Tag Archives: The Sorrows Jonathan Janz reviews

Our Fabulous Fantastic Trip to the Samhain Horror Hang-out at HorrorHound Cincinnati Convention!

This Friday, Tim and I drove three hours to Cincinnati for FearNet.com’s HorrorHound Magazine Convention to see some of our favorite author friends who were there signing books with their publisher Samhain Publishing/Horror.

For those of you not familiar with HorrorHound, it’s primarily a horror film festival that’s gravitated from a film focus into so much more. It’s a weekend long event with big film and television draws such as this year’s Walking Dead cast, director John Carpenter (Halloween, Christine), Robert Patrick (Terminator 2, X-Files), the real 1958 Plymouth Fury that starred as the car Christine (Stephen King), and the list goes on (check out www.horrorhoundweekend.com). Vendors, music, and even a Zombie ball entertained people during the event; many stand in line for hours to pay for photos with their favorite TV stars like Norman Reedus.

It was such a draw in fact that they had unforeseen numbers for their opening day of Friday. Thousands lined-up to get in a get a glimpse at some of their favorites. We waited in line for over three hours, but oh, it was worth it!!  Thank goodness there was a little sun, as just a few days later we’ve had a snow blizzard!

Here’s a cool Instagram (follow me…Erin Al-Mehairi) that I took, with a view of a case with all Christine book covers that have been created over the years…..

Christine

Samhain Publishing , an established romance publisher, launched its Horror line of books several years ago and is now a major sponsor. With that, some of my favorite dark fiction and horror writers and directors came in for the weekend to sign their items at the Samhain Horror booth.

Those amazing authors who were there on Friday were Brian Moreland, Jonathan Janz, and Kristopher Rufty. David Searls, also from near Cleveland, Ohio like us, was there on Saturday afternoon. In this post, I’d like to highlight each of them, some of whom have new releases coming up. Then, I’ll note some deals and dates you might be interested in as we wrap-up the post! Read to the end and get a coupon for a free book!

And here’s a photo of me and the guys (L-R: Jonathan Janz, Brian Moreland, me, Kristopher Rufty)… of course I keep look toward JJ and laughing……

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We had a blast hanging out and talking with them on Friday night. People who don’t always read horror may generalize or stereo-type that word sometimes, but these guys are not only amazing people who are very kind, they are great spinners of their craft…writing the tales we sometimes see in our heads and creating entertainment for the dark recesses of our minds that give us break from all our worldly stress.

Brian, Jonathan, and Krist have been extremely important inspirations to me as a person, a writer, a journalist, and as an aspiring author. All with varying personalities, they’ve shown me support and/or given advice that is priceless to me. And they’ve made me love to read horror!!

We also had a great time meeting Meli Hooker, who writes for Dreadful Tales! What an amazing mind in a tiny little body! Meli is super fun and seemed to take in everything as a newbie to her first horror con. 🙂

So a little about these authors, their books, and upcoming releases….

Brian Moreland is the author of Shadows in the Mist and Dead of Winter. I’ve known Brian for a few years now, ever since Samhain opened its horror line.  Though we’ve talked numberous times, it was great to see him in person and he’s just as friendly and endearing in the flesh.  Brian writes for the screen, so with his books you find a cinematography you might not expect that is extremely gratifying.  He writes very visually and you’ll feel drawn in to the story.

Stuff and HorrorHound 2013 168You can read some of my past posts with Brian on my site, such as my review of Dead of Winter by clicking HERE, which is one of my favorite books of EVER, an interview I did with Brian HERE, and a guest post about Shadows in the Mist HERE, a book which has had years of extreme success that was re-released this year from Samhain Publishing/Horror.

And here is an Instagram photo of Brian holding the artwork my two daughter’s ages 9 and 5 made for him….they tried to make him scary photos but they still included flowers of course!! LOL!

Brian with kid's pics

Coming in July and August 2013, Brian has several items publishing this summer called The Girl from the Blood Coven (July 2013 – free short story prequel) and The Witching House (August 2013 – novella).  And Brian created his own covers!!

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Then, The Devil’s Woods (novel) is coming out in December of 2013, all from Samhain Publishing’s Horror line. I hope he won’t mind me saying, but I was able to read a first version of his novel last summer and I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to publicly announce that it will be on my Top Favorites Ever list along with his other book.  He’s made some really great updates to it since then and it will be a hit for fans of Native American legends and spooky happenings in isolated forests.  Want a sneak peek at The Devil’s Woods, you can go here:  http://brianmoreland.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/excerpt-of-the-devils-woods-coming-2013-10-2/.  You can find more on Brian at his website at www.brianmoreland.com or find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Jonathan Janz is the author of The Sorrows, House of Skin, and the soon-to-be released The Darkest Lullaby (novel – coming April 2, 2013 –  I’m the new proud owner of a signed copy from HorrorHound) and Savage Species, a serial horror novel first for Samhain Publishing that’s coming June 4 and hitting every couple of weeks until end of July, 2013!  You can pre-order to download the first installment right now, for FREE by going to:  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/night-terrors-p-7384.html.

He’ll also have Dirt Devil (a vampire western!!) coming out in February 2014 from Samhain.  You can read my review of The Sorrows HERE and our interview HERE. I LOVED the fun time I had reading The Sorrows, it’s superb!!

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I’ve gotten to know Jonathan well over the past year, after he launched The Sorrows and I was one of the first to interview him. It was wonderful to meet him in person as his energy and aura are certainly contagious.  His writing style is completely nothing like his real life persona. He’s bubbly and sweet, but his writing is tough, dirty, intelligent, and emotional.

Me and Craig

This weekend at a separate location, Jonathan was recognized with House of Skin as the First Runner-Up in the Darrell Awards, which is a panel in the Mid-South that recognizes authors, or authors with characters from their region, that they feel are the best published in science fiction, fantasy and horror!

You can keep up to date with Jonathan about his life, his writing, and his upcoming books by following his blog at http://www.jonathanjanz.com  and you can see his latest post where he talks about his award, HorrorHound, and yours truly in fact (beaming!) here:  http://jonathanjanz.com/2013/03/24/house-of-skin-named-runner-up-at-darrell-awardshorrorhound-cincinnati-updates-galore/. Jonathan is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Kristopher Rufty is the writer/director of the movies Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood, and also the author of Angel Board (novel), The Night Everything Changed (novella), The Lurkers (novel and The Night Everything Changed is a prequel to it), A Dark Autumn (novella), and coming in August 2013, Oak Hollow (novel which I scored a signed print copy of at HorrorHound!!).

I have a review of A Dark Autumn HERE, which is a novella you’ll want to read this year for its visceral content. I dare you NOT to be moved by this piece of work.  I also loved his novella The Night Everything Changed (which you can download FREE now here:  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/night-everything-changed-p-6931.html ) and the first chapter of The Lurkers, which I plan to read in whole soon.

Stuff and HorrorHound 2013 175I’ve just gotten to know Krist this year through the other Samhain authors, but I was immediately impressed. His quiet demeanor is not an indication of his writing, which is far from mild.  It’s extremely raw, intense, and in-your-face. I can see why he has such increasing popularity and is already a horror icon. I was so happy to get to meet Krist in person. He’s really a kind and gentle person who pours his heart feverishly into his writing.

OakHollow

You can follow along with Krist at his Last Krist on the Left blog:  http://lastkristontheleft.blogspot.com/ and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Urge him to tweet or drop him a line. He’s been a mad-man writing machine for months and he has not only a bunch of books already published but quite a few upcoming! Samhain quickly publishes many manuscripts so they are fresh and you can still feel the authors sweat on the page….ok, not literally.

We didn’t get to see author David Searls, who signed books at the Samhain booth on Saturday. However, I want to mention David as he’s from near the Cleveland, Ohio area where we are also from. Tim, in fact, used to work with David and we are happy to support his authorship pursuits! He’s written hundreds of magazine articles, columns and essays, with a byline that has been carried by People Weekly, The Cleveland Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine, USAToday.com, Cleveland Magazine, and many more.

He’s written and published three books, including the horror novel Yellow Moon, which was first released by Warner Books and will be re-released by Samhain Publishing/Horror on June 4, 2013 with an AWESOME new cover.

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In 2012, two of his horror novels, Bloodthirst in Babylon and Malevolent, were published by Samhain Horror. I’ll be happy to review these novels as I hear he’s a superb writer, especially in the vampire genre. I also am intrigued by his books having Ohio locales….or maybe since I live in Ohio, that should scare me a little more….

Samhain Publishing did a great job highlighting their authors and had some fun bloody needle pens to giveaway that my daughter just loves using (haha!), red mechanical pencils (I am in love with mine) and of course, having various other titles for sale. They have some great writers on board like one of my favorites, Ronald Malfi, as well as Hunter Shea, Frazier Lee, Bryan Smith, David Bernstein, Damien Walters Grintalis (who is pictured as being at the event but was unable to make it) and many more.

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You can find all kinds of book, including horror titles and those aforementioned fabulous authors, at www.samhainpublishing.com or www.samhainhorror.com.  Thank you, Samhain, for letting me report on the event and your fabulous authors!

Happy Reading!

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The Sorrows, by Jonathan Janz, Uses Elements of Storytelling at their Finest!

Old-fashioned storytelling. Fast paced plot. Well-developed characters. Awesome elements of horror. The Sorrows from Jonathan Janz delivers it all! Read on for exciting information and review of this book!

I read Janz’s novel, The Sorrows (his debut with Samhain Publishing’s new horror line), a few months ago and it’s been percolating for review for enough days that I just had to complete it before it crept anymore inside my head and made me go mad. That’s right, this book hooked me and I am not about to find the time to go to the insane asylum anytime soon so I’ll need to let the beast onto the page and hope it doesn’t rip it to shreds! Ok, it’s typed on a screen, I know. So how about I just tell you how great this book was instead and subdue the monster.

First, the book teaser for The Sorrows:

The Sorrows, an island off the coast of California, and its castle have been uninhabited since a series of gruesome, unexplained murders in 1925. But its owner allows film composers Ben and Eddie and a couple of their friends to stay in Castle Blackwood. Eddie is certain a haunted castle is the setting Ben needs to find musical inspiration for a horror film.  But what they find is more horrific than any movie. Something is waiting for them in the castle. A being, once worshipped, now imprisoned, has been trapped for nearly a century. And he’s ready to feed.

So what did I think about The Sorrows?

First of all, don’t you love Samhain covers? It draws the reader into the book before they even open the pages.  But that isn’t all that is great about this book. 

Following in the line of some of the great horror novels I’ve read lately, this one was right on par with the newer horror novels I’ve been enjoying that are full of mystery, suspense, fantasy, superb storytelling, and of course, an element of fear. Not a former reader of Richard Laymon or Richard Matheson myself (ummmm….both named Richard?), two writers I’ve heard Janz being attributed to in writing style, I will just have to tell you my own thoughts. (And yes, please don’t judge me for not reading any other master of horror other than Stephen King. I led a very sheltered life growing up.)

Reminiscent with the storytelling of Edgar Allan Poe, with a jolt of modern-day horror flick to round out the plot, The Sorrows certainly introduced several different styles.  I did (and do) read a lot of Edgar Allan Poe and Janz integrates influential lines and references to Poe that give it the dark, eerie, calculated feel of Poe text. I loved that about this book. I really liked how he worked this fantasy story, which was about an ancient family secret, and melted it with the contemporary plot of two present day film composers being sent to the island to write  a musical score for a horror movie. (The horror movie which in fact is his next book House of Skin, coming this year).

Set the scene with an ominous castle on a fog infested island, a real jerk of a guy who likes to exploit women, another guy who is struggling with his musical muse, and two women with self-esteem and/or revenge issues and you’ve got the making of one screwed up house party.

Once they get to the island (which took a little bit of time, I suppose setting up characters and building the scene, but wish it had moved a tad faster), I am reminded of the show Harper’s Island. If you watched it, the show was killer (no pun intended) and reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, but set on an island village where each person slowly gets knocked off until we find out who is the murderer. The Sorrows reminded me then, not being a longtime horror connoisseur, of an Edgar Allan Poe tale meet Agatha Christie meet Harper’s Island, with some violence and explicit sex rolled in.  And yes, be warned of the explicit sex. There is quite a bit of it.

It did have an element of old-fashioned horror movies, like Alfred Hitchcock who I adore, but also with some cheesiness of the type many people love from those 80s horror films. In addition, there is a touch of the normal issues and disputes among people and in relationships, as well as some romance, all while they are fighting a supernatural demon who can easily fool you by seeking out your weaknesses and using them against you. And there is an interesting story behind this fearful demon that you’ll not want to miss. 

If there was much blood, I didn’t notice it because the plot propelled me forward through the story. That’s how I like my horror.  It’s the way Stephen King does it, right?  Storytelling is an art and horror should be a slow burn type of fear or dread, not just gore. But yes, there were acts that would have been bloody for sure had I been a character in the story watching it unfold before my eyes.

 The story also jumps between chapters taking on characters from generations before, and an old family dilemma at the castle, to the present day activity. This adds an element of history, secrecy, and mystery to the book. In fact, I loved this part of the book the best and its ultimate resolution.

 As you can read from what I’m saying, there was A LOT going on in this book, so you’ll read faster just to keep up. Plus you won’t want to put it down once your mid-way through because you are going to want to find out what secret this castle is keeping, whose involved, and how it ends for everyone.
 
Well done, Jonathan Janz! I like the old-fashioned horror story feel to your novel and I can’t wait to read more of what you plan to publish in the future.
 
Readers, stay tuned for an exclusive interview on my site with Jonathan Janz coming this Sunday, May 13! He answers all kinds of my probing questions. I can’t wait for you to see his deepest, darkest inner thoughts about The Sorrows, writing, horror, and much more. And he’s always hilarious, so I can’t wait for you to check it out.
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Bio of Jonathan Janz, Author
 
Jonathan Janz grew up between a dark forest and a graveyard. In a way, that explains everything. The Sorrows is his first novel, which published with Samhain Horror in late 2011 and his second, House of Skin, is set to publish with Samhain Horror this year (2012). Just this week his third book, The Darkest Lullaby, sold as well.
 
He has also written two novellas (Old Order and Witching Hour Theatre) and several short stories. His primary interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children, and though he realizes that every author’s wife and children are wonderful and amazing, in this case the cliché happens to be true.

One of Jonathan’s wishes is to someday get Stephen King, Peter Jackson, Jack Ketchum and Joe R. Lansdale together for an all-night zombie movie marathon. Of course, that can only happen if all four drop their restraining orders against him.

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