Category Archives: book giveaway


The Return of the Monster Movie Marathon was a great success, in my opinion. A ton of great contributions from a diverse crowd. Thanks again to everyone who participated. I’ll try to bring all the links together in a single post soon.

For now, however, it’s time to announce some winners.

The winner of the audiobook copy of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters is: Anthony J. Rapino!

 The winner of the trade paperback copy of Cthulhurotica is: Mark Devery!

 The winner of a monster book of their choice via Book Depository is: Darlene!

The winner of a signed trade paperback of The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn is: Maegan Morin!

And the winner of the digital edition of The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn is: Christine Davis! 

I will be contacting all of the winners shortly. Thank you to everyone who entered, and hopefully I’ll be able to offer you at least one more giveaway before Christmas. Fingers crossed. Until then, I hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween!


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Filed under Book Depository, book giveaway, Cthulhurotica, Lisa Mannetti, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, winners

An Interview and Giveaway with Lisa Mannetti, Author of "The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn"

First thing’s first. Contest time! Award-winning author Lisa Mannetti was gracious enough to not only answer a few interview questions to promote her new novel, The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, but she’s also provided a signed paperback copy to go out to one lucky winner. Plus, a second winner will receive a digital copy of the novel in the e-book format of their choice. This giveaway is open worldwide!

To enter, simply fill out the form(s) at the very bottom of this post. The giveaway will remain open until midnight on Halloween night, then I’ll announce the winners on November 1st.
Also, be sure to check out all of the other great giveaways that are going on as part of the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. Plus, I am currently hosting three other book giveaways right now as part of this blog’s Monster Movie Marathon. Each of those contests will remain open until Halloween night as well.

Giveaway #1: audiobook of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
Giveaway #2: trade paperback of Cthulhurotica
Giveaway #3: a “monster” book of your choice via Book Depository (up to $15 US)

In the meantime, however, I encourage you to read my interview with Lisa Mannetti and learn a little more about her, her work, and the two cats who inspired her latest novel. Enjoy.
An Interview with Lisa Mannetti,
author of The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn
I recently had a chance to ask Lisa Mannetti a few questions regarding her new novel. After reading Lisa’s debut novel, The Gentling Box, two years ago she has quickly become one of my favorite horror authors. But unlike The Gentling Box and Deathwatch with their historical horror elements, this new novel shows Lisa’s lighter side. But don’t take my word for it, let’s read what she has to say.
Gef: Okay, The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn: Mark Twain, reincarnation, witches, werewolves, a haunted bed & breakfast–and cats. Where in the heck did the impetus for a book containing this motley crew come from?
Lisa: Well, I actually owned a pair of twin white cats named—you guessed it, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. And you’ll have to trust me on this, but never ever were two cats more aptly named. Tom, the big smoothie, was the ringleader—he could convince Huck to try anything: including jumping from the floor to the top of the doors in the house. Huck, who was scruffier, even had what looked like freckles on his nose. Huck wasn’t very good at jumping to the top of the doors (he was smaller and heavier) but they both had a whale of a time trying. Never have I had cats that were as smart (okay, I know you aren’t going to believe they understood English, but they did) and as much fun.
So, I started to do these little playlets for the outgoing message on my answering machine featuring Tom telling the latest—replete with a Southern accent. I had phone calls from telephone solicitors who would call back laughing, and then apologize for calling back, then call again and this time you’d hear the entire office laughing. Mostly they had to do with imaginary hijinks—like throwing my other cat, Charlotte Bronte (whose twin had died) into the dryer, or asking people to send them catnip, or their plans to ambush mice and eat all the lights off the Christmas tree…my friends would complain if I didn’t change the message at least every few weeks.
Then one day, the concept of the book came to me. I started writing and the thing just wrote itself and I think it was because Tom already had a voice…after that I started a website which is named for the Inn, the cats run: The Chancery House. It’s had 4 million visitors over the years. (
Gef: Aside from 51 Fiendish Ways to Leave Your Lover, I don’t recall finding a whole lot of humor in your fiction when I’ve read it. The majority of what I’ve read has been some very darkly-themed historical horror. Do you find humor a more challenging attribute than horror–especially with characters originated by Mark Twain?
Lisa: Yes, but that’s because you haven’t known me my whole life… I’ve always written both horror and satire—even as a kid. I’m also hugely attracted to humor in writing, as well. I’m a huge fan of Jean Kerr, J.P. Donleavy, Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh—to name a few. Horror and humor are both skewed versions of reality, exaggerations to give stories more dramatic impetus and in my mind, though they appear to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, they’re actually closely related.
Humor is slightly (and I emphasize the word slightly) more dependent on pacing, but not by a great deal—after all, once you’ve got the heroine in a horror novel running up the stairs as if someone is chasing her with a big stick, so to speak, eventually she’s going to have to open the attic door.
I first read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn when I was in third grade, so I’ve been a lifelong fan. Over the years, I’ve read—and reread—just about every thing he’s written, so again, it felt very natural to me to write the book. Plus, let’s not forget our most beloved humorist (and clearly one of the best American writers over the centuries) was fascinated with twins (as I am) and loved cats (as I do).
Gef: Bringing famed literary characters into your own sandbox, as it were, and re-imagining them, where do you find the biggest challenge in making them your own? Or do you even try?
Lisa: I think my characters are a blend of Twain’s original Tom and Huck, and my cats, and my imagination. They were a lot of fun and very gregarious animals and very smart and always into mischief, so in a way, it wasn’t hard to extrapolate from the stunts they pulled on an everyday basis and think up harum-scarum situations. They’d play fight, but they were also completely devoted to each other and they were hell on wheels when they ambushed mice—I mean they had battle plans and flanking maneuvers, no kidding….By the way, did you know mice scream? I found out the hard way when the terrible twosome cornered some poor field mouse in the downstairs laundry room and I was up in my office (writing Deathwatch at the time and heard it shriek. Loudly.) We will pass over further mention of this poor unfortunate for those who are squeamish. Anyway, I absolutely wanted the book to feel familiar (and the more one knows Twain, the more inside jokes you’re likely to get) but I also wanted it to be unique—not just in terms of the premise—but also in terms of the adventures my Tom and Huck experienced. My book is a little more poignant than Twain’s works; but I’m more sentimental than he is, I think.
Gef: There are actually two versions of this book: one for younger readers and one for mature readers. Why did you feel the need to create a “family friendly” version of this book? Or is it the other way around, and you felt the need to create a “grown-up” version?
cover for YA edition
Lisa: The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn is a lot milder than any of my previously published novels; but since I loved Twain (and he’s written some pretty irreverent things) I wanted adults to feel they could come to it on their own terms. However, my publisher and I agreed, there were certain passages that were too strong for younger readers. I remember actually being really embarrassed as a kid when the king prances out naked and painted all over ring-streaked-and-striped during the Royal Nonesuch scenes, but I didn’t want to bowdlerize my book; so the publisher and I agreed I’d give it a scouring and we’d have two versions. I may be wrong, but I don’t think that’s ever been done before, so that’s something—hopefully a creative solution to what might have been material that was too mature for the barrettes and paintball gang.
Gef: Do you have a particular animal in mind should you be reincarnated?
Lisa: I’ve actually had people in pet stores (on seeing me load up on all kinds of cat toys and gizmos) tell me they want to come back in their next life as one of my cats, but I have never wanted to be any kind of animal….now, if I could switch back and forth from human to smart, persnickety feline, that might be okay, but basically, I can’t stand the idea of eating smelly canned food out of a dish stuck on the floor, or never taking a bath in a tub with lavender oil, never wearing high heels, or flaying mice as part of a food and exercise regimen. I love cats—and honestly, Tom and Huck were smart as hell—but I’d really miss reading and writing, too.
I’d like to offer a big thanks to Lisa for her time and this interview. I’d also like to thank her for offering the two books I’m about to offer to two lucky winners.
If you would like a chance to win a copy of The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, we’ve got both a signed trade paperback and an e-book copy up for grabs. For the e-book prize, the winner will specify which format they’d like to receive (i.e., epub, mobi, PDF, etc.). Fill out the corresponding form of whichever format you’d like to win, then pay a visit to the plethora of blogs participating in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop by clicking HERE.


Filed under author interview, blog hop, book giveaway, Huckleberry Finn, Lisa Mannetti, Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer

Monster Movie Marathon Giveaway #3

I was hoping to give away a DVD during the Monster Movie Marathon, but I’m unaware of any online stores that offer free worldwide shipping. So I’m giving away another book. What book am I putting up for grabs this time around?

I’m already offering Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Cthulhurotica as prizes, which are pretty out there as choices, so I needed to go even further out there with this third giveaway. But what book do I choose? Do I go with Norman Partridge’s Dark Harvest with its Pumpkin-headed demon, the October Boy? Perhaps China Mieville’s Kraken and its giant squid. Or maybe go with a zombie or two in Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Maybe one of the books mentioned in the Monster Movie Marathon posts, even.
Well, I can’t decide so I’m leaving it up to you.
Whoever wins this giveaway will get to choose any book they want via Book Depository (up to $15 US) … but with a catch: the book has to have a monster of some sort in it.
Maybe the monster is the villain, maybe even the hero, or maybe it is used as a minor character in the story. So long as the book has a monster of some kind, you’re good. F.Y.I.: ghosts and robots don’t count. I’ll be saving those for next year.
If Book Depository delivers to your country, you’re eligible. You don’t have to be a follower of my blog, but if you are I’ll give you an extra entry. Simply fill out the form below between now and the end of Halloween, then I’ll announce the winner on November 1st.
Don’t forget to enter the other two giveaways by clicking HERE and HERE. And watch out for a fourth book giveaway to appear next week as part of the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. The fourth book won’t be a monster book per se, but it’ll have a monster or two in its pages–and it’s authored by one of my new favorite horror authors.


Filed under Book Depository, book giveaway, monster movie marathon

Monster Movie Marathon Giveaway #2

If you don’t already know, I’m hosting a giveaway in which someone will win a copy of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters in audiobook form. You click here for details on that.

For the Monster Movie Marathon’s second giveaway, I’m offering a trade paperback copy of the Dagan Books anthology, Cthulhurotica, edited by Carrie Cuinn. Click here to read my review.

To enter, just fill out the form below. This giveaway is open worldwide. If you follow this blog in some fashion, that can earn you an extra entry, too. Like the audiobook giveaway, this one closes on October 31st and I will announce the winner on November 1st.

Good luck! And watch out for yet another giveaway to be announced next week!


Filed under anthology, book giveaway, Carrie Cuinn, Cthulhu, Cthulhurotica, monster movie marathon

The Return of the Monster Movie Marathon Giveaway Begins with an Audiobook Giveaway

Okay, folks. let’skick this little shindy off with a giveaway. I wanted to give awaysomething monster related and one of the first things on my bookshelfto jump out at me was this audiobook set of the literary mash-up byJane Austen and Ben H. Winters, Sense and Sensibility and SeaMonsters. Perfect.
Here are thedetails on this little ditty via Amazon:
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen novel with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, rampaging octopi, two-headed sea serpents, and other biological monstrosities. As our story opens, the Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures and dark secrets. While sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon. Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels? This masterful portrait of Regency England blends Jane Austen’s biting social commentary with ultraviolent depictions of sea monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest — and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love! 
So, if you’d liketo throw your name in the hat for a chance to win, there’s reallyonly thing you need to do: spread the word.
You see, over thecourse of the next three weeks I and fifteen talented guys and galswill be blogging about monsters. Big ones, little ones, cute ones,scary ones. Monsters in movies, on television, and even in books. AndI would like people to stop on by, which is why I’d like you tospread the word.
You only have to doit once to get your name entered. If you’ve got a blog, you couldwrite about the marathon in one of your posts, or simply add a linkto this giveaway on your sidebar so your blog readers can find it. Oryou could tweet a link to this giveaway on Twitter. Or maybe youcould share a link on Facebook or StumbleUpon or Tumblr or some othersocial media venue. Your call. Pick one and get the word out, thensimply fill out the form below with your contact information. I hopethat is simple enough for everyone.
And if theaudiobook isn’t quite your thing, don’t worry because there isanother giveaway coming in the weeks ahead–maybe two more–that youcan check out and enter. All of the giveaways end on Halloween night,then I’ll announce the winners of each giveaway on November 1st. This giveaway is open worldwide.

Until then, keepchecking back here to get your monster fix. Ontap for tomorrow: Trollhunter.


Filed under audiobook, Ben H. Winters, book giveaway, giveaway, Jane Austen, monster movie marathon, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters

Interview and Giveaway with Robert J. Duperre: Author of "Silas"

This week, I have a special interview with author, Robert J. Duperre, to discuss his new novel Silas, which is available now, as part of his blog tour. On top of the interview, there is also a chance for you to win an Amazon Kindle by taking part in his trivia contest, which spans each stop on his blog tour. You’ll find Question #10 on the tour down below, following the interview. But, first, here’s a little information about Robert and his new book, Silas.

Bio: Robert J. Duperre is a lover of literature in all its forms. Be it horror, fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, or even romance, he delves into it all and relishes every minute of it. It is his desire to show this love of all genres by creating wide-reaching stories that defy classification, that can reach the widest possible audience.

Robert lives in northern Connecticut with his wife, the artist Jessica Torrant, his three wonderful children, and Leonardo the one-eyed wonder yellow Lab. You can read more about Robert and his views and ideas by visiting

About Robert J. Duperre website, facebook, twitter

About Silas: Ken Lowery is a man at odds with his life. He hates his job, is disappointed in his marriage, and feels resigned to leading a mundane existence.

That all changes when his wife brings home a rambunctious Black Labrador puppy named Silas, who forges a remarkable connection with Ken and begins to heal his inner turmoil. When some neighborhood children start to go missing, he takes it upon himself to protect those around him and is thrust into a surreal world where monsters roam. Not everything is what it seems to be, he soon discovers, including his new best friend

An Interview with Robert J. Duperre

Gef: Since you’re a dog lover, at least so much as your connection with your own dog, how easily did it come to you to write this novel? 
Robert: It was easier to write this than anything else I’ve done – novels and short stories included.  The only tough part was how to tell it.  I actually struggled with that for over a year, starting and stopping constantly, until I realized I should simply tell it in first person.  After that, it took me 38 days to finish the rough draft.  As a point of reference, the first draft of The Fall, my first book, I wrote over the span of 2 years – which included a ton of plotting and constant rehashing of story ideas that just didn’t work.  With Silas, everything fell into place.  Every detail, every twist, every character trait.  I guess you could say it was the perfect storm from a writing perspective.  I’m not sure I’ll ever experience it again, though it would be nice if I did.
Gef: Considering the dark elements the book explores, were there moments of the story that you found yourself straying from for the sake of contemplating your own dog’s mortality? 
Robert: No.  One of the more prominent aspects of my personality is that I want to feel everything.  If I can make myself shiver, make myself cry, or get myself angry, I keep pushing in that direction.  There were quite a few times while writing this book that I exited my studio, walked over to my wife, and sobbed for a bit.  It might sound strange, but I actually enjoy it.  I figure that if I can’t elicit emotion from myself, then the reader won’t feel it, either.  In that way, it’s no holds barred…as long as the sentiment works for the story.  (Which sometimes it does not.  I actually changed the ending of Silas quite a bit while editing, simply because I thought my second idea would work better, be more viable, than what I’d originally written.)
Gef: W.C. Fields said never to work with kids or animals, though that was with regards to film. But, how about books? Would it be fair to say there are elements to the nature of animals, particularly dogs, that offer difficulties in fiction? Or do you find them as easy to write for as for a human characters?
Robert: There are some quite obvious limitations to writing animals, especially when they’re main characters in a book.  Chief among these is communication.  There are only so many times you can say a dog barked or wagged its tail or licked a face before it begins to feel repetitive.  This was by far the toughest part of writing the book, though there is a twist in the middle that I think helps add meaning to the animal’s physical actions and reactions.  There were tons of mundane references to dog-type behavior that I ended up cutting from the final draft, and I think it works better that way.  That being said, and though I love the way the book turned out, I have a feeling this will be the last time I have an animal as a main character.

Gef: Horror tends to get a bad rap as a genre. How do you find readers react to, what I guess you might call, the dog genre? Have you found readers have preconceptions about how a book with a dog as one of the main players should play out?
Robert: I certainly think some folks have notions of the way something like this should go, which is why it’s extremely important that it’s stated in the product description just what kind of book you’re about to read.  I’ve gotten a couple reviews by folks who weren’t expecting the story to take the turns it did, though they still enjoyed the experience immensely.  “Not usually my sort of thing,” and the like.  When I look at it that way, I guess I did my job.

As for horror getting a bad rap…you’re right, it does.  Unfortunately, there are too many examples of simple hack-and-slash, gore-filled texts.  I try not to write that way.  Sure, I may have a gory scene or two, but more than anything I want to build atmosphere and empathy for the characters.  And besides, I don’t consider Silas a horror story.  It has horror elements, but also science fiction, fantasy, and human interest, as well.  If I had to define it, I’d say it’s more along the lines of a contemporary fantasy or supernatural thriller.  I only hope I haven’t pigeonholed myself as a horror writer with my zombie series so much that readers can’t see me as anything but.

Gef: You’ve got a penchant for recurring characters in your fiction, it would seem, as one character in Silas appears in a short story you’ve written, and another character is intended for a separate series of books. Is this a matter of connecting your works into a broader context, or do you just get attracted to certain characters and want to play with them in a different sandbox?

Robert: It’s a combination of both, really.  The first character you mentioned – the one who shows up in my short story, Sins of Our Fathers, I added after the first draft was finished.  He’s been in my head for a long time, and actually figures prominently in another two (unpublished) short stories I’ve written.  But he’s not a main player, just someone I use as a sort of guardian angel for certain characters who need guidance.  The second character you mention, however, is different.  I wrote Silas specifically to have a duel purpose – to tell the tale of a man on the edge who goes on a fantastic adventure with his dog, and to act as an introduction of to the protagonist in my next series.  So I guess you could call this book a prequel, though it does stand on its own.

That being said, all of my work is connected in one way or another.  I purposefully created a world that is in fact many worlds weaved into one.  Each story I have to tell is an extension of another story I’ve either written or plan to write.  It helps each tale gain cohesion in my own head, and also acts as Easter Eggs to return readers.  

Gef: For me, my favorite dog movie might be Turner and Hooch–I know, I know–and my favorite book with a dog would have to be Dean Koontz’s Watchers. Do you have a favorite book or movie with a dog as a featured character?
Robert: I did love Watchers (and Silas borrows a bit from that particular storyline), but without a doubt, Where The Red Fern Grows is my favorite all-time book involving dogs.  I read it as a child, and afterwards bawled for hours upon end.  The feelings I had while reading it have stayed with me for the rest of my life, and there aren’t many books I can say that about.

And don’t feel bad about loving Turner and Hooch.  It’s Tom Hanks and a bulldog, for crying out loud!  Pure comedy gold, I tell you.
Thank you for having me in for a chat, Gef.  It was quite fun, and I ended up learning something about my own writing that I hadn’t thought of before.  Which is always nice.

And thank you, Robert.

If anyone wants to follow along on Robert’s blog tour and catch up on some of the previous guest posts and interviews, you can find all of the respective links by clicking here.
Contest Info: Answer the question of the day in the form provided and you are entered in the Kindle3 Giveaway. Questions provide contestants the chance to choose one of two answers (questions center around a playlist of songs Rob put together for Silas).  Contestants are awarded three points for the correct answer (one point for the wrong) with the chance to gather up to 45 entries by answering each question. Open US/Canada


Filed under author interviews, Blog Tour, book giveaway, giveaway, kindle, Robert J. Duperre, Silas

Cemetery Dance’s New Promotional Offer: Will Tweet For Books

If you love horror literature, especially free horror, Cemetery Dance Publications has a great promotional offer going on through the month of September.

WILL TWEET FOR BOOKS is happening all month long, and CD is giving you four chances to win $100 of free books from them. By following Cemetery Dance on Facebook and Twitter, as well as following their managing editor, Brian James Freeman (Facebook and Twitter), and spreading the word about this offer on both social media sites, you have a shot at winning some great books.

Now, I have no idea what books CD plans to give away when the winners are announced, but you can be sure they have a ton to choose from. A few of titles on their site include: Richard Chizmar’s Shivers VI, Thomas Tessier’s Wicked Things, and the upcoming trade hardcover for Jack Ketchum’s The Woman.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the contest is limited to those residing in the U.S., but even if that’s the case, it doesn’t do any harm in spreading the word about quality horror fiction. Go check it out. UPDATE: Just got word from Brian James Freeman that the promotion is open worldwide, so have at it!

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Filed under book giveaway, Brian James Freeman, Cemetery Dance