Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Recent Short Story Publications

I’ve had some recent short story publications over the past few months that I’m particularly excited about!


The first is: Dreams of a Little Suicide, which I consider to be one of my best pieces of writing yet. This tells the story (urban legend... truth... ?!) of the munchkin that hung himself on-screen during the Wizard of Oz.

Here’s the movie clip showing the tragedy:
Hanging Munchkin (YouTube)
And the story is for sale in the anthology book, Hell Comes To Hollywood II: Twenty-Two More Tales of Tinseltown Terror (Volume 2) (October 1, 2014). Hell Comes To Hollywood II (Amazon)


My next story, An Unpleasant Truth About Death, is my first contribution to a ‘shared world anthology,’ meaning each of the authors writes a story that interrelates into one story line. In this case, it’s a collection of tales about teenagers playing Truth or Dare on Halloween. Great fun to write!

This story is for sale in the anthology book, Truth or Dare? (October 31, 2014).
Truth or dare? A Halloween anthology (Perpetual Publishing)


My southern humor/ Devil tale, Midnight and Jefe Bowman, was purchased and published online at Bad Dream Entertainment (September 21, 2014) here: Midnight and Jefe Bowman (Bad Dream)

I also read a seven minute excerpt of it at the CIA bar (California Institute of Abnormal Arts) in North Hollywood, part of the "Shades and Shadows" reading series. That reading is available here:
Reading Midnight and Jefe Bowman (YouTube)

 My sci-fi/ western tale, Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos, was purchased and published online at Buzzy Magazine (July 3, 2014). This is a fast-paced tribute to western weird tales and available here: Last Days of the Gunslinger, John Amos (BuzzyMag)

Lastly, my sci-fi story about Planck time and Zeno’s paradox, Living in the Moment, was published online at Bewildering Stories on April 21, 2014 here: Living in the Moment (Bewildering Stories)

Including reprints, I’m up to about 15 stories published so far during this year. Not bad, considering I work full time (and more than one job, sometimes), plus continuing college courses, volunteering for various groups, and raising two small children!
And, as always, I’m also awaiting word of acceptance or rejection on many other stories that are under consideration with publishers and further awaiting publishing dates for purchased stories that hover in some nebulous back-office limbo.

Midnight cheers,

Eric J. Guignard


ric J. Guignard writes dark and speculative fiction from the outskirts of Los Angeles. Assorted stories and articles that bear his byline may be found in the disreputable publications reserved for back alley bazaars. As an editor, Eric’s published the anthologies, Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations and After Death…, the latter of which won the 2013 Bram Stoker Award®. Read his novella, Baggage of Eternal Night (a finalist for the 2014 International Thriller Writers Award), and watch for many more forthcoming books, including Chestnut ’Bo (TBP 2016). Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com, his blog: www.ericjguignard.blogspot.com, or Twitter: @ericjguignard.

Friday, September 26, 2014

An Afternoon of Horror II at the Pasadena Central Library

Are you in southern California on October 4? If so, come visit: An Afternoon of Horror II at the Pasadena Central Library!

On Saturday, October 4, 2014, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m., horror writers from all over Southern California will converge on the Pasadena Central Library for an afternoon of panels and book signings.

Co-presented by the library and the Southern California chapter of the Horror Writers Association, the event will begin at 1 p.m. with three panel discussions: “
Introduction to Horror Books, Including Recommended Reading”; “Comics and Graphic Novels in Horror”; and “Adaptations From Books to Film”. At 3 p.m., authors will sell and sign their books. Participating authors include:

Anthony Ray Bench (Stronger )
Hal Bodner (The Trouble With Hairy)
Steven W. Booth (The Hungry 1-6)
Robert Payne Cabeen (Fearworms)
Tim Chizmar  (Naked Alien Massacre)
Tananarive Due (The Living Blood)
Benjamin K. Ethridge (Bottled Abyss)
Michael Paul Gonzalez (Angel Falls)
Eric J. Guignard (After Death...)
Brad C. Hodson (Darling)
Janet Joyce Holden (Carousel)
Nancy Holder (the Wicked Saga)
Kate Jonez (Ceremony of Flies)
Kate Maruyama (Harrowgate)
Eric Miller (Hell Comes to Hollywood)
Roh Morgon (Watcher)
Lisa Morton (Netherworld)
John Palisano (Nerves)
Ian Welke (The Whisperer in Dissonance)
Terry M. West (A Psycho's Medley)
David Winnick (Sulfur)

The event is free and open to the public.

The Pasadena Central Library is located at 285 East Walnut Street, Pasadena, CA 91101. For more information on the library (including directions and maps), please visit http://cityofpasadena.net/library/central_library.aspx.

For more information on the Horror Writers Association, please visit http://www.horror.org. For further information on the event, please contact Eric J. Guignard at eric.guignard@gmail.com.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Reviews (June, 2014)

Book Reviews! Each of the following books may be purchased through any large book store or online through www.amazon.com.


REVIEWED: The Abominable
WRITTEN BY: Dan Simmons
PUBLISHED: October, 2013

I find that one of the greatest indications of talent in authors is the ability to write in entirely different styles and voices, and this Dan Simmons possesses in excess. He has the ability to weave tight narrative, to fill dialogue with humor and insight and fear, has the ability to create worlds set in the future, present, or past. Quite simply, he outputs vast diversity amongst his many stories. The downside of this talent is that the reader doesn’t know what to expect when beginning one of his new works. Perhaps my mind just had expectations of heart-pounding action or of supernatural mayhem, but reading ‘The Abominable’ was somewhat boring.

I love historic genre fiction, and I think Simmons is one of the absolute best in this field. His prose is beautiful and carefully crafted to convey the spirit of the era he’s writing in. Simmons knows every detail of every manufacturer, every geographic element, every slang in vernacular that his characters encounter. But in this latest book, he simply takes it too far. Tens of pages go into the detailed explanation of climbing shoes and chapters of description explain the ins-and-outs of scaling every type of ice, differences in toeholds, variations of granite, distribution practices of pack suppliers, etc.

The author has done his research and he seems to want to cram every footnote of those studies upon you. The story itself is a well-crafted drama, written in memoir fashion, but Simmons could have cut out half of it and the novel would have succeeded twice as well. Overall, it’s a rich and magnificent book, but entirely too slow-moving for my subjective taste.

Four out of Five stars


REVIEWED: Clean Freak
WRITTEN BY: Sean M. Davis
PUBLISHED: August, 2013

‘Clean Freak’ is the first novel written by author Sean M. Davis, and it’s certainly a freshman triumph. The main character, Clarence, suffers from OCD germ avoidance. Naturally his occupation is as a janitor, and he takes his job seriously. At first, the in-depth description of Clarence cleaning door handles and desk surfaces seemed to be a bit over-indulgent, but that sense quickly gave way to a dark humor mirroring the character’s actions and thoughts, which led to more than one out-loud chuckle; in the most unseemly moment of suspense or danger or development, Clarence’s thoughts invariably turn to fears of some strange germ or illness developing from said event. The protagonist’s back story slowly comes through, so his actions and motivations begin to make more sense. I never quite understood the reason why his fellow janitors obsess in their own way to include Clarence in their games, nor did I relate entirely to the boss who seemed to waffle one way then the other, making contradictory decisions. But all that didn’t matter so much, as the grabber of the story is the dream-like little girl, Lucy, whom he befriends when her voice begins to speak to him from the bathtub drain. Who she is and what she represents offer Clarence’s most meaningful obsession.

Four and a half out of Five stars


REVIEWED: Annihilation (Book One of the Southern Reach trilogy)
WRITTEN BY: Jeff VanderMeer
PUBLISHED: February, 2014

Ugh, so many trilogies these days! You get hooked into a story and have to wait several months to find out what happens next. Such is the case with ‘Annihilation’ which speaks credit to author, Jeff VanderMeer; I want more of this book, and I want it now. It’s a wonderful, strange tale of exploration by four women – each with their own specialty – placed in a coastal point of the country which is mysteriously manifesting unexplainable occurrences. The style of writing and mood it sets is part ‘X-Files’ and part ‘Lost’ in that there are so many layers of peculiar doings, of conspiracy, of monsters and violence, and confusion, that the reader will either dismiss it all as arbitrary or find themselves drawn inexorably into its mysteries. I happen to be in the latter camp, though find no fault with those of the former; this book is truly not for everybody.

I happen to love the unknown and I love to explore and I love mysteries, and ‘Annihilation’ is all these things and more. I questioned some of the characters’ actions as stray or not true to themselves, but in a story like this I soon found it easy to suspend my disbelief, as at later points the author adds touches of further information which then lends credibility to earlier actions. This is a psychological thriller as much as anything; characters’ thoughts have been implanted, hypnosis is abundant, and the protagonist is infected by a mind-altering organism, so truly, ‘anything goes,’ though VanderMeer is respectful of this self-granted license; it’s not a self-serving experiment, but rather a deep character study in grief and resolution.

Five out of Five stars


Midnight cheers,

Eric J. Guignard

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I’m a Writer

For the first time, I finally told another living human that I’m a writer. To explain, I mean that I said those three words with full confidence and without any explanation about how I used to do ‘real’ business work and that I’m engaged in various other studies, projects, and endeavors. For the first time in my life, I said, “I’m a writer,” and I didn’t drop my eyes, or mumble about how I’m ‘aspiring,’ or quickly change the topic of conversation.

Imagine all the times in your life you said, “I love you” to someone, and though the intent was there, the expression was more perfunctory, more socially or familially-expected. But then remember the first time you voiced those words, and you meant it more than anything else, when the emotion poured from your heart in flushing sincerity...

My experience wasn’t quite on that level, but close enough that I still felt like soaring away on wings of beatitude.

The consequential moment occurred this past Saturday, June 7, 2014. I was part of an ecological survey on bats, travelling between Palm Springs and the Salton Sea. It was early night, and I walked with a small group of strangers through a palm oasis in the desert, reading echo meters. One of the other men, as natural small talk develops, asked what I did for a living.

I said, “I’m a writer.”

His response was, “Wow, that’s really cool.”

And, yes, cool it was indeed. It was an occasion of self-validation, a flash of empowerment. I said those words and didn’t feel like a duplicitous charlatan, or that a bolt of lightning would strike for my false tongue. I’ve only been writing since about February, 2011 (three years, four months, but who’s counting?) and, though I’ve wanted it, could never honestly make that assertion with any degree of conviction. But the circumstance occasioned itself and I met it with courage and pluck, and now feel I have certain expectations to fulfill, less I’ll be discovered to be that fibber after all.

And, to qualify my trinal-worded declaration, I don’t make a living off fiction, but rather a combination of contract work in technical writing, copy writing, and now teaching writing (though each year I’ve made ever-increasing amounts of money off creative works... not that any of those are worth enough to buy a fancy coat, though the checks are on the upswing – but I digress). Some people may write a single story and declare to the world that they’re a writer, but I’ve not felt truth in that in my own experience. It’s a personal moment each person must discover, in any pursuit, and now I’ve had mine. Being a contract writer, I don’t know where my next ‘gig’ will come from, or that I’ll be able to survive lulls in employment. But I’ve been able to muddle along these past few years and I now have work set through next spring, so I finally found it time to proclaim to another those sweet three words:

I’m a writer.


Midnight cheers,

Eric J. Guignard


ric J. Guignard writes dark and speculative fiction from the outskirts of Los Angeles. Assorted stories and articles that bear his byline may be found in the disreputable publications reserved for back alley bazaars. As an editor, Eric’s published the anthologies, Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations and After Death…, the latter of which won the 2013 Bram Stoker Award®. Read his novella, Baggage of Eternal Night (a finalist for the 2014 International Thriller Writers Award), and watch for many more forthcoming books, including Chestnut ’Bo (TBP 2016). Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com, his blog: www.ericjguignard.blogspot.com, or Twitter: @ericjguignard.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Two Writing Industry Award Nominations For . . . Me!

There’s not much that speaks to the validation of a young writer doing something right as it is in receiving recognition from peers and affiliations that they admire.

In the past couple months, I’ve received TWO Industry award nominations I’m insanely proud of! Each nomination is from a different group and for a different work of mine.

On February 23, I was voted to the final ballot of the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards® in the category of “Superior Achievement in an Anthology” for my book, AFTER DEATH...


The Bram Stoker Awards have been presented by the Horror Writers Association annually since 1987 and winners are selected by Active members. This is my SECOND year in a row, receiving a nomination in this category, and I consider it a great honor. The Horror Writers Association promotes and protects the careers of professional writers of horror and dark fantasy.


And on April 6, I was voted to the final ballot of the 2014 International Thriller Awards in the category of “Best Short Story” for my novella, BAGGAGE OF ETERNAL NIGHT!


The International Thriller Awards are presented by ITW (International Thriller Writers) an organization of 2,100 members, and winners are selected by a panel of board members and professionals. I only recently joined this group and was completely stunned to learn that my work had been selected as one of the top five nominations from over two hundred submitted entries including luminaries such as Dean Koontz, R.L. Stine, John Grisham, and Elmore Leonard. I don’t know what the criteria was that elevated me, and I’m certainly not a better writer than any of those Bestsellers, but I certainly feel blessed at receiving such a recognition!
Somebody's sure pulled some supernatural strings for me!
Midnight cheers,
Eric J. Guignard

Monday, April 7, 2014

GUEST BLOG: Between the Interstice — On Lovecraft and Weird Fiction by Mike Robinson

"Back then, with the visions, most of the time I was convinced I'd lost it. There were other times, though, where I thought I was mainlining the secret truth to the universe."

------------ Rust Cohle, True Detective

Behind the wide facade of Speculative Fiction twist the hedge-mazes of fantasy, brood the catacombs of horror and gaze the far-seeing floors of science fiction. Among them, between them, are the closets and crawlspaces of the niche, one of which -- a relatively bigger one -- is the place of Weird Fiction, a dark storage of many souvenirs from fantasy, horror and science fiction, though dusted with its own special charms.

The former subtitle for my new book, Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray: A Collection of Weird Fiction was actually, A Collection of Speculative Fiction. As one prone to appreciate sprawling ambiguity, to resist specific categorization, it’s a little ironic that I wanted to specify further. But there was a reason for that, besides the stodginess of “speculative”, which has none of the zany, fluid charisma of “weird”.
While using “weird” may sound like a proud judgment, a literary outcast chest-thumping his identity as such, it’s more a direct homage to the tradition of Ambrose Bierce, Robert Chambers, H.P. Lovecraft and many others. Going further, it’s an accurate classification given my vision of Weird Fiction, a subgenre that, perhaps more consciously than other fields of speculative fiction, stirs together elements of the metaphysical, cosmological and horrific to grimly honor the Big Questions, remind us of our insurmountable ignorance, to pin down our squirming selves into our rightful position in the child’s seat, to whisper, maybe in some alien, mud-packed voice, that, hey, the world slippery and you won’t ever, ever catch it. The world, in short, is weird.

And past all the horror, the strangeness, that to me is a nourishing thought. Let me explain.

The moment I cemented my decision to not pursue an M.F.A (or any academic training) in writing is vivid. While enrolled at Otis College of Art & Design, I found in my mailbox a little perfect-bound literary booklet featuring work by the graduate students in fiction. I flipped it open to a random story. After wading cautiously into the second paragraph of a painful scrutiny of eyebrow-plucking, I was done. Other entries weren’t much better. Too many of them seemed concerned with stereotypical, high-literary minutia, unfortunately the focus and baffling preference of innumerable professors, awards, journals, and workshops (cough-Iowa-cough).
My first sale, the story
The Hand of Spudd
in Storyteller Magazine

Personally, I have little interest in quaint journalistic accounts of Malaysian transvestite violinists at the turn of the century (yes, I made that up), or the endless slew of aptly-termed “McFiction” featuring some cocky narrator coming of age amongst his or her overfed, dysfunctional family. No, I prefer going head-on at the Big Questions, going at them, as George Carlin might say, with no less than a sledgehammer. Give me ballsy confrontations with Life, Death, the Cosmos, with Existence, with God.

In their noble attempts at social redemption and inclusion, many contemporary teachers of literature treat writings in the framework of their political significance. To me, though, such attempts seem nothing more than new forms of division. It is looking at the grains and forgetting the shore. Does the world really need a Marxist reading of Huckleberry Finn, complete with ten-dollar jargon? Academics are on the lookout for the “next best thing”, the new trend in analysis, the new prism through which to see literary works of yesterday and today. I say: what about our shared heritage? Our shared -- and uncertain -- future? Not as any one ethnicity, gender, party, or faction, but as an entire civilization. A species. A collective piece of this vast Universe.

Of course, much of this material is studied, and much of it is exhaustively considered and written about. Enter Weird Fiction!

As any fellow devotee will know, H.P. Lovecraft -- arguably the most esteemed and influential practitioner of the genre -- cleaned out the catacombs with his pen, defying tropes of ghosts and vampires and expanding imaginations with interconnected tales of ancient civilizations antedating our own, of towering alien-gods, of unseen dimensions and humanity’s sanity-shattering smallness in an inexplicable cosmos. All this made more impressive by the fact that he wrote in the 1920s, when so much of that stuff was barely on anyone’s speculative radar, including scientists’. His unknowns are truly Unknown, and will forever elude explanation.

Certainly Lovecraft’s work has failings, failings probably more surface-level than those of other lauded authors. He was well aware of his own wooden dialogue (hence, quotation marks are scarce in his pages) and his prose sometimes gushes into the purple. Nevertheless, his voice, with its richly archaic, darkly celebratory cadence, stands alone, and will survive as long as we’re unsure what lurks “out there”.

Me suited up, scoping “out there”
Sadly, Lovecraft, and especially his “Cthulhu” mythos, have become somewhat franchised, relegated to corners of the market generally aimed at Dungeons and Dragons fans, horror enthusiasts, and nihilistic young adults sporting black fingernails and lipstick. It is a wide “cult following”, but nonetheless a cult following. Although some scholars have acknowledged his importance, many see him as a troublesome bridge from Poe to Stephen King. It is this identity that has, I’m sure, dissuaded many from giving him a serious go. “Lovecraft? Oh, no, I don’t like that horror stuff.”

But back up. Here we come back to the question of Weird Fiction itself, because I don’t necessarily consider the canon, or Lovecraft’s work, “horror”. Certainly there are horrific elements in his work, and his career does include several standard supernatural yarns. But in his treatment of cosmic mysteries, and the shadowed realms of prehistory, his is more a prying curious eye, forcing us to consider those Big Questions, to ponder notions of, and issues with, the likes of religion, biology, cosmology, archaeology, and psychology. He sets you on the outside looking in, a contrast to being in and looking further in to the point of navel-gazing. This exercise of outside-looking-in, one I believe most writers of fiction should undertake, helps in a kind of rounding out of thought.

No matter the genre in which one writes, I believe the best, most poignant stories have at least an undercurrent of this “larger awareness”, a perception conveying authority and wisdom. So many stories feel constricted by their own world, characters or concerns. Yet to read Lovecraft is to confront directly that raw Unknown that surrounds us, that is us. To get a healthy dose of perspective: a shambling, roaring, behemoth upswell of perspective.

I mentioned earlier that I think such a perspective can be ultimately nourishing. In an era of economic, cultural and political tumult, when millions of Davids the world over shout in fiery voice against the few far-reaching, corrupt Goliaths, there is morbid comfort in knowing that, despite whatever the megalomaniacal egos of sadistic leaders, immoral bankers, or bribe-pocketing politicians might make of themselves, there are impenetrable forces beyond all of them that will cast mocking eyes towards their suited-up, gold-rimmed delusions, if they even care to acknowledge them. Lovecraft, and the general tradition of Weird Fiction, reminds us just how little power the powerful actually wield. After all, Goliath was, what, ten feet tall? When the mountain-sized Cthulhu rises once more, those people will be nothing but scrambling ants -- along with the rest of us.

Find and follow Mike Robinson at: 




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Reviews (March, 2014)

For this month’s reviews, I thought I would focus on the publications of one press rather than those of an era or single author. This month’s subject is ERASERHEAD PRESS, the most prolific and energetic voice of contemporary bizarro fiction.

Bizarro fiction is a relatively new genre which is not entirely easy to define. It encompasses elements of satire, absurdism, and the grotesque, along with pop-surrealism and genre fiction staples, in order to create subversive works that are as strange and entertaining as possible.

Bizarro works are truly a mixed bag. Sometimes I’ll read a work and think it was revolting filth and sometimes I’ll read a work and find it to be a beautiful literary and socially relevant gem. Sometimes I’ll think both things simultaneously! What I love most about this genre is that, if nothing else, I will be entertained. The wonder of bizarro is that it doesn’t stoop to worn-out tropes or regurgitated storylines. These authors are hard boiled, willing to experiment, and write ideas that are stimulating, strange and, most importantly, unique.

Eraserhead Press, the premiere publisher of these book, is headquartered in bizarro central, Portland, OR, and championed by CEO, Rose O'Keefe. It also includes a dozen or more smaller imprints set up by associates, such as Deadite Press, Fungasm Press, and Lazy Fascist Press, amongst others.

Erasurehead Press is here: http://www.eraserheadpress.com

My personal favorite author to come out of the bizarro movement is Carlton Mellick III, who writes with the precise craft of any literary voice today, but puts out the strangest titles which are in turns geared toward horror, dark fantasy, alternative history, and science fiction. For EX: Satan Burger, The Haunted Vagina, War Slut and, my top bizarro pick, Zombies and Shit. Carlton is a writing machine, dedicated (mind-blowingly!) to a new book every three months. Generally, overly-prolific authors end up publishing a lot of dreck, but Carlton’s works are crisp, funny, and quite simply a consistently entertaining read.

Carlton Mellick III is here: http://www.carltonmellick.com

Which brings me to my first review:


REVIEWED: Quicksand House
WRITTEN BY: Carlton Mellick III
PUBLISHED: June, 2013

Of the six or seven books I’ve read by this author, ‘Quicksand House’ is one of my favorites. It starts off as a mystery, in which two children are essentially locked in their baby room and raised by a nanny through puberty. Machines make their food and the children teleport to school, but they’ve never met their parents which is their dearest wish. The baby room is in the midst of an immense mansion, and scary things crawl in the walls, and myths and fears abound for them, wondering what lies outside the locked door. One day their mechanical life breaks down, and survival forces them to finally leave the baby room, searching through the rest of the house for their parents.

As always, Mellick’s writing is brilliantly imaginative, fast-paced, strange, and satisfying. This book is rather a bit more of an emotional coming-of-age experience rather than action-packed fiction ploy (not to say there’s not plenty of action and thrills included!). But the ending is beautiful and sweet, and swear-to-God, I choked up and a tear ran down my cheek after I closed the final page.

This is really a great book and, with themes such as self-acceptance, fear of abandonment, love, and family values, I think it deserves to find a wider audience than the traditional bizarro crowd. Though the children of Quicksand House encounter wild exploits, the story itself is engaging and relatable and exciting.

Five out of Five stars



REVIEWED: The Last Goddam Hollywood Movie
WRITTEN BY: John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow
PUBLISHED: August, 2013

‘The Last Goddam Hollywood Movie’ follows a group of Hollywood filmmakers who survive a nuclear apocalypse and then band together to create the first ever post-apocalyptic movie which (just as in real life) promises to accurately portray the events leading to the nation’s disaster, but instead creates a highly fictionalized concept which is at whim of finagling, backbiting, competing resources, and lots and lots of drugs. Peter Kornberg is a writer who gets hustled by his nemesis, Julian Harvey, to direct the film, and the novella-sized book follows the conflict between the two of them during the entire radiation and mutant-filled journey of production. Fast-paced and quick-witted, this would seem more fictionalized if it weren’t for the fact that the authors, John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow, have been involved in Hollywood flicks themselves, and the satirical commentary becomes even more scathing on who peoples the industry and how movies are really made.

Four out of Five stars



REVIEWED: Son of a Bitch
WRITTEN BY: Wrath James White and Andre Duza
PUBLISHED: July, 2012

Intense, foul-mouthed, hard-punching, and wild, this story really is about the son of a bitch. The descriptively-named character is born half demon/ half canine, splitting his dog mother open at birth. Fused with Cuban black magic and the spirit of a local hitman, Warlock, the dog/ monster, goes on a murderous rampage, followed by the hood, Demitrius, who breeds dogs and is witness to the dog joining with Warlock’s soul.

Consider the dog/monster has similarities to a werewolf, albeit one that evolves and is seeking revenge. This is a quick read, at times funny and at times seething with violence. I never felt connected with any of the characters, but the plot kept me hooked all the way through. Lots of action and gore, and the ending was perfect. Good to read when you need to blow off some steam or suspect your family pooch might be hiding something malicious.

Four out of Five stars



REVIEWED: Super Fetus
WRITTEN BY: Adam Pepper
PUBLISHED: August, 2009

To say this book is offensive is to say that serial killers may have some personality flaws. Up front, I do not recommend this book to any person with even moderately conservative values or self-expressed ‘taste’ in literature. But for those of you who enjoy a gross-out tale or a redneck battle, ‘Super Fetus’ is for you!

This story is about a (you guessed it) fetus growing inside the uterus of a trashy, burned out woman who’s already a mother of three and cannot fathom raising a fourth brat. She decides to abort it, but the fetus has prematurely developed and is self-aware of his placement. Simply put, he ain’t coming out! Super Fetus fights all manner of abortion proceedings and even causes his mother to throw up any unhealthy foods. “Only salads and healthy foods for me!” He does pushups and punches back at anyone reaching in to pull him out.

It’s a crude and foul-mouthed tale, at times hilarious, at times terribly shocking and sad, but ultimately a fun and quick read, clocking in at only about 87 pages. Though the story could have been a lot more, it’s successful on its face value. I would have loved to read a bit more back story about the mysterious ‘father’ with no face, as to who he was and the potential of Super Fetus. But the ending is perfect for a follow up, so perhaps someday there may be Super Toddler!

Four out of Five stars



REVIEWED: The Rising (author’s preferred edition/ uncut)
WRITTEN BY: Brian Keene
PUBLISHED: September, 2013 (first published March, 2003)

Simply put, this is a zombie book. More than that though, it’s an adventure thriller and a classic in the resurgence of undead in popular culture. To underscore this point, as I read ‘The Rising’ I thought, “Gee, yet another linear zombie story. Main character searches for his son, meets motley survivors, and crosses lots with paramilitary groups, all the while blowing away killer zombies.” But as I thought this it also dawned on me that Brian Keene was one of the first authors to write this type of action zombie story, and the reason it seems so formulaic and familiar is because there have been a horde (pun!) of writers who have copied this idea and wrote their own zombie apocalypse tales, inspired by the likes of Keene. Besides books, Keene’s influence is also found in video games, comics, movies, and other media.

The edition of this review is the ‘extended cut,’ i.e. the author’s preferred edition, published ten years after the original, in which Keene returns about 35,000 words cut from the debut. The story is a page-turner and follows the paths of several different characters as their lives intersect in the quest for survival. Some of the main characters seemed rather flat (Jim and Frankie), while I found myself relating and rooting for more of the lesser/ secondary characters (Baker and Skip).

The one unique element in this book which is not usually seen is that these zombies (Potential PLOT SPOILER) are actually host bodies for demons, and so retain consciousness and can perform normal human activity such as driving cars, opening doors, and <gasp> fire rocket launchers. In addition to human zombies, the survivors must contend with animal zombies, which adds a whole new layer of fear, fighting off zombie rats, birds, and lions.

The Rising promises on zombie battle and delivers on that promise wholeheartedly. Overall, it’s an exciting read, filled with violence, gore, and many, many surprises.

Four out of Five stars



Midnight cheers,

Eric J. Guignard


ric J. Guignard writes dark and speculative fiction from the outskirts of Los Angeles. Assorted stories and articles that bear his byline may be found in the disreputable publications reserved for back alley bazaars. As an editor, Eric’s published the anthologies, Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations and After Death…, the latter of which won the 2013 Bram Stoker Award®. Read his novella, Baggage of Eternal Night (a finalist for the 2014 International Thriller Writers Award), and watch for many more forthcoming books, including Chestnut ’Bo (TBP 2016). Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com, his blog: www.ericjguignard.blogspot.com, or Twitter: @ericjguignard.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Sub-Genres of HORROR – PART V

This is part V in the categorical explanation for THE SUB-GENRES OF HORROR.

For an introduction, and PART I of this series, please begin here: The Sub-Genres of Horror - Part-I
PART II is here: The Sub-Genres of Horror - Part-II
PART III is here: The Sub-Genres of Horror - Part-III
PART IV is here: The Sub-Genres of Horror - Part-IV

Part V is below!


Psychic Abilities

The use of Psychic Abilities (also known as extrasensory perception or sixth sense) are familiar storylines in horror fiction. Such abilities include: Telepathy (mind reading), Precognition or Postcognition (seeing events in the future or the past), Mind Control (forcing someone to act against their will), Telekinesis (ability to move objects by willpower), or any other power credited to the brain which is generally not considered possible in humans. Elements of witchery or paranormal may also share in this category.

These powers are not always portrayed with the intent to cause fright, but frequently are used by the protagonist to overcome a seemingly undefeatable opponent. Naturally the element of “evil” in psychic abilities is also abundant, and often multiple characters may have powers which they use to battle each other. Often, children are seen as the wielders of strange faculties. Psychic abilities may be explained by genetics, learned behavior, sorcery, or technological/medical experimentation (including comic-favorite ‘side-effects of radiation’).

Book Examples:

Firestarter by Stephen King
False Memory by Dean Koontz
Darkest Powers (series of books) by Kelley Armstrong

Psychological Horror

Psychological Horror is best characterized by the fears that come from within our psyche, rather than from external sources such as monsters or serial killers. It’s a form of narrative that
builds tension through the character’s perception of events, causing them (and the reader) terror or mental/ emotional instability. Often this subgenre is considered successful by what isn’t revealed rather than by what is told, and is generally considered to be more complex than those forms of horror which rely on violence or gore. Affects of the human psyche include such undesirable elements as: mental conflict, doubt, guilt, phobia, insanity, suspicion, distrust, etc.

Book Examples:

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
The Unloved by John Saul

Religious Horror (including: Demons and Possession)

One of the oldest themes of horror draws upon the fears, consequences
, and manifestations of evil found in religion. Although organized religion may be a focal point in the story, any belief system can be utilized such as Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Tribal Worship, or rites, mythology, or doctrine of any of the other countless world denominations. Most commonly, these tales will portray a variation of Satan as the ultimate evil/ villainous antagonist which corrupts or outright attacks an unsuspecting innocent. Other unsettling considerations include demon possession and exorcism, spirit worship, witchcraft, or any communion with evil spirits, including agreements, willing habitation, or general relationship. Even stories revolving around fictional religion (i.e. invented strictly for purposes of the plot) may also fall into this category. The worship of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos is an example of this.

Book Examples:

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Rosemary's Baby
by Ira Levin
The Omen by David Seltzer


Some of the most compelling stories are those dealing with well-deserved retribution. The vengeance may be as righteous as bloodletting of a supernatural deity (demons, monsters, aliens) or as mundane as rallying against a corrupt financial institution. Revenge can haunt some people and it can heal others, but either way it is cause for vigorous emotion. After all, ‘Getting even’ is one of man’s most basic desires. Most people do not regularly act on it, especially in grand scale, but the satisfaction of relating to someone who does is often a thrilling, if not guilty, pleasure. Whether blood-spattered torture, psychological trauma, financial ruin, or simple dismissal, tales of revenge is a notion that every reader can empathize with in some form.

Book Examples:

Carrie by Stephen King
Red by Jack Ketchum
Death Wish by Brian Garfield


MORE TO COME IN MY NEXT BLOG POST! Stay tuned soon for The Sub-Genres of HORROR – PART VI

Part I Describes: Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic Horror, Bizarro Fiction, Body Horror (Biological Horror)

Part II describes: Dark Fantasy (AKA:Fantasy Horror), Environmental Horror, Erotic Horror, Fairy Tales and Dark Fables

Part III describes: Gothic Horror, Historical Horror, Humor (AKA: Horror Comedy), and Killer Animals

Part IV describes: Lovecraftian Horror (Cthulhu Mythos), Media Tie-In, Monster Horror, and Paranormal

Part V describes: Psychic Abilities, Psychological Horror, Religious Horror(including: Demons and Possession), and Revenge


Thanks to notes on this topic accumulated from the following websites:






Midnight cheers,

Eric J. Guignard


Eric J. Guignard
writes dark and speculative fiction from the outskirts of Los Angeles. Assorted stories and articles that bear his byline may be found in the disreputable publications reserved for back alley bazaars. As an editor, Eric’s published the anthologies, Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations and After Death…, the latter of which won the 2013 Bram Stoker Award®. Read his novella, Baggage of Eternal Night (a finalist for the 2014 International Thriller Writers Award), and watch for many more forthcoming books, including Chestnut ’Bo (TBP 2016). Visit Eric at: www.ericjguignard.com, his blog: www.ericjguignard.blogspot.com, or Twitter: @ericjguignard.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Reviews (January, 2014)

Book Reviews! Each of the following books may be purchased through any large book store or online through www.amazon.com.


REVIEWED: Deadfall Hotel
WRITTEN BY: Steve Rasnic Tem
PUBLISHED: April, 2012

Deadfall Hotel is a rather sweet, at times sad, at times scary, novel which is more fantasy than horror. It includes the familiar monster tropes, but they are all fused with human pains, made believable in whatever condition ails the character, sending them to convalesce and, most likely, eventually perish in the namesake hotel. I wouldn’t call this book a “page-turner” as it is slow and sentimental, but that is what I enjoy about this author; he captures the subtleties of emotion – fear, sadness, hope – as masterfully as any “literary” writer, while at the same time building a compelling supernatural environment. A few of the sections seemed to go on for too long, such as the King of the Cats, while other sections, I wanted to learn more of, such as the actual history of the house, the pool that only occasionally appears, and the several of the other background “inhabitants” that make brief cameo appearances, but never again materialize. Deadfall Hotel is best read in a leisurely pace, ideally in a windowed nook with gloomy rain falling outside, and a nice mug of chamomile tea.

Four and a quarter out of Five stars


REVIEWED: Deadman’s Road
WRITTEN BY: Joe R. Lansdale
PUBLISHED: October, 2010

I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Each self-contained tale revolves around the exploits of a central character, the gun slinging Reverend Jebidiah Mercer. There’s not a lot of literary depth to this book, but the stories are all fast-paced, action-filled, and pulp-esque fun. Rev. Mercer is quested to roam the old west, destroying evil in the name of God, whom he mostly despises, as penance for his sins. Each story pits him against a new enemy, mortal and supernatural alike. Mercer, cursing the whole way, does battle with whomever he is set against, including zombies, werewolves, ghosts, and kobolds. Joe R. Lansdale is really a master at creating excitement in his writing as well as crafting funny, meaningful dialogue. Know what you’re getting into before starting this: Deadman’s Road is violent and crass, but perfect when you need a pick-me-up after power-reading Camus or Dostoyevsky.

Five out of Five stars


REVIEWED: Village of the Mermaids
WRITTEN BY: Carlton Mellick III
PUBLISHED: April, 2013

Village of the Mermaids is about an Island town surrounded by carnivorous mermaids, which the local citizens are not allowed to kill, under threat of execution, per the Endangered Species Act.

Biting government satire, survivalist thrills, mystery, and horrible, horrible man-eating mermaids, this novel is not for the weak-of-heart, but IS for those who appreciate reading something strange and beautiful that they would not find anywhere else.

It’s a funny, fast-paced story. Like all of Mellick’s work, I enjoyed this, though I wouldn’t consider it one of his best novels. That being said, it’s quite fine on any level. The talent of Carlton is that he can take the most ridiculous-sounding premises and, in a unique and smart maneuvering, craft very entertaining tales that are both outlandish and highly literary.

As an aside, the opening prologue is a chapter which was removed from the book as it didn’t “fit,” but is the strongest element of the book overall, emotionally tragic. Reading it in advance gave me character insight into the doctor's character.

Four out of Five stars


Midnight cheers,

Eric J. Guignard