BURN CARDS Goodreads Giveaway

280 Steps is kicking off March with a Goodreads Giveaway for BURN CARDS

BurnCards_books**Hot off the Press**

About BURN CARDS:

Mirna Fowler believes she has been cheated in life, growing up in a broken home alone with a drunken and gambling-addicted father. Now she works at a small hair salon in Reno, doing her best to survive while she saves money for school. Hoping to get a degree that will take her places.

But in the wake of her father's death, Mirna inherits his extravagant debt, an amount of money she can never repay. As her fractured world begins to crumble, the search for the truth sets her on a path where life hangs on her every move.

Advance Praise for BURN CARDS:

“With a character you care about and a momentum you can't avoid, BURN CARDS is aces. This fast-moving novella pulses with enough energy to power all the casinos in Nevada.” - Steve Weddle, author of Country Hardball

"the shit-kicking streets of a dead end desert town have never been meaner." — Joe Clifford, author of Lamentation

"This bare-knuckle noir pulses with energy and punches hard." — William Boyle, author of Gravesend

"Irvin illuminates the city of Reno itself, casting the flickering glow of his sharp observations into every dark corner of the city and bringing forth a rogue’s gallery of gamblers, dreamers, and burnouts who are all heading for the same bitter end." — John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm

Feeling lucky but still want to pre-order? GOT YOU COVERED

Stay tuned for information on upcoming events & thanks for your support!

B&B Ep 97 BRACKEN MACLEOD

booksboozeCheck out my writing partner in crime, Bracken MacLeod, in the latest episode of Books & Booze - then hop over and pick up his hot-off-the-press novella, WHITE KNIGHT. Addition appearances on the WHITE KNIGHT circuit:

Ginger Nuts of Horror

Paul D. Brazill's Sharp Short Interview

Chatterific

Announcing FEDERALES

federales-3d

I'm very excited to announce FEDERALES, my debut novella with One Eye Press!

About the book:

Mexican Federal Agent Marcos Camarena dedicated his life to the job. But in a country where white knights die meaningless deaths, martyred in a hole with fifty other headless bodies in the desert, corruption is not an attribute but a scale; no longer a stigma but the status quo.

When Marcos’s life is threatened, he leaves law enforcement and his life in Mexico City behind for a coastal resort town—until an old friend asks him to look after an outspoken politician, a woman who knows cartel violence all too well. Despite his best efforts, Marcos can’t find it in his heart to refuse, and soon finds himself isolated on the political front lines of the war on drugs.

Inspired by true events, Federales is a story of survivors’ compulsive devotion to a cause in the face of ever-darkening circumstances.

Stay tuned for more details. Until then, check out One Eye Press and their forthcoming Singles line!

a book a week 1.7

The Horror! Autumn has finally arrived and that means it's time to delve back into one of my favorite genres. Without further ado....

jackandjillKPB

Jack & Jill by Kealan Patrick Burke

As a big fan of Burke's work, I was psyched for the chance to get my hands on an early read of his latest novella, JACK & JILL. Having read four of his novellas (and way past due on the rest) I can say that Burke has mastered this short form - providing tight pacing and plots that pack an emotional punch, along with his style of scares and dread that has become so well known.

The novella follows Gillian, one half of 'Jack and Jill,' as an adult, and deals with her struggle with recurring nightmares/dreams from events of her childhood.

JACK & JILL is one of my favorite reads of the year. The beautifully odd - and sometimes ugly - dream sequences took me back to the opening pages of Burke's novel, KIN, and one of the best scenes I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The images of Gillian's 'dream version' of her father are truly frightening, especially when...well I won't spoil that. Likewise, near the end of the novella (no spoilers) there is a pivotal moment that hangs on one phrase, and just when you might think there isn't enough space to pull it off, you realize Burke had already set the foundation and it makes perfect sense.

JACK & JILL hits the stands (e-book) in November 2013.

BREW

Brew by Bill Braddock

Holy smokes... you know when you read, "His eyes focused on her abdomen, just below the floating rib, where several inches of plump, externally herniated intestine shone in the light. He licked his lips. What would it taste like?", in the first few pages, that you are in for a ride. It's the Hell Yeah kind of ride that took me back to what I love about horror, and reminded me why I was so taken by the genre many years ago.

One minute the city of College Heights is party central and the next...well, green ooze dripping psychos are going to town on each other. BREW nails survival horror - tight pacing, blistering action, and well-developed characters (spread throughout the city/campus, natch) who are real and whose decisions throughout the course of the novel make sense (crucial). When done poorly, survival horror boils down to a handful of paragraphs detailing whatever creative deaths the author could conjure up. When done well, or as in the case with BREW, very well, you hang on every word.

EveryHouseIsHaunted

Every House is Haunted by Ian Rogers

Some of the best dark/horror fiction these days can be found in short story collections. Ian Roger's EVERY HOUSE IS HAUNTED is no exception.

EVERY HOUSE IS HAUNTED lands smack in the middle of some of my favorite kinds of horror. It's haunting (as the title suggests) but more than that, it carries a ghostly vibe throughout. The stories are moody and thought provoking, odd and sometimes bizarre. The story "The House on Ashley Avenue" was nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award this year. My other favorites were "Autumnology," "The Currents," "Leaves Brown," "The Rifts Between Us," "Hunger," "Inheritor," and "Twillingate."

Rogers has also pulled together a little commentary on the collection. While it didn't make the book, I recommend you check it out HERE after you've read the stories. I'm a junkie for that kind of 'behind the scenes' look - there is always something fascinating behind excellent short fiction, especially when you veer into dark/odd/haunting tales.

Sacrifice Island

Sacrifice Island by Kristin Dearborn

SACRIFICE ISLAND is a novella about a pair of paranormal investigators who head to the Philippines in search of material for their latest book. It's difficult to delve into more of the plot without getting into serious spoiler territory, but suffice it to say, Dearborn does an excellent job of reinvigorating what may seem like an old story and worn tropes. She doesn't waste time with pieces of the mystery that you can put together early on, instead focusing on the characters and their unique traits which are cleverly revealed along the way. Overall, what appeared at first to be an easy trek through the jungle, turned out to be much more and a fun read. Another great example of why I love the novella. Looking forward to Dearborn's novel, TRINITY.

Candy House

Candy House by Kate Jonez

Roland, a brilliant young scientist, loses his prestigious job and is forced to move back home with his parents. If that weren't bad enough, his neighbors are a family of witches, imps and demons.

It has been quite a while since I read any Dark Fantasy, but I'll be seeking out more after reading CANDY HOUSE. I found Jonez's writing to be very engaging, especially the scenes at the neighbors. The vibe of CANDY HOUSE reminded me of Brother's Grimm and Alice and Wonderland - full of odd/bizarre moments, unreliable characters, and dream-like sequences. It took me a little bit to get into the book, but once the full extent/agenda of the neighbors is revealed, I was hooked.

So...what's next? My TBR pile is ever-changing, but with the end of the year fast approaching, these are the five I have my sights on:

Snowblind     The Thicket     Country Hardball     The Inner City     The Last Porno Theater     Day One Kenyon

REVIEW: Recovery by Adam Aresty

Recovery A novella-length story of psychological terror set at a remote drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, RECOVERY is a story about one man's battle against demons inside and out. If you enjoy tales like The Shining, The Thing, or Jacob's Ladder, then RECOVERY is for you.

If you are buried under four-foot snow drifts this weekend like I am, then I've got the perfect book for you. Published just last month (Jan '13) Adam Aresty's RECOVERY is Kraken Press' first release in a planned line of E-PUB and POD books (the next being STARING INTO THE ABYSS by Richard Thomas.) I'm very happy to report they are off to a great start.

I stumbled onto Kraken Press last year when searching for publications to submit short stories and was immediately taken by the art direction (created by none other than the owner of Kraken Press, George Cotronis). Needless to say, I was ready to purchase RECOVERY solely based on the cover.

I loved RECOVERY - it's fresh, engaging and packed with wonderfully-creepy images. After a bit of setup, the pacing is lightning fast and Aresty's style kept me turning the page at a high speed that I rarely reach. I think this is in part because of Aresty's background as a screen writer (per Kraken Press, Adam won first place in the Screamfest Film Festival’s writing competition for his screenplay THE PALACE, about a haunted palace in Iraq.  In 2011, his original pilot, UNCIVILIZED, a cop show set in post-apocalyptic Texas, took first place in the Slamdance Film Festival’s writing competition.) The novella feels very tight, like a screenplay, in that Aresty is moving the reader along with quick cuts between scenes and only lifting the curtain on what you need to know. It's the perfect length for the story Aresty wanted to tell and I highly recommend it to fans of dark, horror and thriller fiction/movies.

It's difficult to review the novella without spoiling a great read. The book is ~40 pages and most will finish the ride in an hour or two, so if you enjoyed the official blurb above, I recommend you stop there and boot up your kindle. At $2.99 it's a steal - sure, a lot of writers sell their work for $.99 or (sigh) free, but I for one fall in the camp that you should sell your work for what's its worth and if people like it they will make the purchase. I'll happily throw down $2.99 for another Kraken Press E-PUB.

RECOVERY links:     Goodreads     Amazon     Kraken Press     Adam Aresty