Friday, March 30, 2012

New Demon Hunter album releases April 10, 2012

Three new songs from Seattle based metalcore band Demon Hunter's new album TRUE DEFIANCE have been posted to YouTube. Details and tracklist below:

TRUE DEFIANCE tracklist:

1. Crucifix
2. God Forsaken
3. My Destiny
4. Wake
5. Tomorrow Never Comes
6. Someone To Hate
7. This I Know
8. Means To An End
9. We Don't Care
10. Resistance
11. Dead Flowers

The Deluxe Edition includes these two bonus tracks:

12. What Is Left
13. I Am A Stone

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Coming in From the Cold: A Review of Mike Duran's Winterland

Mike Duran's 27,000-word dark fantasy, Winterland, is a quick read, but rich in story and symbolism. The novella, which reads like Pilgrim's Progress through an apocalyptic looking glass, centers on Eunice, a recovering junkie who must travel the dark recesses of her mother's mind in a quest to save her soul.

Confused? Don't be. As usual, Duran deftly weaves enough explanation into his story to get you on the same page, without infodumping the reader into a backstory-laden stupor. 

(From the book description)

Summoned into her dying mother’s coma, recovering addict Eunice Ames must traverse a surreal, apocalyptic dreamscape in search of three generational spirits who have imprisoned her mother’s soul.
Together with Joseph, a crippled drifter who serves as her guide, Eunice treks an abandoned highway strewn with debris from her mother’s “emotional” wars. Along the way, she encounters Mister Mordant, a perpetually whiny grub, Reverend Ash a fragile, supremely self-righteous minister, and Sybil, a beautiful sylph with a knack for deception. Eunice and Joseph endeavor to lead this peculiar brigade into the hell of her mother’s making, through the swamp of Mlaise and the volcanic plains of Cinder, to the Dark Throne where they were forged. Along the way, Eunice experiences, in awful living color, the forces that have shaped her mother’s descent into madness and disease.
Yet a more malevolent power conspires against Eunice. For not only is she forced to relive the psychological terrain of her own upbringing, she must now confront the darkness it has spawned... the one inside her. It seems Eunice has harbored horrors of her own; years of abuse, rejection, and generational sin have taken root. And no amount of psycho-babble and positive thinking can withstand the literal monster that is waiting at the end of this highway. Can Eunice destroy the spirits that have cursed her family and rescue her mother, or will the sun set on their hell forever? 

Immediately engaging, Duran has crafted a novella that grabs hold and demands to be finished. In 27,000 words, he builds a world interesting enough to entertain, with characters you really care about. 

Winterland is available for 99 cents at Amazon.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How About Some New Soul Embraced?

How about that Cthulu imagery? 
Christian metal band Soul Embraced is leaving Solid State, their home of ten years, and heading for the indie label Rottweiler Records (run by Shawn Browning of Grave Robber) for their new album, "Mythos."

Made up, in part, of members of long-time metal favorites Living Sacrifice, Soul Embraced has been serving up the brutal for a decade -- and not without being noticed.

You know that great Evanescence tune, Tourniquet?  Yeah, that's their song.

The new release, their sixth, does not have a release date as of yet, but Browning promises it will be out "soon." You can find details at the Rottweiler store.

In the meantime, here's a taste:

Free Fiction: Teric Darken's KILL FM 100

Teric Darken's KILL FM 100 is available free for Kindle, today only. Pick up your copy at Amazon.

(From the book description) 

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned... and Killer Queen is back with a vengeance!
KILL FM 100 (Night Shift Edition) is the expanded and revamped version of the thrilling original! Containing ten additional chapters and an extended storyline, brace yourself for the thrill-ride rush of this high-octane, adrenaline injected, 2010 Grace Awards finalist (voted top three, Thriller genre, original edition)! 

Disc jockey Carter "The Cart-Man" Jackson has been climbing the stairway to heaven - keeping his life as simple as possible by living from one song to the next. He had the world by the tail, coming from a family of power, prestige and politics... until he let it all go.

Killer Queen is burning up the highway to hell - terrorizing a town in her crimson-red stilettos by holding random men at gunpoint. She had nothing except a dad who abused her... and now she has nothing to lose. 

KILL FM 100 is the visual soundtrack of two opposing lives colliding head-on at a destined radio station. As Killer Queen puts the DJ under the gun during his night shift, she begins to question who the real hostage is as she confronts the demons of her past. And as the DJ shines his light into her darkened world, a few shadows of his own begin to loom from his closet. 

A full-throttle storyline, injected with one of the most unique twists ever unleashed, KILL FM 100 is the thriller that reads like a soundtrack.
There's a time for everything under heaven. Killer Queen knows there's a time to kill.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Short Story writer Walt Staples Passes

Honestly, we don't know
whether this is Walt or not;
it's just the only pic associated
with his name on the whole
Sources at Splashdown Books revealed Thursday that Walt Staples, a regular contributor at AFitD sister publication Digital Dragon, has passed away. With published works in several publications, Walt was well known as a member of the Catholic Writer's Guild, as well as for his contributions to Splashdown multi-author project Avenir Eclectia.

Also known as G.K. Fields, Walt contributed as well to our short-lived digest (his story, "Lord of the Dance," can be read here).

Walt also wrote two of our favorite zombie stories, which were published at Digital Dragon.
Gated Community
Going Postal... But Slowly

Walt was a unique, interesting, and always entertaining voice in the Christian fiction community, and he will be missed for his sense of humor and heart for the work, for his friendship, and his generosity of spirit.


Dekker Reveals New Cover

Ted Dekker has announced his new book, The Sanctuary, will be released in October. He unveiled the new cover on his facebook page in February. 

Book Description from Amazon

The Sanctuary is the gripping story of vigilante priest, Danny Hansen, who is now serving a fifty year prison term in California for the murder of two abusive men. Filled with remorse, Danny is determined to live out his days by a code of non-violence and maneuvers deftly within a ruthless prison system. 
But when Renee Gilmore, the woman he loves, receives a box containing a bloody finger and draconian demands from a mysterious enemy on the outside, Danny must find a way to escape.
They are both drawn into a terrifying game of life and death. If Renee fails, the priest will die; if Danny fails, Renee will die. And the body count will not stop at two.
The Sanctuary is Ted Dekker at his best, a powerful thriller that relentlessly plumbs the depths of punishment and rehabilitation, both in a flawed corrections system and in the human heart. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Burnout to Breakout: An Interview with Mike Duran

If you have an interest in Christian horror or suspense, and spend any time at all on the internet, chances are pretty good you've heard of Mike Duran. On his popular blog deCOMPOSE, Duran tackles subjects ranging from society and culture to theology to writing and horror. If you haven't checked his blog, it is one we at AFitD highly recommend.
Of course, Mike Duran does much more than blog. His second novel, The Telling, is coming out in May 2012 from Realms. His first, The Resurrection (Realms) was an INSPY finalist and was reviewed here.

We were fortunate to chat with Mike about his latest book, his own inspirations, and the state of Christian horror. 

A Flame in the Dark: You became a minister shortly after your conversion to Christianity. After eleven years in the ministry you stepped away and began to pursue writing. What prompted the transition, if it can be called that, from minister to author of Christian supernatural Suspense like The Resurrection?

Mike Duran: Wow, that’s a long story. I got into the ministry as a young man and a new Christian. I had a wife, four kids, and was on a steep learning curve. The statistics are pretty staggering. The average pastor lasts only five years at a church, whether it’s due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or in-fighting amongst members. For me, it was an issue of burnout. I was tired.

After I left the ministry, I kind of drifted. I didn’t jump straight into writing. In fact, I had no idea that’s what I’d end up pursuing. Went back into the construction field, spent time with the family, played video games on my down time. But I was spiritually dissatisfied. This went on for three or four years. At the time, I subscribed to World Magazine. They sponsored a fiction contest by Westbow and I decided, rather out of the blue, to enter. I’d never written fiction. But years in the pulpit had taught me how to work with words and engage an audience. To my surprise, out of literally thousands of entries, the story received an honorable mention. That affirmation sort of got the ball rolling on a possible writing career.

AFitD: Your first book features a rather ambiguous Spirit character named Mr. Cellophane. And, not to give anything away to readers who haven't yet had the pleasure, he is something quite different from the expectations many may have of a book coming from a former pastor. Was there -- and is there -- a conscious effort on your part to deal with issues and characters generally untouched in other Christian fiction?

MD: Yeah. I think you could say that. One of the things I learned in the ministry was that there’s a certain scrim of silence churchgoers tend to draw around issues. We place unreal expectations upon our ministers. We demonize certain subject matter. As a result, we insulate ourselves against the world. It’s a dangerous, dangerous tendency. When I started interacting with Christian fiction writers, I saw the same thing. There are incredible parallels between where the American church is at and where Christian fiction readers are at. I realize I’m not the only author doing this, but pushing past the scrim of safety and creating unconventional Christian characters is something I’m really desirous of doing.

AFitD: Your website makes plain you consider yourself a Christian writer -- and certainly anyone who's read your work would be hard-pressed to disagree -- but many try to avoid the "horror" label. Do you consider yourself a horror writer?

MD: I think so. But I’m also hesitant to label myself any one thing. However, I admit: I am fascinated by the psychology of horror. I’m slowly developing a thesis that horror and holiness are connected. The writer of the Book of Hebrews said, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31 NIV)." That “dread” is directly related to God’s holiness. Perhaps the most horrific reality of Scripture is the reality that every soul must give account before the Most Perfect Being in Existence. Now that’s scary! The horror genre has been hijacked by the gore industry and, as Christians are wont to do, we throw out the baby with the bathwater. Nevertheless, I hate to camp in the same place too long. Some of my future story ideas are not straight horror. However, I think I’ll always gravitate to paranormal / supernatural / spiritual themes.

AFitD: You have a new book, The Telling, coming out in May. What can you tell us about the book?

MD: The Telling was, to date, the most difficult and the most rewarding writing project I’ve undertaken. In the preface to The Shining, Stephen King talks about a “crossroads novel,” a choice a writer faces, often early in their career, to “do what you have done before, or try to reach a little higher.” I won’t say The Telling is my crossroads novel, but I definitely wanted to “try to reach a little higher.”

For one, it was the first book that I actually had to write under deadline. It’s hard enough trying to be creative and original; try doing it under a deadline. It’s a very stressful experience, which makes me admire even more those writers who perpetually live in that state. Conceptually, I wanted to do more with The Telling than my first book. I was getting my sea legs with The Ressurection and purposely made choices to make that novel more manageable. I limited my POV’s to two and cut a story swath that I felt was workable. In The Telling, I pushed for more – more POV characters, more action, bigger story, more bodacious concept. It even includes a little romance! All that to say, I’m very proud of The Telling and hope readers will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

AFitD: Finally, what's on the horizon? Any other projects in the works?

MD: I am currently working on an Urban Fantasy tentatively entitled "The Ghost Box." I’m blazing and, for the first time, the story really seems to be writing itself. I’m about 1/3 of the way through it. It’s different from my first two novels in that I am writing in first person POV; the story is also very noir-ish and paced like a graphic novel. I have other ideas – including a non-fiction project -- but it’s on the far back burner. This year, I’ll be attending a couple writers conferences, even teaching at one. So things are pretty busy and really exciting.

Thanks to Mike Duran for allowing us this interview. See also his dark fantasy novella, Winterland. Review coming soon.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

New & Notable - Kindle releases and free reads 3/3/2012

J.M. Rawbone's Bunker (J-Bona Enterprises) is currently on Amazon Kindle, marked free for a limited time. "Bunker is the story of a man imprisoned since a child, and his revenge upon the person who should have freed him, but didn't."

Rolli Daniels has released the second chapter set of The Harvest. We reviewed the first set here. It is available for your Kindle at the list price of $0.99.

Teric Darken's KILL FM 100: The Night Shift Edition (TreasureLine) - "the thriller that reads like a soundtrack" is available for $2.99