Book Review: Vessels by Kealan Patrick Burke


Title: Vessels – The Timmy Quinn Series: Book 3

Author: Kealan Patrick Burke

Release date: November 21st, 2006

For those following along with these reviews of Kealan Patrick Burke’s Timmy Quinn Series, I’m reading it as part of his Stage Whispers Omnibus.

Book 1 The Turtle Boy can be found here:

Book 2 The Hides can be found here:

And here we are – book three. This one starts out with a phenomenal opening where we get some ‘closure’ and story clean up from book two. As I get further along, two things are apparent – Kealan is not telling a story has book two end on a Tuesday and book three begin on a Wednesday, which is great and works so well when you consider he’s telling the life story of this man who has been cursed. The second thing, is that no one is safe and that anyone can die at any moment in time. Consider this like the horror world equivalent of George R.R. Martin.

What I liked: Following the events of book two (and we find out numerous other incidences between then and now), Tim – as he’s now known – has decided he needs to get away, find a place where very few people live and where the likely hood of people knowing who he is, what he can do and the dead badgering him every moment of the day, is his only option. But it becomes all too apparent – that Tim’s curse has no off switch, no place where he can go in the world and that the things that haunt these places will use Tim as a conduit to get free from their afterlife shackles.

Kealan also does a fantastic job of showing how Tim’s curse has trickled out and had huge ramifications on those around him, including the love of his life, Kim. It was great to see this reconnection and it worked really well to set up things for book four.

I will also say, that Kealan has done such a phenomenal job of ‘aging’ this character. It reminds me of Denis Leary’s character in Rescue Me, how he has to deal with real life, the afterlife and how his own decisions directly influence both avenues.

What I didn’t like: In the general world of Timmy Quinn, this one worked really well, but of the three so far, I think this one was the most ‘set up’ of any of them and the least ‘story building,’ if that makes sense. It was solid, but didn’t have me as enraptured as the previous two.

Why you should buy this: If you’ve read the first two, obviously you’ll be diving into book three here at some point. But, if you’re looking for a really well done, fantastically crafted biography of a man navigating life while hugely cursed, this one is definitely a series for you!



Stage Whispers;

Book Review: Hasty for the Dark: Selected Horrors by Adam L.G. Nevill


Title: Hasty for the Dark: Selected Horrors

Author: Adam L.G. Nevill

Release date: October 31st, 2017

Recently, I devoured Nevill’s phenomenal novel ‘No One Gets Out Alive.’ Once I was finished that, I decided to dive directly into a few of his other books I have but haven’t read yet, and it was while searching my Kindle that I saw I still needed to read this collection. I’ve previously read his two three-story-free colllections on Amazon as well as his stunning Wyrd and Other Derelictions, so I knew I was in for some classic and solid Nevill-ness.

I was going to take my time reading this one, but as events occurred – namely me having a horrible case of food poisoning, I blasted through this while dealing with my stomach abandoning me in my moment of need!

What I liked: Nevill opens this one with a short introduction, telling us that he wanted to collect his short stories in a publication order and put it all in one place, allowing the reader to have an easy go-to book to read all of his short work. It works brilliantly and other than the opener, which is less paranormal and more claustrophobic over public transit, this one showcases why Nevill is one of the best, dark fiction authors working today.

I’d read a few of these stories already, but it was neat to dive back into them, as it had been three years in the case of a few of them, and this time apart seemed to kick me between the legs. How so? Back in my review that was posted on December 18th, 2019, I said this about ‘Always in Our Hearts’ – “I personally didn’t really enjoy this one. We follow a hired driver who head a location to pick up his next ride. On the surface it had some potential, but I just didn’t connect.’ ARE YOU KIDDING ME! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PAST STEVE?!!? Because, now, after having reread it, it was one of my favorite stories in this collection. It plays upon the strengths of odd characters and a seemingly unrelated even in the driver’s past, but when Nevill brings it full circle, HOLY COW!

‘The Angels of London’ was another great one, which I really loved the first time around. ‘Call the Name’ was an excellent slab of Lovecraftian horror and ‘Hippocampus’ is one of the finest pieces of short fiction ever put to page and one of the inspiration pieces to Nevill’s ‘Wyrd and Other Derelictions,’ having stories without any ‘real’ characters.

‘Little Black Lamb’ finished this one off and wow – what can I say. It was so spellbinding and essentially a fully developed folklore story without any outward or obvious folklore moments.

What I didn’t like: I’d say that the opener almost feels out of place now, after reading the stories that follow it. It’s a fun story for sure, but just didn’t deliver the same Nevill-ness that I’ve grown to absolutely love. For completionism sake I’m happy it was there, but the atmosphere was far off from the others.

Why you should buy this: If you’re a fan of Nevill then this one will most likely already be on your shelves or on your Kindle. If you’ve not read any of his long reads yet, this is a fantastic place to start and see just what you’re in for. Another amazing release from a living legend.


3Q’s – Sam Richard just wants to sleep!

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Much like the 3Q’s I did with Michael Kelly of Undertow Publications, today, I welcome Sam Richard who many of you will know as the driving force behind Weird Punk Books. Weird Punk continues to put out fantastic releases, and Sam himself is no slouch, being an acclaimed author. I’m a huge fan of Sam’s work and so very happy to welcome him here, on what is the final 3Q’s of 2022!

sam and nero

Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?
Sam: I’m one of those people who has no consistent writing schedule. It’s honestly kind of frustrating, but I can’t sit at my computer and be productive if I have nothing in the tank, so I wait for ideas to gestate a little and then spend time working through and writing them. I tend to write best at night, roughly from 10PM – 2AM, but that’s also its own kind of exhausting, so I just sit down when I have the idea and the time. No real word count goal, though I do love to hit at least 1k at a time. Sometimes that doesn’t happen and other times I can crank out a whole 5k story in that one sitting. It wildly varies from project to project. I’ve just made peace with my process being all over the place.

Steve: You end up at an estate sale and discover an unpublished manuscript from an author you love. Do you keep it just for yourself or do you share it with the world?
Sam: This is a really weird/hard question as a publisher, not just as a writer, as I have the publishing background to make that happen, but obviously there are legalities and a whole web to untangle. If this hypothetical includes that I could do this, the person who controls the author’s estate would be ok with it, and we’d worked out the finer details, I absolutely would. Provided I like the project.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!
Sam: Latest release of mine is the reprint of my Wonderland Award-Winning Collection To Wallow in Ash & Other Sorrows. It’s available on the Weirdpunk website, plus everywhere else you can get books. I also have my follow up collection coming out very soon. Still figuring out the title and cover, but it should be out late October if everything goes according to plan.

Steve: Bonus Question! You wake up in a comic book. What is your comic book character and what is your superpower?
Sam: If I woke up in a comic book, my only hope is that it would be something that Vertigo would have published in the 90s. I’d be perfectly at home there. And if that was the case, my character name wouldn’t be a traditional super-hero name. Maybe something re-imagined from a long forgotten classic era comic. A name like Joe Ghoulie or some shit. Yeah, Joe Ghoulie. My power would be freezing time. Specifically freezing time so I could sleep as much as I want and still get things done. But I’d probably use that power to rob billionaires, too.

Ha! That’s awesome! You should use Joe Ghoulie as a pseudonym! Thank you again, Sam!

To find more of his work, check the links!




Book Review: The Hides by Kealan Patrick Burke


Title: The Hides (The Timmy Quinn Series: Book 2)

Author: Kealan Patrick Burke

Release date: May 1st, 2005

As a reminder – I’m reading each of these as part of the collected Timmy Quinn omnibus – Stage Whispers. This is the second novella. To find my review of the first, click here;

Book two. The sequel. Always a worrying time, right? Can the author do the first justice? Will we still feel the same about the main character and his plight?

There’s very few authors out there who you know you don’t need to worry about handling the lofty weight and heavy goals of a sequel and one of them is Kealan Patrick Burke.

Book two is a different beast than book one. Where the first introduces the ‘curse’ Timmy Quinn now endures and carries with him, book two furthers how it has effected his existence, his family and Timmy himself. ‘The Hides’ is also a literal and figurative return home for Kealan, as described in the afterword. It has parts that felt almost lifted (in a good way) from his debut ‘The Master of the Moors,’ but as he mentions, this is set in the small town in Ireland where he grew up and the reader can absolutely feel that with the whimsical and realistic way spots are described.

What I liked: ‘The Hides’ opens with Timmy and family dealing with life after the events from book one. Things are different now. Everyone expects Timmy to bring back the dead and heal their hurting hearts. As his parents marriage crumbles, Timmy follows his father as he heads to Ireland for a new job and return to where he grew up.

Patrick Burke does such a phenomenal job of showcasing characters emotions and often it’s done with simple, minimal phrasing. I feel like if an editor suggested he add in some purple prose he’d react with anger and would spit in their direction. His writing is concise, purposeful and always at a level that makes other writers question what in the hell they think they are doing with their own work.

Unfortunately, this is a Timmy Quinn story, so as soon as boots are on the ground, he begins to sense something and when we find out the horrible truth of his families history there, as well as the real reason for his grandma being so insistent on him joining his father, the reader is left feeling anger and sorrow for Timmy. Sadly, it’s an all-too real occurrence in day to day life, where family members feel they can use their family members to better them, even at the detriment to those they say they love.

The beast that Kealan introduces here is fantastic and one that makes you wonder if anybody will even survive the ending. It works really well to showcase the internal battle Timmy is facing – save himself or save his family – and Kealan doesn’t flinch when deciding for us.

What I didn’t like: So, when I finished this last night, I had to let it stew for a minute. At first I was slightly disappointed in that this went so far away from what I hoped to learn from book one. But, then I shifted my focus and understood that this is a continuation of Timmy’s life, not a straight follow up on the events that happened in book one, which we all too often get with series. If you’re looking for simply more about The Turtle Boy, you’ll be bummed to not find any of that.

Additionally, while the monster was amazing, I do wish we got a bit more of it. A longer battle maybe. Saying that, it does work really well and it didn’t feel like a book where we have 500 pages of hardship to only have the hero kill the big bad guy in a paragraph.

Why you should buy this: Frequently, I see people say they refuse to start a series as they’re afraid it’ll never be finished. Well, no worries here, all five books are done and dusted. Book two is a phenomenal follow up to book one and, Kealan has done a great job of moving Timmy’s life along, dealing with family issues, girlfriend issues and his new reality of seeing between and beyond the veil. This one rolled along really nicely and now I can’t wait to dive into book three.


The Hides;

Stage Whispers Omnibus

3Q’s – Jon Bassoff is The ESCAPEE!

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There are very few Twitter accounts that make me laugh harder than today’s 3Q’s Guest. Jon Bassoff tweets some truly hilarious takes. Not only that – he’s a fantastic author.

Please, do welcome Jon!


Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?
Jon: Man, there is nothing I would like better to have some cool writing routine. You know, wake up at 8:30, do the New York Times crossword over a cup of steaming coffee. Then take a stroll in the autumnal woods, feeling refreshed for three hours of quiet writing in my study. But damn if life isn’t a bit more complicated. I work full time and have a family which is real burden on my writing life (and my social life). So, honestly, my writing routine is just to write whenever I can. Sometimes that means late at night. Sometimes that means at work when I should be grading my students’ papers. Sometimes that means over the weekend. I will say that we have more time than we think we do. I’ve managed to have nine novels published without a routine. But I am disciplined to write instead of napping or sitting in front of the television (most of the time).

Steve: You end up at an estate sale and discover an unpublished manuscript from an author you love. Do you keep it just for yourself or do you share it with the world?
Jon: First, I go on the black market and try to sell it because I have no scruples. But, no, I would probably share it with the world. I still get to read it, right? Might as well have other people read it as well so we can discuss. After all, one of my favorite hobbies is reading bad reviews of great books. I love riling myself up!

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!
Jon: My latest novel is called Beneath Cruel Waters. It was called “poignant and haunting” by New York Magazine, and I only had to pay them a cool $250,000 to say that. If you like twisty, suspenseful novels this might be for you. The basic premise: this man, Holt Davidson, returns to his hometown after the death of his mother. As he’s searching through his childhood house, he finds a gun, a love letter, and a photo of a dead man. He becomes convinced that his mother killed this man and wants to figure out why.

Steve: Bonus Question! You wake up in a comic book. What is your comic book character and what is your superpower?
Jon: My special power would be to duplicate myself. You know, have a copy of myself go to work, socialize at boring parties, while the real me gets to write and watch bad horror movies all day. I need a name for this superhero. Maybe Mr. Escapee?

Excellent superpower!

Thank you so much Jon!

To find more of his work, check the links!




3Q’s – Caitlin Marceau Talks Things Out!

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Today’s guest is a blast! Caitlin Marceau is a fellow Canuck writer and all around awesome person! She’s super supportive, writes fantastic fiction and is here to have a laugh today!

Please, do welcome Caitlin!


Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?

CM: I always love answering this question because my writing process is constantly evolving and changing the further into my career I get. Which is funny, because you’d think that by now, I’d have an idea of what works and what doesn’t, but I’m always trying to refine the process and work smarter.

Right now, my writing takes place twice a day. I get up early in the morning, go for a walk and do some yoga to get the blood flowing, and then get right into it. I’ll usually do some free writing for half an hour to get all the garbage out of my system (which is a bit of a misnomer since it’s not bad, it’s just notes and ideas that I need to get out of the way), before working on whatever project I’m focused on for the next hour. After I’m done with my day job, I’ll usually write for another hour or two, depending on my schedule for that evening.

As for my word count, I stopped focusing on that a little while ago. I found that I’d get so focused on hitting a number that I’d honestly be distracted by it. I’d check my count every few minutes, I’d feel discouraged if I hadn’t written as much as I thought I had… I don’t know, it was a mess. So I now try and focus on how much time I’m putting in. It helps me focus on quality, not quantity, and it makes scheduling work a lot easier for me.

Steve: You decide to host a writer’s retreat. One weekend in a luxury house on an island. What three other authors do you invite to come along?

CM: Easy. I clone myself and bring three additional Caitlins to the island so that I can get sh*t done faster. NEXT!

No, but in all seriousness, I have no idea. I actually hate writing around other people because it stresses me out, which is hilarious since I love collaborating. I guess if I had to choose, I’d go with Kyra R. Torres, Damien Casey, and C. J. Sampera. Not only are they all incredibly talented writers and exceptionally kind people, but I’m pretty sure I’d be able to distract them long enough to turn the writing retreat into a massive party. I’m a horrible influence, I know.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!

CM: My newest book is called Femina: A Collection Of Dark Fiction, and it’s all about the horror of being a woman. By that, I mean it’s a look at experiences that most women have had in their lives or issues that impact women daily, through the lens of speculative fiction. It examines things like motherhood, body autonomy, consent, everyday sexism, etc., and uses horror to amplify the terror of some already upsetting issues. I think this book is a great way to highlight the experiences of women, while also (hopefully) giving people who have experienced some of these situations a sense of catharsis. (At the very least, it was a wonderfully therapeutic experience for me to write this book.) Additionally, a portion of the profits from this book are also going to charity, so if getting my newest collection wasn’t motivation enough to buy this book, then hopefully knowing it does some good is!

Steve: Bonus Question! You receive an invitation in the mail from one of these two people. The invitation invites you to have dinner and spend the night in their home. Do you accept the invitation from Victor Frankenstein or Dracula and why?

CM: Oh, Dracula. No contest. I think with Victor Frankenstein, you run a really high risk of getting cut up and sewn to a stack of corpses in the hope that he’ll be able to make you into an undead bride for his creation. And if not that, then at the very least he’ll try to kill you and reanimate your body, and I am aggressively not down for that.

On the other hand, let’s be honest, Dracula’s pretty hot and we all know he f*cks. So maybe, if I’m super lucky, he’ll make me a bride or a lover or a vampire. If I’m unlucky, then he drains me and it’s still better than getting sewn to five other people. So, Dracula all the way.


Excellent choice and yes, I think we all know that Dracula has an insatiable lust for carnal pleasures!

Thank you so much, Caitlin!

To find more of her work, check the links!




Book Review: No One Gets Out Alive by Adam Nevill


Title: No One Gets Out Alive

Author: Adam Nevill

Release date: October 23rd, 2014

Over the last five years or so, Adam Nevill has been a constant in my reading world. Now, I know that’s odd – me being a massive horror reader and such – but after joining Kendall Reviews, Gavin was telling me almost daily that I needed to reach Nevill. At first I was hesitant. What if I didn’t like his work? I wouldn’t want to sadden Gavin. And oddly, I had watched and loved ‘The Ritual’ movie. And yes, blah blah, I know the movie and the book were different blah blah. I loved the movie, LOVED the book (yes, even the ending good grief), but I just hadn’t dove into his work. So, slowly, I began to fix that and I have to say, Nevill is absolutely the closest thing to my favorite author not named Andrew Pyper.

‘No One Gets Out Alive’ was released back in 2014, but was recently adapted into a feature Netflix movie. I haven’t watched that yet, I will at some point, but the reality of my life is, I have far more time to read than I do to watch scary movies with a young kid. He can’t see what I’m reading on my Kindle, which makes it far more kid-friendly when he’s around.

I’d have to take a look, but this is for sure my third Nevill read in 2022, having previously read Lost Girl (phenomenal) and The Vessel (good, and I’ll get to why I found it good not great in a minute – sorry Adam!) and now this one. I might’ve read another novel, but I can’t recall off the top of my head, and immediately after finishing this one, I searched my Kindle to see what I had left of his to read that I haven’t read yet and decided to start ‘Hasty for the Dark.’

With ‘No One Gets Out Alive’ I knew I was in for a roller coaster. I knew this would be a haunted house book like no other and having had the bejesus scared out of me with his descriptions in Last Days in an abandoned apartment complex, I was slightly nervous going in.

What I liked: The story begins simple enough. Stephanie has recently fled her abusive and alcoholic step-mom. She’s broken up with her boyfriend, Ryan, and now has rented a room in a decrepit house so that she can start work with a temp agency in the hopes of getting her life on track. But from the get-go, we can see the house isn’t right, the ‘owner,’ Knacker isn’t right and with the opening chapter we get a supernatural presence introducing itself and letting its weight settle on the end of her bed in the dark.

I can’t accurately and efficiently describe how dark and grimy this book is. I tweeted about it – saying that at the half way point 90% of the book was creating a palpable dread that leaked from my Kindle and pulled the shadows in the corner of the room closer. No matter how hard Stephanie tries to get out and flee this house, she’s unable. Either due to finances, Knacker’s manipulation or the very real fact that whatever is holding this house hostage now has its hooks into her as well.

Nevill never lets up, which is a mind-boggling thing to process when you consider this book is almost 650 pages long. But much like how Stephen King commands the reader to follow through his door stoppers, Nevill does the same and at no point was I wondering when this book would be over or wishing that things would pick up. There’s not a single moment of ‘slowness’ in here and I think part of that is the fact that all but I think three chapters were quick and snappy. The book rampages along and with so many gasp-creating chapter ending cliff hangers, you are compelled to flip the page and continue on.

Now, I will say, Nevill is a crafty SOB (I can say that here because I’m still banned from reviewing on Amazon so this won’t get flagged lol!) in that he has a during and after portion. It’s frankly a genius move. Far too often the book ends where the main aspect ends and we don’t get to see the after. Not so here. Nevill continues the story, focusing now on how Stephanie is coping and dealing with the very real events of her being imprisoned and abused, as well as the potentially ‘not-real’ events that occurred. Did they actually happen? Did she have an emotion and mental breakdown over the atrocities she experienced?

It’s a fantastic aspect and it works really well, especially when we see the true horrors of this entity and learn about it in the classic Nevill-folklore manner.

What I didn’t like: I think some people may be put off by the length. I get it. The novella and short novel has really exploded in popularity over the last few years (and I’m no better, look at my own body of work to see I’m sat firmly in those two page count worlds), but after having recently read Nevill’s ‘The Vessel,’ the thing that kept me from considering that one great and only good (again, sorry Adam!) was that it felt a bit like there was so much more that could’ve been added in or filled in. It was like a black and white photo missing the color. So, when comparing The Vessel to No One Gets Out Alive, I see now what I love whole-heartedly about Nevill’s long novels. They say the devil’s in the details and Adam demonstrates that in spades here. So, don’t let the length stop you from diving in.

Why you should buy this: This book is a modern classic. From start to finish, you know you’re in the capable hands of a master and the fact that Nevill has no problem writing beautiful passages before creating some of the bleakest, most brutal moments should be enough to entice every horror reader. The fact that we get new releases from him on an almost annual schedule now means that he’s found his working stride and we should all be grinning from ear to ear because of that.

‘No One Gets Out Alive’ should be the standard that all haunted house novels have to hold themselves up to in comparison. Truly, it’s just that good. This novel is almost 650 pages of gut-churning, anxiety-creating, turn-the-lights-on-now horror and it showcases just why Nevill is considered one of the best horror authors of all time, living or deceased.

I can’t recommend this one enough and I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to read it.


3Q’s Special – Andrew F. Sullivan – almost Hellboy!


Laugh all you want at my Andrew Pyper fandom – but the number of authors my love of his work has connected me with is incredibly impressive. Case in point – today’s 3Q’s Special Guest. Andrew F. Sullivan and I connected recently, but it was his friendship with Andrew that drew him to reach out to me regarding his next release. 

Andrew is a super nice guy, with a phenomenal novel coming soon (and one with Nick Cutter on the way as well!) and I’m super happy to have him drop by today!

Welcome Andrew!


Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?

AS: I work full time at my day job, so writing often happens on weekends or in the evenings. Long weekends also provide big opportunities. It’s mainly possible because I don’t have kids and my wife is also a writer, so she understands what it means to be deep in a draft and needing to push through at the end, even if that requires staying inside on a beautiful Sunday. It only gets really bleak when we’re both in editing mode, and the dog is the one who gets us out of the house.

If I’m on a big project like a novel, it’s usually five days a week, shooting for about 1000 words a day, but if I don’t hit that, it’s not the end of the world. 500 might be the minimum for it to not be a waste of time. There’s also fallow periods between edits, where I’m not working on anything, but reading, watching, and listening. Absorbing new information and taking time to think about what I want to do next. Then its back to the grind. Giving yourself days off is important, if only to reaffirm that there are days when you need to be on the job again, hitting the keys and making more books happen.


Steve: You end up at an estate sale and discover an unpublished manuscript from an author you love. Do you keep it just for yourself or do you share it with the world?

AS: You share it or you burn it. Maybe burn it if it’s terrible. Some of my favourite writers have awful books out there, and I miss that possibility. I think traditional publishing used to be a lot more forgiving of its midlist authors, letting them fail a couple of times at least before they got the axe. Now its entirely feast or famine, but maybe that was a just brief window of time when writing still had some esteem attached to it. Its irrational to assume every writer is going to write a classic every time. Failure is part of the process, integral to the whole operation. And I am burning it if it’s unsalvageable.


Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!

AS: My new novel The Marigold will be out in April 2023. It’s a story about a city decaying from within, feeding off itself, crushed by am unquenchable thirst for growth and the tech corporations desperate to control its bubbling streets. There is a sentient mold in your walls, telling you to join it. It’s hard to say no. If you’re a fan of J.G. Ballard and David Cronenberg, you’ll probably get something out of it.


Steve: Bonus Question! You wake up in a comic book. What is your comic book character and what is your superpower?

AS: By the wise and kind benevolence of Mike Mignola, I awake as Hellboy without the trimmed horns but clad in his dilapidated trench coat and armed with the Good Samaritan, a revolver cast from a church bell. I am a being of the pit, one with a right hand of doom and cloven feet who strides the earth unbothered. My powers are only limited by the planes of existence, my hand the key to unlocking the end of the world. That all sounds very fun to me.


Fantastic choice!

Thanks so much for doing this, Andrew!

To find more of his work – check the links!




3Q’s – Brian Moreland needs Blood Sacrifices!

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I always love when horror veterans agree to do 3Q’s. It’s not so much that people don’t know about their work, but it’s interesting to see who their influences are and how they go about crafting their stories.

Today’s guest is a tried and true horror vet.

Brian Moreland has been creating dark fiction for decades and continues to push his readers with each and every release!

Please, do welcome Brian!

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Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?
Brian: My writing schedule varies depending on how busy I am with working on client projects or when my family life gets busy. I’m not a full-time novelist yet. I do my best to write a few hours every morning. I’m most creative after I’ve just woken up, especially at 5:00 or 6:00 am. I love drinking coffee and getting into a writing groove. On days when I can focus solely on my novel or short story, I’ll write from six to eight hours. I used to measure daily word count and found that to be a great motivator to write new fiction. When I’m revising chapters over multiple drafts, I bounce around different parts of the book, so I don’t track word count.

Steve: You decide to host a writer’s retreat. One weekend in a luxury house on an island. What three other authors do you invite to come along?
Brian: I would invite the authors who influenced me most and whom I’d love to meet and learn from in person: Stephen King, Clive Barker and Robert McCammon. All three are master storytellers.

Steve: Tell me about your newest release (novel/story/poem/novella) and why someone should read it!
Brian: I most recently re-released a collection called BLOOD SACRFICES: Three Horror Novellas. There’s a lot of horror fun and mayhem packed into this book. It kicks off with a bonus short story “The Girl from the Blood Coven.” This sets up a haunted house novella called The Witching House. Urban explorers search an old house in Texas where a coven of witches had been massacred back in the 1970s. Next is The Seekers, a modern Lovecraftian tale set in Boston. A journalist finds himself in a nightmare, when he discovers a strange cult of homeless people living in the subways and city ruins, worshipping a strange form of gods. The last novella, Darkness Rising, is a blend of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Lovecraft and my love of slasher movies. When often-bullied poet Marty Weaver crosses paths with three serial killers who produce snuff films, a violent encounter unleashes Marty’s dark side and a twisted story that’s a roller-coaster thrill-ride.

Steve: Bonus Question! You receive an invitation in the mail from one of these two people. The invitation invites you to have dinner and spend the night in their home. Do you accept the invitation from Victor Frankenstein or Dracula and why?

Brian: I’d choose Dracula. He’s cultured and centuries old. The conversation would be much more interesting. I’d love to explore Dracula’s castle. I love vampires and their stories. Dinner with Dracula would be entertaining, although the risk of surviving such a night would be much higher than hanging out with Frankenstein.


Excellent choice!

Thank you so much, Brian!

To find more of his work, check the links!




Book Review: A Bleak Remedy by D.S. LaLonde


Title: A Bleak Remedy (Savage Panacea #1)

Author: D.S. LaLonde

Release date: November 17th, 2022

Recently, D.S. LaLonde reached out to me to see if I’d be keen to check out their debut novel.

I gotta admit – I was super intrigued about this one, BUT, that page count was daunting. I don’t mind chonky books. Those 500+ page door stops. You know you’ll either be getting a thoroughly told story that takes its time to unfold and review its secrets, or you’ll be getting a story filled to the brim with action, plot and tons of characters.

Knowing that I was near the end of the year and had a ‘break’ between pending release date ARC’s, I popped this to the top of my Kindle and got reading. Funny enough, I had also started Adam Nevill’s ‘No One Gets Out Alive,’ which is over 600 pages as well. This is probably the first time in at least five years that I’ve had multiple 600+ page books on the go at the same time.

What I liked: This one opens with an incredibly fantastic prologue that grabs the reader right away and sets up the rest of the novel. We are introduced to a rich older man, on vacation in remote South America, when his wife is attacked by a crazy creature. LaLonde has given us the arrival of the creature previously, which humanizes it to a degree, but it’s not until the after effects of the prologue do we both have to deal with the ethical considerations of what this creatures offers.

LaLonde then switches gears and brings us to a research facility. We get more characters, more ‘what’s’ going on surrounding this vampire-like creature and more depth regarding its possibilities. Once again, we switch gears and leave the facility and begin to learn more about these creatures but also head to a wooded location.

It’s a great shift, because there is only so much space to play within a facility setting.

The character depth definitely adds to this one, as with a larger page count they’re able to fully develop and become family to the reader.

The ending is dark, chaotic, but as this is book one in the series, it also gives us a suggestion of where the series would be going next.

What I didn’t like: I can see the page count on this being a potential detriment or a discouragement to readers. I’d say, push that away. There’s a lot of story in here and LaLonde does a great job of controlling it and keeping all of the stories ducks in a row.

Why you should buy this: This is a really well done, fully imagined take on the vampire lore. It gives us a unique opening that works well to push away from a lot of the common trope pitfalls vampire fiction can have. We get engaged characters, room for the story to breathe and vicious, brutal moments that will keep your feet tucked in and the lights on.