Tag Archives: The Rift Series

One of Our Own Journeys North

We’re very proud to share that our great friend Robert J. Duperre, who also occasionally writes for Shock Totem, has just signed a three-book deal 47North, Amazon’s publishing imprint. The deal is for three books, all to be co-written with fantasy author David Dalglish.

The first book, Dawn of Swords, will be released in January 2014, with Wrath of Lions and Blood of Gods to follow.

Yes, these are fantasy novels, but we read widely here at Shock Totem HQ and are very much looking forward to these books. And you should as well.

If you want to sample some of Duperre’s writing and would rather something a bit closer to horror, check out his four-book Rift series—The Fall, Dead of Winter, Death Springs Eternal, and The Summer Sun. If you don’t want individual books, buy the entire series as a very affordable digital omnibus.

You can also check out The Gate 2: 13 Tales of Isolation and Despair, which not only features three stories by Duperre, but also a story by Mercedes M. Yardley and yours truly.

You can read more about this deal on Duperre’s blog, The Journal of Always.

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The Post-Anthocon Blues

The second annual Anthology conference (AnthoCon) has come and gone…

One of the best parts of all conventions is seeing old friends, making new ones, and interacting with fans (like to the two women from Maine who can never remember which issues of Shock Totem they own, but always buy something—thank you!).

This time we shared space with Robert J. Duperre and Jesse David Young of T.R.O. Publishing, and we had an absolute blast. We’ve known them both online for a long time now, but it was great to finally meet in person. Lots of laughs were had.

Robert, Ken, Sarah, and Jesse.

Robert sold copies of The Gate: 13 Dark and Odd Tales, The Gate 2: 13 Tales of Isolation and Despair—which contains my story “The Candle Eaters”—plus his standalone novel Silas and his four Rift-series novels: The Fall, Dead of Winter, Death Springs Eternal, and The Summer Son. All of which come highly recommended. Jesse, artist of The Wicked and all T.R.O. Publishing releases, sold prints and ate obscene amounts of barely-cooked animals.

Sarah and I sold copies of Beautiful Sorrows, The Wicked, and Shock Totem, 33 in all, which we consider to be quite a success. Sarah also sold a few of her horror-themed tag blankets. We’ll be selling the blankets soon through our store.

As previously mentioned, Shroud Publishing/The Four Horsemen, LLC., released their debut anthology, appropriately titled Anthology: Year One. My story “She Cries” is featured.

A is for Awesome.

The anthology is now available in print through Amazon for $14.95. It looks to be a great one.

Special thanks and mucho respect goes out to the Four Horsemen—Tim Deal, Mark Wholley, jOhnny Morse, and Danny Evarts—for all their hard work in putting on such a great convention. For only its second year, I was impressed. Many of the (minor) complaints I had with last year’s convention were non-issues this year. So I applaud them.

In closing, I’d like to give a nod to Gary Braunbeck who, in his keynote speech, referenced and read his favorite poem, which just so happens to be my favorite poem. It’s by Stephen Crane, whose poetry—indeed the bulk of his fiction—is criminally underrated…

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never—”

“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.

So I tip my hat to Mr. Braunbeck. And we’ll see everyone next year!

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I’m not a dog person. I don’t exactly dislike dogs, they are sometimes cute or endearing, but mostly I just tolerate them. They are dirty, slobbering, noisy, needy creatures who add little to my life. I just don’t get the attraction of dog ownership.

Robert J. Duperre is a dog person. It’s obvious from the outset that Silas, Duperre’s third novel, is a story about a man and his dog told from the perspective of someone who genuinely loves dogs. On this level, Silas succeeds magnificently.

But Silas is much more than that. It is also the story of a man who has lost control of his life, and is desperately careening down a path he did not map out in advance. Ken Lowrey is frustrated in his stalled career as a writer and soon finds himself in the emasculating position of managing his wife’s successful business as her employee. Even the most ardent egalitarian would find this a tough pill to swallow.

Ken lashes out, often irrationally, against his wife, other employees, and even his own image before finding himself on the brink of a total meltdown. He is quite literally at the end of himself when his wife, seeking a surrogate for the children Ken does not want, brings home a black lab. Silas.

Despite his initial misgivings about the dog, Ken quietly develops a bond with Silas that goes beyond simple companionship. The relationship progresses from owner and dog to master and companion to father and son, and all of it is set against a background of missing children, alternate realities and a difficult journey of self discovery. What starts out as a mundane recount of an unexceptional life turns into a thrilling adventure that is as classic as any in literature.

Ken and Silas set out to solve the mystery of disappearing neighborhood children, and get caught up in a fantasy epic that involves a race against time and multiple dangers, climaxing in a chase scene that was a terrific page-turning thriller.

Was this book without flaws? No. The narrative was sometimes choppy and episodic, mostly early on while we are finding out what sort of a man Ken Lowrey is. Some passages are stilted, although overall the writing is very competent. But in the final analysis of any tale, a great story can overcome quite a bit of mechanical flaws. Duperre has written a very fine story here that features several unique takes on old tropes and an energy that is undeniable. He had this non-dog person in tears by the end. Generating that kind of emotion with your prose is what every author should aspire to. Robert J. Duperre has accomplished it.

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