Thursday, October 18, 2012

AFitD Announces Titles and Authors for Monsters! Anthology!

Well, it's slow going, but I am almost absurdly pleased to announce the list of authors and titles for our first ever anthology, Monsters!

Monsters exist. Sure, they don't exactly advertise it, but they're out there. Some people know about them -- about the vampires, werewolves, boogiemen, and other creatures that walk the night -- but most remain wilfully (and blissfully) oblivious.

This is the world of aflameinthedark.net's very first horror anthology, Monsters! 

We've gotten many submissions, and have selected from among the best of them 15 stories to keep you up at night, give you shivers of delight, and make you think. 

In no particular order:
"Visitor Bob," a unique look at the bogeyman by Ellen C. Maze
"Divide and Conquer," wherein author Greg Mitchell looks at a different kind of vampire
"Running Late," a vampire tale by Pauline Creeden
"Closet Commentary," Teric Darken's tale of voices in the night
"Willing Blood," A vampire tale with a twist by Kat Heckenbach
"We Create Them," Thomas Smith's look at poverty through a lens of horror
"Invisible Intruder," by Stoney Setzer
"Twelfth Night," a Christmas story by Sean Philips
"Psychobabble, Toil, and Trouble," in which Stephen McQuiggan laments the loss of our monsters
"Of the Lake," JR Roper's tale of aquatic terror
"More Lives," a cat tale by Dana Bell
"Smoke," a good old-fashioned werewolf story -- or is it? -- by Jeremy Tyler
"Holy Angels," Delphine Boswell's story of a church's uninvited guest
"Rolling in the Deep," a decidedly Lovecraftian tale by David West
"Cornhusker," a tender, coming-of-age story (mua ha ha ha) by Tim Ward

And maybe one or two other goodies to go along with them! Watch for the eBook still to come this month, and the print version to be released at a date to be determined!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Christian Metal Lends Voice(s) to Poe

Music fans and horror fans alike will be drawn to the new project by Tourniquet's Ted Kirkpatrick. The prolific drummer and musician has gathered vocalists from across the progressive metal spectrum to create an audio collection of five great works by Edgar Allan Poe. Titled Edgar Allan Poe: Spoken Tales of a Tortured Genius, the hour-long project features:

 "The Haunted Palace," read by Frank (Mahogany Rush) Marino;
"The Tell-Tale Heart," with Les (Bloodgood) Carlson;
"The Masque of the Red Death," by Jamie (Guardian) Rowe;
"The Oval Portrait," featuring Rob (Pillar) Beckley;
and "The Cask of Amontillardo," read by Luke (Tourniquet) Easter.
Ted Kirkpatrick will be providing ambient background music, and the feature is slated for release on October 24.

Says Kirkpatrick:


I have been a great admirer of Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) for many years and immensely enjoy his brilliant works. I find myself reading and listening to them over and over – just like great music. With this release, I hope you will too. This project I embarked on is an hour-long trip into some of his greatest works, spoken by some of the coolest vocalists out there, who did a fantastic job bringing these classic tales to life. Though these works fall generally into the “horror” category, they are filled with Poe’s incredible use of the English language, vivid descriptions, seldom-used words, and bizarre phrasing – all the stuff that puts him into the elite group of the great writers in history. They also, maybe inadvertently, contain a lesson or two – that our selfish and evil actions are not done without consequence. The season is upon us – so get ready to sit back, close your eyes, and delve into Edgar Allan Poe: Spoken Tales of a Tortured Genius… Ted

Living Human: The Walking Dead, Season 3 Premiere

The zombies came out of the woodwork, the survivors found a place to call home, and the time passed all too quickly. That sums up first impressions from last night's The Walking Dead season 3 premiere. Going a little deeper, we're really starting to see how the cast of characters is starting to deal with this new situation, now that zombie apocalypse has become their new normal.

With the men bearded and Lori about to pop,  the Season 3 premiere catches us up with Rick Grimes and Co. several months after we saw them last. While some of the women have an almost oppressed air about them under the new Ricktatorship (whether one has to do with the other remains to be seen), many group members have learned to be grateful for his leadership in keeping them alive this long. Even Carol -- formerly one of Rick's biggest detractors -- tells Darryl as much, saying, "Shane couldn't have done it."

Speaking of Carol and Darryl, that is one of many relationships that seems to be still evolving. Largely, the characters are, relationship-wise, much the same as they were at the end of Season 2. But we're starting to see people beginning to come together, or to at least accept enough to their situation to start to seek a semblance of normality. Carol is,  herself, almost giddy in her freedom from her abusive husband -- and even from the responsibility of having to keep her daughter safe. But it's a sad giddiness, tainted by loneliness -- and it's one actor Melissa McBride plays perfectly, with just the right mixture of fun and desperation.

While Carol's seems to be a journey to find her humanity, buried beneath years of familial oppression, for much of the group, the struggle is retaining what humanity they still have. Rick has come a long way from his first encounter with a Walker -- and the viewer is forced to wonder whether or not the change is for the better. When Rick met the walker -- well, crawler -- lovingly known as Bicycle Girl, he was filled with a mixture of revulsion and sadness. When he finally put her down, it was with a distinct air of compassion. He was sorry. He was saddened for the human being she used to be.

But when they cleared the prison, it was all business. Dispatch the infestation. Dispose of the leftovers. There was even a moment, as Rick stood in his tower, picking off walkers through his scoped rifle, where he actually smiled. From way up there, apart from the danger, he was almost having fun. The grin was slight, but it was such a stark contrast from who he was, that it was as jarring as a slap in the face.

Even so, as he struggles to control his temper over his wife's multiple betrayals, Rick is determined to retain his basic humanity. Nowhere is this seen in more relief than an early scene in the episode in which his son, Carl, has found a couple cans of dog food. Hungry after a long day of walking and killing, the boy sits down with a can opener and prepares to eat. Rick, hearing the sound of the can being opened,  turns and investigates. When the realization hits him, he angrily throws the can into a fireplace and looks around the room. No words are necessary. For Rick, actions speak far louder. "We aren't there yet," he doesn't say. "This far, and no farther."

It is these tiny moments that represent the storytelling talent of the TWD crew. The story of the survivors' humanity is no longer talked out in arguments and monologues,  but played out on the faces and in the actions of the characters. As the characters themselves are evolving into creatures who can survive this new ecosystem that puts them lower on the food chain, the writers are evolving in their ability to tell a story by showing us, one piece at a time, what it means to find -- and lose -- ourselves.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dekker/Lee in Paperback

Mortal, the second book in Ted Dekker's and Tosca Lee's new "The Books of Mortals" series, is now in paperback, according to a release from Hachette Book Group.

Book one of the series is called Forbidden.

There is a first-chapter preview available online, courtesy Hachette Books. Read it here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Free Fiction from Mikalatos

As he celebrates the one-year anniversary of the release of his Night of the Living Dead Christian, author Matt Mikalatos has released a new short story for free. Set in the same universe as NotLDC, "A Vampire in the Church Choir," features Lara, the titular vamp, as she struggles to perform her role as an alto and keep her identity a secret.

You can get a complete description of the story, as well as download links for multiple formats, from Mikalatos's website.