Thursday, November 7, 2019

Personal Mission Statement & Review Policies 2020

I have learned so much in 2019 about reading, reviewing and promoting horror fiction that I have decided to boil it all down into a clear and concise personal mission statement for 2020. The motivation for publicly sharing it with my 2020 review policies is for community accountability. I invite anyone to take me to task if they find that my behavior is not in-step with my mission.

Sadie Hartmann's (Mother Horror) Personal Mission Statement for 2020
  • I will read, review and promote horror fiction to the best of my ability in the year 2020
  • I will be working alongside authors and publishers to create large reading/reviewing/promoting campaigns for books I strongly believe need that boost; an advocate for horror. A cheerleader for horror writers. I'll be doing the work of a publicist with the passion of a fangirl
  • I promise to be more discerning and intentional about the books I choose to read in order to eliminate (as much as possible) books languishing for too long, unread, on my shelves
  • As far as it depends on me, I will work ethically, responsibly and mindfully in the horror community-building up existing relationships and rejecting anything that tears down the work of another. 
  • I will not engage in, participate in or condone petty, destructive, time-wasting squabbles on social media. Social Media will serve as a tool to enhance my efforts to read, review and promote horror fiction. It will not be used to distract me from my mission
  • I will set a schedule for reading, writing & promoting. Diligently setting aside the most time for that which will serve the genre and less time on personal/unintentional time wasting
  • I will make more time for self-care (Excercise!! Drinking more water & less coffee) so that I can be my best self and ultimately more productive
  • I will not make myself available to anything that distracts me from the time set aside for family. I will remember that just because I see emails, comments and messages does not mean I have to address them immediately
  • I am working towards a future goal of having maximum visibility for my horror reviews and a platform to voice my passion for the genre that has served me well over the last 33 years as an avid reader
  • I am working towards a future goal of MORE integrity, honesty, authenticity, and purpose in my reading & reviewing habits
Sadie Hartmann's (Mother Horror) Review Policies for 2020

  • I accept physical review copies only. I am an influencer on social media sites such as InstagramTwitter and Facebook. My reviews rely heavily on having a photograph of the book I'm reading. 
  • I reserve the right to read & review books on my schedule. If you need your book reviewed by a specific deadline, I'm probably not the right reviewer for you. I do try to keep to an order of when books are received but I enjoy the freedom to make changes to the order.
  • Reading a book does not always result in a review with Cemetery Dance or SCREAM Mag. Reading a book might not result in a review if I choose to not finish the book for personal reasons. Accepting a book also is not a commitment to photograph it or post it to my social media platforms. 
  • I write honest, unbiased reviews based on my personal reading experience. This may mean an unsavory or low starred review. Please don't take my reviews as a personal attack or an invitation for a discussion. 
  • I generally post 3-5 star reviews EVERYWHERE because I'm a passionate reader and love to fangirl over the books that I enjoy and love. It's my greatest joy to encourage others to read awesome horror fiction so I spread the word like a freakish, magical, horror-loving megaphone so if you don't want to be tagged on social media posts gushing about the merits of your writing ability, please let me know in advance.
  • Please browse my reviews and social media accounts to see if your book would be a fit. I'm currently reading mostly horror fiction in all the 20+ sub-genres, dark fiction, and some dark/horror poetry. I'm not interested in much else at the time.
  • A link to your book on Amazon or Goodreads is required. I don't read books that are not listed on either of those sites. I DO read books that are Indie, Small, Self-Published and Traditionally Published (they just also need to be listed on Goodreads so I can track my progress)
  • Manuscripts or blurbs- I am only accepting manuscripts, beta reading or "blurbing" for authors I have already read and enjoyed before. 
  • If I have accepted a book from you before and you have my address, still submit a request for any future books--don't just send them to me. This creates confusion for me as I get books in the mail that I am expecting, on a daily basis and your unsolicited book might find its way into a Little Free Library instead of my bookshelf.
  • I read & review because I love it. Not because you're paying me to do so, please be kind and courteous! I look forward to hearing from you if you agree to these terms and conditions. 
  • for submitting a request for me to review
  • if you are interested in Night Worms
  • Monday, November 4, 2019

    An Open Letter to Liam Potter and Other Genre Gatekeepers

    This morning, one of our BookTube reps for Night Worms, Rachel- The Shades of Orange, shared with us a screenshot of a comment she received on her video, Horror TBR for Halloween.
    "I seldom criticize another Book Tuber, however your a phony. All you do is constantly inflate your book aspirations and in one vid had other people talk about their favorite "Horror" books. I don't now why Night Worms would ever pick you as a rep when you have never even read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It's required reading in high school for freak sake. Your request for free review copies doesn't even match your so called review quotient. It's a joke."

    As a co-owner of Night Worms, I'd like to take this opportunity to answer Liam's question about why we would choose Rachel to represent our company.
    Rachel is well-spoken, eloquent and represents our brand perfectly. She embodies our ideal customer--she's enthusiastic and excited about the horror genre. In her about section of her channel, she states:
    "I like my stories dark, gritty & unapologetic."

    Not only does she promote horror through her YouTube channel (which has over 6,000 followers) but she also reads and reviews it on Goodreads. Night Worms cares very much about the promotion of horror. "Horror is Our Happy Place" and through our subscription package, we hope to win more souls over to the dark side of fiction so that Horror can be their happy place too. We'd like to offer any newcomers to the horror genre with the code: WELCOME. You can enjoy a 5% discount when you purchase your first Night Worms package--you don't need to come with any knowledge of the horror genre in order to become a fan. Come as you are. -Sadie & Ashley, owners of Night Worms.

    As Sadie Hartmann, I would like to personally add this:

    Liam Potter, does it make you feel better to troll people's accounts and shit on their joy? Are you embarrassed at all that in your ugly attempt to make Rachel feel inferior you used "your a phony" instead of "you're phony"? I review horror fiction professionally for Cemetery Dance, SCREAM Magazine and more recently, Black Static Magazine. I'm a member of the Horror Writers Assoc. and between last year and right now, I have read and reviewed 230 horror fiction books. I actually have read FRANKENSTEIN but guess what you snob?? I haven't read any H. P. Lovecraft! You better come over here and take my Horror Fiction Fan Card away!
    You're the phony.
    True Horror Fiction Fans are inclusive, accepting and welcoming. We don't shame others for not having read every, single horror book Liam Potter deems necessary in order to come to the horror genre table. So when you're ready to get off your high horse and play nice with others, you can have your card back but for now, it's in a vault with all the other COCKADOODIE assholes who are rude to others on social media. We collectively rejected it.

    Friday, October 18, 2019

    13 Days Until Halloween! Read One Every Night

    Only 13 days left until Halloween! October went by waaaay too fast for me. There's still time to squeeze in some amazing short horror stories before our favorite spooky month gives up the ghost. Here are my recommendations:

    1. THE VISIBLE FILTH by Nathan Ballingrud

    From my review: This short story, about 70 pages, was my first read of author Nathan Ballingrud and it could not have made a more lasting impression on me.
    There are two levels of interest that play off each other in THE VISIBLE FILTH; almost like Ballingrud is some kind of wordslinging-magician, expertly trained in the art of misdirection, "Look over here, Reader. Watch these young, immature people engage in toxic relationships while I work on something sinister over here in your periphery."Every time Ballingrud peeled back the curtain to reveal a glimpse of what stirred behind the scenes, he simultaneously orchestrated the characters to shuffle about and cover it up again. As a result, the tension building is extraordinary; ultimately setting the stage for an eye-popping, mind-blowing ending.Truly amazing.I loved the way the protagonist, Will, seemed 100% incapable of making any reasonable life choices. It's this man's inability to do anything right that makes him the worst (or best?) possible person to have to deal with the craziness befalls him.There's no way I'm going to even suggest what transpires in these pages. Just picture me urging you to read this, sliding the book towards you with a wicked grin on my face and an evil twinkle in my eye. My hope for you is that you don't heed my warning to read this in the daylight. I hope you think that you're immune to horror and nothing gets under your skin...I hope this one rattles your cage pretty good and you sleep with the lights on."There's something in the room with me."You can watch the movie on Hulu tonight!

    2. IN THE TALL GRASS by Joe Hill & Stephen King

    This short story is seriously disturbing. It hits on a lot of basic fears: Getting lost, feeling disoriented, being pregnant in the wild (I had a few dreams when I was pregnant of having to deliver my baby alone in the outdoors-nightmare fuel) that alarming feeling of being watched or stalked, and then that ending. Oh my god that ending. I haven't watched the movie but I've heard mixed reviews for it--trust me that the novella/short story is scary and good.

    3. ECHOES- The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories by Ellen Datlow

    There are a few stories that I've read in this thick boy that I want to highlight:
    Most notably was Paul Tremblay's story, ICE COLD LEMONADE HAUNTED HOUSE TOUR: 1 PER PERSON
    I loved this short story. Love, love, loved it. Equal parts nostalgia and just plain old creepy horror and dread. Perfect for right now. Read it right now.
    I also loved Nathan Ballingrud's story (it wrecked me. I cried) and Bracken MacLeod's. Just buy this anthology and cherry-pick your way through it until Halloween. 

    4. OCTOBER FILM HAUNT- Under the House by Michael Wehunt

    I'm going to read this story again before October is over. It's my favorite kind of horror besides "coming-of-age", it's a found-footage story. How much do you love scary found-footage stories??
    Read this one! Go buy this collection and read this story before October leaves us for a whole year!! Hurry up. Michael Wehunt is a gift. You need this collection anyways.

    5. 40 WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR MONSTER LOVER by Gwendolyn Kiste

    This story was my first brush with Gwendolyn's work and it left a lasting impression. It would be perfect to re-read it this month given the nature of the story. You should just buy this anthology because there are several stories here that are really good, Tom Deady's PINK BALLOON and I think I remember a werewolf story I enjoyed. Just get it--it's a great book to have for Valentine's Day horror as well.

    6. DELPHINE DODD by S. P. Miskowski

    From my review: "S.P. Miskowski writes what I want to read. Her storytelling voice is seriously unparalleled among her peers. The narrative pulls the reader in with vibrant characters, authentic/realistic dialog and engaging drama. There is *never* a good place to drop your bookmark down--the story consumes and demands to be finished.DELPHINE DODD is the tale of a young girl and her sister who are abandoned by their "free-spirited" (selfish) mother and left in the care of their grandmother. The scenes where the two girls adapt to their new life with their grandma, Eve Alice, are some of my favorites. These chapters reminded me of when I would get lost in my Little House on the Prairie books! Lots of details about fishing and food gathering, learning and growing while managing chores and having some playtime while being resourceful. I could read that sort of thing forever and ever. Eve Alice is a tidy, live-off-the-grid sort of woman and the era is in the 1920s, I believe, so we're talking outhouses and no neighbors--a real cabin in the woods. Except, Eve Alice practices home remedies and such, so people come to see her and she also makes this herbal tea for a doctor that runs a sanitorium nearby.Things get really interesting with that sanitorium.Terrifying.I loved this novella."

    7-11 COMES THE RED MAN by Tom Deady, MOMMY'S GIRL by Somer Canon, CARRION: MY WAYWARD SON by James Newman, CALM DOWN TIME by Richard Chizmar
    I'm afraid this anthology flew under the radar a bit, I hate to say this for fear of sounding rude or mean, that's not my intention but I don't think this cover artwork does the book justice. 
    *****“Comes the Red Man” by Tom Deady - I loved this story! I thought it was very compelling. I enjoyed the way Deady unpacked this one slowly and deliberately until the shocking conclusion. One of my favorites. It scared me too.

    *****“Mommy’s Girl” by Somer Canon - YES! *clapping* I loved this one. Somer did such an incredible job capturing the young man's sweet personality against the unreliable female protagonist. It was unsettling right out of the gate the way this 17-year-old girl was referring to her mom as, "mommy". I just knew something was up but I was not expecting what ended up happening. I loved the Lovecraftian influence too. 

    ****“Calm Down Time” by Richard Chizmar - I loved the way Chizmar wrote his protagonist, Molly. I thought she was so cute and funny and she felt like people I know in real life. I was distracted by her the entire time--I couldn't care less about what was freaking her out and so the ending really freaked me out.

    *****“Carrion: My Wayward Son” by James Newman - This is the scariest most intense story in the entire collection. I loved it! It was completely unexpected and scary--especially tucked inside an anthology with a variety of tones and styles. It really stood out.

    **** Open Waters” by Richard Thomas - I liked the way this story enticed the reader by starting off in the middle of the action and then flipping the script on you halfway through. Great ending.

    12. - 13. WELCOME TO THE SHOW by Matt Hayward and Doug Murano
    From my review:
    "WELCOME TO THE SHOW centers on The Shantyman, a bar in the Tenderloin district of San Fransisco. The tales are told from The Shantyman's past and present and not one story is alike because of the wide variety of storytelling voices represented here.
    I thought I would highlight some of my favorites from the collection:
    NIGHT AND DAY AND IN BETWEEN by Jonathan Janz- Set in the 1920s, I loved the descriptions of hard-edged men & a woman named Clara singing in a sequined dress. This one starts out innocuous enough, a tough guy goes to a night club to watch an old flame perform but then by the end, things are so much more...insidious.
    A TONGUE LIKE FIRE by Rachel Autumn Deering- This one got under my skin. In just a few pages, Rachel managed to tell a lasting tale of a father's grief and the power of words."

    Wednesday, October 9, 2019

    Mother Horror's List: 20 Scariest Books of All Time (...that you might not have heard of)

    Josh Malerman retweeted Cosmopolitan's list of 21 Scariest Books of All Time. I agree with some of the books on the list ( I love BIRD BOX!!) but not even close to all of them AND the list was mainly best sellers. Correction: ALL BEST SELLERS. It included Frankenstein and Dracula and IT...okay, okay. YAAAAAAAWN.
    So I see your list, Cosmo and I'm gonna raise the game. My list is going to be books that readers might not have heard of but they need them in their lives because they are THE SCARIEST BOOKS OF ALL TIME (according to me).

    1. IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN by Andy Davidson. I can remember scenes with vivid detail if I close my eyes and think of them. This book is so good, you'll have a bookish hangover for daaaays afterwards.

    2. LITTLE HEAVEN- by Nick Cutter. Wait a second, let me suck my eyeballs back into their sockets--after I read LITTLE HEAVEN, my eyes bugged out of my face and I never quite got them to retract back into place. Also, let me pick my jaw up off the floor.

    3. BROTHER by Ania Ahlborn. Do people get sick of me recommending this book? I don't care. Fight me. I binge read this book and tried to make my family some dinner while my face was glued to the pages of this book. It was really difficult. But I could not stop reading about this heinous, murderous family! Terrifying!!

    4. VIOLET by Scott Thomas. Maybe people have heard about this book, I'm not sure. I thought everyone read his first novel, KILL CREEK and I'm still shocked when I discover horror fans that haven't read it. I loved KILL CREEK but VIOLET is scary in a different way. This one needles at you for a long length of time before it sticks you with the pointy end. 

    5. I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS by Iain Reid. You get to the end of this book, your read it. You sit back and stare into space and then you turn to page one and you read it again. I'm serious. And if you haven't heard of this one, YOU WILL!! You will. Get on it, now!

    6. BENEATH by Kristi DeMeester. What the hell did I just read?? Seriously, what just happened. There are scenes in this book where your mind is like, WHAT?? WAIT, WHAAAAAAT??? Terrifying. Truly some folk/cult horror madness. 

    7. THE WICKED by James Newman. The demon in this I have to say his name?? MOLOCH. See? I remembered just off the top of my head because, because, it's gross and terrible and scary! So scary in a very creepy, dirty-bearded, old man way. *shivers*

    8. THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS by Jason Arnopp. This has some bat shit crazy scenes in it. I'm thinking of one in particular where I was whispering to the main character to STOP THAT because he was messing around with something he ought not to be messing with! It's like watching someone self sabotage in the worst way and all you can do is watch. Scary stuff.

    9. GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST by Nicholas Day. This one is dark. Brutal. Unflinching. My favorite book for 2019 and the scariest villian I've read in a very long time. You want scary?? There's lots of scenes in here that will shock you. Trust Mummy.

    10. COYOTE SONGS by Gabino Iglesias. This book is scary because it's true. The stories themselves might be fiction, born out of the author's imagination but they are rooted in truth. Inspired by true events, real fears, real worries, real dangers. You can't ever unsee or unfeel this book.

    11. A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL by John Hornor Jacobs. Freshly released the two novellas told in this book are some fresh hell, my friends. Jacobs is one of those storytellers where you totally forget that what you are reading is fiction. I believed every word and I was terrified.

    12. SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLOOD SOAKED by Christa Carmen. Not a novel. A collection of stories. Very, scary stories. RED ROOM will forever be burned in my horror-loving brain. And so will the rest of them--LIQUID HANDCUFFS as well. The whole collection is great. Scary greatness.

    13. DEAR LAURA by Gemma Amour. This is a novella. Probably the fastest read in this list but impactful. Heart pounding. All too real. I loved it. It haunts me. 

    14. THE SWITCH HOUSE by Tim Meyer. Oops, I lied. This is a fast read too and it's disorienting and scary and unpredictable. A must read.

    15. A PLACE FOR SINNERS by Aaron Dries. This is shit. I'm telling you right now, you think you're ready for this book? You are NOT. You are not ever ready for the horrors in here. Just don't even bother. You can't handle it.

    16. KNOCK, KNOCK by S. P. Miskowski. And now I'm getting pissed because why isn't this author a household name and why isn't everyone reading this book at Halloween?? It's scary! It has female protagonists! Scary children!! And I mean VERY SCARY children. Buy this now. Buy all her books, now.

    17. ALL SMOKE RISES by Mark Matthews. Holy Hell. Addiction horror?? Level up. This book scared me REAL GOOD. I wasn't prepared with how dark and depraved ths one was going to get. And neither are you.

    18. WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US by Elizabeth Engstrom. The two novellas in here are (excuse me) fucked up. In the best possible way of course because if you came looking for horror, Elizabeth has you covered.

    19. RITES OF EXTINCTION by Matt Serafini. This one will blow your mind. You will not see this coming, I promise you that. And it's a pretty quick read. Compelling, but hold on to your butt for that conclusion.

    20. EXORCIST FALLS by Jonathan Janz. If possession horror is your thing, if you enjoyed THE EXORCIST, this one will satisfy. But there's no redemption here--no happy ending, so just know that scares in this book will stay with you.

    *not pictured is GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST which comes out on the 10/10/19
    **The book between Jack Sparks and Sinners is DEAR LAURA

    Thursday, September 19, 2019

    31 Books for October

    I used to have this dream of owning my own brick-and-mortar book store. Over the years this fantasy has morphed and evolved into its current status of being strictly a place for readers that enjoy dark fiction--horror, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, true crime, YA...literally all the genres represented but DARK, DARK, DARK and of course Horror would have a place of honor with the most shelves and the most attention given.
    I thought a cool name for a bookstore would be, "October Country" after the Ray Bradbury collection. the decor would be stuck in a time warp of continuously living in the month of October. Of course, there would be a lounge-in coffee bar as well.

    I have a Pinterest Board dedicated to this "October Country" aesthetic, simply titled "Dark".
    A favorite dream of mine is waking up early and going to my bookstore to change the window display for Halloween and make a huge table display in the center of the store with all of my recommended reading for the month dedicated to lovers of the macabre.
    In this dream, a customer walks in with fat money to spend and zero horror books at home. This person says, "I want to read nothing but horror every day all day for the month of October so I want to buy 31 books for my library." Here is what I would send them home with:

    1. Doorbells at Dusk Edited by Evans Light, published by Corpus Press
    2. The October Country & The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury published by Penguin Classics
    3. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay (fancy SST edition)
    4. On This, The Day of the Pig by Josh Malerman (fancy Cemetery Dance edition)
    5. PenPal by Dathan Auerbach
    6. In The Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson
    7. Salem's Lot & Night Shift by Stephen King (worn-out paperback editions)
    8. Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones published by William Morrow
    9. Ghoul by Brian Keene published by Deadite Press
    10. Brother by Ania Ahlborn published by Simon & Schuster
    11. The Bone Weaver's Orchard by Sarah Read published by Journal Stone
    12. Exorcist Falls by Jonathan Janz published by Sinister Grin
    13. Halloween Fiend by C.V. Hunt published by Grindhouse Press
    14. The Fisherman by John Langan published by Word Horde
    15. Everything That's Underneath by Kristi DeMeester Published by Apex Publishing
    16. The Fearing Books 1-3 by John F. D. Taff published by Grey Matter Press
    17. Greener Pastures by Michael Wehunt published by Apex Publishing
    18. TEETH by Kelli Owen (the fancy ThunderStorm edition)
    19. The Switch House by Tim Meyer
    20. A Place for Sinners by Aaron Dries
    21. The Forgotten Island by David Sodergren
    22. The Locke & Key graphic novel set of books published by IDW
    23. Out Behind the Barn by Chad Lutzke and John Boden
    24. We Should Have Left Well Enough Alone by Ronald Malfi published by Journal Stone
    25. When Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom published by Valancourt Books
    26. Bones by Andrew Cull
    27. Grind Your Bones to Dust by Nicholas Day published by Excession Press
    28. The Wicked by James Newman published by Apex
    29. Knock, Knock by S. P. Miskowski published by
    30. Something Borrowed, Something Blood Soaked by Christa Carmen published by Unnerving
    31. Widow's Point by Richard Chizmar published by Cemetery Dance

    Saturday, July 20, 2019

    Authors That Will Make You Cry Like The Wittle Baby You Are

    It's weird how I used to fight the tears when I was younger. I didn't want anyone to know I was crying. The first time I remember doing that was watching DUMBO and I started feeling all these emotions so I tamped it down. NO CRYING!
    Then I saw my first movie in the theater, THE LAST UNICORN. I could not stop the tears. I actually remember bawling at the scene where the unicorns are riding the ocean waves back to existence. Crazy emotional.

    After that, I have 1,000 different memories of losing my shit. I actually had to be excused from my high school class during a classroom showing of OF MICE AND MEN. I just couldn't deal with life afterward so my English teacher allowed me to stay in his class and wallow in misery for another 30 minutes.
    Now, I cry freely and openly. My husband and I look forward to taking our grownup kids to PIXAR mocvies, Star Wars movies, Superhero movies--any and all movies where we can relax in a dark theater, eat popcorn, drink buckets of soda and drown out the stressors of the world by having a good cry. TOY STORY 4 and SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME are recent examples.

    But enough about movies. Let's talk about books. Authors that ALWAYS make me cry. These guys bring emotional wreckage, heart stabbing pain, anguish, and tears. All the tears that can be cried. And yes, I'm well aware that these are all of the male persuasion. I don't know what to say. It is what it is. I scanned my selves making sure I wasn't overlooking anyone and this is my truth. These are the authors that bring the heavy for me. But don't worry, I have a blog post ready for next weekend with the ladies.

    Paul Tremblay.
    I don't think I've read ANYTHING this man writes without crying. All of his books HURT ME. They hurt me soooooo bad. I think DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL'S ROCK was the worst offender. I was not okay afterward. Why Paul?? Whyyyyyyy?

    Craig Davidson/Nick Cutter.

    Another writer who always goes for the heart. Even his horror is emotional. The ending of THE TROOP was gut-wrenching! But SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB and CATARACT CITY both shot me in the feels over and over. Craig just knows how to reach beyond the page with words and cut deep.

    Gabino Iglesias

    Gabino is a new addition for me. His book, COYOTE SONGS captivated and crushed me earlier this year. I have Zero Saints sitting on my nightstand just begging for me to pick it up and allow Gabino's carefully and thoughtfully chosen words pierce through skin & bone and go straight for the heart. It's my hope to have many more emotionally wrought stories from Gabino in the future. I'm here for it.

    Dennis LeHane.

    Ouch Dennis LeHane! Why does every book you write have to sting?? I seriously sat here and tried really hard to think of a book that didn't kill me and I couldn't think of a single one. THE DROP--the last like 10 pages of THE DROP was basically me stopping every few seconds to "unblurry" my eyes so I could keep reading. And MYSTIC RIVER?? Fugeddaboutit. Damn, LeHane. Easy! Dennis LeHane's photo is daring me not to cry. Do you see that in his expression? "Just you try to keep your composure, Sadie. You BABY."

    Robert McCammon.

    Robert McCammon mocks my pain in this author photo. He's delighting in my agony. BOY'S LIFE?? SWAN SONG?? THE LISTENER?? Please, can we have our hearts back??
    I'll never get over the feelings. I can't even talk about them. People start to talk about certain scenes and I shush them. Please stop talking. Don't talk about it. DON'T MAKE ME CRY!!!

    Chad Lutzke.

    Chad Lutzke, whyyyyyyy??? I love the way Chad writes his little stories. I immediately fall in love with the characters and then Chad crushes me with them. HE HURTS US!! STIRRING THE SHEETS, OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES, SKULLFACE BOY...all the Lutzke books they want to destroy us with our own feelings and they're winning! It's an army of novellas against my wee heart and I don't stand a chance.

    Rio Youers.

    There should be a special section for authors who have made me cry the hardest. Rio would be there with Stephen King and Paul Tremblay. Rio's book WESTLAKE SOUL was nothing but a giant attack on my heart. At one point, towards the end, I set it down and just had a good, long cry before I even *tried* to keep going. It's like, if I didn't get some of it out, the ending was sure to overwhelm and then KILL ME. It killed me anyway. 

    Stephen King.

    Stephen King! You hurtful bastard. I think he's given me the most fictional pain. THE DARK TOWER SERIES, THE BODY, THE LONG GREEN MILE, 11/22/63, THE STAND, IT...I mean, the pain never ends. It's always there and it's because King gives us such REAL characters. Kill your darlings?? Yes, well--just be careful who you love because King will take them from you and then you'll feel all hollowed out and used up. It's why we love him though, right?? 

    Jeremy R. Johnson.

    Last but never least, JRJ. There were a few emotional runners in his collection ENTROPY IN BLOOM so I knew he was fully capable. But nothing could prepare me for IN THE RIVER. I would say between that novella and WESTLAKE SOUL, those were the hardest tears I've cried. Kind of amazing how few pages both of those books have--only proves that if you're a talented writer, you can manipulate your readers in a matter of minutes. Dangerous.

    So there they are--my emotional heavy hitters.

    Friday, July 12, 2019

    30 All Time Favorite Books: Child Protagonists

    I am utter trash for a good book where the main characters/narrators are children or young adults. I made a list of 30 favorites and summertime would be the perfect time for any of them. In no particular order...

    1. Boy’s Life- Robert McCammon
    2. I Capture the Castle- Dodie Smith
    3. Ghoul- Brian Keene
    4. December Park- Ronald Malfi
    5. My Best Friend’s Exorcism- Grady Hendrix
    6. Danny Champion of the World- Roald Dahl
    7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- Betty Smith
    8. Disappearance at Devil’s Rock- Paul Tremblay
    9. The Body- Stephen King
    10. The Shadow of the Wind- Carlos Ruiz Zafón
    11. The Lord of the Flies- William Golding
    12. Children of the Dark- Jonathan Janz
    14. In the Scrape- James Newman and Mark Steensland
    15. Of Foster Homes and Flies- Chad Lutzke
    16. Knock, Knock- S.P. Miskowski 
    17. To Kill a Mockingbird- Harper Lee
    18. Ender’s Game- Orson Scott Card
    19. Bastard Out of Carolina- Dorothy Allison
    20. Peace Like a River- Leif Enger
    21. IT- Stephen King
    22. Coraline- Neil Gaiman
    23. The Thief Of Always- Clive Barker
    24. The Bone Weaver’s Orchard- Sarah Read
    25. The Saturday Night Ghost Club- Craig Davidson
    26. The Mummy, The Will and the Crypt- John Bellairs
    27. Dog Days O’ Summer- James Newman and Mark Allan Gunnells
    28. Locke & Key series- Joe Hill
    29. Summer of Night- Dan Simmons
    30. Inspection- Josh Malerman