Chaos

I had the pleasure of hearing Mary SanGiovanni read from Chaos at the Scares That Care! convention a few months ago. After the reading (and much discussion about haunted mental asylums, creepy places, and eyebrow bugs), I got a copy.

The tone, style, and vibe of the book took me back to 80’s pulp horror, though the setting is contemporary.

Chaos tells the story of Bridgewood Estates, built upon the grounds that were once home to Bridgewood Asylum before it was torn down. The asylum once being the setting for a grotesque and horrific explosion of violence. Now, only the old office ward remains. Unluckily for the tenants, something evil still stains the grounds, and has for decades.

Upon moving in, Myrinda and her boyfriend are greeted warmly by the neighbors. The old lady across the hall nervously extols the virtues of the place, but then the things that haunt the building loosen her nerve and she tries to warn Myrinda about what she’s moved into.

And soon the other residents begin to have their own sinister encounters: the writer who begins seeing the woman shambling in the yard, without feet or hands; the ex-cop who begins a blood-drenched courtship with the mysterious woman in 2-C, a courtship of sticky notes and gifts of flesh; the man who is ordered to murder his wife by the man on the TV. All of these characters and events weave a tale of paranoia and terror.

Bridgewood is the site of a hole between dimensions and the neighbors that are coming through are far from friendly. They’re insane and malicious. It will take all the courage the young couple can muster to try to resolve things before it’s too late for them and the other dwellers of Bridgewood Estates.

Having read a few of SanGiovanni’s earlier works and enjoyed them, I found Chaos to be a bit different. Whether or not it was intentional this seemed to have a nostalgic sense about it. As I stated at the opening, it reminded me of the “evil in a small town” kind of novels I devoured as a teen (and sometimes as an adult): Salem’s Lot, The Wicked, The Ceremonies…that sort of thing.

The writing is strong and vivid, with well-drawn characters and events. It was a great B-movie of a novel, fun and frightening. Probably excellent with popcorn.

Chaos is available directly through www.marysangiovanni.com.

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Jamming at World Horror Con, 2013

This is Mort Castle and Mason Bundschuh jamming together after the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards ceremony. Mort just walked away with two Stokers, one in the Superior Achievement in an Anthology category for Shadow Show, and Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection for New Moon on the Water.


In D minor, the saddest of all keys.

The photograph was taken by Stacy Scranton-Morgan.

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Sunday Digs: On Sea Monsters, Munchausen Syndrome, and Azathoth Eats Here

While you were all riveted to the gyrations of the train wreck that is Miley Cyrus and her bizarrely discolored tongue, this shit was going on.

In Spain, the body of a long serpentine critter with horns washed up on the beach. Some say “Sea Monster”; I say Oderus Urungus lost his penis again…

And while Mrs. Nugent was being hauled away for packing at an airport, this story cropped up…

There are things that are, sometimes, so immeasurably messed up that it is difficult to process them as truth. Being a writer and fan of horror, it usually takes a great deal to rattle me…but this story, so strange in its creepiness and what-the-fuckism, chilled me: In 2008 a Georgia woman faked the pregnancy and deaths of her imaginary twins in a twisted bid to make her step-son look bad!

And as we take steps toward a very bad Syrian situation, and while you were paying little attention to that because, hey, Dave Chappelle quit being a comedian, this story kicked in the door…

In Oklahoma City, Azathoth, the Lovecraftian god of chaos, has some fans who felt the need to enlighten townsfolk who dine at the Paseo Grill by mysteriously delivering a heavy stone monument to their favorite destroyer.

Till next time…

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Sunday Digs: On Last Words, Coven Trailers, and Halloween Horror Nights

Here are a handful of goodies from around the Internet that we found interesting this past week.

The State of Texas has been apparently saving the last words of every death row inmate since 1982. Most claimed innocence, apologized to their victim’s families or thanked their loved ones for years of happiness and good memories. Others were not so poignant—such as a 1999 inmate that said, “Adios amigos,” before asking to be taken away.

I love the American Horror Story trailers. They’re almost creepier than the actual show.

Nick Carter is making a horror movie. Before you go Google who this new director is, I will confirm that it is boy band Nick Carter, from Backstreet Boys. I would love to see some reactions on this.

If you’re in the Orlando, Florida or Los Angeles, California area, pop into Universal Studios for the Halloween Horror Nights from September 20th–November 2nd. The park will feature haunted houses, mazes, street attractions, and shows from films like American Werewolf in London, Cabin in the Woods, and Evil Dead.

There is a movie adaptation of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five in the works. Directed by Guillermo del Toro. Then I found out today that Universal is courting Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) to screenwrite. I geeked out so hard I nearly passed out.

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Sunday Digs: On Human Krill, Happy Slime Mold, and a Very Cthulhu Christmas

Here are a handful of goodies from around the Internet that we found interesting this past week.

Strange fact: according to the International Association of Psychiatric Professionals*, fear of being swallowed by a large sea mammal (orcamasticophobia) is the fourth most prevalent fear worldwide. By comparison, fear of spiders (arachnophobia) is thirteenth.

A group of researchers at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in England have utilized their vast scientific acumen and substantial resources to attach a robot head capable of human expression to a vat of slime mold in order to determine what the slime mold is feeling at any given moment. Meanwhile, cancer!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Fishmen! (Too early for Christmas jingles, you say? Bah humbug!)

You know what’s creepier than baby monitors? Nothing. An example of life imitating art in the worst possible way. Also, a good cautionary tale for parents.

Why does Stephen King sometimes spend months or years writing opening sentences? Because he can.

This week’s Digs brought to you by a couple of worms (and the return of Omni magazine!)…

* According to the International Association of Psychiatric Professionals, they don’t exist and, furthermore, it is in their professional opinion that I may be suffering from pseudologia fantasica.

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Sunday Digs: Angels & Other Flying Humanoids, Little People, and The Brothers Grimm B-Sides

Here are a handful of goodies from around the Internet that we found interesting this past week:

A general rule among successful murderers? Don’t provide evidence to the police by confessing and/or posting pictures of your victim on your Facebook page.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a fuzzy blotch…or a smudge on your camera lens…or a hoax! It’s the Mysterious Flying Humanoids of Mexico!

Five hundred brand new fairy tales have recently been discovered after having been locked away for over a century in an archive in Germany. Before you get too excited—as people are apt to do over the thought of brand! new! fairy! tales!—please note that one of the better ones is about a girl who escapes a witch by turning into a pond. In other words, it’s kind of like The Brothers Grimm decided to do their own prequels.

Hey, baby, how would you like six inches of me?

The SCP Foundation. To Secure, Contain, and Protect. Things like SCP-231-7, for example.

Lastly, do you believe in angels? Katie Lentz might.

This week’s Sunday Digs brought to you by those meddling kids

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Sunday Digs: On Optical Illusions, Insulting Women Who Kick Ass, and Getting It Done by Joss Whedon

Here are a handful of goodies from around the Internet that we found interesting this past week.

We’ll start off this Sunday Digs with something a little more whimsical: buildings sporting optical illusions. After looking at that, here are some rather emotional pictures of suitcases left behind by New York asylum residents.

Here’s a horrifying read of some bad feelings that went down on the “Women Who Kick Ass” panel at this year’s ComicCon. Quite frankly, these are women I’d choose not to insult.

And finally, we have some advice on getting it done by Joss Whedon. His secret weapon? Chocolate. No joke.

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Sunday Digs: On Prowler, Spiders, Rejection, and WTF?

Here are a handful of goodies from around the Internet that we found interesting this past week:

First, let’s kick out the jams!

If you dig heavy metal and horror, check out Prowler, a three-piece metal band from South Carolina that pays homage to classic horror.

You can order their debut full-length, After You, from our buddy Kieran and Slaney Records.

Spiders just got creepier…and learned how to dance.

Moving right along, quickly. (Did you see that thing? Christ!) There always seems to be some author out there making a big, ill-advised stink about being rejected by some publisher or another. Never a wise thing, of course. But if you’re looking for some possibly helpful tips (I personally think a few of them are bullshit, but you may think they’re writer’s gold), check out 25 Things Writers Should Know About Rejection.

And finally, we host a prompted flash fiction contest every two months, the latest of which began on July 1. The prompt this go-round was an article from 2008 concerning a century-old Swiss watch discovered in a Ming Dynasty-era tomb that’s been sealed for four centuries.

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Sunday Digs: On Claymation Gore, Camel Toe, and Melting People

Hey. It’s Sunday. Let’s get to gettin’. Here are a handful of links from around the Internet that we found interesting this past week.

How about a little claymation gore in the form of Drug Bust Doody?

C’mon, it’s only a shot in the head. Walk it off. And after you’re all nice and warmed up, here’s a video that highlights camel toe and bad lipstick. It elicited true horror when I realized it wasn’t a joke.

Elsewhere, a 17-year-old is buried alive for a suspected crime.

Who knew a flat world on the backs of four elephants balancing on a turtle swimming through space was full of such good advice? Check out these <quotes from Discworld.

And last but not least, here’s a cool pic of some damaged and melted wax figures after a 1925 fire at Madame Tussauds. Awesome.

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Sign Up for the The Bram Stoker Weekend and WHC Pitch Session

Why? Because you want to pitch your stuff. And you won’t be able to sign up at the convention. You have to do so now.

The Bram Stoker Awards® Weekend and World Horror Convention are combined this year in New Orleans. Pitches to several publishers and one agent will be held on Saturday, June 15. The editors and agent are:

Alec Shane – Agent, Writers House
Blood Bound Books – Geoff Hyatt
Cycatrix Press – Jason V Brock
Dark Regions Press – RJ Cavender
Hydra, Random House – Sarah Peed
JournalStone – Chris C. Payne
Nightscape Press – Mark Scioneaux
Samhain Publishing – Don D’Auria
Tor – Liz Gorinski

To secure your slot, email RJ Cavender at rjc@editorialdepartment.com with your top three pitch choices. In the subject of your email, please write Pitch Sessions – (Author’s Last Name).

All authors will be signed up for two pitch sessions, available on a first come, first serve basis.

Not sure what each publisher and agent are looking for? There’s a website where they straight up tell you. Read it. See if you have anything that fits. Then sign up, and don’t be nervous.

There will be a dark-haired Shock Totem girl in stilettos who will be helping out. Taking you to your pitch session, letting you know when your time is almost up. Straightening your collar and letting you know if there’s lipstick on your teeth. Join me! It will be fun!

But sign up ASAP. Slots are limited and they started filling up immediately.

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