Tag Archives: halloween

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2019

Three Great Horror Reads for Halloween 2019

It’s Halloween today, the perfect time to curl up with a good scary story. I’ve been reading horror since I was a kid, and I wanted to share three of my favorites. Since I’ve read a lot of good horror, I figured it’d be best to limit myself to books I’ve read over the last few years. You can see my reading list for 2017 and 2018 here on my blog, and you can view my current list for 2019 over on Goodreads. So, what three did I choose? Why let me show you…


A Lush And Seething Hell by John Hornor JacobsA Lush And Seething Hell

by John Hornor Jacobs

I’ve just started into my reading of A Lush and Seething Hell, a book consisting of two masterful novellas of cosmic horror. The first, The Sea Dreams it was the Sky was one of my favorite books from last year [See my review here], and I’m finding myself falling into John’s beautiful and haunting prose all over again. Lyrical and evocative while remaining starkly human, I cannot wait to dive into the second story, My Heart Struck Sorrow. I’d also recommend John’s weird west series that begins with The Incorruptibles.

 


Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham JonesMapping the Interior

by Stephen Graham Jones

Jones is a modern master of horror and always approaches the genre in unique ways; Mapping the Interior is no exception. Told from 12-year old Junior’s perspective, the story is one part family-struggle and one part ghost-story all woven with a heartfelt earnestness that’s easy to believe and hard to shake. It’s a book about childhood, about family, about heritage, about legacy, and the cost and ramification of all four. The ending devastated me. I’d also recommend Jones’ Mongrels.

 


The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley JacksonThe Haunting of Hill House

by Shirley Jackson

A horror classic that I (oddly) hadn’t read until last year. This is the archetypical haunted house story that defined the genre for decades to come. You’ll recognize the tropes it established right immediately, but be drawn along by Jackson’s incredibly descriptive prose and the layer of uneasiness she weaves throughout. It’ll get under your skin, and you’ll see its fingerprints everywhere. I’d also recommend Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

 


So there are three of my favorite horror novels from the last several years. If you’re looking for something to read on a cozy and dark autumn night, you’d be hard-pressed to find better. What are your favorite horror novels from the last few years? Leave a comment below and let everyone know!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Creepy Vintage Halloween Costumes

Vintage Halloween Costumes Were Creepy

For the last few years, I’ve been collecting old photos of vintage Halloween costumes—early to mid-19th century, mainly. Despite their earnestness, there’s something deeply unsettling about many of them. The homespun approach only seems to amplify their eerieness, and I find that delightful. That’s not something modern costumes have really been able to replicate.

Since it’s 2019’s spooky month, I sorted through my collection and assembled my favorite for a gallery. None of the photos below are mine. Most are old enough they should be in the public domain. If something looks or seems amiss, please let me know, and I’ll happily correct it. You can click on any photo to view it larger.

If you enjoy these images and want to see more, I highly recommend checking out Ossian Brown’s book Haunted Air. It collects some of these and many more anonymous Halloween photographs from 1875–1955. It’s weird and wonderful and perfect for October.

H.P. Lovecraft and his pumpkin pal

H.P. Lovecraft’s Halloween Poem

When he wasn’t writing cosmic horror about indescribable beings, H.P. Lovecraft considered himself a poet. I’ve mentioned his Christmas poetry in the past, and since today is Halloween, I thought it’d be fun to take a gander at another holiday poem.

Hallowe’en in a Suburb was originally published as In A Suburb in The National Amateur in March of 1926. The poem was later renamed. I spent some time researching why the name was changed, but I couldn’t find an answer. The poem stands on its own without the Halloween association, but there is a definite fall/harvest feel with reflection on sheaves and chill winds. Perhaps it was marketing?


Hallowe’en in a Suburb

The steeples are white in the wild moonlight,
And the trees have a silver glare;
Past the chimneys high see the vampires fly,
And the harpies of upper air,
That flutter and laugh and stare.

For the village dead to the moon outspread
Never shone in the sunset’s gleam,
But grew out of the deep that the dead years keep
Where the rivers of madness stream
Down the gulfs to a pit of dream.

A chill wind weaves thro’ the rows of sheaves
In the meadows that shimmer pale,
And comes to twine where the headstones shine
And the ghouls of the churchyard wail
For harvests that fly and fail.

Not a breath of the strange grey gods of change
That tore from the past its own
Can quicken this hour, when a spectral pow’r
Spreads sleep o’er the cosmic throne
And looses the vast unknown.

So here again stretch the vale and plain
That moons long-forgotten saw,
And the dead leap gay in the pallid ray,
Sprung out of the tomb’s black maw
To shake all the world with awe.

And all that the morn shall greet forlorn,
The ugliness and the pest
Of rows where thick rise the stones and brick,
Shall some day be with the rest,
And brood with the shades unblest.

Then wild in the dark let the lemurs bark,
And the leprous spires ascend;
For new and old alike in the fold
Of horror and death are penn’d,
For the hounds of Time to rend.


It’s not half bad as far as creep poetry goes, and it’s certainly better than his cat-centric silly Christmas poetry. The very talented Andrew Lehman cut a record for Cadabra Records where he reads several of Lovecraft’s poems including this one. The record doesn’t appear to be available anymore, but you can listen to Hallowe’en in a Suburb and The Cats below.


Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone! Remember that today is the last day to get FREE SHIPPING on any signed paperbacks from my store. Just use the code BFCMONTH on checkout. You can see all the details in this post.


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Fresh Boxes (of Books)

Signed Paperbacks! Free Shipping!

Don’t forget, all month long you can pick up signed paperback copies of any of my books and receive free shipping from my store. (US only, sorry.) Just use the code: BFCMONTH at checkout. Free shipping expires Halloween at midnight.

Along with books, I also have some new Bell Forging Cycle gear: hoodies, mugs, and new die-cut stickers. I think you’ll dig ’em.

Paperbacks not your thing? eBook copies are always available from a variety of stores. See the full list at any of the following pages:

The Stars Were RightOld Broken RoadRed Litten World

 


Dead Drop: Missives from the desk of K. M. AlexanderWant to stay in touch with me? Sign up for Dead Drop, my rare and elusive newsletter. Subscribers get news, previews, and notices on my books before anyone else delivered directly to their inbox. I work hard to make sure it’s not spammy and full of interesting and relevant information.  SIGN UP TODAY →

Three Great Horror Reads For Halloween

Three Great Horror Reads For Halloween

Since today is Halloween (or High Hallow as it’s known in the Territories), I thought it’d be fun to share some of the more memorable horror novels that I have read over the last few years. Since I have been reading horror since I was a kid, I figured it’d be best to limit myself to any of the books I have read during my participation in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. You can see my list for 2013 and 2014 here on my blog, and you can view my current list for 2015 over on Goodreads. Let’s get to my picks!


Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian: or the Evening Redness in the West
by Cormac McCarthy

I’ve talked about Cormac McCarthy’s novel a few times in the past, and over the last few years it has easily become one of my favorite books, and ultimately my favorite horror novel of all time. This story tends to get classified as a western, but after spending some time with the kid, and the mysterious Judge Holden it becomes apparent that there is much more to this narrative than a brutal western. Following the trail of several scalp hunters along the Mexican border, this novel is a disturbing tale of violence, blood, and possibly the devil.


Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray BradburySomething Wicked This Way Comes
by Ray Bradbury

While the trope of the Circus of Fear can be traced back to the 1919 German silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, it’s safe to say it was Bradbury who made it popular with this novel. When Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Greentown, Illinois, two young boys and best friends begin to explore its strange and ultimately evil attractions. Bradbury is amazing at capturing the life of the young boy, and the challenges of fatherhood. Easily one of the best gothic horror novels ever written, and a classic within the genre.


Chapelwood by Cherie Priest

Chaplewood (Borden Dispatches #2)
by Cherie Priest

The second novel in Cherie Priest’s modern take on Lovecraftian mythos goes above and beyond even book one (which was one of my runners-up last year.) Following the adventures of the Lizzie Borden of legend, Chaplewood takes us from book one’s rain-soaked coast of New England to the heart of the sultry deep South. As a dark gospel is spread by a strange cult, and an ax murderer runs rampant, a detective, a young woman, and an elderly matron must face down a growing evil. Easily one of my most memorable reads this year.


So there are three of my favorite horror books from the last few years. If you’re looking for something to read on a cozy and dark autumn night, you’d be hard-pressed to find better. What are you favorite horror novels? Leave a comment below and let everyone know!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

The Northwest Horror Podcast Giveaway

Halloween approaches and it’s giveaway time! The Northwest Horror Podcast, one of my favorite local podcasts, is giving away three signed copies of my latest novel Red Litten World. You can find out how to win by listening to their latest episode, just download or stream it via the Northwest Horror’s blog. It’s a fun contest and really easy to enter.

Also, make sure you subscribe to Northwest Horror! You can do so with iTunes, or with their Stitcher station, or via Lybsyn. Also, follow them on Twitter and on Facebook. Matt, Vic, and Cat run a great horror-centric podcast covering all things horror related that means: games, cons, movies, television, books, and loads more. It’s good stuff.

Thanks for Matt and Cat for their kind words on this week’s episode. I hope everyone enjoys the podcast and good luck to those of you who enter!