Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Kevin Lucia.
Kevin Lucia recently served as a Submissions Reader for Cemetery Dance Magazine, and his podcast "Horror 101" is featured monthly on Tales to Terrify. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies.
He’s currently finishing his Creative Writing Masters Degree at Binghamton University, he teaches high school English and lives in Castle Creek, New York with his wife and children.
He is the author of Hiram Grange & The Chosen One, Book Four of The Hiram Grange Chronicles. His first short story collection, Things Slip Through was published November 2013. He’s currently working on his first novel.
The official release date for Kevin Lucia’s Devourer of Souls is June 30th, 2014.
Click here to visit the author’s official website.
GUEST POST: Five Horror Authors You Should Right Now by Kevin Lucia
Hello. My name is Kevin Lucia. I'm a guest on Rising Shadows today as part of Ragnarok Publication's release of my new book, Devourer of Souls. So, I should probably talk about that, shouldn't I? Maybe I'll save that for the end. Instead, let's talk about other authors and their books. I'm a high school English teacher, and I was an insatiable reader long before I became a writer, so I have just as much passion for reading as I do writing.
“If you don't have time to read, then you don't have the time – or the tools – to write.” - Stephen King, On Writing
If you're any kind of writer, reading widely is so very important. If you're a genre writer, reading widely within your genre is doubly important. Every genre is full of tropes, and it's important for emerging writers to harness these tropes in their own way, developing their own, unique voice. That's not to say that as a writer, we shouldn't read what we enjoy. Hey, I'm a reader, first. Always have been. But I don't feel I really started developing as a writer until I varied my reading selections. Broadening my horizons also helped me wean out ideas that I'd thought unique, but had actually been done before.
Who am I to tell you all this? Certainly no great voice in the genre. I've experienced a certain measure of success, but not enough to make any of what I say gospel, by any means. In the end, I'm just a guy who loves reading maybe even more than writing, and that's about it. So, without further ado, let's look at five “must-reads” of the genre.
If you've ever despaired over writing horror because blood'n guts and graphic sex (the old Blood and Boobs formula) just wasn't for you, then you desperately need a dose of Charles Grant's brand of “quiet horror.” Charles built tension and suspense better than anyone, his prose is a delight to read, and so often the “horror” in his work comes from human frailties and emotion. A master in his field even years after his passing, Charles wrote like no one else, and his Oxrun Station novels (highly recommended) had a huge impact on me as a writer. Fortunately, much of his work has been reprinted in digital formats through NECON EBOOKS and CROSSROADS DIGITAL.
Another master of the quiet, eerie horror tale is Ramsey Campbell. Named “England's greatest living horror writer” by the Oxford English Dictionary, Ramsey continues to put out some of the best work in the genre. While sharing Grant's quiet sensibilities, Ramsey's tales also invoke a surreal disorientation that leaves you questioning reality itself. His prose is also finely tuned, and his characters often disturbingly human.
T. M. Wright changed the way I thought about ghost stories. While a practitioner of quiet horror like Grant and Campbell, Wright often focuses on the afterlife, ghosts, and the thin line separating the worlds of the living and the dead. His prose is top notch also. Luckily, most of Wright's out of print novels have also found new life in digital format.
Easily the most contemporary writer of these five, I include Norman primarily for his incredibly diverse work. He lives comfortably in a crime/noir/horror/supernatural world, and his voice is powerful and unique. Dark Harvest is one of the best, most original Halloween novels I've ever read, and his collection Lesser Demons one of my favorite short fiction collections. His prose hits like precise jabs, and he knows how to move a story along.
Al has written westerns, weird westerns, science fiction, thrillers and horror. I'm mostly familiar with his horror. His Orangefield Halloween series is one of the best I've read, channeling Ray Bradbury with a darker, sharper edge. His short fiction collection, Toybox, is also another favorite. His stories are incredibly diverse, and they never fail to entertain.
Additionally, I highly recommend you hunt up copies of the Whispers and Shadows anthologies on Amazon. These collections offer some of the finest genre short stories I've ever read. Also valuable – but harder to find – is the Masques series. Also a fine series was Karl Edward Wagner's run as editor of The Year's Best Horror. Luckily, the fine Borderlands anthology series has received new life in digital format.
Finally? Stephen King's Short Fiction. For years, even as a rabid devotee of his novels, I never delved into his short fiction, despite everyone telling me some his best work lay there. After taking their advice years later, I completely agree. Nightshift, Skeleton Crew, and Nightmares & Dreamscapes stand as some of the best horror fiction I've ever read.
Should I say something about my work, now? Okay. My newest book, Devourer of Souls, is being published by Ragnarok Publishing. It contains two linked novellas, Sophan and The Man in Yellow. Both take place in or near my fictional haunted Adirondack town, Clifton Heights, which was introduced in my short fiction collection, Things Slip Through, published by Crystal Lake in November, 2013. Both stories are weird and strange, I hope entertaining and, at the root, about people. I hope you'll check it out, and if you do, hope you enjoy.