Hello, Hoppers! Welcome to my little corner of the internet. I guess I should let you in on who exactly I am and what I’m all about. My name is Wesley Southard, and I’m a published horror writer. It’s nice to finally be able to say “published” after four years of writing (Originally, when I decided to start writing, I started work on a novel I had envisioned, and three years later, with a much-needed kick to the ass from a few good people, I had to re-learn how to write short fiction.). As of right now I have three short stories sold (*update* I just recieved another acceptance today, so that makes 4!), one of which is currently in print and a part of my giveaway (see bottom). If you’d like to know more about my fiction or who I am or what-have-you, just click the links at the top of the site to my “about”, “biblio”, and “appearances” sections, and even my Facebook and Twitter Pages (links on the left of the page).
Orignally, I was going to write a very lengthy blog on why I believe Hollywood horror is on it’s deathbed with its remakes and reboots and sequels and prequels and oh God someone–anyone–stop the madness! But after writing nearly three quarters of what was turning into a bitchy “woe is me!” blog, and realizing that the traffic coming through my site this week is going to spike greatly, the last thing I needed to look like is a total dick in front of people who I’m trying to entertain. So I’ve decided, in honor of the Coffin Hop, the Halloween season, and everyone being writers or general fans of horror, I’ll let you in on a few of my favorite books of 2011. I know many people out there know the bestseller horror generals–King, Zoontz, Saul, Matheson–but what you may not know is that there’s a whole other side to horror, a dark underbelly, a side the general buying public may never have the privilege of getting to know. So being the nice guy that I am–and not to metion, a voracious reader–I want to share with you a few books that I know, like me, you’ll devour this dark holiday season…along with the candy you should be passing out to the little ones.
First up is Back from the Dead by J.F. Gonzalez. For the second year in a row, Gonzalez steals my first place trophy for the best novel I’ve read this year (last year, that title went to his Morningstar Press novel The Corporation). Though I admit I’m not the world’s biggest zombie fan, Back From The Dead is without a doubt one of the best zombie novels I’ve ever had the privilege to come across (and, yes, that includes The Rising as well). Gonzalez doesn’t rely on the fact that the novel it is a zombie novel, but the strength of his characters and his amazing storytelling skills. Much like Wrath James White’s The Ressurectionist, Back From The Dead, by sheer frustration for the main character’s plight alone, it will force you keep glued to the pages until the last line is read. Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself and tell me I’m wrong. I assure you, I’m not.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough that Robert Ford allowed me to be a pre-reader for his novella Samson and Denial. I’m sure as shit glad he did. Even from page one, you can practically hear Samson’s thick Philly accent, smell the greasy cheesesteaks he’d had for breakfast and the cigarette smoke stained in his shirt. The story follows Samson Gallows, a pawnshop owner, who recieves a mummy’s head from a bum as his day’s trade. From there, his day goes to hell and back with the guesome murder of his bother, the kidnapping of his wife, and the Russian mob breathing down his neck. Mr. Ford’s stellar debut is not one to be missed, packing more of a punch in 125 pages than most can do in 350. If you dig stories of crime, the occult, and magical mummy heads (…and women running down the street topless), then this is your kind of book.
And lastly we have Grease Monkey and other tales of Erotic Horror by british horror legend Graham Masterton. Anyone that knows me personally knows that I’m a huge Masterton fan, and with over 35 years of quality fiction, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be either. Grease Monkey is a collection of Masterton’s best erotic horror stories, from 1980 to 2007, with very little left to the imagination. This array of perverse stories range from the supernatural (“Bridal Suite”) to the cringeworthy (“The Jajouka Scarab) to the bizarre (“Camelot”) to the downright deranged (“Sex Object”), there isn’t a bad story in the bunch. And with some of the most obscene interior artwork you’ll ever lay eyes on, this is one book you should not miss. I’ll admit, the price is a bit steep ($75) but after reading only a few stories, you won’t care in the least. Mansion House Press is creating some of the nicest limited editon harbacks that money can buy. I currently own their editions of Masterton’s “The Sphinx” and Edward Lee’s “The Chosen,” and both are incredibly gorgeous books.
Alright, the moment you’ve all been waiting for–the contest! Here’s the skinny: I’m going to give you the first paragraph to a modern horror novel (one of my personal favorites) and all you have to do is tell me the name of the novel and the full name of the author. Simple as that. Just place your answer in the comment section before midnight October 31st, and on November 1st everyone’s names who had the right answer will placed in a hat and randomly drawn for the prize pack, which includes:
1. A hardback editon of Big Book of New Short Horror from Pill Hill Press, signed by your’s truely (wink, wink). It contain’s my debut short story “With Many Thanks to Newark.”
2. A Big Book of New Short Horror postcard. (nifty, right?)
3. A rubber shrunken head. (body not included)
4. A light-up skull mug. (fill with your favorite beverage)
5. And two Halloween pens, featuring the likenesses of Dracula and the Grim Reaper.
The winner will be contacted by the email address that you submit with your comment, so please make sure that the email address you use is correct.
And here’s the opening paragraph:
Later, they would all wonder how they had not guessed the truth. He was waiting in the snow, but after climbing into the car he did not seem cold, his breath did not condense, he appeared calm and composed. He did not act like a man that needed help.
Hint: This british horror author’s novel of too-close-to-home terror was first released as a hardback in 2001 and was subsequently released in paperback in 2003.
Thanks for stopping by, Hoppers. I hope you do decide to check out one, if not all, of these great books, including my own as they are released. Alright, time to “hop” to the next 99 author’s pages. To do so, just click on the picture link either at the top of the blog or at the top left of the page to take you to www.coffinhop.blogspot.com so you can check out the massive author list and all of their great blogs this week, and their numerous, numerous giveaways.
Have a Happy Halloween, be safe, and remember…stay scared!