Tales From The TBR Pile

I’m more than halfway through Nick Cutter’s The Deep and expect to have a review posted in a few days. This one doesn’t come out until after the New Year, but I was able to get an early copy through NetGalley. That service is damn addictive, by the way.

My eReader has been filling up with plenty of books, but thanks to the Internet and sites like Goodreads, BookLikes, and KBoards, a few other titles have caught my eye.

So, here’s what’s on the horizon as far as my MUST HAVE NOW titles are concerned:

Black_ebook_coverThe Black
Paul E. Cooley

This one is actually up next in my queue, I think. It’s a recent release, and after seeing all the praise heaped upon it by horror writer and reviewer extraordinaire, Edward Lorne, it definitely seems to hit all the right buttons for me. I have a tremendous soft spot for aquatic horror, so take that setting and tell me it’s like The Thing, and I’m quite happy to take a look.

Under 30,000 feet of water, the exploration rig Leaguer has discovered an oil field larger than Saudi Arabia, with oil so sweet and pure, nations would go to war for the rights to it. But as the team starts drilling exploration well after exploration well in their race to claim the sweet crude, a deep rumbling beneath the ocean floor shakes them all to their core. Something has been living in the oil and it’s about to give birth to the greatest threat humanity has ever seen.

The Black is a techno/horror-thriller that puts the horror and action of movies such as Leviathan and The Thing right into readers’ hands. Ocean exploration will never be the same.

World_Final_1Once Upon A Time At The End Of The World
S. Elliot Brandis

There’s no plot description available yet, but I’ve become acquainted with Elliot a bit at KBoards and became a big fan of his writing voice upon reading his debut, Irradiated. All I really know about it is it’s a post-apocalyptic western, which is enough to have me hooked. Couple that brief elevator pitch with a cover straight out of a Sergio Leone flick, and I’m in. I may even have to get some Ennio Morricone scores to accompany my read-through.

Go check out Elliot’s website and be sure to sign up for his newsletter. He’s offering this opening volley for free to his subscribers. Of course, I’m sure it’ll also be available to purchase online upon release.

Z. Rider

Feels like there’s a long wait in store for this one, but Suckers will launch in Feb. 2015. The cover art alone has me really anticipating this release, and I absolutely love the way all those bats come together to form the title logo. Beautiful stuff, and a terrific color scheme that helps drive home the moody horror.

When worn-out musicians Dan Ferry and Ray Ford decide to take a shortcut back to the hotel, they pick the wrong dark alley to go down. Attacked by something neither can identify, they think they’re lucky to get out with their lives. But their lives aren’t all they get out with…

As an infection takes hold of Dan, the cramped tour bus becomes a dangerous place to be trapped. And when the infection spreads across the country…nowhere—and no one—is safe from the Suckers.

Now then – what titles have intrigued you of late? What’s on your most-anticipated list of stories that are coming out soon? Sound off below!

CONVERGENCE is now on BitLit

Convergence-BitLitEarlier this week, I signed up with BitLit to give my print readers the opportunity to obtain the digital copy of Convergence absolutely free.

Although Convergence is enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook program, there are a few limitations to it that I’m hoping BitLit will help correct while offering my readers extra flexibility in their eReader options.

Here’s the skinny on Matchbook – if you buy the paperback copy of Convergence at Amazon, and only at Amazon, you can get the Kindle edition for free. But, if you ask your local indie bookstore or Barnes & Noble to order you the print copy, you’re out of luck on taking advantage of Matchbook. Should you ever wish to have the eBook edition, on Kindle or any other platform, like Nook or Kobo, you would have to repurchase it.

Matchbook is an Amazon-exclusive program, and ties your print copy purchase to the Kindle edition eBook. That’s fine for a lot of people, myself included. But there’s plenty of readers out there who would be missing out on this advantage.

Enter BitLit.

I played around with this app last month, and you can read my thoughts on it here. I am a big, big fan of bundling print and digital purchases. Marvel and DC Comics have been doing this for a while, and I applaud them for that. My big wish, particularly as a reader, is to see more publishers follow suit.

With BitLit, you don’t have to be an Amazon customer. You don’t have to be a Kindle user. If you want a digital copy of my book, and you already own the print edition, then, damn it, I want to give you that copy.

So here’s the skinny on BitLit – buy the paperback of Convergence anywhere you want. You can get it at Amazon. Buy it through Barnes & Noble. You can have a bookstore special order it for you. Whatever works. Frankly, I don’t care where you buy it, just so long as you get a copy. Then, you just put your name on the copyright page, scan the cover and your signature with the BitLit app, and within a few minutes you’ll have an e-mail with a DRM-free eBook edition of Convergence that you can read on whatever platform you want. You’ll get an ePub file for Nook or Kobo, a PDF to read it on your computer, or a mobi file for your Kindle, even if you didn’t buy the paperback at Amazon. Check out BitLit’s How It Works page for the step-by-step.

Forget all about that Matchbook exclusivity. It’s still available for anyone who wants it, and always will be. But for all those other readers, BitLit and I have got you covered now.

Review: Blackout, by Tim Curran


About Blackout

In the midst of a beautiful summer, in a perfectly American suburban middle-class neighborhood, a faraway evil is lurking, waiting to strike the unsuspecting residents.

First come the flashing lights, then the heavy rains, high winds, and finally a total blackout. But that’s only the beginning…

When the whipping black tentacles fall from the sky and begin snatching people at random, the denizens of Piccamore Way must discover the terrifying truth of what these beings have planned for the human race.

About the Author

Tim Curran lives in Michigan and is the author of the novels Skin Medicine, Hive, Dead Sea, and Skull Moon. Upcoming projects include the novels Resurrection, The Devil Next Door, and Hive 2, as well as The Corpse King, a novella from Cemetery Dance, and Four Rode Out, a collection of four weird-western novellas by Curran, Tim Lebbon, Brian Keene, and Steve Vernon. His short stories have appeared in such magazines as City Slab, Flesh&Blood, Book of Dark Wisdom, and Inhuman, as well as anthologies such as Flesh Feast, Shivers IV, High Seas Cthulhu, and, Vile Things. Find him on the web at:

website: http://www.corpseking.com
blog: http://satansmeatlocker.blogspot.com/

My Thoughts

I became acquainted with Tim Curran’s work last summer after seeking out recommendations from a Goodreads group for some good marine-based horror. I was thinking something along the lines of the movie Leviathan, which attempted to be Alien at the bottom of the sea. When a few readers recommended Dead Sea, I took a chance on it and found myself immediately engrossed.

Directly after finishing Dead Sea, I bought a number of his other works and impatiently waited for my pre-ordered copy of Blackout to release. I also came to a central conclusion, based then on nothing more than that single book, and am none the least bit dissuaded in believing upon finishing this latest: Curran, who hails from the Upper Penninsula, is Michigan’s answer to Maine’s Stephen King. He’s got serious horror chops, sure, and that intimate campfire voice, the kind you really don’t want whispering in your ear long after night has fallen. More importantly, he’s able to draw relatable, recognizable, ordinary people locked in a struggle against the extraordinary. He takes impossible situations and grounds them in characters that could easily be your boss, your friends, or your neighbors.

And Blackout certainly gets to the heart of the extraordinary, by waking up the folks of Piccamore Way to a series of timed, repeating strobe lights and an impenetrable blackness. The stars are hidden, and the night is darker than normal. It shifts as something massive and unseen hovers above. Long shiny, black cables drop from the sky, leaking a sticky goo that traps any who touch it and hauls them back up into the belly of the great beast overhead.

Told in first-person and with short, punchy chapters, Curran wastes no time cutting to the chase and diving right into the horror. Blackout is a rich nod to The Twilight Zone, sufficiently so that the mental movie playing in my head as the story unfolded was in the good and proper black-and-white film-stock.

This novella is a grisly first-contact story, War of the Worlds by way of The Mist, and Curran plays the familiar tropes with fun finesse. The read is easy and briskly paced, with the pages practically turning themselves. It’s the perfect story to indulge in during a dark and stormy summer night, with a beer in hand, the lights turned low, and the doors locked. Maybe keep a flashlight handy, though. Just in case.

buy blackout on amazon

Reblog: Author Wednesday – Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks:

Many, many thanks to Patricia Zick for the wonderful interview as part of her on-going Author Wednesday series!

Originally posted on P.C. Zick:


Welcome to another installment of Author Wednesday. Michael Patrick Hicks joins me today to talk about his first novel Convergence. This science fiction technothriller features Jonah Everitt as your everyday drug addict, memory thief, and killer. There’s bound to be an edge-of-your-seat story in the telling of his journey! convergence-800-cover-reveal-and-promotional

Hello Michael! Your book sounds exciting and chilling at the same time. Tell us a little bit about yourself as a writer before we delve into the plot of Convergence.When did you first discover your voice as a writer?

Probably in high school. I always dabbled with writing as a hobby, but in my senior year of high school–way back when now–I decided to get a little bit serious about it and took a creative writing course. I wasn’t quite prepared for the worlds it opened up for me, and I completely fell in love with the art. I’ve…

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Kobo Reviews Needed For CONVERGENCE

As some of you may know, Kobo is now taking customer reviews. You may have noticed this, either on this blog, or on Kobo Writing Life, when news broke back in May, or came upon the news in their latest newsletter.

I, for one, think it’s a tremendous decision and I know first-hand as a reader how valuable customer reviews are. They help facilitate purchase decisions and can make or break those on-the-fence customers into clicking the buy button. As an author, I value reviews because it could (hopefully) draw in more new readers.

Kobo didn’t think it was enough to just open the doors to customer reviews, though. Nope, they are sweetening the deal a bit further. Write a review and get 20% off select eBooks! How cool is that?!

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 5.37.51 PM

Now, you don’t have to review Convergence, obviously. But, it sure would be appreciated! And I certainly hope you will. I know there’s a good number of Kobo readers out there who have bought and read my book, and if you’re one of them, please consider this offer and know that you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose. In face, you’ll get a lovely little reward out of this! A bit of quid pro quo, eh? I’ve currently got 8 reviews on Amazon, all 5-stars, and I think it’s high-time my Kobo readers start getting in on the act!

All you have to do to review Convergence is follow this link (you’ll be taken to Kobo’s partner site, Evocalize), click the big blue RATE THIS button, and then rate and write a brief review. After that, you’ll get a coupon for 20% off a select eBook that’s valid until October 4.

If you leave a review, drop a line here and let us know!

(And, if you haven’t bought Convergence already, you can do so at the link above.)

Reblog: ‘Convergence’ by Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks:

Thanks for the kind words Jola!

Originally posted on jolasbookshelf:


An Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist

Jonah Everitt is a killer, a DRMR addict, and a memory thief.

After being hired to kill a ranking officer of the Pacific Rim Coalition and download his memories, Everitt finds himself caught in the crosshairs of a terror cell, a rogue military squadron, and a Chinese gangster named Alice Xie. Xie is a profiteer of street drugs, primarily DRMR, a powerful narcotic made from the memories of the dead. With his daughter, Mesa, missing in post-war Los Angeles, Everitt is forced into an uneasy alliance with Alice to find her.

Mesa’s abduction is wrapped up in the secrets of a brutal murder during the war’s early days, a murder that Alice Xie wants revenged. In order to find her, Jonah will have to sift through the memories of dead men that could destroy what little he has left.

In a city where…

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Reblog: Justine Allen’s Book Review: Convergence, by Michael Patrick Hicks

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Michael Patrick Hicks:

Great review of CONVERGENCE by fellow sci-fi author Justine Allen. She writes “… As I have an interest in anything sci-fi, especially books making it through the ABNA rounds, I couldn’t resist. I was not disappointed with my choice, and Michael is another Indie Author who deserves to do well.”

Many thanks for the kind words, Justine. Glad you enjoyed the read!

Originally posted on Justine Allen Writing:

I picked up Convergence through an Indie Author Land author interview. By the way, I frequently use Indie Author Land to pick up new books, as it gives me a sense of what makes the author tick, as well as extra insights into the book.

The book genre is described by the author as follows:

“I think sci-fi readers will find plenty to appreciate here –CONVERGENCEhas the grungy high-tech cyberpunk feel to it, set in a near-future America that’s been shattered by war and political in-fighting. But it’s also a neo-noir-thriller, and rests just as comfortably in the mystery/thriller mould as it does sci-fi. It’s definitely a hybrid-genre read and should appeal to a pretty broad audience.”

Convergence was also an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist in the Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror category. As I have an interest in anything sci-fi, especially books making it through the…

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Marvel Movies


I saw Guardians of the Galaxy today and enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m not overly familiar with the comic book source material outside of the recent work Brian Michael Bendis has produced since the Marvel NOW relaunch, but the film is another strong entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a nice change of pace from the previous entries.

I won’t say much more on the movie – there’s plenty of other reviews out there and the film is enjoying a nice bit of critical acclaim, so I’ll leave this one up to the pros. Besides, I think Charlie Jane Anders, writing for io9, covers why this movie is such a treasure pretty well. It reminds me a lot of all those fun sci-fi movies I watched and loved as a kid, from Star Wars to The Last Starfighter, all mixed up with a bit of Firefly. Mostly, it’s just a damn fun film.

The one thing I’ve really enjoyed most about the MCU is its interconnectedness and the massive scope it’s building. We pretty much knew since Iron Man that an Avengers team-up was on the horizon, and now that we’ve gotten that the Marvel movie studio is really upping its game and going crazy. As a fan of the comics, this is really a terrific thing to behold, and to see the various franchises working together to create such a large canvas and build toward what could eventually become a massive space-based epic is pure joy. Since the introduction of Thanos in The Avengers, I’ve been hoping for an adaptation of The Infinity Gauntlet. I’m still convinced that’s where things are heading, but really there’s so much potential for other story elements to come into play, like a Kree invasion or maybe a film treatment of the more recent Infinity storyline by Jonathon Hickman.

I have no idea how receptive audiences would be toward this (but I suspect Marvel wouldn’t need to be all that fearful of it, given their current spate of successes), but I would love to see a more drawn-out, single-story line crossover as either a duology or a trilogy, similar to one of Marvel Comics many comic-book crossovers. Just take the entirety of the MCU and go all Lord of the Rings with it.

There’s a lot going on in Guardians, and while the primary threat is self-contained within the movie, I’d be very surprised if it’s not laying a tremendous amount of groundwork for the future of Marvel movies. If Guardians of the Galaxy is as important as I think it is for the future of the MCU, particularly given the amount of myth-building at work here, I am fully expecting to be made very, very happy by the time Avengers 3 rolls out. I could easily see Guardians 2 playing out as a bit of a first act for the Avengers 3 storyline, since the former already has a release date of 2017 and Avengers is expected to land in 2018. Of course, I could be way off, but let’s face it – who wouldn’t want to see Iron Man teaming up with Rocket Raccoon?

Now, here’s a look back at Marvel’s Phase 1 & 2, which was shown at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con!

Bonus: Every Marvel Movie Easter Egg In One Video (At least up through Thor: The Dark World)