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International Bon Vivant and Raconteur

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Rave Review of 100 FATHOMS BELOW in Rue Morgue! [Nov. 6th, 2019|09:05 am]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
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I’m deeply grateful for Monica S. Kuebler’s rave review of 100 Fathoms Below in the November/December issue of Rue Morgue. Here’s a pull-quote:

100 Fathoms Below is great, doing for submarines what Jaws did for sharks and water….The novel succeeds not just for its bloodsuckers, but for its absolutely claustrophobic setting and storytelling….Don’t be surprised if you never want to set foot on a submarine after reading this book.

Don’t forget, 100 FATHOM BELOW is out in paperback now!

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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My Philcon 2019 Schedule [Nov. 4th, 2019|10:03 am]
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Philcon is coming this weekend! It’s my first time attending, and I’m very excited to be a program participant! (Longtime readers know I was supposed to go last year, but my ride’s car was smushed by a falling tree branch the night before.) Here is where you will be able to find me:

Friday, November 8
11:00 PM in Plaza II
THE CARE AND FEEDING OF PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR (3522)

Panelists: Hildy Silverman (mod), Nicholas Kaufmann, April Grey, Carol Gyzander, Jay Smith, William Kennedy

There are many ways to nurture the growth of existential dread. What will keep your reader’s eyes glued to your story even as its causing them to crawl out of their own skin?

(Honestly, I don’t know how I’m going to stay up to 11 PM and still be coherent on this panel. Come and find out?)

Saturday, November 9
3:00 PM in Executive Suite 623
READINGS: TOM PURDOM, BARNA WILLIAM DONOVAN, NICHOLAS KAUFMANN (3731)

(Come hear me read “Spawning Season” from Nightfire’s new audio anthology COME JOIN US BY THE FIRE!)

Sunday, November 10
11:00 AM in Plaza IV
GODZILLA AND THE MONSTERVERSE (3601)

Panelists: Jeffrey A. Carver (mod), Luke Stelmaszek, Nicholas Kaufmann, Eric Parmer, Shaun Mason

With Godzilla: King of the Monsters and the upcoming Godzilla vs Kong in 2020, the franchise is (once again) rising from the depths! Are the movies going somewhere new, or just re-treading old territory? And are we enjoying it?

(I was born to be on this panel!)

Other than that, you’ll find me floating around the hotel. I don’t know if the dealers room will have my books for sale, but I’m happy to sign anything you bring from home. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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The Monsters Among Us [Oct. 22nd, 2019|02:34 pm]
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I have a new article online, written with my 100 Fathoms Below co-author Steven L. Kent, over at CrimeReads. It’s called “The Monsters Among Us Are the Most Terrifying of All,” and it looks at six classic literary characters who could rightfully be called monsters in human skin. Is your favorite literary human monster among them? Click the excerpt below and find out!

Forget about Frankenstein’s Monster, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, or even Godzilla. The thrills we get from them may be indisputable, but it’s the knock on the door in the middle of the night, the silhouette of a man waiting at the far end of the alley, or the stranger who’s sitting in your living room when you get home that evokes real terror. It’s the monsters among us that we truly fear.

And don’t forget that 100 Fathoms Below is out in paperback now!

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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Brand New Story “Spawning Season” Available in Audio! [Oct. 17th, 2019|02:59 pm]
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I’ve been sitting on this news for a few months, but now I can finally spill it! I have a brand new story titled “Spawning Season” out now in a very special anthology. Come Join Us by the Fire is an audio-only anthology of horror stories by an assortment of some of the best authors writing horror today. Edited by Theresa DeLucci and published by Nightfire, Tor’s new horror imprint, it includes 35 stories by such luminaries as China Miéville, Chuck Wendig, Richard Kadrey, Carmen Maria Machado, Victor LaValle, Paul Tremblay, John Langan, Nadia Bulkin, Livia Llewellyn, Joe R. Lansdale, and so many more.

The best news is that Come Join Us by the Fire is 100% free! You can download it from Google Play as a full anthology or as individual story audiobooks, or if you have Google Assistant or Google Home you can access it with a voice command by saying, “Hey Google, read me ‘Spawing Season’ by Nicholas Kaufmann.” (I don’t know how that works. Magic, I guess?) Click here for the table of contents and instructions on how to download.

Also, each story has its own cool cover art. Here’s mine:

“Spawning Season” is narrated beautifully by Ramón de Ocampo and features some truly chilling sound effects by the production team. I’m ecstatic about how well it turned out, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this exciting and unusual anthology for Nightfire!

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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100 FATHOMS BELOW Is Out in Paperback Today! [Oct. 8th, 2019|10:30 am]
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Today’s the day! 100 Fathoms Below, the bestselling, Dragon Award-nominated deep-sea horror novel I co-wrote with Steven L. Kent, is now available in paperback wherever fine books are sold!

Read the novel Library Journal called, “A solid pick for readers who prefer their horror with acute tension and psychological thrills rather than intense gore,” and This Is Horror called, “An action-packed and exciting page-turner!”

Pick up your copy today at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite local bookseller!

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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A Hawk in the Woods [Oct. 5th, 2019|04:53 pm]
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A Hawk in the WoodsA Hawk in the Woods by Carrie Laben
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been a big fan of Carrie Laben’s short fiction for years now and am pleased to discover her debut novel, A HAWK IN THE WOODS, is just as excellent. It’s chock full of dark magic, family feuds, and complicated characters with equally complicated relationships (which, come to think of it, sums up the idea of family pretty well). Laben’s prose is confident and adroit, and her narrative voice is strong and compassionate, even when her characters are being the opposite. Lurking just beneath the surface are some entertaining, surprising connections to H.P. Lovecraft’s classic story “The Thing on the Doorstep,” which adds an extra layer of depth to the novel, although familiarity with that tale isn’t necessary to enjoy and understand this one. A truly pleasurable and satisfying novel, featuring twin sisters you won’t soon forget, A HAWK IN THE WOODS, like so much of Laben’s fiction, is well worth seeking out.

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Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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The Scariest Part: Chad Lutzke Talks About THE PALE WHITE [Oct. 1st, 2019|07:00 am]
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This week on The Scariest Part, my guest is author Chad Lutzke, whose new novel is The Pale WhiteHere is the publisher’s description:

After being held against their will in a house used for sex trafficking, three girls plan their escape.

Alex: A hardened goth-punk who’s convinced she’s a vampire with a penchant for blood.

Stacia: A seventeen-year-old raised by an alcoholic mother, her fellow prisoners the only family she’s ever truly had.

Kammy: The youngest of the three — a mute who finds solace in a houseplant.

But does life outside the house offer the freedom they’d envisioned? Or is it too late, the scars too deep?

A coming-of-age tale of revenge that explores a friendship and the desperate lengths they will go through to ensure they stay united, held together by the scars that bind them.

And now, let’s hear what the scariest part was for Chad Lutzke:

Is the literary world deficient in female-centric coming-of-age horror? Indeed. They’re out there, but they’re sparse and certainly not on the tip of reader’s tongues when recommending a title in the COA subgenre. There is no sister book to accompany McCammon’s Boy’s Life, King’s The Body, or Simmons’ Summer of Night (though you could argue Grady Hendrix’s fantastic My Best Friend’s Exorcism adequately fills the void). So, who better to write one than a man, right?

That was the scariest part of The Pale White for yours truly.

I’m not so full of machismo that I can’t set aside my natural inclination to crack inappropriate jokes in front of my wife, holster a hand far beyond my waistband, and pretend that I don’t care if Ross and Rachel or Jim and Pam get together. As a matter of fact, I’m rather in tune with my feminine side. Just ask my wife, who recently laughed at me for tearing up during the last episode of Friends, and who teases me when I can’t even talk about the finale of Six Feet Under without my voice cracking.

I think I’m hyper-empathetic.

Consider the above my credentials for thinking I can pull off a first-person female POV set within a disturbing scenario. But not only was I writing in the voice of a young girl, this is a girl who had experienced extreme sexual trauma. Unfortunately, the aftermath of such a thing I have seen, so there was some ugly insight. The book needed to be hard-hitting but without being distasteful. It needed to be done with tact — much in the way I handled Stirring the Sheets (believe me, there were readers who wanted to stay clear of Sheets, thinking it is a necrophilia fest when in fact it is not). It needed to be something that frightens people almost too much to crack the spine but are glad they did.

When writing The Pale White, this wasn’t done with typical writer research, googling scientific theories, what guns hold which caliber bullets, how long it takes for a body to decompose, or what poison is untraceable. This was attempting to tap into something I didn’t have, at the risk of coming off as insensitive or apathetic. That was the scariest part.

It’s been said: “Write what you know.” If you take that literally, without diving into the deeper meaning, it’s nonsense. If authors actually took that to heart, there would be no Middle-Earth, no Frankenstein, no Hogwarts. Yet, when diving deeper, we actually do write what we know. I know sadness. I know trauma. I know loss. I know violence. And being an empath who has had some rather deeply profound relationships and experiences with women through my life, both platonically and romantically, I know enough to tell a story.

Maybe just being the witness, and then the messenger holding their flag, was the scariest part.

The Pale White: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Powell’s / IndieBound

Chad Lutzke: Website

Chad has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. He’s had a few dozen short stories published, and some of his books include: Of Foster Homes & Flies, Wallflower, Stirring the Sheets, Skullface BoyThe Same Deep Water as You, and The Pale White. Lutzke’s work has been praised by authors Jack Ketchum, Stephen Graham Jones, James Newman, Elizabeth Massie, Cemetery Dance, and his own mother.

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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Good News for “The Fire and the Stag” [Sep. 15th, 2019|02:07 pm]
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I’m thrilled to announce that my story “The Fire and the Stag” is included in Ellen Datlow’s extended recommended reading list for The Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 11!

“The Fire and the Stag” appeared in Black Static #63, which you can pick up here.

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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The Glittering World [Sep. 13th, 2019|03:17 pm]
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The Glittering World: A Book Club Recommendation!The Glittering World: A Book Club Recommendation! by Robert Levy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story of a young man returning to the place of his birth only to discover he was abducted as a child, although he has no memory of it, takes a supernatural turn in Robert Levy’s dark, sexy debut novel. A melancholy, thorny take on changelings and the Fae, Levy gives us four complex, indelible characters in Blue, Elisa, Jason, and Gabe, each of whom has their own secrets, their own desires, and their own way of coping with the strange and frightening circumstances that have befallen them. Levy wisely presents the Fae without too many overt details, implying that they are something language is inadequate at describing, which keeps the supernatural element satisfyingly mysterious and otherworldly throughout. Neither good nor evil, both beautiful and horrible, representing both complete freedom and the complete submission of will, Levy’s Fae are an incredible and compelling achievement, as is the novel itself. Highly recommended.

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Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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Growing Things and Other Stories [Aug. 28th, 2019|03:27 pm]
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Growing Things and Other StoriesGrowing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paul Tremblay’s tour-de-force story collection is a must-read, not just for existing Tremblay fans (the good news for those who’ve read his previous, small-press collections is that there’s only a small amount of overlap here), but also for fans of smart, literate stories that are more interested in evoking emotions from the reader than in tying things up in a nice, easy bow. Tremblay trades in the chilling and the unsettling, not in gore, violence, or classic a-monster-comes-to-town tales (although he does play with that trope in the story “Our Town’s Monster”). As a result, each of these nineteen stories will leave you feeling off balance and uneasy, concerned about the stability of the world around you and everything you thought you knew.

It’s hard to choose favorites from such a consistently excellent collection, but a few of the stories did stick out for me. One was the novella “Notes from the Dog Walkers,” one of two originals in this collection, in which a horror writer named Paul ___ hires a dog walking service. Each dog walker leaves a note for him afterward detailing how the walk went. Only, the notes get longer, darker, more intrusive, more passive-aggressive toward Paul and his success as an author, and weirdly personal as time goes on. I really enjoyed how Tremblay builds the slow escalation over the course of the story, leading to a very creepy ending. “Something About Birds” is another standout for me, a hallucinatory, surreal story that reminds me of the best, most ambiguous parts of the movie EYES WIDE SHUT, while also allowing Tremblay to articulate the power of ambiguity in fiction through the protagonist’s interviews with the reclusive author William Wheatley. I felt a deep connection to the story “Her Red Right Hand” as well, with its beautifully related message that creativity and imagination can help you get through an emotionally difficult time.

One word of warning, at least for the hardcover edition: Because Tremblay’s stories are so much more than the sum of their parts, and because they are designed to leave the reader with an emotional response rather than a plot revelation, the synopses of some of the stories on the flap copy are atrocious. There’s a far richer experience waiting for you in these pages than those synopses would lead you to believe.

Tremblay’s work continues to excel. I second Adam Neville’s blurb: “Paul Tremblay is one of the key writers who have made modern horror exciting again.” Read GROWING THINGS and experience why.

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Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.

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