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HIDDEN THINGS Indiegogo [Oct. 17th, 2018|03:05 pm]
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Hey, so I’ve never been involved with one of these Indiegogo projects before, but there’s a first time for everything!

Authors Ed Kurtz (The Rib From Which I Remake the WorldBleed) and doungjai gam (glass slipper dreams, shattered) are editing an anthology of all-new horror-crime hybrid stories called Hidden Things, which will be published by Down & Out Books. The authors who have committed to write stories for the anthology so far include Alex MarwoodJames A. MooreDana CameronBracken MacLeodErrick NunnallyChristopher IrvinAngel Luis Colón, and yours truly! There will also be an open submission period for more stories starting in November, but first things first — they need to raise funds!

That’s where Indiegogo comes in. You can check out the anthology’s page here, where you will see lots of great perks for your contribution, including ebook and paperback editions of the final product, plus a deluxe hardcover edition of Hidden Things exclusive to Indiegogo contributors and signed by all the authors and editors. Additional perks include titles from Down & Books vast library of novels, novellas, and collections, as well as books from editors doungjai gam and Ed Kurtz.

This anthology sounds like it’s going to be great! If you agree, please consider contributing. Many thanks in advance!

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

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Doctor Who: “The Ghost Monument” [Oct. 17th, 2018|09:27 am]
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*** MILD SPOILERS AHEAD***

I don’t have much to say about this episode. I enjoyed it. Plotwise it’s okay, and features a good callback to the Stenza, which makes me think we haven’t seen the last of them, but what’s really working for me are the characters, in particular the companions. Graham, Ryan, and Yaz continue to act like real, well-rounded human beings instead of walking bundles of charming quirks, and it’s working for me big time. Jodie Whittaker, in only two episodes, has completely won me over as the Doctor, and I suspect I’m going to have to reevaluate my Top 5 list soon. I’m not used to Doctor Who having a budget and doing so much location shooting, and so far I’m very impressed with this season’s large-scale, cinematic feel.

I have a few quibbles, as I always do. Epzo’s ship crash landing in exactly the spot where Angstrom and the others happen to be, on what is presumably a large, Earth-sized planet, is a stretch. Having the Remnants, those creepy, bioengineered threats that come out night, be able to speak was a mistake, as it made them much less scary. I suspect they were only made to speak so they could mention the Timeless Child, the mystery of which will probably be this season’s arc. (Could the name be a reference to the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan? I wonder, but I think probably not.)

And now for some Doctor Who neepery! There isn’t a lot, but I spotted three things. First, the return of Venusian aikido, the martial arts form used frequently by Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor. Second, the Doctor mentions that her companions wouldn’t need the implanted universal translators if she had her TARDIS with her, a reference to the TARDIS’s ability to telepathically translate alien languages for its passengers, a fact that was first mentioned by Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor in the 1976 serial “The Masque of Mandragora.” And third, the shooting range target that pops out of the dark and startles the characters is reminiscent of, although perhaps not a direct callback to, a similar thing happening in the 1967 Second Doctor serial “The Tomb of the Cybermen,” in which a fake Cyberman target pops out of nowhere to startle everyone.

There’s a new title sequence and a new TARDIS interior, both of which are beautifully rendered if overly busy, and both of which will take me some time to get used to. Still loving the new music, though. Anyway, onward to the next episode!

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

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STILL LIFE: NINE STORIES Now Available In Paperback [Oct. 16th, 2018|03:09 pm]
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It’s an embarrassment of riches! Hot on the heels of the release of 100 Fathoms Below, I have more good book news! My 2012 e-book collection, Still Life: Nine Stories, is finally available in paperback thanks to Crossroad Press!

This collection of horror and suspense contains seven previously published stories and two originals, and comes with an introduction by multiple Bram Stoker Award-nominated author James A. Moore.

“I haven’t enjoyed a collection this much since Joe Hill’s phenomenal 20th Century Ghosts. Don’t miss this.” — Nick Cato, The Horror Fiction Review

The paperback is available from Amazon or your favorite indie bookstore via IndieBound. And of course the e-book is still available from all e-book outlets. Order your copy today!

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

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The Scariest Part: Dino Parenti Talks About DEAD RECKONING AND OTHER STORIES [Oct. 16th, 2018|07:00 am]
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This week on The Scariest Part, my guest is Dino Parenti, whose debut collection is Dead Reckoning and Other Stories. Here is the publisher’s description:

An emotional sampler of life on Earth as it once was.

In this collection of sixteen dark, literary tales, disparate characters and their descendants twine and interconnect throughout America from the rural seventies to the post-apocalyptic, stitching together a nefarious mosaic of experiences.

Whether delving into the exploits of a murderous police officer and a lapsing priest engaged in a battle of wills in the sun-blasted dunes of Death Valley, or an anthropologist couple sorting their infertility issues after inadvertently unleashing an Ice Age killer plague, or a mysterious ferry in the Pacific Northwest holding the darkest secrets of a private eye’s final case, or a man so obsessed with touching the infinite that he eagerly volunteers for a one-way mission to preserve the final remnants of mankind, Dead Reckoning and Other Stories ultimately yields a kind of found almanac for human posterity.

And now, let’s hear what the scariest part was for Dino Parenti:

Many years ago I saw a news report about a rapid onset infection that mercilessly ate away at a man in Australia. It started as something seemingly benign — a minor nick from a farming implement as he dug a sluice canal from a stream to his crop patch. Within 72 hours, doctors had amputated both his legs in increments, and had started on his arms before he finally succumbed to full-body sepsis.

Years later, I read another similar account, this one in Canada about a woman, scratched by a squirrel she was hand feeding, who was likewise engaged in a race as to what would reduce flesh and bone from her body faster: infection, or the surgeon’s knife. This time I took note of the condition: necrotizing fasciitis.

It’s more common name is the flesh-eating bacteria, but that’s a bit of a misnomer. It doesn’t eat so much as quickly kills the soft tissue. And like a severe burn, the affected area needs to be either quickly treated or pared away before it starts to infect surrounding tissue, which it does at an alarming rate.

After the initial wave of horror and sympathy for these people overcame me, the writer within reared its head and began ticking off scenarios. How can this ghastly condition work itself into a story? Can this condition provide the ticking-time-bomb element in a narrative?

I’m not proud of my muse’s suspect timing, but all you writers out there know well of its fickle and often cold interventions.

The research of necrotizing fasciitis was, in a word (or two), bloody awful. The images of putrefying flesh and flaying skin have not left my mind, even four years since having written it. It was one of the most trying writing experiences of my life. I couldn’t help but imagine how I’d react to seeing these horrific things happening to my own body. But as shocking as it must be to watch pieces of you discolor, leak, shrivel, and blacken — only to then have a surgeon slice said piece from your body — I got to wondering about the psychological toll that must take on the victim. It happens so fast, is there even time to put it all in perspective in the way perhaps a longer-acting affliction like cancer might offer? To craft a coping mechanism to keep you from losing your mind over such a quick turnaround?

That became the challenge and thrust of my story, “Tooth,” contained in my collection, Dead Reckoning and Other Stories.

A college student named Clara, prideful of her looks and audacity, and freshly ensconced in a new relationship, is suddenly faced with having pieces of her quickly lopped from her head-to-toe. In the crafting of the story, it was soon made manifest that no intricate plot threads were required, no ticking-time-bombs or last minute recoveries as artifice. Rather, Clara’s challenge of dealing with her rapidly looming death became the thrust. The horror of resolving all your life’s fears and existential trials within a span of hours instead of decades, this as you’re being physically reduced in volume each day you still manage to remain alive. It became an obsession in a way, allowing myself to steep in the idea that this microscopic thing inside of you that few antibiotics in the world can tame is killing you through a kind of insidious, inside-out digestion. The thought suddenly reduced more grander external horrors — torture, burning alive, wild animal attack, plane crash, home invasion — to child’s play in comparison. Your own body failing you as the ultimate horror.

I now diligently wash out every little nick and cut before smothering it under a thick bead of Neosporin.

Dead Reckoning and Other Stories: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Powell’s / IndieBound

Dino Parenti: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Dino Parenti is a writer of dark literary and speculative fiction. He is the winner of the first annual Lascaux Reviewflash fiction contest and is featured in the Anthony Award-winning anthology Blood on the Bayou.  His work can be found in Pantheon Magazine, Menacing Hedge, Pithead Chapel, as well as other anthologies. He is a fiction editor at Gamut Magazineand a member of the HWA. His short-fiction collection, Dead Reckoning and Other Stories, was just released with Crystal Lake Publishing. When not purging his soul into a laptop thanks to a far-too-early exposure to Stephen King, Scorsese movies, and Camus, he can be found photographing the odd junk pile, building furniture, or earning a few bucks as a CAD drafter. He lives in Los Angeles.

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

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100 FATHOMS BELOW is here! [Oct. 9th, 2018|09:41 am]
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Today is the day! It’s been a long road, but 100 Fathoms Below is finally being released today by Blackstone Publishing! Click here for a description of the book, some great advance reviews, and buying options!

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

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Doctor Who: “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” [Oct. 9th, 2018|08:30 am]
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After what seemed like an interminable wait — one which actually exceeded the amount of time the show was on hiatus in the 1980s! — Doctor Who‘s eleventh season has finally arrived, starring Jodie Whittaker as the Thirteenth Doctor in her first episode, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.”

And I loved it.

Chris Chibnall, the new show runner, has breathed new life into what had, in my opinion, grown stale under Steven Moffat. There was a wonderful, season one/Christopher Eccleston-era feel to the whole thing. The cast is extraordinary. I love that Graham, Ryan, and Yaz all know each other, from family and from living in the same town, and I have the very pleasant sense — almost relief, really — that it’s not anything bigger than that, not some Moffat-esque tilt at destiny or forced “Impossible Girl”-type mystery. They are written and performed realistically, marking a welcome change from the often cartoonish characters and walking bundles of charming quirks we’ve seen so much of.

Jodie Whittaker is a revelation as the Doctor. She’s energetic without bringing the weird, sometimes off-putting mania that Matt Smith did. I’ve been missing the feel of the Eccleston and Tennant eras of Doctor Who for a long time now, and this feels like a return to form. I thought the incidental music throughout the episode was fantastic, and Segun Akinola’s classic version of the iconic theme was delightful.

Do I have quibbles? Sure, I always do. It didn’t seem to take the Doctor very long at all to make a brand new sonic screwdriver out of whatever just happened to be available in that old warehouse. She’s finished just as some other characters come to tell her they’ve found something that we saw them find right before she began work on it. There’s a lot of getting from place to place so quickly as to almost be magical. Karl was hilarious and should also be a companion. Okay, maybe not, because that would be a lot of companions, but still, I liked Karl.

It’s only the first episode of the new season, but I’m already very, very pleased. To me it feels like Doctor Who is back, and for the first time in a long time I can’t wait for the next episode.

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

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100 FATHOMS BELOW Goodreads Giveaway! [Oct. 4th, 2018|10:35 am]
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Blackstone Publishing is giving away five hardcovers of 100 Fathoms Below on Goodreads! Enter today for a chance to win!

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

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We Sold Our Souls [Oct. 4th, 2018|08:36 am]
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We Sold Our SoulsWe Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“We play fucking metal! I don’t want to sing about your sad feelings! I want dragons.”

Grady Hendrix’s WE SOLD OUR SOULS may wear the skin of a road-trip horror novel, but at its heart it’s a love letter to metal, music, creativity, and never selling out. It’s heartfelt and, at times, as brutal as any modern horror novel, yet it’s also filled with in-jokes and references for readers who listen to the right kind of music. (Not all of it is metal. If you’re a fan of Joan Jett’s early band the Runaways you’re in good company here.)

I can’t speak highly enough about how authentically Hendrix has written about being in a band and, more poignantly, the bleak period that comes after, when you’re no longer making music and are forced to take crappy, low-skilled jobs and move back in with your parents. The dark side of the rock-and-roll dream — what happens when you don’t make it big — is rarely explored in fiction, but in Hendrix’s novel it cuts like a knife. The supernatural elements are compelling and smartly underplayed, but horror fans will still love it. So will metal fans. But WE SOLD OUR SOUL’s true strength lies in its character study of Kris Pulaski, the guitarist who almost made it big but, right on the cusp of greatness, lost everything. The other members of her band, Dürt Würk, are also extremely well drawn, but this is Kris’s story, and Hendrix brings her to life so well I felt like I’ve known her for years. WE SOLD OUR SOUL is a fun novel, but it’s also special one for anyone who has ever faced the trials and frustrations of trying to be a creative artist.

By the way, Dürt Würk’s TROGLODYTE sounds like a great album, and I would absolutely listen to it if it were real!

View all my reviews

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

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It’s Almost Here! [Oct. 1st, 2018|08:59 am]
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Happy October! 100 Fathoms Below comes out in 9 days! Have you ordered a copy yet?

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

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The 100 FATHOMS BELOW Book Trailer Has Arrived! [Sep. 27th, 2018|03:02 pm]
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The fine folks at Blackstone Publishing have put together a cool book trailer for 100 Fathoms Below, and our friends at Dread Central have the video’s exclusive debut!

Turn your sound on, put your earbuds in, and click here to watch it!

100 Fathoms Below hits bookstores on Tuesday, October 9th, but you can pre-order it now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite bookseller. And if you’re in the New York City area, come join me and Grady Hendrix on Thursday, October 18th for a Q&A and signing to launch 100 Fathoms Below! Here’s the info.

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

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