Archive for the Books Category

THE NEXT BIG THING – Blog Meme for Authors

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Tuesday, December, 4, 2012 by llsoares

Welcome back to GORY GOODNESS!

It’s been a long time since I used this old blog of mine. To be honest, between working, writing fiction,and writing/editing for Cinema Knife Fight, I don’t have a lot of time to write a regular blog anymore.

But I recently got an email from my buddy Dan Keohane tagging me for a “blog meme” called The Next Big Thing. What is this? Well, authors are blogging answers to ten quick questions, then tagging other authors they think readers should know about. The whole idea is to create a network through social media, drawing new readers through blog readerships, etc. So I’ve got to answer ten questions and tag at least five other writers. As it is, I’m tagging four. But that’s fine.

In the old days, they would have called this a “chain letter,” but now, with the Internet,  it’s somehow cool and called a “blog meme.” In all seriousness, this is the kind of thing I would normally have avoided. But Dan asked me to do it, and I figured, what’s the harm? Maybe it will make some new people aware of my work. So here are my questions and answers, for your reading enjoyment:

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1) What is the title of your next book/work?
Well, my next book is called ROCK ‘N’ ROLL and it’s my second novel. Currently in production, and hopefully coming out soon.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book/work?
I began with a title. I do that a lot. Strangely, this book has had a lot of different titles. When I first started writing it, it was called “Vomitorium.” I’m not sure why. I guess I just thought it was a provocative title. But I soon realized it was also —a bad title. Originally, early on, there was a scene where a character got physically ill and started rolling around on the floor, so I’m sure that had something to do with it.

Then it was going to be called “Purge,” because I had another novel called “Binge” and it was kind of a bookend to it. Or it was going to be. But it didn’t turn out that way. It went in a completely different direction and pretty much avoided the whole vomit/purge theme entirely. I guess I should be thankful for that. As it turned out, it’s about something else entirely.

It had a few other titles along the way that I can’t remember, until it ended up as ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, having just about nothing to do with my original concept. So don’t worry, this book won’t make you sick (I hope).

How’s that for an unusual answer?

3) What genre does your book/work fall under?
In all honesty, this is why it took so long for this book to find a home. I had no clue what genre it was. It wasn’t strange enough to be Bizarro fiction (I’d written it before that phrase became a genre all its own, anyway) and it wasn’t “normal” enough to be mainstream. There are some horror elements. And some scenes that are kind of surreal. It’s kind of in a genre of its own.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Ryan Gosling might make a good Lash, the main character. I’m not sure who else I would cast in it.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A man rolls around and channels strange forces that affect those around him.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It will be published by Gallows Press and will hopefully be coming out in the next month or two. Currently, it’s in production. As soon as I have an official release date, I’ll announce it.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Probably about six or seven months.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I guess I’m kind of proud that there are no books that come to mind that I could compare it to. As I said, it’s kind of in a genre of its own.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
As I mentioned in answer # 2, I started it with a completely different idea in mind and it took off in a direction of its own. I hesitate to say the book wrote itself, because it obviously didn’t. I wrote it. But I cannot explain what inspired it. And it did go in directions I wasn’t expecting.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, there’s lots of sex in it.  Sex plays a big part in the storyline.

Well that’s it for me. I’ll be posting the link to this on Facebook and tagging some friends. I hope this has piqued your interest in ROCK ‘N’ ROLL.

And while you’re waiting for ROCK ‘N’ ROLL to come out, don’t forget to pick up a copy of my first novel, LIFE RAGE, published by Nightscape Press and available in all the usual places.

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The Bias Against Horror Is Alive and Well

Posted in Books, In Sickness with tags on Sunday, February, 6, 2011 by llsoares

I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this, but it’s been bugging me.

There’s a certain book reviewer for the Boston Globe who I’ve always enjoyed. She writes a very entertaining column and often will bring up a book I haven’t heard of, but which sounds pretty good. Let’s say that I read her column regularly, so I guess that makes me a fan.

When my book IN SICKNESS came out, I sent her an email and asked if my publisher could send her a copy to review. However, I made the stupid mistake of saying it was “a collection of horror stories.” Stupid me. Her answer was quick and to the point – “I don’t review horror.” Suddenly, this woman who seemed so well-read and eclectic in her tastes dropped several notches in my estimation of her. I could have argued that several of the stories might also be considered “dark fiction” (a euphamism I should have used instead to describe it), but I didn’t bother. Her comment pissed me off just enough so that I didn’t feel the need to defend myself, or try to sell her on reading the book.

She gave me the name of the person at the Globe who was in charge of assigning books to reviewers, which was nice of her, and I promptly had my publisher send that person a copy. It’s been several months now, and nobody has bothered to review it. And I’m pretty certain at this point it has nothing to do with a backlog of books to review, but simply that the Boston Globe shares that original reviewer’s bias. I hardly ever see them review anything that might be construed as “horror,” unless it might be the new Stephen King novel, or a book by Joyce Carol Oates (a “literary” writer who doesn’t seem to share their bias against horror, since she writes a lot of it).

So, clearly, I’m not respectable enough to be reviewed in the Boston Globe.And it’s all because of the specific genre I decided to embrace. Certainly, the Globe and papers of its ilk are not opposed to all genres. Mystery books regularly get reviewed; there’s even a bi-monthly column on Sundays called “On Crime” that is devoted completely to mystery and crime fiction.The Globe also has book columns devoted to Children’s Books, Graphic Novels and even “Pop Lit.”

I guess I just fucked up by writing in a genre that’s looked down upon and dismissed with regularity by the mainstream press. It’s not just the Boston Globe, but it really pisses me off that I finally had a book out, and my “local paper” couldn’t even see fit to acknowledge it. Thank you, Boston Globe. For nothing.

BOOK TRAILER FOR IN SICKNESS

Posted in Books with tags , , , on Tuesday, June, 22, 2010 by llsoares

Well, IN SICKNESS, the story collection by me and my wife, Laura Cooney, is deep in production mode. Hopefully it will be out before summer’s end. This is the one that features stories by Laura, stories by me, and then a novella called “In Sickness” that we wrote together. I’ve been shopping this around for awhile now, and it’s gratifying to finally see it become a reality.

Our publishers over at SKULLVINES PRESS, Jerrod Balzer and S.D. Hintz, recently surprised us in two ways. First, they got the very talented artist Mechelle Sizemore to do several illustrations that will be appearing inside the book. And then they just created a very cool book trailer, featuring some of Mechelle’s illustrations, and music by Kevin McLeod. You can check out the trailer at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hl7ZoWgRAgc

Watching the trailer, the book finally feels like a living entity. I can’t wait to hold it in my hands.

Meeting a “Role Model” – JOHN WATERS

Posted in Books, Movies with tags , , on Tuesday, June, 15, 2010 by llsoares

(Left to right): Laura Cooney, John Waters and L.L. Soares

Last Thursday (June 17, 2010), director John Waters came to town to talk about his new book, ROLE MODELS, consisting of several essays about people he looks up to, from Johnny Mathis (“the polar opposite of me”), to Little Richard (whose mustache Waters freely admits he “stole”) to lots more unconventional choices, from lesbian strippers to outsider pornographers.

The Boston Public Library show was his last stop on the book tour (and the only city he visited that has outlawed “poppers”). Instead of simply talking to the audience, he was interviewed by novelist Scott Heim (author of the book MYSTERIOUS SKIN that was made into a film by Greg Araki). Scott covered most of the topics in the book, and Waters was very funny as he talked about his subjects. Then there was a Q&A session afterwards.

I think I was the first person there. The event started at 6pm and I was there before 4:00. I’d left work early intent on getting to the head of the line. This was good and bad. Good, because I had a front-row seat for the discussion, but bad because when it was done, it was announced that Waters would be signing books in the lobby. Suddenly, I was at the end of the line!

Over an hour later, I finally got to meet the man, but he was already a little bleary-eyed from meeting so many fans. I could also tell he was in a hurry to get it over with and head out. So I felt like to take up too much of his time would be intrusive. But there were a couple of things I wanted to tell him.

Back in 1988, when Laura and I got married, we wanted to do something interesting with our wedding invitations. So we had a pink flamingo on the cover and the tagline “Isn’t Love Divine.” This was a direct homage to Waters and his the star of so many of his early films, Divine. I’d wanted to send him a copy of the invitation, but figured I’d get to meet him at an event someday, and that it would be a great way to break the ice and talk to him about other stuff. So finally, after 22 years, I was standing before the man himself, showing him the invitation, and I realized how utterly unexciting it was. He’d probably seen stuff like this a hundred times before. He’d probably seen thousands of more interesting things before. Our little wedding invitiation probably didn’t register a blip on his radar. He asked if we wanted him to sign it. I said “You can keep that one, and we’ve got another one for you to sign.” He slipped the copy I gave him under the table (I bet there was a wastebasket under there. LOL). We got him to sign our copies of his books ROLE MODELS and a first edition of CRACKPOT, and even got a picture with the maestro. But so much for my big moment. I figured he’d be tickled pink by my little revelation, and it just wasn’t the case.

Of course,  there were a bunch of other things I could talk about. The time, about a year before his movie HAIRSPRAY came out, when I’d written to him and he’d responded with a terrific postcard with Squeaky Fromme on one side (to even bring this up would probably have elicited a yawn – how many people must he have sent postcards to over the years?). I was going to mention that Laura and I were horror writers and see if that picqued his interest. I could have mentioned I ran a movie-review site (Cinema Knife Fight), or that we air his “No Smoking in this Theater” promo weekly on the insane internet TV series LAIR OF THE YAK. But the invitation thing took up our time allotment, I didn’t want to be a rude or pushy fan, and it was time for us to move on.

I put my email address on the back of the invitation I’d given him, but why in the world would he write to me? He had no idea who the hell I was. And I’m sure the wedding invitation wasn’t cool enough to make him think, “Man, I gotta stay in touch with this guy!”

After thinking of Waters as one of my own “role models” for decades, and finally getting the chance to meet him in the flesh, the event was anti-climactic, to say the least. Not that I blame him at all. The book tour and the unrelenting parade of fans begging him to sign stuff must be quite tedious. And I’m sure I would have felt the same way (let’s just get this over with!). He was gracious and witty and very civil. The personification of good manners. But you spend years thinking “If I just met this guy and he knew who I was, we’d be great friends.” Yeah, sure. Life just doesn’t often turn out like that.

Chances are John Waters will never be aware of who I am. And I’ve just got to live with that.

2009 Odds and Ends – BOOKS

Posted in Books with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on Monday, January, 18, 2010 by llsoares

Okay, so like a man cleaning out an closet he hasn’t used in awhile, I’m going to be posting some odds and ends to close out the previous year.

First off, books.

I read a lot of books during 2009. But I know some people (with names like Rhonda and Nick) who put me to shame. Mainly because I’m a slow reader, and I only have time to read during my morning and night commute on the subway.

I also haven’t kept track of what I read throughout the year, so I do not feel qualified to list a top 10 or something. But here are some books I read that blew me away – mostly at the tail end of the year:

DEPRAVED – Bryan Smith’s new novel about some people passing through a small, Southern town and get captured by the locals, who plan to use some of them for sex, and others for some kind of special “feast.” Sure, this kind of thing has been done before, but Smith has an excellent style that pulls you along like a big dog on a leash. He puts his own spin on it, and the book lives up to the title. The pacing reminded me a bit of Richard Laymon, who was the master of the fast-paced horror novel.

SUCCULENT PREY – 2009 is the year that Wrath James White became one of my favorite authors, and a lot of it has to do with this book, that took the level of violence and sex that you normally see in a Leisure paperback and turned the volume up to 11. Even Edward Lee is more subdued in his (more mainstream) Leisure titles, but Wrath takes no prisoners and goes where few writers would go. Which is why I loved it. Hardcore horror at its best. Also check out his new one, THE RESURRECTIONIST.

AS FATE WOULD HAVE ITMichael Louis Calvillo’s second novel is about a chef who is addicted to human meat, and a girl who is addicted to heroin. Eventually, their paths are going to cross – it’s only a matter of fate. An excellent read that was one of those rare books that I really couldn’t put down. I even missed my subway stop once in the middle of it.

Yeah, all three of these are horror. And I recommend them highly.

Other 2009 books of note:

DON OF THE DEADNick Cato‘s debut novel mixed zombies with gangsters. Featuring characters with names like Mike “The Mozzarella” Greco, Thomas “the Pork Chop” Razolli, and, my favorite, Carl “The Calamari” Maestrinni. I thought I was sick of zombies, but it made me laugh. Clever premise.

BLACK BUTTERFLIESKurt Newton. Kurt’s a friend, but I’ve also been a fan of his stuff for a long time now. This novella from Sideshow Press is a very strange, and moving, love story. I really dug it.

CURSEDJeremy Shipp’s one-of-a-kind novel is hard to explain. A group of people find themselves cursed in very bizarre ways and try to figure out why, and who’s doing it. Probably my favorite bizarro book of the year.

The only thing that bugs me is I know I forgot a lot of good ones. Hey, I’m gettin’ old.

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Also in 2009, I discovered the writing of T.E.D. Klein, who, despite the small amount of books he has out, has become one of my all-time favorite writers. I got his books used (they’re criminally out of print). I read his 1985 novella collection DARK GODS (featuring “Children of the Kingdom,” “Petey,” “Black Man with a Horn,” and “Nadelman’s God), which was amazing from beginning to end and hooked me like a flounder. And I found his classic story “The Events at Poroth Farm,” in a very cool anthology called AMERICAN SUPERNATURAL TALES from Penguin Books (also featuring some of my other favorites like Karl Edward Wagner, David J. Schow, Thomas Ligotti, and Dennis Etchinson).

Right now I’m reading his only novel, THE CEREMONIES (1984), which is an expanded version of his “Poroth Farm” story. So far, so good. He’s got a very original style that really strikes a chord with me. He’s still around, but he hasn’t written anything new in a long time. I wish he would.

(UP NEXT – THE BEST MUSIC OF 2009)