Clive Barker Returns with THE SCARLET GOSPELS

The Scarlet GospelsIn which he kills the Hell Priest, aka Pinhead (no spoiler, this is a major promotional point of the novel). The Scarlet Gospels was released this week on May 19th in hardcover.  For the author it has beeen a hellish misadventure to finally get The Scarlet Gospels completed and published, as he details in this Grantland Q&A. Part of that living nightmare that he describes in the Q&A are things I’d heard about earlier this year via a Nerdist podcast (episode 590) interview Barker did with Chris Hardwick. Real life horrors such as contracting Toxic Shock Syndrome after a routine visit to the dentist, a subsequent coma, a few strokes, and the long recovery to livable and finally sustainable health afterward. It was a devastating thing to learn (and hear — his voice is quite changed and weathered sounding now) from a chance podcast listening encounter because I’d not heard anything about these awful events (which of course was by design of Mr. Barker). Needless to say I’m not ready to lose one of my literary heroes, who will turn 63 later this year in October (a fellow libra, like Anne Rice). Now I just need to get my hands and eyeballs on The Scarlet Gospels for some bookworm ruckus.

A reading of the first chapter of The Scarlet Gospels can be heard via Soundcloud here.

My next post will discuss my most favorite Clive Barker tome by the name of Galilee.


SHE CAME FROM BEYOND! Author Nadine Darling

Nadine DarlingIt’s a trend. Author friends and their books. Lady author friends at that. Folks, meet the lovely Nadine Darling, author, wife, mother and pop culture authority. Her forthcoming debut novel, She Came From Beyond(from Overlook Press), is due out October 2015, in hardcover. See the spectacular cover below? Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.  However, prior to that far off date is a signing event she’s attending two weeks from today (in two Saturdays on May 30th). She’ll be signing galley versions of the aforementioned novel at BookCon from 2:00 – 3:00 PM, Location: Booth # 3037 at the Javits Center in Manhattan, NY.  Check her out if you’re there.  Google her name to find her short fiction published across the web. And remember, the proper release of She Came From Beyond! is out in October (I’ll update details here as I get them). Peace.


She Came from Beyond

Jennifer Macaire’s JACK THE STRIPPER Coming Soonest!

Jack the StripperAnother author friend of mine has a new book coming out. Like, immediately! Jennifer Macaire (y’all remember her? Well, her erotica-minded alter ego, Samantha Winston?) So Mrs. Macaire’s new book Jack the Stripper (Book One in the M.U.C.I. Series) is out  next Friday, May 22nd from Evernight Publishing.  Cover image was just released today. See?  See it!  There’s no pre-order link available just yet, but just remember, out next Friday, May 22nd here on Planet Earth.  Jennifer has also stated that Book Two, Murder and Mayhem, is already in the can and in edits, so ya better grab Book One next week!

A brief description about Jack the Stripper from the author:

He’s Jack Severn, newly back from the dead. He’s magical, he’s hot, but evil he’s not!  Jim Ling-Li, Necromancer extraordinaire, brought him back to life, gave him some extra features, and, as you’ll see, made him irresistible — especially to Jack’s ex-girlfriend Brianna. Jack’s sexier than ever, and they’re better together. But she doesn’t want to risk her heart, not again, and definitely not with a zombie. Jack also has a mission. He’s back to catch the Heart Taker, the mutant that’s been terrifying human and undead alike. His current obsession’s none other than Jack’s Brianna. So give a big hand for Jack…he’s going to need all the support he can get to catch his own murderer.

See more about the M.U.C.I Series on Jennifer



HauntedIn this latest edition of “friends of B” spotlights I have fellow music enthusiast and writer buddy Reggie Lutz (call her Regina at your own peril).  Ms. Lutz is the rather seriously talented and up-and-coming author of the novel Haunted.

Here’s a summary tease from the Amazon listing description:

Gwendolyn McTutcheon can’t move on even though she’s been dead for a year. Having left behind a grieving husband, Evan; and three sisters, Trudy, Bethany, and Sarah; she knows there is work yet to do.

Sarah, Gwen’s youngest sister, is back in town to help her two remaining sisters confront a depressed Evan about settling Gwen’s will. Still grieving—and raw from wrongful accusations made by Trudy and Bethany that he’d murdered his wife—Evan must set to the task of putting the past, and Gwen, to rest. But not all of the past stays in the past when Sarah offers her help and a romance between her and Evan begins. After all, it was that inappropriate kiss years ago that sparked the notion he might have harmed his wife in the first place.

As Gwen watches, unable to intervene, Trudy and Bethany keep secrets of their own, secrets that level the field and make Sarah consider coming home to stay again. But when an arsonist sets his sights on Evan’s bar, Duard’s, and Sarah’s life is threatened, Gwen knows she must find a way to intervene, for her family and for her own peace.

Reggie LutzReviewed quite well with a four-and-a-half star average rating, Lutz self-published this debut novel of hers in April 2014 via Amazon Digital Services for the Kindle (a paperback edition was also issued that following May via CreateSpace).  Self-publishing your debut novel is no easy task for any author, but I have to believe it is totally worth the blood, sweat and frantic typo-catching.  By most accounts, it’s after the novel is finished where the real challenge begins in the form of self-promotion and marketing.  Most of us, while maybe not exactly humble (we wouldn’t be publishing our writing if we were), are not as comfortable or seamlessly suited for the occupation of hardcore self-marketing that goes along with self-publishing just like jam goes with peanut butter.  Ms. Lutz, in a recent interview, said as much with the following quote:

“…the biggest challenge is creating signal out of noise. What I mean by that is figuring out how to get the work into the awareness of the audience that might want it.  Marketing and promotion are uncomfortable, but necessary.  If you self-publish it means doing it yourself.”

Read the rest of the interview here at Julie

Aliens in the Soda MachineIn other Reggie Lutz news, she’s close to finishing up her next book publication, Aliens in the Soda Machine and Other Strange Tales, a long-gestating collection of short stories told with that classic Reggie Lutz eye on the strange and bizarre. The book will be available for Kindle download on May 1st.  See the over art below.

History: Reggie and I met, virtually, in the fall of 2008 when I had opened up a private office dedicated to reviewing novel chapters over at the Zoetrope Virtual Studio.  I remember my first impressions of her being that she was cool, funny, liked good music, loved the strange and bizarre and was perhaps the lovechild of star-crossed hippies.  This was all reflected in her writing as well. I still cherish the advice she gave me on one my chapters.  Obviously she’s long since gone on to kick some writing ass, having completed and published a novel.  She’s an inspiration.

About Reggie Lutz (from Amazon): Reggie Lutz lives on top of a mountain with a parrot who offers editing advice and a dog who offers comic relief. A radio broadcaster in the 90s and early 2000s, she has turned her attention to fiction, although she can sometimes be heard in a volunteer capacity at WRKC.

Check her out, y’all.

And be good to one another.



A Literary PSA: Samantha Winston – The Perfect Alternative to Fifty Shades of Grey

Instead of watching Fifty Shades of Grey (or, perish the thought, reading the books), how about instead you get your erotica fix from Samantha Winston who writes smart, substantive, steamy and sexy erotic literature with huge doses of romance.  As her website says: sexy stories that will warm your heart while heating you up!  Given the intense frigidity of the winter season, that’s a welcome thing, right?  Published across six different imprints, there are over two dozen selections to choose from  in Ms. Winston’s library.  Some notables are:

Hotline (Totally Bound)

Gladys Hawke (Ellora’s Cave: Aeon)

The Wife School (Red Sage Publishing)

Llewellyn’s Song (Ellora’s Cave: Xanadu)

Fun facts: Samantha Winston is the pen name of Jennifer Macaire, an American-born and raised freelance writer/illustrator who was born in Kingston, NY, and lived in Samoa, California, and the Virgin Islands.  She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite.  She attended Parsons School of Design for Fine Art, and Palm Beach Junior College for Art and English literature.  She has three children, lives in France and is married to a professional polo player.

This has been a Ruckerpedia Public Service Announcement by Brandon L. Rucker.

MEMORIAL: Long Live Elmore Leonard (1925-2013)

So, yeah. One of my favorite authors passed away a week and one day ago (August 20, 2013) at age 87. Born on October 11, 1925 (a fellow Libra), Elmore “Dutch” Leonard, who died due to complications from a stroke, was perhaps the greatest modern day crime fiction writer in American history and a huge influence on writers all across the globe, including me.

He started out writing westerns in the 1950s before switching over to crime fiction in the late 1970s, which was fitting if you consider the fact that crime fiction was pretty much born in the law versus the lawless motif of western fiction.

If the late great Mickey Spillane defined the hardboiled (rogue) detective aspect of fiction for me with his Mike Hammer novels, then it was Elmore Leonard who defined criminals as protagonist aspect of fiction for me with books like Get Shorty, Rum Punch, Out of Sight and Be Cool. All four of those became movies, as did a lot of his other books, but those four left the biggest impression on me in terms of prose, plotting and dialogue.

Good lord, the dialogue. I don’t think there’s a novelist better at delivering the most natural and most realistic dialogue (with a lyrical cadence) via his characters than Leonard. If there’s one thing I’ve managed to do pretty darn well with my own writing, it’s dialogue. Leonard was a huge influence in achieving that. Heck, most every writer of crime fiction was happy to steal little tricks from the maestro (see: Robert B. Parker Carl Hiaasen).

In 2000 I belonged to an online novel writing workshop called Novel Conceptions with maybe a dozen other new novel writers. It was that summer that I had started writing chapters for what I considered to be a romantic crime novel called A Distant Thunder. Any Leonard fan could read those chapters and see I was doing my best Elmore Leonard impersonation. The voice he used was just that seductive to me that I couldn’t escape it impacting my own as a young writer. Young authors borrow and borrow until they develop a style/voice all their own. In that sense, Mr. Leonard was one of my professors.

A lot of us paid real close attention to his controversial 10 Rules of Writing from a 2001 NY Times article (and later, a book) in which he helped me an other writers stop opening stories and chapters with the weather, simplify our dialogue attributions, go easy on the adverbs,  keep our exclamation points to an absolute minimum, and the most important one: rewrite it if it sounds like writing.

Thanks for the words and the memories, Dutch. The literary world (and the film world) has lost one of its sharpest minds and truest voices. You will be missed.

Long Live.

Website: Popcorn Fiction (Mulholland Books)

A few months ago while perusing the Mulholland Books website (the suspense fiction imprint of Little, Brown and Company and publisher of notable authors such as Lawrence Block, Joe R. Lansdale, Charlie Huston, Greg Rucka and soon, Warren Ellis), I stumbled across the short fiction blog that they also publish, called POPCORN FICTION, featuring cutting edge fiction that’s mostly in the crime and science fiction genres. I can never have too many crime and suspense fiction stories to read, so naturally I subscribed to be notified when a new story has been posted.

There are some good reads there. Check it out. A new story by Les Bohem just went up on the front page yesterday.

And for any of you working or just aspiring writers out there, here are the submission guidelines for Popcorn Fiction.

Popcorn Fiction