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About Todd Keisling
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TAKE OFF YOUR MASK!
Thirty years ago, a progressive rock band called The Yellow Kings began recording what would become their first and final album. Titled “The Final Reconciliation,” the album was expected to usher in a new renaissance of heavy metal, but it was shelved following a tragic concert that left all but one dead.
The sole survivor of that horrific incident was the band’s lead guitarist, Aidan Cross, who’s kept silent about the circumstances leading up to that ill-fated performance—until now.
For the first time since the tragedy, Aidan has granted an exclusive interview to finally put rumors to rest and address a question that has haunted the music industry for decades: What happened to The Yellow Kings?
The answer will terrify you.
Inspired by The King in Yellow mythos first established by Robert W. Chambers, and reminiscent of cosmic horror by H. P. Lovecraft, Laird Barron, and John Langan, comes The Final Reconciliation—a chilling tale of regret, the occult, and heavy metal by Todd Keisling.
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing - Tales from the Darkest Depths
Interview with the author:
What makes this music-themed horror novella so special?
Todd Keisling: The story offers a different take on The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers. Tales of the “Yellow Mythos” usually involve the fictitious play in written form, but this novella approaches the concept from a musical angle instead. The imagery and mystery of Carcosa’s masquerade seemed like perfect fodder for a progressive metal album, and I sought to combine the two as best I could. The result is a cosmic horror story driven by the crunching riffs and machine gun beat of a progressive metal song.
Tell us more about your main character?
Todd Keisling: Aidan Cross is a scarred, broken man who is haunted by memories of a horrible tragedy that took the lives of his friends thirty years ago. Once the lead guitarist for The Yellow Kings, Aidan has spent the last decades of his life in relative obscurity, hiding from the public and rumors of what happened the night of the band’s final performance. He and his bandmates grew up together in a small Kentucky town. They were like brothers to him, and he blames himself for their deaths.
Why should readers give this cosmic horror book a try?
Todd Keisling: It’s a dark story with a lot of heart, dealing with themes of friendship, loss, and regret, set against the backdrop of an impossible place called Carcosa. I think the book offers a unique approach to the genre, associating the mythology of The King in Yellow with music rather than the written word. It’s also the darkest thing I’ve ever written. So far, anyway.
The Final Reconciliation eBook categories:
- Horror novella
- Disturbing Suspense thrillers
- Occult Horror
- Emotional thriller
- US Horror Fiction
- Dark Fantasy Horror
- Occult Spiritualism unexplained
Learn the craft of writing from those who know it best.
This is Writers On Writing – An Author’s Guide, where your favorite authors share their secrets in the ultimate guide to becoming – and being – an author.
In this first volume you’ll find in-depth essays from authors such as Jack Ketchum, Brian Hodge, Mercedes M. Yardley, Tim Waggoner, Jasper Bark, Kevin Lucia, Monique Snyman, Todd Keisling, and Dave-Brendon de Burgh. Edited by Joe Mynhardt:
- “The Infrastructure of the Gods: 11 Signposts for Going all the Way” by Brian Hodge
- “The Writer’s Purgatory: Between Finishing the First Draft and Submitting the Manuscript” by Monique Snyman
- “Why Rejection is Still Important” by Kevin Lucia
- “Real Writers Steal Time” by Mercedes M. Yardley
- “What Right Do I Have to Write” by Jasper Bark
- “Go Pace Yourself” by Jack Ketchum
- “A Little Infusion of Magic” by Dave-Brendon de Burgh
- “Never Look Away: Confronting Your Fears in Fiction” by Todd Keisling
- “Once More With Feeling” by Tim Waggoner
Writers On Writing give young authors the guidance they need, but has advice for all authors, from the interested newbie to the seasoned veteran (sounds delicious, right?).
Are you ready to be called an author?
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing - Tales from The Darkest Depths
Interview with the Authors:
So what makes Writers on Writing so special?
Todd Keisling: Writers On Writing is unique in that it provides a collection of essays from both newcomers and established professionals, providing a wide range of perspectives on the art and craft of writing.
Tell us more about you essay in Writers on Writing.
Todd Keisling: My essay “Never Look Away: Confront Your Fears in Fiction” is an anecdotal look at an important lesson I learned early on in my writing career: That you shouldn’t look away from your subject matter, no matter how disturbing it is to you. Looking away does a disservice to your story, and by proxy, your reader.
Why should authors read Writers on Writing?
Jack Ketchum: It's rich in the variety of subjects discussed, written by people who know whereof they speak.
Todd Keisling: There are decades of experience contained within the book’s pages, covering multiple genres. I can’t think of a more diverse collection for the established—or aspiring—writing professional.
Do you have other non-fiction books authors should try out?
Jack Ketchum: Stephen King's ON WRITING and DANSE MACABRE. William Goldman's ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. Syd Field's SCREENPLAY.
Nightmares come to life in this comprehensive how-to guide for new and established authors…
Book two in Crystal Lake Publishing’s The Dream Weaver series picks up where the Bram Stoker Award-nominated Where Nightmares Come From: The Art Of Storytelling In The Horror Genre left off.
It’s Alive: Bringing your Nightmares to Life focuses on learning the craft in order to take your story from concept to completion.
With an introduction by Richard Chizmar and cover art by Luke Spooner. Featuring interior artwork from horror master Clive Barker!
Table of Contents:
- Introduction by Richard Chizmar
- Confessions of a Professional Day Dreamer by Jonathan Maberry
- What is Writing and Why Write Horror by John Skipp
- Tribal Layers by Gene O’Neill
- Bake That Cake: One Writer’s Method by Joe R. Lansdale and Kasey Lansdale
- Ah-Ha: Beginning to End with Chuck Palahniuk and Michael Bailey (Discussing the Spark of Creativity)
- They Grow in the Shadows: Exploring the Roots of a Horror Story by Todd Keisling
- Sell Your Script, Keep Your Soul and Beware of Sheep in Wolves' Clothing by Paul Moore
- The Cult of Constraint (or To Outline or Not) by Yvonne Navarro
- Zombies, Ghosts and Vampires─Oh My! by Kelli Owen
- The Many Faces of Horror: Craft Techniques by Richard Thomas
- Giving Meaning to the Macabre by Rachel Autumn Deering
- The Horror Writer’s Ultimate Toolbox by Tim Waggoner
- Sarah Pinborough Interview by Marie O’Regan
- Conveying Character by F. Paul Wilson
- Sympathetic Characters Taste Better: Creating Empathy in Horror Fiction by Brian Kirk
- Virtue & Villainy: The Importance of Character by Kealan Patrick Burke
- How to write Descriptions in a story by Mercedes Yardley
- “Don’t Look Now, There’s a Head in That Box!” She Ejaculated Loudly (or Creating Effective Dialogue in Horror Fiction) by Elizabeth Massie
- Point of View by Lisa Mannetti
- What Came First the Monster or the Plot? In Conversation with Stephen Graham Jones by Vince A. Liaguno
- Building Suspense by David Wellington
- Conveying Horror by Ramsey Campbell
- Unveiling Theme Through Plot: An Analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark” by Stephanie M. Wytovich
- Interview with Clive Barker by Tim Chizmar
- World Building (Building a terrifying world) by Kevin J. Anderson
- Speak Up: The Writer’s Voice by Robert Ford
- Writing for a Better World by Christopher Golden
- Shaping the Ideas: Getting Things from Your Head to the Paper or on Screen. Interview with Steve Niles, Mick Garris, Heather Graham, Mark Savage, and Maria Alexander by Del Howison
- On Research by Bev Vincent
- Editing Through Fear: Cutting and Stitching Stories by Jessica Marie Baumgartner
- Leaping into the Abyss by Greg Chapman
- Edit Your Anthology in Your Basement for Fun and Profit! . . . or Not by Tom Monteleone
- When It’s Their World: Writing for the Themed Anthology by Lisa Morton
- Roundtable Interview by John Palisano
- The Tale of the Perfect Submissions by Jess Landry
- Turning the Next Page: Getting Started with the Business of Writing
Horror For RAICES is an emergency charitable anthology that was created as a way for horror authors to come together and take a stand against the xenophobic actions of ICE and the current US administration toward our neighbors. No children belong in cages. No children deserve to be taken from their families.
Horror has a way of painting a picture of the culture and times in which it has been created. And often what it reflects is awful. Horror For RAICES does just that but it also reflects something beautiful in us all.
THIS IS GOING TO HURT.
The eleven stories in Ugly Little Things explore the depths of human suffering and ugliness, charting a course to the dark, horrific heart of the human condition. The terrors of everyday existence are laid bare in this eerie collection of short fiction from the twisted mind of Todd Keisling, author of the critically-acclaimed novels A Life Transparent and The Liminal Man.
Travel between the highways of America in “The Otherland Express,” where a tribe of the forsaken and forlorn meet to exchange identities. Witness the cold vacuum of space manifest in the flesh in “The Darkness Between Dead Stars.” Step into the scrub of rural Arizona and join Karen Singleton’s struggle to save her husband from a cult of religious fanatics in “When Karen Met Her Mountain.” Visit the small town of Dalton in “The Harbinger” and join Felix Proust as he uncovers the vile secrets rooted at the heart of Dalton Dollworks. And in the critically-acclaimed novella “The Final Reconciliation,” learn the horrifying truth behind the demise of the rock band The Yellow Kings.
With an introduction by Bram Stoker Award-winner Mercedes M. Yardley and illustrations by Luke Spooner, Ugly Little Things will be your atlas, guiding you along a lonely road of sorrow, loss, and regret. This is going to hurt—and you’re going to like it.
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing - Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Interview with the Author:
What makes this collection of horror stories so special?
Todd Keisling: These stories represent some of the darkest fiction I’ve ever written. I was in a bad place when I wrote most of them, and I put my thoughts to paper with the intention of sharing my dread with potential readers. These stories will cut deeply. They’ll make you weep and they’ll make you bleed.
Tell us more about the theme you were going for in this horror collection?
Todd Keisling: There’s a story in the collection, “The Harbinger,” which is about a doll maker who infuses her creations with the pain of her victims. The title “Ugly Little Things” comes from that story, as each tale in the collection is intended to be one of those dolls, each filled to the brim with the darker qualities of the human condition.
- Horror Short Stories
- Horror collection
- Weird Fiction
- Dark Fantasy
- Short Fiction
- Single Author Collection
- Literary Horror
Crystal Lake Publishing proudly presents Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart.
Edited by the Bram Stoker Award-winning writer Mercedes M. Yardley, Arterial Bloom is a literary experience featuring 16 stories from some of the most compelling dark authors writing today.
With a foreword by HWA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Linda D. Addison, you are invited to step inside and let the grim flowers wind themselves comfortably around your bones.
The line-up includes:
The Stone Door by Jimmy Bernard
Dog (Does Not) Eat Dog by Grant Longstaff
Kudzu Stories by Linda J. Marshall
Dead Letters by Christopher Barzak
The Darker Side of Grief by Naching T. Kassa
Welcome to My Autumn by Daniel Crow
Still Life by Kelli Owen
Three Masks by Armand Rosamilia
Doodlebug by John Boden
Happy Pills by Todd Keisling
What Remained of Her by Jennifer Loring
Blue Was Her Favorite Color by Dino Parenti
In the Loop by Ken Liu
The Making of Mary by Steven Pirie
Mouths Filled with Sea Water by Jonathan Cosgrove
Rotten by Carina Bissett
Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
Interview with the editor:
Mercedes, this is your debut as an anthology editor. Can you tell us how you went about choosing the Dark Fiction stories included in Arterial Bloom?
MMY: Yes, absolutely! Crystal Lake Publishing put out a call for short horror stories. My job was to ensure authors heard about the call. I basically beat down doors trying to spread the word, making sure that people realized it was an open, inclusive anthology and I was interested in stories of all types. Several hundred stories rolled in. It was a massive undertaking, but by reading open submissions instead of invitation-only stories, I was able to come across several authors who were new to me. This collection is full of award-winning, well-known authors as well as fresh voices. It’s a beautiful mix and I’m very proud of it.
This was an unthemed horror anthology, which means that you weren’t particularly looking for any specific themes. But did you find that a certain theme emerged?
MMY: Oh, yes. The Arterial Bloom anthology is all about monsters. Some monsters are literal. Some are human. But every story shows the juxtaposition of the ugliness and the beauty of humanity and the way we deal with things. It’s an emotional anthology. We deal with horror, grief, trauma, love, and healing. It’s gut-wrenching. It’s visceral and quite lovely, in a way.
How did you come up with the title?
MMY: The anthology itself is gutting and gorgeous. I was trying to find a title that played with that hardness and softness. My friends from The Geeky Writers and I went into our chat and brainstormed titles. Different words, different phrases. We just put them together in combinations until we came up with Arterial Bloom. It was the perfect title. It has that primitive, animal feel as well as being artistic.
Strange visions of a monochromatic world. Bizarre sensations of physical transparency.
At first, Donovan fears he's losing his grip on reality, but as the week wears on and the odd afflictions intensify, he wonders if he is truly fading from existence.
When his wife is abducted, his life goes from weird to terrifying. To get her back, Donovan must play by a stranger's rules. Will he be in time to save her-and himself-from the dangers of A Life Transparent?
Learn the craft of writing from those who know it best.
This is the Writers on Writing Vol.1 - 4 Omnibus – An Author’s Guide where your favorite authors share their ultimate secrets in becoming and being an author.
- The Infrastructure of the Gods by Brian Hodge
- The Writer’s Purgatory by Monique Snyman
- Why Rejection is Still Important by Kevin Lucia
- Real Writers Steal Time by Mercedes M. Yardley
- What Right Do I Have to Write by Jasper Bark
- Go Pace Yourself by Jack Ketchum
- A Little Infusion of Magic by Dave-Brendon de Burgh
- Confronting Your Fears in Fiction by Todd Keisling
- Once More with Feeling by Tim Waggoner
- Embracing Your Inner Shitness by James Everington
- The Forgotten Art of Short Story by Mark Allan Gunnells
- Adventures in Teaching Creative Writing by Lucy A. Snyder
- Submit (to psychology) for Acceptance by Daniel I. Russell
- Character Building by Theresa Derwin
- Heroes and Villains by Paul Kane
- Do Your Worst by Jonathan Winn
- Creating Effective Characters by Hal Bodner
- Fictional Emotions; Emotional Fictions by James Everington
- Home Sweet Home by Ben Eads
- You by Kealan Patrick Burke
- The art of becoming a book reviewer by Nerine Dorman
- Treating Fiction like a Relationship by Jonathan Janz
- How to Write Killer Poetry by Stephanie M. Wytovich
- Happy Little Trees by Michael Knost
- In Lieu of Patience Bring Diversity by Kenneth W. Cain
- Networking is Scary, but Essential by Doug Murano
- Are You In The Mood? by Sheldon Higdon
- What if Every Novel is a Horror Novel? by Steve Diamond
- Description by Patrick Freivald
- A First-time Novelist's Odyssey by William Gorman
- I Am Setting by J.S. Breukelaar
- Finding Your Voice by Lynda E. Rucker
Are you ready to unleash the author in you?
Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from the Darkest Depths
Interview with the authors:
So what makes Writers on Writing so special?
Stephanie M. Wytovich: I think what makes Writers on Writing a standout craft book is that Crystal Lake Publishing pulled writers from different genres and different mediums to give readers a massive insight into the industry in regards to film, screenwriting, poetry, prose, etc. It’s a meaty collection of advice that speaks to everyone at any point in their career, and I think readers will be wildly excited about the essays inside.
Tell us more about your essay.
Jack Ketchum: Mine's about pacing, crucial to grabbing and holding the reader's attention, and music to the reader's ear. Both, I think, important things to consider.
Kenneth W. Cain: I speak of using diversity in your fiction, of pulling from the known world to create more realistic characters without relying on stereotypes and generalizations.
Well...the harvest is here. And it's dead.
With these 50 dark tales (and nearly 700 pages of terror!) readers will experience fear, depravity, love, and loss. And a kind of chill that won't soon leave your bones.
DEAD HARVEST is a crop like no other—and includes stories from: Richard Chizmar, Tim Lebbon, Jeff Strand, Ronald Malfi, Greg F. Gifune, James A. Moore, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Tim Waggoner, David Bernstein, Richard Thomas, Jon Michael Kelley, Brian Kirk, Chad P. Brown, Lori R. Lopez, Stuart Keane, Tim Jeffreys, Ahimsa Kerp, C.M. Saunders, Martin Reaves, M.L. Roos, Gregory L. Norris, Angeline Trevena, Jeremy Peterson, Christine Sutton, Gregor Cole, Lori Safranek, Jaime Johnesee, Bear Weiter, Kyle Yadlosky, Aaron Gudmunson, Sara Brooke, C.L. Hernandez, Patrick Lacey, John Grover, Todd Keisling, Jason Andrew, Dana Wright, Andrew Bell, E.G. Smith, Amy Grech, Mark Patrick Lynch, Wayland Smith, Jonathan Templar, Marie Robinson, Michael McGlade, Jordan Phelps, Nick Nafpliotis, Matthew Pedersen, Bryan Clark—and introducing Billy Chizmar.
Enter the harvest and get lost . . .
(Editor: Mark Parker, Scarlet Galleon Publications, LLC)