and images that comprise the novel are heavily inspired by dream-sequences and music. For this book, the musical artists Deadmau5, Frou Frou, Drake, Deftones, and Sigur Ros heavily inspired large portions of the plot.

What genre does your book fall under?

Necropolis Now: Zombie Ascension is a horror novel.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?    

Amparo Vega- This haunted mercenary would be played by Michelle Rodriguez, who would capture Vega's badass demeanor while her desperation would be simmering on the surface.

 James Traverse-The villain of this novel is a professional mercenary and madman who refers to himself as a "homicidal artist" and "the patron saint of pain." A former super-soldier, he has been tormented by an experience in Egypt, in which he learned that he might be able to acquire demonic powers in the midst of an undead apocalypse. Daniel Craig would be perfect, and nobody would ever expect him to take on such a role.

Vincent Hamilton-A famous arms dealer in Detroit, Vincent is a former soldier who has become unhinged by the zombie apocalypse, though he learns how to cope with it and become the man he never thought he could be. Mekhi Phifer would be ideal.

Bob Fields-A professional soldier, he has been hunting Traverse for a long time. A grizzled veteran who loves combat, an bearded Robert Deniro would be perfect for the character who assumes a fatherly role over Amparo Vega.

Mina Neely-Lindsay Lohan would need green contacts and would have to have almost porcelain skin for the role, but she could play the deranged cannibal. Whenever Mina dreams, zombies devour her flesh, and the only way to stop these nightmares is for her to eat the flesh of the living. Her mind serves as a temporal gateway for the dead, and she is horrified to learn that the zombie menace is indeed real.

Patrick Griggs-Griggs is a former homicide detective whose obsession with adult films led him into a relationship with Mina Neely, who coincidentally ate another actor while Patrick tried to film them together. Even though Mina has been institutionalized, she's all he has left, and if he finds her, he hopes to restore his film studio to prominence. Patrick just happens to love using a Desert Eagle magnum, something Mel Gibson could pull off very well.

Desmond Hunter-He grew up in poverty and watched his mother succumb to crack addiction while he raised his brother, Jerome, who ended up becoming a junkie. Desmond became a lawyer; he's a crusader who will stop at nothing to succeed, and he feels extremely responsible for Jerome. Desmond has just opened up his own law practice, and his first client is one Patrick Griggs, who wishes to sue the state of Michigan because they've barred him from selling videos that depict his former actress-turned-cannibal, Mina Neely. Desmond is given a video of Mina to help create a psychological profile, but he hardly knows what this video really is…

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

While the undead menace threatens to destroy the city of Detroit, an elite cadre of mercenaries is dropped in to find a deranged killer who might be the key to stopping the zombie outbreak.  

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?
I am working with Severed Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Three months. The first draft was complete at the end of August, 2012.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The only books that come close are Epidemic of the Dead by P.A. Douglas, and Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry. Any other zombie books that have military action might be close, too, although I haven't read too many of them. 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for this book came from dreams and music.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Mercenaries, sex, violence… there are a lot of bullets, and there are a lot of zombies. Most of my characters are "damned" people who must find some way to understand themselves better in order to survive the cataclysm. This story involves an ensemble cast, as the book uses character perspectives for chapters while the stories finally collide in the emotional climax. Vega, the protagonist, is a Shakespearean character, whose flaws lead her into an abyss of war and terror. 

Full Synopsis:

Detroit has become a war zone. Slow, shambling corpses feast upon the living while fire consumes the city. 

Amparo Vega, a haunted mercenary, fights through streets that are choked with the dead. Her mission: extract the legendary soldier, Jim Traverse, who holds the terrifying secret behind the zombie epidemic.

While the bullets fly, Traverse befriends a group of survivors whose fates are forever linked to his: an infamous gangster, a young lawyer, and a former detective struggle against the zombies together.

Can Vega's elite cadre of mercenaries find Traverse before the epidemic becomes global? 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Creep by William Cook

(Short Story - approx 8,500 words + Novel Excerpt from Blood Related)

Be careful who you get into a car with, even if that car is a taxi! A dark story of a young girl's date with death. CREEP is a story that will leave you on the edge of your seat until the gripping climax which is unexpected and will leave the reader cheering for more. Serial Killers don't always get away with murder, no matter how hard they try. 

CREEP, is the first story in an exciting and gritty new psychological thriller series. Cassandra: Hunter of Darkness, is a hero to the victim and a merciless angel of death to the evil ones. A killer of killers, she strikes fear into the hearts of those who get their kicks off hurting others. Join Cassandra on her quest for justice and revenge as she begins her journey into the dark underbelly of serial murder and takes care of business as only she knows how.



Amazon Stars 5/5

An origin story drenched in blood, "Creep" is an excellent precursor to an intriguing premise. By reading the title and the story synopsis, readers will know what to expect from this tale, but Cook's method of introducing his new brand of madness is where the intrigue lies. 

Cassandra's development is the result of the detailed writing that Cook uses to capture the sensory deprivation and overload; emotions broil over in stomach-churning revelation. The story is a moment of self-discovery for Cassandra; with so many torture movies and stories on the market, the audience is quite familiar with this scenario. However, this story is the chrysalis; Cassandra's physical and emotional transformation is revealed through the amount of detail Cook pours into the environment around her. On the literal level, "Creep" offers visceral scares and bestial symbolism to explain Cassandra's moment. 

Read by itself without any further context, "Creep" stands by itself well enough. It's a quick read if you allow yourself a quiet, dark place to read with low light. Cook continues to improve as a writer; there are still some moments / actions that are characterized through "telling" rather than showing, but this remains a personal preference of mine. Personally, I don't think Cook necessarily has to include this origin story in the upcoming novel; it can be referred to in scattered flashback moments, because this is rather a complete episode in Cassandra's life. 

Considering what the story is designed to achieve/explain, Cook delivers upon his promise: the terror is personal and life-changing for Cassandra, and he explains why with well-crafted imagery and moments of revulsion. 

Side note: Cook included one of my favorite scenes from his highly recommended novel, "Blood Related." There's enough entertainment value in this package to turn lovers of serial killer horror into William Cook fans.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Zombie Rules: Why Should Zombies Misbehave?

When I used to work a video store, the zombie films were always categorized under the "Horror" placard. Since then, I've always associated zombies with the horror concept; and yes, I'm going to use the "Z" word over and over again.


At one point, I decided to write a horror novel that would include "zombies." Well… the evil scientist in the novel describes his creations as zombies because he believes that a dead person who loves to eat human flesh should be called such. I'm talking about Nightmare of the Dead, a book I would love to write a sequel for. Unfortunately, the book is a horror novel and not a zombie story; I didn't know there was a difference until recently.

I hate the argument that one person's description of a zombie is not "realistic." Are you kidding me? That's like saying the ghost sitting across from me isn't really a ghost because it's not wearing a bow-tie  We're talking about walking corpses that, for some reason, like to eat people. Maybe the "walkers" run, maybe they walk; in some stories, they talk, or think. Sometimes, zombies use tools! Sometimes zombies like to eat brains, and sometimes they vomit all over you. 

From what I've learned, a zombie story is supposed to feature a bunch of "average" people (now I'm getting upset, can't you tell?) who run around trying to survive while "killing" things that are already dead--things that can't be called "zombies" because that word is overused…

What's an "average" person? Are there people in your neighborhood who know how to use firearms? Are there nurses, electricians, hunters, criminals, policemen, firefighters--don't these people exist? Why is it scary when someone who has few "survival skills" is attacked by monsters / zombies? Isn't it scarier when someone who has specialized training which can help them survive a catastrophe learns their skills can't help them? What's "average" about someone who can swing a katana without any formal training in swordsmanship and sever both flesh and bone, without consideration to the blade's actual composition.

I guess I'm getting confused about zombie stories again. They're not horror stories. They're not supposed to be scary. They're supposed to be confined to a series of rules so that people can easily distinguish what a "zombie" book is even when the word "zombie" isn't used in the story at all. To make sure I can sell stuff, I'm going to make sure I basically clone either a television show, video game, or book because it's getting consumed on a mass scale and it follows the "rules."

Rules and art don't mix; creativity and innovation are stifled, but I guess writers aren't artists…

Shane and Griggs: Foils in Zombie Fiction

While writing the second book in the Zombie Ascension series (Queen of the Dead), I keep thinking one of my characters is a lot like another character in a wildly popular television show. It's not intentional and some of the comparisons are weak, but I think both characters underscore important ideas.

Patrick Griggs, a former police detective who was fired from his job because he came apart at the seams; he couldn't keep his family life together, due in part to his addiction to pornography. He shares a lot of traits that Shane exhibits in The Walking Dead. Yes—Shane. You remember Shane, don't you? How are they similar? Why does it matter? 

Let's answer the first question. Griggs has been exposed to violence. He worked in Detroit's homicide department, his career choice heavily influenced by his father's police career. From his first crime scene, Griggs accepted violence and murder as nothing more than common occurrences; blood and death weren't a big deal. He married and had kids because it was something men were expected to do, in his opinion. Secretly, he enjoyed coming to work, but gradually became unhappy because he didn't feel fulfilled. The depravity and dehumanization of porn influenced him to jump into the porn business after his wife left him and his detective career had been lost. 

Shane may've also seen his share of violence; he's also used to making difficult choices. He'll do anything to survive once the zombie apocalypse begins, and he firmly believes that he's always doing the right thing for the good of the group. He's a pragmatist, and holds no illusions about what's at stake. He'll go to any lengths to get what he wants, including murder. Like Griggs, Shane's primary goal is to reunite with the woman he loves more than anything. Both men have felt misunderstood, but Griggs has Mina, and Shane has Lori. Or so they think.

Griggs and Shane are both selfish people, but as we learn more about their ideals, we see how far gone these men have become; they've rationalized their violent actions as part of a belief system that keeps them alive. This blind faith in a methodology does not make them right; they're counters to moral "correctness" in a world where morality may have expired with the milk everyone left in the refrigerators. They’re both tortured men--we want to sympathize with them, but we often decide not to because they're "bad" men. 

Both of these characters are important because they provide balance to their stories; they're fates are embedded and conflicted with the protagonists'. They don't represent evil, but rather provide the questions. They often serve as a quasi-Greek chorus, questioning whether or not morality still reigns in a world gone mad, or helping us discover it all over again. Just as Griggs is the counterpoint to Vega's crusade to find innocence in the wreckage of her life, Shane—and the Governor—provide the counterargument to Rick's morals. 

These characters aren't always antagonists. They're foils—and they've been a part of the Western storytelling tradition for centuries. They're important to a story for obvious reasons. By the time Queen of the Dead is unleashed upon the world in mid-July, I'll finally know whether or not Griggs will be around in the final book.

Author Spotlight- TY SCHWAMBERGER

Gabe, Alan and Erin have just finished their junior year of college. What better way to celebrate than one last night out as a trio? Doing the same as always, they visit a bar. This time, however, they decide to try somewhere new: The Torchlight Inn. They are eager to make it a night to remember.

During their time at the shabby bar they come face-to-face with seedy bar-patrons, a biker gang and one strange-acting bartender named T-Bone. But all is well until Alan and Erin mysteriously disappear, leaving Gabe to try to find his friends and somehow pay the bar-tab.

Little do any of them know the secrets the place holds beneath its cracked floorboards.

Where a whole new kind of horror awaits them.

On their way to Las Vegas for a weekend of debauchery; Dawn, Cindy and Morgan decide to stop at a greasy spoon to get some grub. Mel's Diner looks like a decent enough place and their advertised 'best burgers this side of Vegas' entice the girls to give it a try. While at the diner; they eat, make fun of the restaurant's patrons and finish the meal off by doing the most sacrilegious thing a customer can do - skip out on their bill.

What ensues is a large truck with its headlights off following them along a deserted stretch of road, a blinding light that causes them to almost wreck, a few shotgun blasts, a long walk down a dark road and some horrific events that unfold inside a cabin deep in the woods. Is it the diner's owner coming to collect on girl's tab or someone with more than just money on their mind? What do they want? What is the driver of the truck willing to do once they come to an abrupt stop on the side of the road?

The three college friends will find out soon enough.

Ty Schwamberger is a growing force within the horror genre. He is the author of a novel, multiple novellas, collections and editor on several anthologies. In addition, he's had many short stories published online and in print. Two stories, 'Cake Batter' (released in 2010) and 'House Call' (coming in 2013), have been optioned for film adaptation. He is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association. You can learn more at:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

REVIEW: Zombie Revelations by Dene Bebbington

Many would endure the torment of the night to come but not survive to bear witness. By morning their flesh would be scattered, filling the sarcophagus guts of the undead. This town – all towns – would become a living morgue. Countless battles between the forever hungry and the true living, survivors in locked homes, enclaves defended and lost, civilisation eviscerated, charnel streets; this was evolution's unnatural selection in action.

The Post-Industrial Zombie Apocalypse 

4/5 Amazon Stars

The zombie apocalypse crashes a wedding, and the characters are forced to survive the aftermath in misery and fear. The premise is basic but the quality of writing is anything but; the author's use of imagery from the first page establishes a consistent tone throughout. The prose is descriptive but not overbearing, which is refreshing because I enjoy work that uses a greater range of vocabulary without seeming forced or plucked out of a thesaurus. As an American reader, I enjoy the changes in lexicon; most work from the UK tends to stray from cultural vernacular, which might be an attempt to lure a more "American" audience. However, I think the story has far more credibility when the setting is used appropriately and norms are observed.

There isn't anything overly original in this tale, and I loved the twist; I think the concept should be explored more thoroughly. This story would've worked better as a longer piece or the promise of some continuation, as I was left wanting more. The amount of characters in the story was a bit much, considering there wasn't enough to room to provide characterization, or even have a chance to differentiate between the survivors. In a way, this serves to further isolate the characters, which works considering how the setting's description parallels the sense of eroding normalcy.

A quick zombie read that does a great job of underscoring the isolation and desperation the characters face, with excellent, well-edited prose and an authentic setting. This author could really do some damage with a longer work. I was provided an opportunity to review this work; I look forward to reading more of Bebbington's work in the future.