Month: May 2014

The Strain Has A Premiere Date

FX The Strain Guillermo del Toro Poster Teaser

The FX television network recently announced a July 13 premiere date for the vampire apocalypse show based on Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s books, titled the The Strain. Guillermo Del Toro directed the pilot, while Chuck Hogan wrote the script. If you haven’t read the books, there’s never been a better time to start. We’re talking about predatory vampires that live to spread the infection with six foot long stingers. The apocalypse is coming, folks!

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m pretty excited. I hope this will be the show horror lovers have been waiting for. Something gritty, chilling, and fun. Did I mention Sean Astin has a role in the first season? If you want more details about the cast, check out IMDB. Just click on this link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2654620/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

Visit The Strain’s official website here: http://www.fxnetworks.com/thestrain

Writing Soundtracks

Many of us write with music playing. Some of us can’t concentrate with the background noise. It’s cool either way.

There are times when I can’t write with music playing, and other times I feel like I need it. Like cocaine need it. Twitch-twitch.

Yesterday I asked Twitter if they could have one band write the soundtrack to their WIP, who would they pick?

I think it’s a great, and fun, question. One band. Ten songs.

Who would you pick? Have some fun with it and Sound off in the comments below.

Since my book is horror with some fantasy elements, I’m choosing AFI. Their newer stuff is melodic, brooding, rebellious. Plus, the lead singer, Davey Havok, was born in my home town. It’s a win-win for me.

Let’s check out the songs. To make it easy, I embedded the playlist from Spotify. You have to be logged in to Spotify to listen. If you don’t have Spotify, you can sign up for free. I’m mostly talking to you, Daphne. Yep, they have a completely free version of Spotify where you can create your own playlists and keep track of every song you like. Check it out.

Book Review Status

old books

Hey, all.

You may have noticed a lack of book reviews from me lately. It’s not that I haven’t been reading. I have. It’s because I believe published authors reviewing other published authors can be a bit of a slippery slope. Rather than put my foot in my mouth or damage potential relationships with the fine folks behind the books I read, I’d rather save my reviews for the books I absolutely love. You know, the ones I need to shout from the rooftops about. I also won’t review my own books. In my opinion, that, too, is a conflict of interest.

NOTE: This is only my opinion. Other authors are free to do what they like. Who am I to judge?

But Brian, you aren’t a published author.

As of this moment, you’d be right. However, things in the publishing world happen in their due time. And while secret things may have been happening behind the scenes these past few months, I just can’t share them quite yet. As soon as I can share something, I will.

I still give the books I read stars on Goodreads. As a matter of fact, I just gave Tim Lebbon’s COLDBROOK four stars. It’s the best zombie/infected book I’ve read. You can find me on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/20451399-brian-taylor

My TBR pile keeps growing. It seems for every book I read two more pop up to take its place. They’re like zombies, or gremlins in a downpour. If you have any good horror recommendations, feel free to share in the comments below.

Horror Short Story Submission Opportunities

ancient graveyard-2208_640

Just wanted to let everyone know about two opportunities for horror writers. You’ll have to click on the links for the official submission guidelines.

The first opportunity comes from Charon Coin Press, and is titled Paying the Ferryman. Stories should be between 3,000 and 9,000 words, and shed some light on what happens after our main character dies. This open call for submissions begins on June 1st, 2014. Get your stories polished!

Read the official announcement from Charon Coin Press here: http://charoncoinpress.com/open-submissions/paying-the-ferryman/

The second opportunity comes from Cohesion Press, who will be publishing one of my short stories in SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror. This new anthology is calling for stories that blur the lines between truth and fiction, and is tentatively called Blurring the Lines. Think of the Loch Ness Monster, the haunting of Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Kentucky, or any other number of horror legends that have roots in reality. The pay for this anthology is top-notch. The submission window doesn’t open until August 1st, 2014, so you’ve got plenty of time to write something chilling.

Read the official announcement from Cohesion Press here: http://cohesionpress.com/submissions/anthologies/

Submitting short stories can be a great opportunity to start building meaningful relationships in the publishing world, while also building a fan base for your work. I can’t speak enough about how important these opportunities can be. You never know when that first “yes” will find you if you don’t submit your work. They can also be a good measuring stick for the quality of your work. Even if your story isn’t accepted, you may get a “your story was great, but just wasn’t right for this anthology,” rejection where the editor encourages you to submit to future anthologies.

The bottom line is you won’t be included in any anthologies if you don’t submit. Get inspired. Write something that excites you. Submit it and see what happens. You never know…

Follow Charon Coin Press on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/charoncoinpress

Follow Cohesion Press on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/CohesionPress

Monster Monday: John Carpenter

Today’s post isn’t about a monster, but, rather, one of the minds behind them. This past weekend The El Rey Network aired the first Director’s Chair. Robert Rodriquez spent an hour talking with legendary director John Carpenter. If you’re a creative type, I highly recommend you give it a watch. John gives some great insight into how he approaches film making, which, I believe directly relates to writing.

You may know John Carpenter from such films as Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog, Escape From New York, The Thing, They Live, and Big Trouble In Little China, just to name a few. He is a true master of horror and a man who knows how to make great films. He sticks to his guns, kicks ass, and bows to no one. His rebel spirit is essential to making it in any form of the entertainment business. In the Director’s Chair he says he always tried to make movies he would have loved to see instead of caving in to what the studios wanted.

John Carpenter’s The Thing is one of my favorite movies of all-time. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it. Released in 1982, the film still holds up well today. Not many movies can do that. The special effects, too, are still some of the best I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen The Thing, I would highly encourage you to do so…like right now. You’ll be in for a treat.

Throughout the Director’s Chair, John mentions how he constantly listens to/follows his instincts. As a writer, I try to do the same thing. Growing up with horror I’d like to think I know a little something about what stands out in the genre. From books to film, I’ve been knee deep in horror since the early eighties. One of my earliest memories is going to the drive-in to watch a double feature of John Carpenter’s The Fog and Disney’s The Black Hole. I believe I was four years old. My family has always enjoyed horror and have exposed me to it from an early age. John has always been, and will always be, one of my favorite directors. As fans of whatever genre we write, we know what works and what doesn’t, even if we aren’t consciously aware of the reasons. Deep down we know what makes for interesting fiction because of our exposure.

It’s because of people like John Carpenter that I love and write horror. His passion and gift for storytelling helped inspire me. For that, I’d like to thank him.

At one point, John raises a fist and says, “Horror lives forever, man.” I can’t imagine a better send off.

You can follow John Carpenter on twitter here: https://twitter.com/TheHorrorMaster

John Carpenter’s official website can be found here: http://www.theofficialjohncarpenter.com/

Labor of Love

Ethan could see the infection spreading–Stephanie’s body convulsing, her veins near bursting as sweat rolled off her skin. Her back arched violently as spittle foamed around her mouth. There was little he could do but watch as the woman he loved morphed into one of those goddamed shambling zombies.

She said she had a surprise for him, at the pharmacy in the nearby town of Haley. A real man would have gotten her there safely. He wiped his brow and slid down the wall deflated, weary, and defeated.

“We’ll spend every last second together.” He looked at Stephanie’s wavy brown hair glistening in the dying embers of the afternoon sun. “I promise you won’t be one of…those things.”

She looked over and cracked a smile.

It wasn’t fair. If anyone deserved to be bitten, it was Ethan. Ethan, who never had the guts to kill a single shambler. The same Ethan that ran when his nieces became the main course at the zombie buffet. He closed his eyes and relived the look of horror on his sister’s face as he fled, leaving her to die with her babies.

Outside the undead shuffled around the abandoned pharmacy. All of this for a pregnancy test. Stephanie had insisted. She had to be sure. That was the fault of many people–their inability to be patient, to wait for things to unfold in their due time.

Ethan stood and grabbed a can of baby formula. “Shut the fuck up!” He threw it as hard as he could and watched the skull of the nearest shambler shatter. It felt strangely satisfying watching it die for a second time.

His first kill.

Stephanie let out a bloodcurdling scream.

Turning back, Ethan saw two shamblers closing in.

Without thinking he pulled the sawed-off shotgun from Stephanie’s bag. He knew it was loaded. Stephanie was always prepared. That same preparedness was one of the reasons why he loved her.

The first shambler was a woman. A few stray strands of hair still clung to various places on her scalp. She was emaciated, nothing more than greying, diseased skin over bones. Her ear had been gnawed off and her pink dress was covered with blood, grime, and some kind of black slime.

She reached out and moaned.

Ethan ran at her screaming, infuriated that one of them would invade the sanctity of his last precious moments with his beloved wife.

He let it grab him. He was tired of all the running and scrounging, tempted to join the ranks of the undead. Ethan pulled the trigger and grimaced as her head exploded in a shower of bone and slime.

The second shambler was quicker. It slammed into Ethan from the side. The name tag pinned through her blue apron displayed the name Cassie. Her skin held onto some of its natural pink hue. She obviously had worked there and appeared to have been recently turned.

Which meant she still had plenty of strength.

They fell in a tangle of limbs and biting teeth. Cassie came out on top. She pressed her constantly clacking teeth closer to Ethan’s face. He grabbed her by the throat, trying to keep her away, all the while looking for the sawed-off shotgun.

It was too far away to reach.

Cassie inched forward, unintentionally pushing a knee into Ethan’s groin. Great, he thought, another ballbuster.

There was a crash from the direction of the front door. The shamblers, likely riled up from the fighting, were trying to get in.

Ethan balled up a fist and let it fly. Cassie’s jaw crunched. She lurched forward, Ethan turning his head away just in the nick of time.

Even with a busted jaw, Cassie was relentless. The grinding noise every time she tried to chomp Ethan’s fingers was sickening. She pushed closer, Ethan’s thin arms quivering under the weight.

A pounding noise came from the front door. The glass had been reinforced with various pieces of welded metal. It was just a matter of time before they got in.

Cassie pushed down with an unflinching need.

There was a creaking noise from the front of the store, followed by a crash as the door gave way.

If ever Ethan needed a miracle, it was now.

Cassie’s jagged teeth hovered an inch from his nose. Her breath smelled amazingly like oranges…and decay. She groaned as bloody saliva oozed onto Ethan’s face.

The struggle came to an end as the sawed-off shotgun thundered, pellets crashing into Cassie as she sprawled across the floor. Ethan looked over to see Stephanie, now sitting, concentrating on the task of reloading. He scrambled away from the twitching pharmacy worker. Once on his feet, he hurried over to his wife.

“I’m sorry,” were the only words to escape his mouth. He had every intention of staying, but his feet wouldn’t cooperate. He moved toward the rear of the store and the back door.

Stephanie gave him a hard stare after reloading her weapon. One pull of the trigger finished Cassie.

Ethan turned back to see his wife, now surrounded by shamblers, point the gun at her head and take her own life. He jumped at the sound even though he knew it was coming.

He knew he should have felt something after losing Stephanie, possibly their baby too. But he didn’t. The truth was he was too scared. All he knew was he needed to get the hell out of there. Not all the shamblers would be able to feast on the warm meal. Some would come looking for fresher meat.

Ethan rounded the corner and stopped dead in his tracks when the back door swung open. His jaw dropped but he couldn’t move, a whole new fear holding his feet to the floor.

“Surprise!” his sister said with mock cheer. “I bet you thought you’d never see me again, you son-of-a-bitch.”

“No, please.” Ethan looked from the shamblers to his sister, waiting.

The woman he believed dead raised her pink handled shotgun and fired.

Must Read: On Rape And Repugnance, by Brian Keene

Today’s post is going to be a redirect. Please, give it a read.

I’m going to urge my fellow writers to read a blog post by legendary horror icon, Brian Keene, about the very real threat of rape and everything that goes along with it. He covers a lot of territory, and makes many great points.

If you, or anyone you love has been affected by this heinous act, you know the seriousness of the subject. It’s one I don’t take lightly. Someone close to me suffered through it. I was there to try and help in any way I could.

You may, or may not, know I have a near rape scene in my first book. I talked about my struggle with writing it, cutting it out, putting it back in, cutting it back out, and ultimately putting it back in again. It’s still there today. It was important for me to show what happens to the character, how she handles the situation and how it changes her mentally. To me, not including the scene felt wrong. This bad thing happened to her. In reality, it happens all too often. I didn’t want to glorify the act, but, rather, focus on how it changed the character.

I still struggle with knowing the scene is in my book. My hope is readers will understand the intent.

When I read Brian’s post, I found myself nodding along to much of it. I wanted to share with all of you here. Without further adieu, the link for Brian’s original post will appear below. I would highly encourage you to click on it and give it a read. Like Brian says, “Rape is a subject that impacts us all, and it is our duty to speak up. If you make art, if you create entertainment, if you examine the world via words or pictures and offer folks a few hours of escapism and release, then you have a responsibility to get involved.”

http://www.briankeene.com/2014/05/02/on-rape-and-repugnance/