Thursday, June 11, 2015

Illiteracy SUCKS: Muskoka Novel Writing Marathon and Fundraiser

I don’t like asking for money. Whether it’s for myself, or it’s for any other reason, really. I suck at it. But sometimes it’s necessary.

That said, you all know reading is a big part of my life. It's kept me on the brink of sanity when I was losing my mind. It's calmed me down when I wanted to beat something senseless. It's blown my mind. It's made me laugh, cry, swear, sweat, and smile. Reading is important to me. Reading has saved my life. I wouldn't be who I am today without it. Neither would my kids. And I’m willing to bet something you've read in the past has stuck with you and has helped form the person you are today. Whether it be a piece of fiction, or the text books you studied from to help you gain the career you have today. Reading did this for you.

And that's what this “asking for money” thing is all about; raising money to support literacy programs. Why? Because damn near half of all Canadians can't read, and that's absolute crap (It’s 42%, for any of you nerdlingers who need a number to attach to that).

This needs to change, and we can help.

For 72 hours, and in line with my insane thirst for excessive and potentially crazy-making self-torture, I have rather brazenly decided to sit down with 39 other writers and put your money where my mouth is. I'm going to write the s*** out of something. Can you imagine that? Me? Three days. Sitting still. Writing.

But I need your help.

Each writer is asked to raise a minimum of $500 toward the YMCA Muskoka Literary Services literacy programs. For more information on “where the money goes” please click here.

If you've ever been entertained, irritated, made happy, or made pissed off, by something you read... then something you've read has affected you in some way – and that’s important. There are a lot of people who haven't experienced that.

Please follow this link and click on the DONATE NOW button and then sit back, comfortable in the knowledge that you've helped me sit at a table and tear my hair out, curse a lot, and then try to string one word after another in some sort of coherent order.

Please, together we can work to end illiteracy in Canada. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Helping The Hoss: A Benefit Book Auction for James Newman

It's no doubt that all of you folk who are steeped in the genre already know about James' injury, and the subsequent medical expenses that have arisen from this unfortunate incident. And it's no surprise that the genre stepped up and took matter into their own hands, whether sending good ju-ju Newman's way, or offering to kick the bark off of the offending tree that assailed such a gifted young man.
Well, for all of us who wish we could help in a bigger way... now you can! And you can manage to grab some major league purchases to go along with your generosity, as well!
Take a look over at Ronald Kelly's blog for more info on how you can "Help the Hoss".
I'm behind this auction 100%.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Dear Domain Thief, Fuck you

HAHAHAHAHA! Jerk! I got my blog back, you piece of crap domain thief!
Oh man, this makes me happy.

Not only do I have all of my content back, but I also have my personal site back. Maybe I'll play with it, maybe I won't. Who knows?

Now the only thing I have to figure out is whether or not I want to go ahead and get another .com domain or just keep the site like this. Any suggestions from the rabble?

Damn, this is liberating.

Okay. Back to reading horror's finest books, and watching its shittiest movies.

Goddamn. It feels good to have my home back. Phew.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Re-Animation... Of Sorts?

In creating Dreadful Tales, I had envisioned being part of a huge community and cultivating massive amounts of great things surrounding the website.

Together with the amazing team over at DT, we have created that. We're working harder than ever, having massive amounts of fun, immersing ourselves in the genre, and blasting through some of the most exciting times of our lives.

But I'm still not satisfied.

Like any good genre devotee, I want more.

So I may just have to dust off PBH and put the paddles to the decrepit, blackened heart of this place. Maybe give y'all a more intimate look at someone who is absolutely drowning in the genre.

Give you a look-see at the man behind the curtain.


Keep checking back.

This time... PBH is about to get personal.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Goodbye PBH - Hello Dreadful Tales!

Hey all. I really appreciate all of the friendship and support that y'all have been giving me for the past looooong while. If it weren't for you guys reading what I had to say, I wouldn't have been able to come so far with writing, reading, reviewing, and just having fun.

I want to thank you all profusely.

I also want to invite you guys to hang out with me over at

Yeah, that's right. I'm not leaving the game... just making it bigger.

I've teamed up with Meli from Destroy The Brain, and Pat from Grade Z. Horror, to create the best horror literature website that we possibly can. We aim to please the authors we read, the presses we love, but most importantly - the fans who are just like us.

You're the people we do this for. Through us, you will have a voice. The genre leaders speak for the genre, but it's time the fans had their say.

So please, join me over at Dreadful Tales. I promise, it will not disappoint. And over the next few months, it's going to blow you away.

While you're at it, go "like" the hell out of our facebook page, check us out on twitter, tumblr, myspace, your space, someone's face, and everywhere else.

Heh heh.

Thanks for all of your support, gang.

You know I love ya.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Abolisher Of Roses by Gary Fry

In January 2011, Spectral Press dropped a great little chapbook on us called 'What They Hear In The Dark' by Gary McMahon. With that publication, Spectral Press peaked my interest, and satisfied my need for a emotional and evocative story.

This time around, Spectral is offering up an intense, emotional, and psychologically-challenging read with Abolisher Of Roses by Gary Fry, cementing themselves as a press to watch, and delivering yet another incredible piece of short fiction.

It's not always the guilty who have the darkest secrets...

Peter has been married to Patricia for nearly thirty years. He's a practical man, the owner of a thriving factory, and the father of two fine lads.

He also has a secret mistress.

One day, his wife takes him along to an outdoor arts exhibition involving some of her paintings, staged in a dark, deep wood.

But his are not the only secrets in this marriage, and as Peter strays off the only path through the woods, he soon realizes that Patricia has more than a few secrets of her own...

A powerful piece is always a great treat, and this story is just that. Psychologically gripping, Abolisher Of Roses makes the reader take a look at infidelity and relationships from a different angle. The relationship presented in this chapbook, between a husband and wife, is a perfect example of the idea that sometimes our past indiscretions can catch up to us and make us pay in the strangest of ways.

What the author does here is phenomenal. The story starts off at a walking pace, coaxing the reader into thinking that they're looking at a sleepy little tale, only to amp up the pressure like a slow cooker, and eventually throttling the reader into a forceful introspection of their own deeds. Fry decidedly plays with the imagination in a wonderful way, offering very subtle instances of creepiness that will haunt the reader long after the story is finished.

The characters are well played out, the setting and surrounding ambiance are delightfully transgressive, and the overall feeling is a mixture of a semi-sedated, creeping terror and an outright finger-in-the-face kind of accusation that makes this read feel like a roller coaster ride to certain doom.

Fans of UK horror will definitely love this story, and those who are unfamiliar with them will be in for a treat. This is definitely something to grab and throw yourself into.

Get a (very limited) copy of Abolisher Of Roses here, and check out Spectral Press' website here. You can also check out Gary Fry's website here. You can purchase a yearly subscription to Spectral's chapbooks (1 year, 4 volumes) at their website.

On another note, here is a video trailer for the story:


Friday, April 15, 2011

Multiplex Fandango by Weston Ochse

Multiplex Fandango. Say it. Multi-plex Fan-dan-go.

It's beautiful, isn't it? Just rolls off the tongue.

It’s almost as beautiful and satisfying as the book you may now be holding in your hands, or reading a review about. What we’re seeing here is quite possibly the most comfortable, relaxed, and expert takeover that the horror genre has ever seen.

With Multiplex Fandango, Weston Ochse has created an incredible collection, and has given the reader one of the smoothest, most satisfying reads they could ever come across. To drive the point home, Joe Landsdale says in the intro that "This is a book that could almost have been written for me.", but I disagree - this book was written for anyone looking for imaginative, intelligent, and throughly awe-inspiring, but strangely uplifting scares that force the reader to think more than react.


Multiplex Fandango is subtitled "A Weston Ochse Reader" for good reason. This collection contains a comprehensive representation of short fiction and novellas by the Bram Stoker award winner and Pushcart Prize nominee... (read more)

Not much of a synopsis I know, but then, there really is no way to synopsize this brilliant work. That we go.

There are 16 short stories and novellas presented herein, 6 of which were written for this volume, with each and every one just as, if not more, impressive as the last. Ochse's words read like the poetry of a madman - urgent and direct, at the same time as being beautifully timed and designed to evoke emotions from deep inside. The reader can't help but be absolutely enthralled by this wordsmith's grand visions and engaging dialogue. This is a book that is virtually impossible to put down.

Pieces like Tarzan Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Fugue on the Sea of Cortez, The Sad Last Love of Cary Grant, and Catfish Gods speak of the choices we make that define who we are in the end, and directions we take in life that lead us to those instances. Ochse really blasts the reader with a keen blend of realism, tainted with a strange and unrelenting sense of unease that shows exactly how much of our lives is spent choosing between what is right, and what just comes naturally - regardless of whether or not it hurts or hinders someone else. The characters in these pieces are all people that the reader can instantly identify with, as Ochse finds the essence of what it is to be human, and gently exploits it for the purpose of proving a point. The point being, in most cases, is that we are all responsible for what we create in our own world, regardless of the outside influences and how strange they might be.

Where the writer succeeds most is in stories like High Desert Come to Jesus, The Secret Lives of Heroes, and A Day in the Life of a Dust Bunny - which, when read are actually quite comedic, but are presented in a deathly serious tone. High Desert reads like the serial killer stories that have permeated the genre as of late, but with a brilliant and sinister twist that sets it completely apart at the same time. The idea of a person that actually creates the things in people that most find eternally disturbing, is brilliant. The brief length of the story is incredible in that Ochse packs so much into it, leaving the reader begging for more and more. I, for one, really hope that Ochse expands upon this character in a full length work. This story is highly recommended.

Ochse also proves himself quite capable of writing some brutal and disgusting scenes that deliver a violent slap in the face to the reader. I’m generally very hard to gross out, having read a lot of work that has really made me question how an author managed to get some scenes published and sold to the public, but there were moments in some of these stories that just attack without warning. Now, the beautiful part of this is that Ochse almost downplays these moments in order to affect the reader more. Though they’re few and far between, gore-hounds can rest assured that they are there. If you’re a reader that yearns for prose that pushes boundaries and kicks you when you’re down - you’ll find that mixed in here, along with a complete world that you might have been missing.

While all of these stories are brilliant in their own way, there are some that stand out as the leaders of the pack. Big Rock Candy Mountain is a sobering, semi-political tale encompassed in a hallucinogenic yarn that entertains from start to finish; Hiroshima Falling starts off brooding and dark, almost overwhelming the reader before launching into a bizarro-styled story that picks up the pace, amps up the strange, and ultimately cements the author as a force to be reckoned with; The Crossing of Aldo Ray is, bar none, one of the best zombie stories I have ever read, taking a different path than most and treating the reader to a much needed change of pace in zombie literature; City of Joy is, as the author mentions in his notes after the story, a science fiction tale at heart, but holds enough power in itself that it becomes something of an emotional horror story that speaks to the innocence in all of us; 22 Stains in the Jesus Pool introduces the reader to Ochse’s expert knowledge of the inner workings of religious theory and cult thinking, but also invites the reader to meet one character that is so incredibly complex and, as it turns out, an unintentional villain in disguise.

The absolute shining achievement has to go to the last story - Redemption Roadshow. I've read this story before as a chapbook that was released by Burning Effigy Press, and am still blown away by it every time. This is not only a story that is completely re-readable, but is also haunting, terrifying, introspective, and downright impressive. This is easily one of my favorite reads of all time, and will continue to be etched into my mind for years to come. Ochse is writing on a Peter Straub level with this one. Absolutely brilliant.

Multiplex Fandango is an absolute must-have for anyone who calls themselves a collector of horror literature. No one should be without this book. No one. I am highly recommending this book to everyone.

You can check out Ochse's website here, check out the website for the book here, and follow the author on Twitter.

Multiplex Fandango will be available for pre-order from Dark Regions Press in May '11.