Month: June 2014

SNAFU Is Now Available For Pre-Order

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Anyone interested in pre-ordering SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror, releasing July 11th, from Cohesion Press? Well, I’ve got great news for you! As of this moment you can! The fine folks behind the anthology also have a special bonus for all the hardcover pre-orders. *ALL HARDCOVER PRE-ORDERS WILL GO IN A DRAW TO WIN A SIGNED LIMITED HARDCOVER EDITION AS AN EXTRA TO THEIR ORDER* How cool is that? Follow this link to place your order: http://cohesionpress.com/snafu/

You’ll also get to see the complete table of contents for SNAFU.  My short story, Covert Genesis, will be the third in the anthology. Jonathan Maberry’s story is up after mine. That blows my mind. At over 100,000 words and 430 pages, SNAFU should satisfy any horror lover’s appetite. I couldn’t be more pleased to be among such a wonderful list of both established and up and coming authors.

Do you like having fun? How about free stuff? Of course you do!

Cohesion Press will also be holding an online release party on their Facebook page. If you’d like to win some cool prizes, head on over to their Facebook page and sign up. Make sure you get in on the fun here: https://www.facebook.com/events/291205134386074/

And as if that wasn’t enough, there are three copies up for grabs on Goodreads! Be sure to add SNAFU to your To-Be Read List while you’re at it. Your support means so much to not only me, but the anthology, and Cohesion Press. The giveaway ends July 19th. Don’t miss out! Enter the Goodreads giveaway here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22547392-snafu

I may even get in on the giveaways a little closer to the release date. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, what can you expect from my story? Well, I used to be a mechanic in the Air Force, so there’s a pretty good chance my main character is as well. He may be on a mission to repair what he believes is a downed aircraft only to stumble onto something strange, something never seen before. And yes, there’s plenty of shooting. I hope readers have as much fun reading Covert Genesis as I had writing it.

Thank you for all your support. And a big thank you goes out to Geoff Brown for putting this anthology together and including me in it. I can’t wait to see SNAFU out in the world.

Be sure to follow Cohesion Press on twitter: https://twitter.com/CohesionPress

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Prepare for carnage, July 11th!

 

Pre Pitch Wars Help Available Here!

Hello, writers. Are you thinking about entering Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars? Are you nervous about the effectiveness of your pitch? Would you like a little help before the contest begins?

If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, I believe I can help.

I’m offering four Pitch Wars hopefuls query critiques and one grand prize winner an additional first chapter critique. All you have to do is type your query in the comments below.

Who am I, and why would you want my help?

I’m glad you asked, but know that I really don’t like tooting my own horn. It makes me feel like a douche. Anyway, I’m an author of horror and dark fantasy, who is represented by Gina Panettieri, of Talcott Notch Literary Services, and also recently signed a three book deal with Permuted Press. My short story, COVERT GENESIS, will be featured in Snafu: An Anthology of Military Horror, available July 11th, from Cohesion Press. My work was also featured in Volume 11 of The Siren’s Call e-magazine and will appear in The Dark Carnival anthology this fall from Pen & Muse Press. Plus, from July through December of last year I interned for Inklings Literary Agency evaluating full submissions. And on top of all that, I was an alternate mentee in Pitch Wars two years ago.

I learned everything the hard way, by rolling up my sleeves and getting my hands dirty. I also spent six years in the United States Air Force as an Aircraft Fuel Systems Specialist so I know the meaning of hard work and effective communication. If you’re looking for a pat on the back, or sugar coating, I’m not the guy you’re looking for. If, however, you’re looking for honest feedback from an author who will treat you the way they would like to be treated, then you came to the right place.

I would say I specialize in genre horror for adults, specifically horror. I’m also an avid fantasy reader. If you’d like some help with your pitch and you think I may be able to help, please type your query in the comments below. I’ll accept entries until midnight EST, July 4th. I’ll announce the top three winners on July 6th, at 8AM EST. My top choice will also receive a first chapter evaluation (if they so choose).

I am by no means an expert when it comes to queries or sample pages, but I’d like to think I know my way around the block. I’d be leery of anyone claiming otherwise. All entrants should also remember that the business of publishing is subjective. Just because one person likes your pitch doesn’t mean a literary agent will, or anyone else will. There are no guarantees, only hard work.

DISCLAIMER: All opinions are my own and are totally independent of my agent. I am not affiliated with Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars contest in any way, shape, or form.

RULES: This contest is open to any writer thinking of entering Pitch Wars. Keep in mind I specialize in genre fiction for adults, specifically horror. Things like MG and romance probably won’t appeal to me. I’ll provide a sample entry below. The contest is open from right now, until midnight EST on July 4th. Winners will be announced July 6th, at 8AM EST. This will give winners enough time to receive feedback before the submission window for Pitch Wars officially opens.

SAMPLE QUERY: Please format your query as follows…

Name: Brian W. Taylor

Genre: Adult Horror

Word count: 92,000 words

Email address: BlahBlah@gmail.com

 

Dear Agent,

Every family has secrets. Mitsuko Nakamura’s may be the death of her. She has no idea angel blood courses through her veins. But when an unholy alliance of fallen angels and vampires kick down her door, murder her best friend, and infect her mother with tainted vampire blood, their dark intentions are clear: They want back into heaven and believe she holds the key.

Thrust into an age old war, Mitsuko forges her own alliance with the head of the vampire nation and the remnants of the angelic race. Their goal is simple: suppress the vampire rebellion and keep the fallen angels from taking back heaven. But nothing is as it seems and all factions have ulterior motives, even Mitsuko, who seeks the forbidden fruit of knowledge to cure her mother’s vampirism. Outnumbered, surrounded, and betrayed, Mitsuko must find a way to embrace her heritage and discover who, or what, she really is before heaven and earth fall, and humanity is harvested for its most precious resource—blood.

Complete at 92,000 words, my book, BETWEEN SHADOWS AND DARKNESS, is equal parts horror and fantasy. This book could either be a standalone project or the start of a series and will appeal to fans of “The Strain Trilogy,” by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, and “The Blood Gospel,” by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell. Thank you for your time and consideration.

With warm regards,

Brian W. Taylor

PRIZES: Three winners will be plucked from the slush and receive query critiques. One grand prize winner will receive a query critique, and a complete first chapter critique. All winners will also receive a critique of their revised query letter.
It should be pretty self explanatory after seeing that. Don’t worry about your sample yet. If your query letter does its job and interests me, then we’ll talk about sample pages. I hope everyone is clear about the rules and formatting. Feel free to send any questions you may have my way and I’ll do my best to answer them. My contact information can be found under the “Contact” page. Good luck to everyone entering. You’ve got a week. What have you got to lose?
More information about Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars can be found here: http://www.brenda-drake.com/2014/06/pitch-wars-mentor-list/

My Top Five Vampire Books

Let’s continue the vampire fun and celebrating my three book deal with Permuted Press, by revealing my top five vampire books. This one was much harder to narrow down because I try to read as many books featuring vampires as I can get my hands on. I recently picked up Carrion Comfort, by Dan Simmons which has been on my radar for a while. From Bram Stoker’s to Anne Rice, Twilight to the Strain, vampires come in many different varieties. I prefer my vampires dark and horrific. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place at the table for all vampires, because there is. Whatever brings vampire fans to the bookstore is okay by me. Grab some garlic and a wooden stake because we’re counting down my top five vampire books!

5. The Blood Gospel, by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

 

The Blood Gospel: The Order of the Sanguines Series

The most recent release on my list, The Blood Gospel mixes history, religion, and Indiana Jones like adventure with horror and vampires, making for a fun and entertaining read. The origins of Mr. Rollins’ vampires is both interesting and somewhat unique which is always a plus in my book. I gave it four out of five stars.

Overview from the publisher:

Some books should never be found, never opened—until now.

An earthquake in Masada, Israel, reveals a tomb buriedin the heart of the mountain. A trio of investigators—Sergeant Jordan Stone, a military forensics expert;Father Rhun Korza, a Vatican priest; and Dr. Erin Granger, a brilliant but disillusioned archaeologist—are sent toexplore the macabre discovery, a subterranean templeholding the crucified body of a mummified girl.

But a brutal attack at the site sets the three on the run, thrusting them into a race to recover what was once preserved in the tomb’s sarcophagus: a book rumored to have been written by Christ’s own hand, a tome that is said to hold the secrets to His divinity. But the enemy who hounds them is a force of ancient evil directed by a leader of impossible ambitions and incalculable cunning.

4. Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King

'Salem's Lot

One of the more classic vampire books out there. This is my second favorite book by Mr. King and for good reason. I love how readers are treated to the inevitable takeover of small town America by the fanged creatures of the night. If you love vampires and you haven’t read this book, I would highly recommend you do. I gave it four out of five stars.

3. I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend (and Other Stories)

It’s hard to believe this book was written in 1954 because of how well it holds up today. In my opinion, you can’t talk vampires without mentioning Richard Matheson’s, I Am Legend. What makes drives this story is the wonderfully written character of Robert Neville. Readers go along for the ride as he slowly unravels while trying to survive an epidemic of global proportions. You can read my full review by clicking here.

Overview from the publisher:

From out of the night came the living dead with one purpose: destroy Robert Neville, the last man on earth. A mysterious plague has swept the planet leaving in its wake this one survivor. But there is still life of a sort–vampires, the strengthless half-dead who press on Neville from every side. He is almost tempted to join them in I AM LEGEND.

2. Uprising, by Scott G. Mariani

What happens when you take a pulse pounding thriller and mix it with bloodthirsty vampires? You get the fantastic read that is Uprising. What I like about Mr. Mariani’s vampires is that they’ve adapted to the world around them. They utilize stealth and technology to co-exist within the human population undetected. Naturally, some vampires don’t want to cower in the shadows, they want to openly hunt and feed. Uprising is a great example of how to keep readers turning pages. I gave Uprising four out of five stars. You can read my full review here.

Overview from the publisher:

A gruesome ritual murder has stained the Oxfordshire countryside. It’s just the first incident in a chain of events awakening Detective Inspector Joel Solomon to his worst nightmare-and a dreadful omen of things to come. Because Joel has a secret: he believes in vampires.

Alex Bishop is an agent of the Vampire Intelligence Agency. She’s tasked with enforcing the laws of the global Vampire Federation, and hunting rogue members of her race. A tough job made tougher when the Federation comes under attack by traditionalist vampires. They have a stake in old-school terror-and in an uprising as violent as it is widespread.

Now it’s plunging Alex and Joel into a deadly war between the living and the unloving-and against a horrifying tradition given new life by the blood of the innocent.

1. The Strain, by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The Strain (Strain Trilogy #1)

 

In my opinion, The Strain is a modern day vampire classic not to be missed. While each subsequent sequel fails to live up to the first book in the trilogy, The Strain oozes with style and tension. Readers are treated to what will eventually be the end of the world…in real time. We get to see how the government reacts to the building plague, which I heartily enjoyed. Our authors took traditional vampire mythology, broke it apart, and reconstructed it in their own image. While some vampire purists may be reluctant to go along for the ride, horror lovers should rejoice. These vampires are predators. They live to spread the infection. No one is safe. I gave the Strain five out of five stars. You can read my full review here.

Overview from the publisher:

They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.

In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.

In two months—the world.

A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city—a city that includes his wife and son—before it is too late.

What are some of you favorite vampire books? Let us know in the comments below.

Win A Copy Of SNAFU and Add It On Goodreads

SNAFU’s release is just a few weeks away! Cohesion Press has a few copies up for grabs on Goodreads. You can also add it to your TBR list too. With new stories by Jonathan Maberry, Weston Oches, Greig Beck, James A. Moore, and me, you can’t go wrong. Prepare for monsters and mayhem July 11th!

Follow this link to win and add SNAFU on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22547392-snafu?ac=1

SNAFU Has An Official Release Date And More

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Cohesion Press recently announced a July 11th release date for SNAFU: An Anthology of Military Horror. In it you can read my short story titled, COVERT GENESIS. Am I excited? Um…yeah! This is will be my first publication in an anthology and my story will be appearing alongside horror heavyweights like Jonathan Maberry, Weston Ochse, and Grieg Beck, just to name a few. How awesome is that!

But wait, there’s more!

Cohesion Press is looking for help promoting their books. If you’d like to be part of their street team, where you’ll get advance copies of their books, all you have to do is sign up through their Facebook page. Seems like a sweet deal to me. Click on the link here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=652437828175748&set=a.488158777936988.1073741828.487689841317215&type=1

We’re not stopping there.

The fine folks at Cohesion Press are throwing an online release party July 11th-July 12th. That’s right, 24 hours of giveaways, fun, and shenanigans. More details can be found on the event’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/291205134386074/

Head on over to their Facebook page and get to know the fine folks behind Cohesion a little better. Why not “like” their page while you’re at it. You can also find Cohesion on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/CohesionPress

I’ll be sure to pass along more information as it becomes available. Cohesion is an up and coming Australian publisher of horror and speculative fiction, founded by Geoff Brown. Geoff is the former President of the Australian Horror Writers Association (2011-2013) and holder of many literary degrees. Their commitment to quality horror makes them a publisher to watch. Like their motto says, Cohesion Press is here to stay.

A huge thank you goes to Geoff who plucked me from the slush pile. It’s wonderful knowing an editor believes in not only your writing, but also the writer. I better get working on my submission for Cohesion’s next anthology. Hey, you never know unless you submit, right?

 

My Top Five Vampire Movies

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Since I wrote a trilogy of books featuring vampires, I thought it would be fun to share my all-time favorite fang flicks. I’m sure some of you will disagree. That’s cool. We’re all allowed to have our favorites. It’s fun seeing what everyone chooses. Some of us gravitate toward the classics like Bela Lugosi’s Dracula. Others crave the more modern, and visceral, terror of 30 Days of Night. Still others clamor for the Hammer films of the 1970’s. You really can’t go wrong with any of those choices. Anything that shines a light on horror is a good thing.

5. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

What makes this movie special, at least for me, is George Clooney. He pulls off one of the best anti-heroes this side of Snake Plissken. Quentin Tarantino pulls the old switcheroo with audiences as the first half of the film is more drama than horror. When the sun goes down, everything changes. From Dusk Till Dawn is cheesy one liners. It’s blood and gore. It’s everything you want out of a horror film. In a word, From Dusk Till Dawn is fun.

4. Salem’s Lot (1979)

As a kid, this film scared the innocence out of me. I would sleep with the covers pulled up around my neck to prevent Mr. Barlow from biting me. It didn’t matter how hot the weather, some kind of sheet or blanket was tucked around my neck. I slept that way for years. Salem’s Lot was a made for TV movie that networks used to show annually. My family would huddle around the TV and drink in the terror like a Glick brother on his friend’s blood. Make no mistake about it, this film starts out slow, but effectively builds tension until the shit hits the fan. I always remember the look of Mr. Barlow with his bald head, glowing eyes, and gnarled fangs. He seemed to materialize out of thin air and grunt before clasping a clawed hand on his victims. The director, Tobe Hooper, also utilized children in a way I think many horror films don’t anymore. Kids relate to kids. Seeing a nine-year-old vampire scratching at a friend’s window so he could feed led to more than a few nightmares in my house. Sometimes subtlety is key.

3. Nosferatu (1922)

Released in 1922, Nosferatu still shines today. It is a masterpiece and inspiration of many a modern vampire film. The director utilizes light and shadows so effectively that you don’t mind the silence. In fact, the silence only adds to the terror. The look of the creature has become iconic and is often borrowed to help create newer vampires like Mr. Barlow in Salem’s Lot (1979). If you like vampires and haven’t seen this film, you should. See where, in my opinion, it all began. There isn’t an official trailer for this film but I did find a fan created one I liked. Thanks goes to The Nosferatu Mysteria.

2. 30 Days of Night (2007)

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched this film. In my opinion, it gets just about everything right. There’s a sense of impending doom that the residents of Barrow, Alaska can’t seem to shake. The pacing is brutal, just like the vampires. Isolation also plays a key as those who survived the initial onslaught try to wait the thirty days until the sun rises again. What I love most about this film is the vampires. They are visceral killing machines. They’re higher on the food chain and act like it. They fear no one, nothing. How can you kill what seemingly can’t be killed? That’s what our rag-tag group of survivors has to figure out. The scene with the little girl in the grocery store is freaking awesome!

1. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

I went with Bram Stoker’s Dracula as my favorite vampire film because of Gary Oldman. His performance is special and makes watching this film worth any vampire lover’s time. I also love how this film transcends the horror genre. At it’s core, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a love story told throughout history. One part romance, one part period piece, and two parts horror, this film stands out for its production value, superb acting, and subtle, yet spectacular special effects. The many different looks of Dracula is also a testament to the wardrobe department who also did an amazing job. To me, any film that can transcend the genre is doing something above and beyond. Films like this bring other viewers to the horror genre. And that’s what it’s all about, making new horror fans from all walks of life.

Bring On The Deadlines!

As you can probably imagine, signing a publishing contract involves many different things. A whole slew of topics are covered. Everything from financial terms to how long you have to return edits, all the way down to how many promotional copies of your book you get.

Even though my publisher and I are both excited to have a signed contract, the simple truth is I now have real, tangible deadlines for just about everything. I now owe Permuted Press two more books. BSD #2 is due Fall 2014. Keep in mind that doesn’t take into consideration any of the editing deadlines for BSD, promotion, or anything else I may need to due for the first book. BSD #3 is due a year after BSD #2, Fall 2015.

As you can see there’s little time to celebrate. I’m the kind of guy who likes to get going. If there’s something productive to be done, point me in the right direction and stand back. It feels good knowing exactly when certain materials are due. I crave the solid direction. Yeah, I’m weird like that.

I highly recommend authors print out a copy of their contract and keep it handy. I keep all my contracts in a folder on my desk. Whenever I need to look something up, I have any/all pertinent information within arm’s reach. Easy-peasy.

Aside from a binder or folder for your contracts, you may want to get a calendar specifically for your writing deadlines. Pin that bad boy up around your work space where you can see it. That way nothing will creep up on you.

If we can stay organized and on top of deadlines, they shouldn’t be anything to dread. In my opinion, an organized writer is a productive writer.

Now go forth and slay your deadlines like Samwell Tarly on a White Walker.