Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Year of Reading

I like to reflect on my year of reading. Thank goodness for where I can actively track the books I've read year to year. So I'd like to present to you my notable reads for the year 2016. Sure, everyone is doing it but here's my hook: These are the books I've read and enjoyed in 2016 but were not necessarily published in 2016. 

The fact of the matter is, I probably read more books not published in each given year than those that are published in the current year. I'm always impressed with those who focus on reading mostly new books. Of course, this is coming from a chronically slow reader. There are just so many great books out there and even if I were a fast reader, there are just too many great books to get to that you couldn't possibly get to in any given year. 

So, let's get on with my list of notable books I've read in 2016! These are listed chronologically in order read from January through December.

  • I WILL ROT WITHOUT YOU by Danger Slater (2016) Fungasam Press:  I feel like I've been waving the flag of this book for a year now, and that's because I have. I said from the moment I read that last page of the book that this will be the winner of the Wonderland Book of the Year Award (The Award for the best fiction in the Bizarro genre) for 2017. Twelve months later I still believe that in my heart of hearts. If I were going to rank the best book of 2016, this would be it.

  • RITUALISTIC HUMAN SACRIFICE by C.V. Hunt (2015) Grindhouse Press:  I said that this list is ranked chronologically, but Ritualistic Human Sacrifice also takes the rank of my second favorite read of 2016. It was a very close second to ROT. That is because this book is so visceral, so disturbing, so daring, so real and yet so over the top that it is impossible to ignore. The author, a female, reveals the darkest parts of the male mind that many men would never admit they think. This book basks in the darkness it casts on you as you read.

  • PINK PLANET by Jon R. Meyers (2014) Riot Forge:  I was shocked that I loved PINK PLANET as much as I did. This book had flaws I felt would have me giving any other book a two star review and leave me disappointed. PINK PLANET thrives on its heart. Some of the plot points are absurd. There is a fuzzy creature that seems to serve no function whatsoever to move the story forward and yet, I want to buy plushies of this creature and read the further adventures of this adorable useless character. But this book is dripping with sincerity and passion and if you can get past some of the more technical shortcomings, I think it is punk rock brilliance in writing.

  • THE LAST PORNO THEATER by Nick Cato (2013) Grindhouse Press:  This book is one of those books that I've been eyeing for for the past three years but never pulled the trigger on for one reason or another. Then I met Nick Cato at a con earlier this year and got the paperback from him. I knew Nick Cato to be a movie buff of the 70's exploitation era in particular. THE LAST PORNO THEATER is exactly that, a 70's era exploitation story crossed with a Godzilla movie rolled into a story about the last remaining porn theater on 42nd Street in New York. If you're a fan of H.G. Lewis, The Warriors and Kaiju monsters, get your hands on this book.

  • THE COMPLEX by Brian Keene (2016) Deadite Press:  You can hardly go wrong reading a Brian Keene book. So THE COMPLEX making my list this year isn't much of a surprise. The book is signature Keene: bloody, dark, character rich and bleak. What I loved best about THE COMPLEX was that Keene dared to give it an ending that was reminiscent of THE RISING. Anyone who knows anything about the ending to that book knows that for readers, you either love it or hate it. I am in the love category and so I enjoyed Keene taking that risk again with THE COMPLEX.

  • THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON by Stephen King (2005) Scriber eBooks:  It's been a long while since I last read a King book (I'm thinking Under The Dome when it came out.) I've really been heavy into reading indie authors for the past several years. But I felt I needed to get back to King. It was time to read something from the highest echelons of horror and THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON was sitting on my digital bookshelf for quite sometime. I blew off the dust and was instantly reminded of why he is the master. For me, King has been hit or miss since his golden age. This book is without a doubt a hit for me. Great, suspenseful storytelling. Atypical psychological horror with just a touch of supernatural. A perfect Stephen King book and a perfect way to close out my year of reading for 2016.

There it is. Looking back on the year as a whole, I think I had my hair blown back early in the year. ROT and RITUALISTIC both floored me and it was difficult for anything I'd read the remainder of the year to touch either of them. There were lots of honorable mentions: The Drive-In 3 by Joe Lansdale, Sick in the Head by Phil LoPresti, SuperGhost by Scott Cole, Pay Up and Die by Chuck Buda, The Enemy Held Near by Armand Rosamilia and Jay Wilburn and Pins by Jessica McHugh. Any one of those books could have fallen in line in a longer list. Unfortunately, I've only read a total of 31 books this year so I wanted a short list to highlight the heavy hitters for me this year. 

I've already got a bunch of great reading suggestions from others Best of 2016 lists. That's why I feel it's important to share mine as well. Hope something here grabs your attention and you decide to check it out and add it to your list for 2017.

You can check out my full list of books read for 2016 HERE.

Friday, December 16, 2016

You Could Win A Death!

On November 11, 2016 I released my novella, DEATH GETS A BOOK. I did a book signing at Demented Brewing with fellow author Chuck Buda to celebrate the release. It was a great success and I sold out of all copies of DEATH GETS A BOOK that night!

I demand Chuck buy DEATH GETS A BOOK!

DEATH GETS A BOOK is the story of a couple who've been unceremoniously transformed into agents of the recently deceased. The husband, Vincent, becomes a grim reaper and his wife, Wanda, turns into a banshee. The thing is, in life, Wanda has been a life long verbally abusive and controlling wife. Vincent sees his chance, in death, of starting anew and becoming his own man. Unfortunately, Wanda doesn't really believe in the concept of "until death do we part" and she sees it fit to continue to try to control and torment Vincent even in the afterlife. But Vincent find new friends and even a new love interest along the way. To make matters worse, his former wife has already screwed up his first day on the job. There will be midget reapers, action figure reapers, cowboy reapers, loopy witches, self-centered banshees and a monster truck battle for the ages.

Cover art by Corrine Edler

You can pick up DEATH GETS A BOOK in paperback or on your favorite eBook reading platform. You order the paperback at your favorite book retailer for just $8.99 or eBook for just $2.99. And, be on the lookout for me at area appearances where I always offer special event pricing! 

But if you just can't wait and the purse strings are a bit tight this time of year, I've got a great opportunity for you. Now through January 31, 2017 you can enter to win a FREE copy of DEATH GETS A BOOK on! Just look up DEATH GETS A BOOK in the Goodreads giveaway section or follow the link below. And if you don't currently have a Goodreads account, you should because it's a great social media outlet to connect with readers and find your next great read!

It's Important To Start 'Em Young!

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Different Kind of Book Signing.

On November 11, 2016 I unleashed Death upon a brewery in Middlesex, New Jersey. That's right, I used my first book signing event as the premier of my new novella, DEATH GETS A BOOK! The good folks at Demented Brewing played host to myself and fellow writer, Chuck Buda for the evening, giving us some space in their gorgeous brewery to sign some books for the patrons and friends and family who came out for what felt like the social event of the season.

Books, Beer & Blood. 

The road to Demented started back in April 2016. Author Armand Rosamilia traveled back to his home state of New Jersey from his current home in Jacksonville, Florida. Armand was traveling the north east with his wife to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. He used the opportunity to release a book of short stories he'd written around his hometown of Belford, NJ. As luck would have it, one of his old friends now runs a brewery in his hometown called Belford Brewery. What better way to release a book about Belford that to do a book signing/release party in a brewery in Belford! It was a win-win for Rosamilia and it also got my wheels turning.

Local breweries are opening up all over New Jersey and across the country. If it worked for Armand, could it work for me? I'm far less established as an author and I didn't have any books centered around a local town with an operating brewery. I seemed like a great idea but I didn't see how I could make it work for me.

That changed on my trick to Williamsburg, Virginia. It was there, at the Scares That Care Charity Convention, that I met fellow author and fellow New Jerseyite, Chuck Buda. Chuck was a new writer and giant fan of Armand Rosamilia's work. Chuck was also a fan of the SHOCKER series I co-wrote with Armand. I spent a lot of time that weekend hanging with Chuck and we became fast friends. He is a great guy who has been bitten hard by the writing bug. He has a drive to succeed with his writing and he also uses Armand as a mentor like I do.

L to R: Chuck Buda, Jay Wilburn, Armand Rosamilia, Frank J. Edler

It wasn't after we got back to New Jersey that Chuck reached out to me and pitched me a wild idea.

"Let's do a book signing at Vintage Vinyl!" he proclaimed.

Of course I said yes. I'm adventurous and I'm willing to try anything to get the books out in front of people. But I was confused about the venue he was proposing. Vintage Vinyl is a local legend of a store. It is basically a record store that specializes in collectible, import and bootleg type music. They draw big name musicians to do appearances there from time to time. But writers? It was a cool idea but I wasn't sure they would go for it. I suggested other avenues we could also try. Local bookstores, libraries.... breweries?

Chuck agreed to expand our horizons and options. We compiled a list of places and reached out to all of them. The most interested and receptive bite came from Demented Brewing in Middlesex, New Jersey. Chuck and I met with the manager soon after. The place was perfect to host a horror book signing. As their name suggests, the place has a horror look and feel. There is a giant hand painted mural of hell. Everything is plain and brick trimmed in black and red. Their logo is a demon head and their beers are named after demons and horror inspired themes. They were all too happy to extend an invitation to us to have our signing.

We invited all of our friend and family to join us on November 11th at Demented. We stressed coming out to hang out with us and have a few drinks and a good time. We kinda pitched the books on a secondary basis. Ya know, like, while you're here enjoying a beer check out these books we have here on the table type of thing. Plus of course, we hoped to draw the attention of Demented's regular patrons as well.

It paid off. We packed in the brewery. We sold a bunch of books. And most important, we all had a great night!

Frank and Chuck with author Tim Meyer

So I can say will a full degree of confidence, look out for me at a local Jersey brewery near you! Chuck and I are already planning another signing at Demented in April and we are canvassing the state's other breweries to see where else we can set up shop and throw back a few with our friends, family and fans. I hope you'll come out and continue the trend.

Additionally, I'd like to officially announce that Chuck Buda and I will be selling our words at Scares That Care 2017 in Williamsburg, VA and we are working on a few other Jersey area conventions as well.

See you on the road in 2017!

*I did an audio recounting of the signing at Demented with Chuck Buda and Armand Rosamilia on the Mando Method Podcast. You can LISTEN HERE.*