Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Where Writers Write: Dana Diehl


Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!


 
Where Writers Write is a series that features authors as they showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 






This is Dana Diehl.

Dana is the author of Our Dreams Might Align, being released by Jellyfish Highway Press in December 2016. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in North American Review, Passages North, Booth, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA in Fiction from Arizona State University, where she served as editor of Hayden's Ferry Review.









Where Dana Diehl Writes


I’ve had six homes over the past five years, and every time I move, I tell myself this is the time I will create The Writing Space. I dream of a desk like the ones in my professors’ homes and in the homes of older friends. Desks so wide and spacious you could stretch across them like a Labrador. Desks facing floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a garden where stray kittens lounge under homegrown tomato plants. Desks with mason jars full of freshly sharpened colored pencils. Desks that hold a single coffee cup, which is washed and placed in a small saucer so that it won’t fuse with the coating on the wood.

Every time I move, I try to create this space. I choose a secluded, quiet room in my new house or apartment. I buy a cozy lamp. I repot my tiny cactus in an interesting jar. I pin maps on the walls.
And then, I avoid the space as though it’s become invisible to me. The cactus starts to wither. A layer of dust grows like fur over the lampshade.

Sometimes I feel guilty for not working, and I think about using my Writing Space, but then I remember all of the Important, Good Writing I’m supposed to do there, and I convince myself that it can wait. I’m not in the right mood, I say. I really need to make a PowerPoint for that lesson two weeks from now, I say.

Inevitably, my laptop ends up on the kitchen table, or on the arm of the couch, or next to my bed. Only then do I find myself able to write again.


My dorm room at the University of Stirling in Stirling, Scotland, where I spent a semester in 2011. There was a lake in the middle of the campus, and sometimes a duck family would wander into the parking lot outside my window and quack through the afternoon, their calls echoing against the windows.


My senior year of college, I lived in a house with several other writers. I had a window that overlooked a big front porch and a row of fraternity houses. In the winter, we’d fight over the thermostat, and I’d end up writing in my twin bed, wearing a Snuggie only kind of ironically.


I’ve learned that I do some of my best and most productive work when I trick myself into writing. I need to tell myself I will only write until the microwave buzzer goes off. I need to tell myself that I’m just going to reread this draft, and then I’ll watch another episode of Parks and Recreation. It’s when I tell myself these lies that I find myself naturally entering that mental space where I’m not afraid to write, where I’m not looking forward to the point when I can stop.

I need the potential of interruption: my housemate’s cat jumping into my lap or someone starting dinner or switching on the television. Maybe it’s because I need stimulation to stay focused, just like some of my students can’t sit through a lesson unless they are building a sword out of highlighters or tapping their foot against the leg of their chair. Maybe knowing I could be interrupted at any moment adds a sense of urgency to my process. Whatever it is, I know that I work best when I can get up and pace to the fridge between sentences or water my plant between paragraphs.


My first year of graduate school, I wrote from a futon until I found this couch abandoned near the dumpster in my apartment complex’s parking lot. Dumpster Couch, it was affectionately called.



I wrote most of my MFA thesis sitting at this table. Something about the repetitive bounce of my housemate’s dog’s tennis ball against the floor was reassuring.  


Now I write at my kitchen table on top of a Dungeons and Dragons grid within sight of the kitchen. The table was inherited from a writer friend, and I took it with me when I moved from Tempe to Tucson.


The next time I move, I’ll go through the same routine. I’ll U-Haul my desk to the new city. I’ll buy a bamboo shoot at Home Depot. I’ll buy expensive pens with very black ink. And like before, I’ll end up doing the majority of my writing in the least glamorous part of my house. I’ll take comfort in the fact that, in another corner of my home, there’s a space that represents the writer I imagine myself to be, a version of myself that I can still become.


Monday, November 28, 2016

The Audio Series: Alice Kaltman



Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.




Today, Alice Kaltman is reading 
“Her Giant Sequoia” from her collection Staggerwing. The excerpt is part of a series of micro-fictions called “The Honeymoon Suite”, four related stories, all taking place in the same hotel room with different characters at different times.
Staggerwing was recently published by Tortoise Books . Her work can also be found in Hobart, Joyland, Whiskey Paper, and Storychord among other fine literary journals, and in the print anthologies "On Montauk" and "The Pleasure You Suffer". She lives and surfs in Brooklyn and Montauk, NY. Give her a shout out on Twitter and check out her website. It’s kinda pretty.












Click on the excerpt below to begin listening:







The word on Staggerwing: 

This irresistible collection of stories brilliantly skewers the close-to-rich and not-so-famous of 21st century America. With keen yet kind perspective, Kaltman revels in the triumphs and travails of misfit trophy wives, psychic hotel maids, jilted bridegrooms, show tune-singing security guards, and assorted other oddballs. Always balancing her sharp eye with a soft heart, Kaltman ensures that this collection isn't just funny, but memorable and lovable as well. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Buried in Books - My New Precioussssess



Because I can't possibly read every single book that finds its way into my home IMMEDIATELY, though I fully intend to die trying, allow me to show off our most recently acquired precioussssess...




For Review



Steph Post
Polis Books
January 2017

Judah Cannon is the middle son of the notorious Cannon clan led by Sherwood, its unflinching and uncompromising patriarch. When Judah returns to his rural hometown of Silas, Florida after a stint in prison, he is determined to move forward and live it clean with his childhood best friend and newly discovered love, Ramey Barrow. Everything soon spirals out of control, though, when a phone call from Sherwood ensnares Judah and Ramey in a complicated web of thievery, brutality and betrayal. 

Pressured by the unrelenting bonds of blood ties, Judah takes part in robbing the Scorpions, a group of small-time, meth-cooking bikers who are flying down the highway with the score of their lives. Unbeknownst to the Cannons, however, half of the stolen cash in the Harley saddlebags belongs to Sister Tulah, a megalomaniacal Pentecostal preacher who encourages her followers to drink poison and relinquish their bank accounts. When Sister Tulah learns of the robbery, she swears to make both the Cannons and the Scorpions pay, thus bringing all parties into mortal conflict rife with deception and unpredictable power shifts. When Judah’s younger brother Benji becomes the unwitting victim in the melee, Judah takes it upon himself to exact revenge, no matter the damage inflicted upon himself and those around him. Judah becomes a driven man, blinded by his need for vengeance and questioning everything he thought he believed in. With Ramey at his side, Judah is forced to take on both the Scorpions and Sister Tulah as he struggles to do the right thing in a world full of wrongs.






Kiini Ibura Salaam
Third Man Book
November 2017

In this eagerly-awaited collection, Kiini Ibura Salaam continues her exploration of the dark, the sensual, and the mysterious with fiction that disturbs, delights, and dazzles. The five stories and one novella collected in When the World Wounds examine the tumultuous nature of the human condition through such wild imaginings as sensual encounters with deer, escapism in a dystopic prison, and volcano women. In “The Taming,” a lupine creature is trapped by beasts whose nefarious nature is beyond their prey’s understanding. In “Hemmie’s Calenture,” a woman escaping enslavement is thrust into a war between gods. “The Pull of the Wing” is the prequel to Salaam’s wildly popular "Of Wings, Nectar, and Ancestors" trilogy. “Because of the Bone Man” transports readers to the desolate landscape of post-Katrina New Orleans and the struggle of the city’s culture bearers to carry on. A welcome follow-up to Salaam’s award-winning Ancient, Ancient, When the World Wounds is perceptive and engaging as it examines our world’s callous and perilous landscapes while tickling the imagination and startling the senses.





Harry Hunsicker
Thomas & Mercer
March 2017

Former Texas Ranger Arlo Baines didn’t come to the tiny West Texas town of Piedra Springs to cause trouble. After his wife and children were murdered, Arlo just wants to be left alone. Moving from place to place seems to be the only thing that eases the pain of his family’s violent end.

But a chance encounter outside a bar forces him to rescue a terrified woman and her children from mysterious attackers. When the woman turns up murdered the next day—her children missing—Arlo becomes the primary suspect in exactly the same type of crime he is trying desperately to forget.

Haunted by the fate of his family, and with the police questioning the existence of the dead woman’s children, Arlo decides it’s his duty to find them. The question is, just how deep will he have to sink into the dusty secrets of Piedra Springs to save them and clear his name?
 





Caitlín R. Kiernan
Tor.com
February 2017

A government special agent known only as the Signalman gets off a train on a stunningly hot morning in Winslow, Arizona. Later that day he meets a woman in a diner to exchange information about an event that happened a week earlier for which neither has an explanation, but which haunts the Signalman.

In a ranch house near the shore of the Salton Sea a cult leader gathers up the weak and susceptible—the Children of the Next Level—and offers them something to believe in and a chance for transcendence. The future is coming and they will help to usher it in.

A day after the events at the ranch house which disturbed the Signalman so deeply that he and his government sought out help from ‘other’ sources, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory abruptly loses contact with NASA’s interplanetary probe New Horizons. Something out beyond the orbit of Pluto has made contact.

And a woman floating outside of time looks to the future and the past for answers to what can save humanity.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Audio Series: Dane Cobain



Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.




Today, Dane Cobain reads the prologue from his upcoming horror novella/screenplay Come On Up to the House. The book drops on December 6th, and you can pre-order a copy over at its IndieGogo page. Dane resides in 
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK. He is an independent poet, musician and storyteller with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not in front of a screen writing stories and poetry, he can be found working on his book review blog or developing his website. His debut novella, No Rest for the Wicked, was released in the summer of 2015.














Click on the excerpt below to begin listening:









The word on Come On Up to the House:

Doesn't life seem nasty, brutish and short? This horror novella and accompanying screenplay tells the story of Darran Jersey, a troubled teenager who moves into a house that's inhabited by the malevolent spirit of his predecessor. As time goes by and the family begins to settle, Darran begins to take on more and more of the qualities of James, the dead teenager who committed a bloody suicide.
As tragedy after tragedy threatens to destroy the family, Darran's mother Alice decides to leave the house behind and start afresh, but is it too late? 


Find out when you Come On Up to the House...  



You can also check out the book trailer here.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Book Review: I'm Thinking of Ending Things

Listened 10/29/16 - 10/31-16
5 Stars - Highly Recommended / The Next Best Audio Book - What are you waiting for?
Length: 5 hours, 22 minutes
Narrator: 
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Released: June 2016





Holy crap was that a nerve-wracking read! I'm surprised I didn't revert back to nail-biting as I listened to this book on my daily commute back and forth to work. I don't usually do well with high tension wtf-ery but wow, this thing. This fucking thing! I am throwing all the stars at it.

You guys trust me, right? How often do I steer you towards bad books? So when I say you have to download a copy of I'm Thinking of Ending Things in audio right the fuck now, you'll drop whatever you're doing and purchase it, right?

Don't be like me. Don't wait for this book to find you on its own. If it wasn't for this Bustle magazine article, I may never have picked it up. Somehow, the love/hate buzz that surrounded this debut novel passed me by, though if I'm being honest, that was probably a good thing because I have a tendency to stay away from the super-hyped-up books, cause, you know, nothing ruins a potentially good book faster than everyone friggen talking about it all night and all day.

In my case, though, the timing of that article and my stumbling across it was everything. Not just because the hype was long gone, but also because I had been holding on to an audible credit, not sure what to spend it on, and then, here comes Bustle Magazine boasting kick ass creepy audio books and I was like "ok, yeah, I like the sound of this", and holy hell you guys, this thing just sucked me right the fuck in.

The narrator, who is one of the most deliciously unreliable narrators I've met in a looooong time, is also so ridiculously relatable that I want to punch her in the face and then immediate kiss it and make it all better. Things start off innocuously enough. She and Jake are taking a road trip out to meet his parents. He's taking their relationship to the next level. She's thinking about ending things. And you might be thinking 'ugh, this is gonna suck' only it doesn't because the thoughts that run through her head on their way out there are fanfuckingtastic - she's thinking reasonable shit like 'maybe meeting his parents will change my mind'  and 'it'll be nice to see where Jake grew up' and 'thinking of ending things takes the pressure off' and then she starts thinking about more existential shit like what it would feel like to get inside someones head, to truly know what they are thinking and have full access to their thoughts. She wonders if being alone is the only way someone can truly know themselves. Because when you're with someone, it's impossible to know their thoughts. And it's the thoughts that count. Thoughts are reality. And I remember thinking, man, that's the kind of crap I used to obsess myself with when I was younger. How you could really never know what someone was thinking because what they're really thinking, they would never say aloud. And I remember how desperately I wished I could get into people's head, so it was me thinking their thoughts, and how crazy intimate that would be. Even if it was just to see yourself the way other people see you. Even if it was just to know, without a doubt, how other people really thought of you. Or if they thought of you at all.

The conversation in the car is typical of a fairly new couple on a long drive down country roads. They feel each other out. She asks some questions, Jake does his best to answer them. They share stories. It starts to snow. And then they arrive at his parents' farm. It's old and secluded. His parents are a little... off. And Jake's demeanor begins to change. There are old photos on the wall that feel... familiar to her. But that doesn't make any sense. And when Jake disappears for a bit, the dad tries to convince our narrator to stay the night. He says he'll make coffee. The mom gives her a present, tells her she's not ready to open it yet. It's a folded piece of paper. She tells her she's good for Jake, that she's happy he has her. That he needs her.

After dinner, they hop back into the car and start to head home. The roads are getting bad, and Jake pulls into a Dairy Queen so they can grab something sweet and there's a weird interaction between our narrator and one of the girls behind the counter. The girl says she's worried. That she's scared for her. And even though shit had been getting weird for a little while now, that was some really creepy shit right there. It was like that girl behind the counter knew our narrator, but our narrator has never been out in the country before, never been out to this Dairy Queen, there's no way they could know each. When they get back in the car, she asks Jake about the girl. He's oblivious. And he's also freaking out about the lemonade they just bought, melting and sweating into his cup holders, so he detours them down a back road towards an empty high school out in the middle of nowhere, where he plans to throw them out.

From here, the whole thing goes to hell, in a terrifyingly good way. The story quickly begins to unravel. We become aware of our heart beating in our chest at the same moment our narrator notices hers. We panic and begin to sweat. We worry. Our breathing comes more rapidly as we start to follow the breadcrumbs Iain Reid has cleverly laid out before us, but let's be honest, we were already following them. We might not have noticed, not exactly, but we knew something was not quite right. We'd been trying to work it out for ourselves. We were just waiting for... what? What are we waiting for? What are YOU waiting for? What are you WAITING for???

Kudos to Simon and Schuster for their choice of audiobook narrator. Candace Thaxton did a fabulous job infusing Iain's words with just the right amount of tension. It's an unsettling read. Completely unnerving. She brought the book to life in a way I may have missed, had I been reading the words off the page myself.

I'm Thinking of Ending Things is a twisted, mental mindfuck of a novel. It's the sort of book you'll want to read again, backwards, to revisit the finer details, this time with eyes wide open.

I haven't re-read it yet, but I imagine it will be much like that photo of the glossy legs that was making its rounds this past week. Have you seen them? The shiny legs? Once you know what makes them look that way, you can never see the picture the same way again.

Ditto for this novel.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Indie Ink Runs Deep: Kelcey Parker Ervick


Every now and then I manage to talk a small press author into showing us a little skin... tattooed skin, that is. I know there are websites and books out there that have been-there-done-that already, but I hadn't seen one with a specific focus on the authors and publishers of the small press community. Whether it's the influence for their book, influenced by their book, or completely unrelated to the book, we get to hear the story behind their indie ink....


Today's ink story comes from Kelcey Parker Ervick, whose new book, The Bitter Life of Bozena Nemcova, was released Tuesday with Rose Metal Press. 





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I just got my first tattoo this year. I almost passed out. Twice. The kind tattoo artist took pity, fed me Snickers and Sprite, and traded my upright chair for a gurney so I could lie down.

The tattoo is a sketch by Kafka: a figure seated at a desk, head down. Dreaming? Despairing?

For me, it epitomizes the life of the writer: Leave me alone, I’m trying to write, I’m failing, I’m thinking, I’m hiding, I’m hoping, I’m dreaming.

“All I am is literature,” said Kafka, “and I am not able or willing to be anything else.”




My new book, The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová, is about a nineteenth-century Czech writer Kafka adored. He compared his beloved Milena’s writing to her writing: “I know in Czech only one music of language, that of Božena Němcová. Here,” he says to Milena of her own writing, “is another music.”

I’ve been traveling to Prague regularly since 2003, where I first encountered a different Kafka than the one I was reading in grad school. In Prague, Kafka’s magical, metaphorical stories grow concrete and terrifyingly real. In seminar we discussed The Castle and its elusive Klamm as an extended metaphor. But, as I say in my book, in Europe castles are everywhere and real. Prague’s castle looms over the city. Kafka lived on its grounds. In fact, The Castle was inspired by Němcová’s 1854 book, Babička, set in a small village with a castle. The tattoo is a reminder of all these things too.

My people are not a tattooed people. My daughter does not approve. My parents, knowing my fear of needles, are baffled. But this summer I was in a bowling league called “Tattoos and Bowling Shoes,” and everyone in the league received a gift certificate either for a tattoo or for the pro shop, so I am already thinking about my next tattoo. Perhaps it will be of “How Doth the Little Crocodile,” the painting and sculpture by Leonora Carrington. But that’s another story. 


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Bio:
Kelcey Parker Ervick is the author of The Bitter Life of Bozena Nemcova, a hybrid work of biography, memoir, and art. Her previous books of fiction are Liliane’s Balcony (Rose Metal Press), set at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, and the story collection, For Sale By Owner (Kore Press). She directs the creative writing program at Indiana University South Bend and leads a study abroad program to Berlin and Prague.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Leo X Robertson's Guide to Books & Booze



Time to grab a book and get tipsy!

Books & Booze challenges participating authors to make up their own drinks, name and all, or create a drink list for their characters and/or readers using drinks that already exist. 




Today, Leo X Robertson is throwing booze all over this new horror novella Bonespin Slipspace. Check it out.....


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My new horror novella, “Bonespin Slipspace”, released by Psychedelic Horror Press this Halloween (and available for preorder now here), is about a group of disaffected youths who visit Blackburn Manor, where six-hour torture experiences hold six-month waiting lists. As you can imagine, “thrillseekers” of the most depraved order hold stimulants, narcotics and all manner of mind- and body-altering substances in high regard. So here’s what my characters are drinking!




Rudy: Club soda. Boooo! Well, Rudy’s bored of being taken advantage of by his callous art school buddies. He’s actually a hair’s breadth from ditching the party life outright. He’s the only one of his friends to go through with the plan of starting a small business, while he watches their hedonistic lives remain on pause. But his squat-mate Tammy is insisting he attends just this one, little last party with her. At Blackburn Manor?!


Tammy: Warm MD 20/20 from a bottle held beneath her skirt with a makeshift garter of duct tape. Tammy is the proudest of the hottest of messes: she continues to drink as if she’s still thirteen and hiding in a dark corner of a local park with kids who are going nowhere. It’s endearing only to the wrong people, which is perfect: they’re her favourite kind.


Ollie: A fresh recruit at Blackburn Manor, Ollie’s heard there’s this new drink where you mix antifreeze with Blue WKD and absinthe in such a ratio that it’ll only almost kill you but get you so instantly out your tree that the night will be forgotten but the pictures of it will be epic, and they’ll last forever anyways, but he won’t, so who cares? Unless Rudy is around, in which case, two club sodas please. I mean, Ollie doesn’t need to drink, right? Who does? By the way, has Rudy been thinking about him lately? No, of course not. Sure, they broke up for good reasons. No harm in a kiss though, right?


Blackburn: who knows? Blackburn’s one of those guys you never see with a drink in his hand, but he’s weathered at least an additional ten years above his real age into his skin, so he must be into something. He sits brooding at the back of every secret excessive party, and never looks like he’s having any fun, but he can’t seem to resist them either, otherwise why would he be there? I think he has a heroin drip under that kilt, in such a low dose that it can flows into him continuously: he never feels too much or too little of anything. I don’t even know if a guy like that has feelings. I’m wrong for thinking that’s sexy, right? I might ask if I can look up his kilt. For my theory.


Alex: Is he here? I thought he was in prison! Don’t look at him. Stop it! Don’t ask him. I mean it! Don’t. It’s not funny. He’s seen us talking about him. He’s coming over. What do we do? Call the police? Run! I think we lost him. Regroup at yours? I stole Stoli from the open bar when no one was looking. The manor’s covered in cameras? Are they gonna come after us? I can’t take it back now! Let’s split up: save yourself! If I’m still alive Tuesday, beers at mine!


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Leo X. Robertson is a Scottish process engineer and emerging writer, currently living in Oslo, Norway. He has stories most recently published by Schlock!, Twisted50 and Creepy Campfire Quarterly. His horror novella, Bonespin Slipspace, will be published by Psychedelic Horror Press this Halloween - available for pre-order here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Indie Ink Runs Deep: Liv Hadden



Every now and then I manage to talk a small press author into showing us a little skin... tattooed skin, that is. I know there are websites and books out there that have been-there-done-that already, but I hadn't seen one with a specific focus on the authors and publishers of the small press community. Whether it's the influence for their book, influenced by their book, or completely unrelated to the book, we get to hear the story behind their indie ink....


Today's ink story comes from Liv Hadden, whose novel In the Mind of Revenge released on audio yesterday. 





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I have quite a few tattoos, each one special and meaningful. I chose this one because the inspiration for this piece came from the same place as my first novel. Long story short, I was depressed and definite downward spiral. The only things keeping me afloat were my writing and my new obsession with Florence + The Machine’s album, Lungs.

Though I incessantly listened to the entire album for months, the song “Howl” in particular resonated with me. If you know the band, then you know the writing is poetic and vivid, making it ridiculously easy to actually picture the story being painted. The image of beasts emerging from inside heartbroken lovers, on the hunt and howling at the moon while lost in the forest captivated me.



The piece spans to both sides of my torso. On the left, there’s a wolf howling at the moon. On the right (at the bottom), there’s a bear doing the same (but there’s only a moon on the wolf’s side. Sorry bear!). For obvious reasons, I named the girl head Florence – in the box is her heart where she plans to keep it locked away safely.


I was dealing with a lot of shame and guilt at the time, but having this beautiful piece of artwork represent that time provided a lot of healing. Between that and my book, I look back on that time without bitterness…I have a sense of reverence for how I was able to come out on the other side better and healthier. I actually made something with it instead of drowning in it. With powers like that, who can hate art?!



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Debut novelist Liv Hadden has been writing ever since she was a little girl. Her Shamed series began in college, when Hadden employed her writing as an outlet for her feelings during a serious bout of depression. 

Hadden has her roots in Burlington, Vermont  and has lived in upstate New York and Oklahoma, where she went to college at the University of Oklahoma,, and earned her degree in Environmental Sustainability Planning & Management.  She now resides in Austin, TX with her husband and two dogs, Madison and Samuel and is an active member of the Writer’s League of Texas.

Book Giveaway: The Shooting

Since July 2010, TNBBC has been bringing authors and readers together every month to get behind the book! This unique experience wouldn't be possible without the generous donations of the authors and publishers involved.






It's the beginning of a new month and you know what that means..
Time to give away our December/January Author / Reader Discussion novel!


We will be reading and discussing James Boice's


His publisher, Unnamed Press, has made 10 copies of the book available - 

your choice of Print or Digital (Mobi and PDF)

(sorry my friends, this one is open to US residents only)






What it's about: 

Meet the most hated woman in America: Jenny Sanders (also known as the country’s most successful gun control advocate). On her way to New York City, to the site of yet another shooting, she encounters one of her many opponents. Their shocking collision will plunge you directly into the world of James Boice’s fourth and most urgent novel.

It begins with Lee Fisher, a boy raised as a patriot and native son who cannot escape the influence of his troubled father. The heir to a massive family fortune, Lee struggles to find his place in the world. By the time a stranger walks through the unlocked door of his New York City penthouse, Lee is as terrified by his own isolation as he is by the threat posed by the intruder. The stranger — unarmed teenager Clayton Kabede — carries with him an immigrant story as profound as the American experience itself.

Refugees and militia men, Russian physicists and inner city teens, Rikers Island inmates and Second Amendment repealists, beat cops and $1000-per-hour defense attorneys — James Boice delivers an unprecedented portrait of contemporary America through the prism of a single shooting.
 




This giveaway will run through November 9th . 
Winners will be announced here and via email on November 10th.





Here's how to enter:

1 - Leave a comment here or in the giveaway thread over at TNBBC on goodreads. Remember, you must be a resident of the US to enter.


2 - State that you agree to participate in the group read book discussion that will run from January 9th through January 15th. James has agreed to participate in the discussion and will be available to answer any questions you may have for him. 


 3 - Your comment must have a way to contact you (email is preferred).



ONLY COMMENT ONCE. MULTIPLE COMMENTS DO NOT GAIN YOU ADDITIONAL CHANCES TO WIN.



 *If you are chosen as a winner, by accepting the copy you are agreeing to read the book and join the group discussion at TNBBC on Goodreads (the thread for the discussion will be emailed to you before the discussion begins). 





GOOD LUCK!!!




Monday, October 31, 2016

Scary Stories We Love to Read





Halloween is upon us. While the trick-or-treaters beat a path to your front door for their sugar fix, what better time to curl up on the couch wrapped in that fuzzy blanket and bury your nose in seasonally frightful reads. 

Contributors Melanie (Grab the Lapels), Drew (Raging Biblioholism), and I have some recommendations for ya. Check them out!









Drew's Picks


Wytches,Vol.1 by Scott Snyder & Jock
Maybe it's Jock's sharp and jittery imagery or maybe Scott Snyder's take on witches is just that scary - but this comic run legitimately gave me nightmares. It goes full tilt boogie basically from start to finish and I find myself in the unique position of both wanting a second run and dreading it. "Pledged is pledged," as they say...


Listen to Me by Hannah Pittard
More Hitchcockian dread than true terror, Hannah Pittard's single-sitting road-trip novel is one of the most effective thrillers I've ever read. She builds the tension from the first page and when she does finally let it go, in a moment altogether human and ordinary, it's a better release than any fright could've been. Seriously, read it in one go. 


The Shining by Stephen King
Look, I'll say it again and again and again: no book has ever scared me more, or better. I like other Stephen King books more and I even like other horror novels better... but this one still takes the cake when it comes to even just thinking about it and getting scared all over again. This one deserves every ounce of hype.








Melanie's Picks:

Pet Semetary by Stephen King: 

While King may seem like a friendly guy in his interviews, Pet Semetary is downright scary with its murderous undead brought back to life after being buried in "sour" ground.

World War Z by Max Brooks: 
I've heard a lot of complains that the multiple narrators in World War Z all sound the same,but if you listen to the audio version, the famous voices are impossible to confuse. Each character is played by a different voice actor, and the numerous interviews, with the emotionally wrought dialogue and subtle sound effects, really put you there, as if you, too, survived World War Z.


Santa's Little Helper by H.D. Gordon: 
Is it a Christmas novel? A Halloween gore-fest? Santa's Little Helper helps characters right into their graves as he tortures a group of children who just want a happy holiday. Gordon has no qualms about killing people off, so the tension is high.


The Last Final Girl by Stephan Graham Jones: 
Any horror reading list that doesn't include Jones is incomplete. The Last Final Girl is my favorite because Jones uses movie direction to plot out a story of a slasher wearing a mask of Michael Jackson in the "Billie Jean" video and killing off high school kids (of course!). The "last final girl" is that one who makes it out alive, thanks to some rules to survive a horror movie (like those Randy describes in Scream, a horror film that knows about horror films).


Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith: 
Known for her psychological thrillers, Highsmith really kicks up the scares when we meet Bruno, a young man who has a conversation with a stranger while riding the train. Bruno hates his father, the stranger, a respectable architect named Guy, hates his wife. Bruno then tries to convince Guy to do a switcheroo: Guy can kill Bruno's unreasonable father, and Bruno can kill Guy's wife. Guy says no, but Bruno starts the process anyway. And he shows up everywhere. And he wiggles his way into Guy's life. Bruno is the ultimate creep that Guy just can't escape, nor can he convince anyone he's being stalked by a killer.


Altmann's Tongue by Brian Evenson: 
The book that led Brigham Young to practically force Evenson to quit. A student complained in an anonymous letter that Altmann's Tongue is a "showcase of graphic, disgusting, pointless violence." And wow, is it violent. You leave Evenson's first book feeling pretty awful. However, Evenson argued back, pointing out, "My violence is a kind of violence that you can't cheer for. Movies glamorize killing. My book, however, shows how pointless violence is." You can't argue with that depth of horror.







Lori's Picks:
(AKA the things I fear the most)

Puppet Skin by Danger Slater:
Beware all ye who, like me, have an irrational fear of marionettes. Forget Pinocchio. Danger Slater has created a world where real boys and girls are turned into wooden puppets as part of their graduation process. This is the story of one girl who bucks the system and says fuck all ya'll! Creepy as all get out, Danger has outdone himself with this one. 


Arachnophile by Betty Rocksteady:
Holy giant spiders and humans living side by side, batman! I have been afraid of spiders for as long as I can remember. When I see one, in real life or in a photograph, I feel my heart begin to race and I have to swallow the urge to vomit. I won't attempt to squish one because, god forbid I miss it and it escapes, I'd die from the anxiety of trying to find it again, though I also can't just let it live because WHAT IF IT GETS ON ME or MAKES BAAAAAABIES??! So you gotta know that picking up this book, it set off every warning, trigger, and alarm in my body but I just couldn't resist. I've been dying to check it out. And hot damn, despite the fact that this fucking thing had my brain buzzing, my skin crawling, and my stomach clenching the entire time I was reading it, I fucking LOVED it. It was the most bizarre, tenderly twisted love story I have ever read. 


Scratch by Steve Himmer:
Loosely based on Algonquian & Wampanoag lore from the region where the story is set, it's wholly original and incredibly unsettling. Martin's the new guy in a small, secluded, superstitious town and he's heading up the new housing project out in the middle of the woods. As the trees are cut back to make space for the new development and after a frightening run-in with a bear, Martin learns about the legend of Scratch - an unknown entity that is accused of luring townspeople into the woods, never to be seen again. When a local drunk disappears, the rumors and whispers of Scratch rise up again. And what of the pile of bones that is uncovered while excavating the site? And the little boy who was last seen chasing a fox into the forest behind his home, was that Scratch's handy work as well?