Monday 19 December 2016

A News Release from Dread Central


LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15, 2016 – Dread Central, the premier website for breaking news and in-depth original content in the world of horror, has announced that after a decade of independently serving fans, independent filmmakers, and studios, it will shift its operations to the publicly-funded service Patreon by March 2017.

"Due to sweeping shifts in studio advertising dollar allocation and the ever-shifting landscape of horror, if we are to survive, we need to make this change," said Dread Central Editor-in-Chief and horror pillar Steve Barton. "Over the past ten years, we’ve supported filmmakers and their projects by sharing their films with our extensive readership free of charge. We don't want to sell out to a conglomerate or shut down the site so we are joining with crowdfunding platform Patreon to keep our independent voice. We need everyone’s support."

Through a monthly subscription of just $1.00 a month, or $12.00 a year, via, Dread Central will be able to provide a new, ad-free experience with cutting-edge and exclusive content to horror enthusiasts and subscribers. This move will ultimately allow the site to continue to support the unique voices of genre filmmakers worldwide.

"In order to survive, Dread Central must now become a publicly-funded service, and WE absolutely NEED to subscribe," said Halloween director John Carpenter. "$12.00 a year. $1.00 a month. That’s it, and Dread Central will remain able to continue to support the filmmaking community and horror audiences alike, with the love, care, and voice that they historically have."

"Patreon is all about making it easy for websites like Dread Central to connect with patrons and share exclusive content," said Jordan Cope, Patreon Creator Talent Lead. "We're excited to partner with such a renowned horror website and can’t wait to be a part of the next decade of incredible work."

Founded in 2006 by Barton and long-time collaborator Jon Condit and staffed with such notable horror journalists as Staci Layne Wilson, Sean Decker, Andrew Kasch, Debi Moore, Buz Wallick, and countless other contributors (many of whom have gone on to filmmaking careers of their own), Dread Central has strived tirelessly to provide objective and all-inclusive coverage of horror cinema and culture in all its forms: from on-set visits to red carpet premieres and everything in between – all with an historic and keen eye on independent cinema.

To subscribe to Dread Central, visit, and for more information visit



HASHTAG: #SaveDreadCentral

Monday 12 December 2016

Z Nation

I came across this zombie series by accident on Amazon. It is set three years after a virus has destroyed most of humanity, and the character Murphy, an ex-prisoner involuntarily treated with an antidote and the only one to survive zombie bites, is being accompanied to the last remaining Centre for Disease Control so that his antibodies can be tested for a potential cure.

After watching the first season, I've now ordered the second. They are reasonably priced at $10 for Season 1 and $20 for Season 2 (in Canadian funds). The third season is currently airing on television, and the series has been renewed for a fourth season

Why do I enjoy Z Nation? It has an entertaining and irascible collection of characters, as well as interesting story lines. It also doesn't mind poking fun at itself with its sometimes campy dialogue. And the zombies are much faster-moving than the lumbering walkers of The Walking Dead, which makes them even more dangerous.

Now that The Walking Dead has wrapped up its mid-season finale, you might like to check out this series.

I think you'll enjoy it!

Monday 5 December 2016

Christmas Gifts for Horror Lovers

Horror is a billion-dollar industry, so I like to devote a post each year to Christmas gift suggestions that won't cost a (severed) arm and leg. Here are a few suggestions:

Buy a plain Christmas stocking at a dollar store and draw a skull and crossbones on it with a black felt pen or attach one made of black felt or paper. (The one pictured above costs $27 U.S.on a horror gift site so you're much better off designing your own.) Then fill the stocking with bags of gummy worms and leftover chocolate foil-covered "eyeballs" from Halloween. You can also get packages of insects/toy spiders from the toy section of a dollar store. Be inventive! If you're not an artist, follow these simple how-to instructions for drawing a skull and crossbones:

Plan a post-holiday horror-themed party and send your horror-loving friends a personal invitation as a Christmas gift. This is a fun way to beat the winter doldrums and the post-Christmas feeling of let-down. Plan a party for late January or February and invite your friends to dress up as their favorite horror characters. Consider having a treasure hunt for severed limbs (dollar store purchases) followed by watching Night of the Living Dead or the Evil Dead series. If you make this a BYOB event and come up with some creepy snacks (for example, bowls of popcorn with dollar-store fake fingers and crackers with soft cheese garnished with "eyeballs"), you and your friends will have a great evening at a reasonable cost.

There are lots of great horror movies coming out in 2017. Why not send out a home-made coupon good for a movie and popcorn and redeemable in the new year? You can then choose a non-peak time when tickets are lower-priced to go to the movie theatre. Not sure what's coming up? Check out

Any other suggestions you'd like to share? Please leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you...

Monday 21 November 2016

Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle

I have been reading Shirley Jackson lately, enjoying her cadenced prose that with simple words gives immediate insight into the minds of her characters, her ability to create an atmosphere of fear and isolation, and her mastery of psychological horror in the tradition of Poe. I've just finished reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle, the final novel she wrote before her death. 

The narrator of the novel is Mary Katherine Blackwood, known as Merricat, and as usual Jackson opens her story with the shock of incongruity as we are drawn into the bizarre world of the Blackwoods:

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf....  I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance ... and the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.

Merricat lives with her sister and her uncle Julian  in the huge Blackwood house previously inhabited by her mother and father, brother, and aunt as well. We learn that these members of her family have all been poisoned; Uncle Julian is the only survivor of the poisoning but he is wheelchair-bound and in the depths of dementia. Merricat had been sent to her room for bad behaviour so she was not present at the fatal meal, and Constance did not use the sugar that contained the poison. Constance was arrested for the murders, but subsequently acquitted.

Constance never leaves the house other than to go to the garden, and it is Merricat who must make the twice-weekly trips to town and endure the stares and taunts of the townspeople, who are both fearful and jealous of the remaining Blackwoods and their grand estate. The townspeople become active aggressors later in the novel: during a fire, they loot and destroy almost everything in the house and threaten the lives of the Blackwood girls. The themes of cruelty lurking below the surface of "normal" people and the dangers of mob mentality are strong here, reminiscent of "The Lottery".

I don't want to give away any further details of the story because it is an amazing one. If you enjoy psychological horror, this book is for you.

Monday 14 November 2016

Upcoming Horror Fiction Releases

If you're beginning to stockpile books for the long, cold winter months, you'll be pleased to know that Amazon has more than 40 pages of horror releases.

Here are a few that caught my eye:

For fans of Anne Rice, her latest novel, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis:The Vampire Chronicles, will be released on November 29. Here's an excerpt from the book description:

At the novel's center: the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, hero, leader, inspirer, irresistible force, irrepressible spirit, battling (and ultimately reconciling with) a strange otherworldly form that has somehow taken possession of Lestat's undead body and soul. This ancient and mysterious power and unearthly spirit of vampire lore has all the force, history, and insidious reach of the unknowable Universe.

It is through this spirit, previously considered benign for thousands of vampire years and throughout the Vampire Chronicles, that we come to be told the hypnotic tale of a great sea power of ancient times; a mysterious heaven on earth situated on a boundless continent--and of how and why, and in what manner and with what far-reaching purpose, this force came to build and rule the great legendary empire of centuries ago that thrived in the Atlantic Ocean.

Joe Hill's Tales from the Darkside: Scripts will be released in hardcover on November 22. It features a series of scripts intended for the "never-broadcast 2015 television reboot" and is illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III (Wraith).

Fans of the master of horror Edgar Allan Poe can look forward to a leatherbound edition of his works being issued by Barnes & Noble at a reasonable price. It will be released on November 28.


Nick Cutter's Little Heaven will be released on January 10, 2017. Here's an excerpt from the book description:

... a trio of mismatched mercenaries is hired by a young woman for a deceptively simple task: check in on her nephew, who may have been taken against his will to a remote New Mexico backwoods settlement called Little Heaven. Shortly after they arrive, things begin to turn ominous. Stirrings in the woods and over the treetops—the brooding shape of a monolith known as the Black Rock casts its terrible pall. Paranoia and distrust grips the settlement. The escape routes are gradually cut off as events spiral towards madness. Hell—or the closest thing to it—invades Little Heaven. The remaining occupants are forced to take a stand and fight back, but whatever has cast its dark eye on Little Heaven is now marshaling its powers...and it wants them all.

 To check out other releases, please click here. 

Monday 7 November 2016

Reliving the Twilight Zone

There's an episode of The Twilight Zone series called "It's A Good Life" in which a boy, played by Billy Mumy of Lost in Space fame, is able to read the thoughts of others and to punish all those who aren't in agreement with him so that in effect he is able to control history. (There was in fact a successful parody of this episode in one of The Simpsons Halloween specials with the boy being, of course, Bart Simpson.)

This episode of The Twilight Zone has recently come to mind because of the constant efforts of news media, members of the Republican Party, and supporters/surrogates to reinvent Donald Trump and make him into a palatable presidential candidate. I'm not really sure if it's Trump's threat to sue the media or his ability to bully his opponents into submission that's caused the deference being shown to him. Whatever the reason, we are supposed to forget the wall with Mexico, the ban on Muslim immigrants, the non-release of tax forms because it's none of our business, the storm-trooper mentality toward opponents, and the blatant sexism, racism, and xenophobia of this candidate because, after all, this is The Donald.

To quote the Twilight Zone end narration of "It's A Good Life":

...And if by some strange chance you should run across him, you had best think only good thoughts. Anything less than that is handled at your own risk, because if you do meet [him} ... you can be sure of one thing: you have entered The Twilight Zone.

That's a scary place to be on the eve of the US presidential election. Hopefully, reason will still prevail for the majority of voters.

(Adapted from my GoodReads Writing in Retirement blog post of May 15)

Sunday 30 October 2016

Happy Halloween

Tomorrow  is Halloween: a fun time for both children and adults. If you have little trick-or-treaters, here's some safety tips from Reader's Digest

1. Plan a route in advance.

Map out a route before leaving home. Stick to paths that you and your child are familiar with to avoid getting lost.

2. Wear comfy shoes.

Make sure you and your children are in comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Girls in dresses should avoid heels, and all shoelaces should be double-tied to avoid tripping in the dark.

3. Stay well-lit.

Apply reflective tape to your child’s costume to ensure they are seen by drivers on the road. Also, carry a flashlight with you to keep your child’s path lit at all times.

4. Make sure all costumes are short.

Long costumes that drag on the ground can be dangerous, especially at night. After purchasing your child’s costume, make sure it’s an appropriate length, and hem anything that’s too long to avoid tripping.

5. Avoid masks.

Masks can make it difficult for your child to see or breathe. If possible, skip the mask altogether and use non-toxic make-up to complete the costume instead.

6. Use flexible props.

Try to avoid costumes that have weapons as accessories. But if your child’s costume won’t be complete without a weapon, make sure it is rubber or plastic. Choose a prop that won’t cause injury to your child or their friends.

7. Check your child’s candy.

When sorting through candy at the end of the night, be sure to throw away any candy that is not in its original wrapper, or looks as though it has been opened.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

Monday 17 October 2016

The Origins of Halloween: Second Installment

Here are some fun facts regarding Halloween:

Originally, Jack-o-lanterns were carved from turnips because pumpkins were not grown in Ireland. An ember was placed inside to ward off evil spirits. To find out the various stories behind "Jack" please click here.

The tradition of bobbing for apples dates back to the Roman invasion of Britain when the conquering army merged their own celebrations with traditional Celtic festivals. The Romans brought with them the apple tree representative of the goddess of fruit trees, Pomona.

It was during the 1950s that candy became popular as a treat for children.Throughout the 1960s, other treats were still offered, and it wasn't until the 1970s that candy came to be seen as the only legitimate treat.  An average Jack-o-lantern bucket holds about 250 pieces of candy with about 9,000 calories and about three pounds of sugar.

 In Canada, Halloween is a billion dollar industry with holiday-related spending that is second only to Christmas.

Monday 10 October 2016

The Origins of Halloween, First Installment

In the lead-up to October 31st, I thought it might be fun to do a series of posts on the origins of Halloween and its evolving traditions.

Halloween’s origins date back two thousand years to the Celts, who lived in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1, which marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter: a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain (pronounced sow-in), when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins.
After the Roman Empire conquered the majority of Celtic territory, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. (The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.)

The later influence of Christianity also affected the Celtic rituals. The Celtic festival of the dead was eventually replaced with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. All Souls' Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. It was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas and the night before it--the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion--began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

The celebration of Halloween in North America reflected the influence of the different European ethnic groups who settled there. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds.

The American Halloween tradition of “trick-or-treating” probably dates back to the early All Souls’ Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food, and families would give them pastries called “soul cakes” in return for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives. The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. This practice, which was referred to as “going a-souling,” was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.


Stay tuned for the second installment in next week's post. 

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, they would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Monday 26 September 2016

British Home Children

I had the opportunity on Saturday to attend the annual British Home Child event organized by the Eastern Ontario British Home Child Society. I would like to extend a special thanks to Judy Neville, who organized the event in Perth, Ontario, and kindly invited me to read from my first novel, The Home Child. I'd also like to thank my friends Margaret Leroux and Peter Fox, who drove from Kingston to lend their support to me at the event.

 If you're not familiar with the story of the British Home Children, the following information might be helpful:

Starting in 1869 and continuing throughout the first half of the twentieth century, children—some as young as six months—were sent to Canada, Australia, and other countries from Great Britain. Known as the British Home Children, approximately 100,000 of these children came to Canada. The majority of children came from the Barnardo orphan homes in England, while 7000 children were sent from the Quarrier orphan homes in Scotland. This child migration was organized as a mission of mercy: a means of allowing these children to have a better life than the poverty they had experienced in their homeland. But only two per cent of these children were actual orphans. They were separated from their parents and siblings and often ended up being exploited as cheap labour and abused in Canada.

My own novel, The Home Child, tells the story of Jake Hall, a transplanted city dweller trying to adjust to the realities of country life. He knows it isn't going to be an easy transition. He's prepared for major renovations to the old farm house he's bought, but what he hasn't counted on is finding a former resident still inhabiting the house in spirit form! Set in eastern Ontario, Canada, against the backdrop of a rural town in transition, this story combines historical detail and the supernatural in the poignant tale of a home child wanting simply to be reunited with the family he lost so many years ago.

Since writing this novel, I've had the privilege of talking to many home child descendants and hearing the stories of their relatives.

Monday 5 September 2016

Season 2 of Fear the Walking Dead

I'm enjoying the second season of Fear the Walking Dead much more than the first. In fact I wasn't sure if there would be a second season. The primary drawback from my point of view was that the first season seemed more like a soap opera focusing primarily on teenage angst in two largely dysfunctional families as opposed to the chaos surrounding them.

Season 2 has more of an outward-looking feel, and the writers have both improved the story line and ramped up the action. They are using the technique, well-developed in The Walking Dead, of separating groups of characters to explore several adventures at once. However, the main difficulty for me in Fear the Walking Dead is that I find the characterization very weak in comparison with TWD. There are so many strong characters in TWD--Rick, Daryl, Glenn, Carol--to name a few, while the new series largely lacks interesting characters. (In fact, I find the two sons Chris and Nick mostly annoying.) In fact the character I like the most is Travis, played by Cliff Curtis, who also starred in the short-lived series Missing with Ashley Judd. Unfortunately, I'm not enamored of the main character Madison Clark, which I find to be overacted and overstated: almost a poor man's Ripley.

But then it's still early in the series and lots of ground to cover. . . .

Monday 29 August 2016

The Latest Horror News

The Horror News Network reports that the movie Don't Breathe has already grossed more than $26 million at the box office, exceeding the studio's expectations. It has an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which notes that:
 Don't Breathe smartly twists its sturdy premise to offer a satisfyingly tense, chilling addition to the home invasion genre that's all the more effective for its simplicity.

Stephen Lang, whom you may remember from the short-lived but excellent series Terra Nova, plays the lead in the film.

On other fronts, fans of Bruce Campbell can enjoy the first season of Ash vs. Evil Dead which is now available on DVD/Blu-ray. Season 6 of The Walking Dead has also been released, although if you've missed episodes and can wait until October, AMC will no doubt show Season 6 as a lead-in to the new season premiering on October 23.

There's lots of horror to come!

Monday 22 August 2016

A Review of The Devil Will Come by Justin Gustainis

I received an ARC of this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program in exchange for an honest review.
Back Cover Blurb

Twenty-one stories that will scare you to death. 

You may or may not believe in the old gentleman known variously as Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, Satan, or simply the devil – but it is impossible to deny the existence of evil in the world. And all those arguments about whether evil originates in the fires of Hades or in the smoldering heart of humankind don’t change the fact that evil has always been with us – and, most likely, always will be.

The stories you are about to read are about evil, in one form or another. Several of them give evil a supernatural origin, but others place it squarely in the lap of ordinary (or maybe not so ordinary) human beings. Some of the people you are about to meet will overcome the evil that confronts them, while others won’t be quite so fortunate. Either way, all of them are going to be changed by the encounter.
These stories are best read late at night, preferably while you’re alone in the house. I recommend leaving only a single light on. Try to use a reading lamp that illuminates the page while throwing the rest of the room into shadows – shadows where anything might be hiding.


Later, as you lie in the iron dark, waiting for sleep, perhaps you’ll start to wonder if there really is a Devil, and if this is the night he might choose to come – for you.

I wish you pleasant dreams.

Well, no – not really.

Author Bio

Justin Gustainis has been an Army officer, speechwriter and professional bodyguard. He is currently a college professor living in upstate New York. He is the author of The Hades Project, Black Magic Woman, Evil Ways, Hard Spell and Sympathy for the Devil. He has also published a number of short stories, two of which won the Graverson Award for Horror in consecutive years. He is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. 
Publisher Info

EDGE-Lite and EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing publish thought-provoking full length novels, collections and anthologies of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Featuring works by established authors and emerging new voices, we are pleased to provide quality literary entertainment in both print and pixels.
"Enjoyable in Print and Pixels"
Twitter: EDGEpublishing

Amazon Buy Link


This is an entertaining collection of short stories that examines the Devil in his various guises. 

The author uses both historical and literary references--Jack the Ripper, Nazi Germany, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, and Stephen King's Carrie, to name a few examples--as backdrops to his depictions of evil.

I especially enjoyed the stories in which the author combines the paranormal with crime fiction, as well as those with plot twists.

This collection will appeal to readers of supernatural, paranormal, and horror fiction.

Monday 15 August 2016

Time for Some Original Content?

We see it again and again: an inferior sequel to an original movie in an attempt to create a franchise and earn more money for the studios. For me, it was the disappointing sequels to Alien and Aliens, in my mind among the best science fiction/horror movies ever created. You can probably think of many other examples.

It is not surprising, then, that Horror News Network reports there will be no sequel to the new Ghostbusters movie, as originally promised by the studio. There are diminished returns at the box office, as well as dwindling fan interest. Sony, with its partner Village Roadshow, is preparing for steep losses after spending an exorbitant amount in advertising costs for the new movie. Sony is now focusing on the lucrative animated film/television market.

For the full text of the article, please see

Am I the only one who is sequel-fatigued? Obviously not. . .

Monday 8 August 2016

Books for the Dog Days of Summer

If you're heading for the cottage or beach and are looking for some good books to take with you, here are a few of the 2016 horror releases that you might like to consider:

 End of Watch by Stephen King - This is the third and final book in the Bill Hodges' trilogy, the first two being Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers. Brady Hartsfield, responsible for the Mercedes massacre, has spent five years in a vegetative state in a traumatic brain injury clinic. But he is now awake and possesses deadly new powers. He is planning revenge not only against Bill Hodges--the hero of the previous two novels--and his friends but against an entire city.

  Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay - A fourteen-year-old boy vanishes without a trace, and the ensuing search turns up nothing. But his ghost keeps appearing, as well as random pages from his journal. This book has been described as a blend of literary fiction, psychological suspense, and supernatural horror.

Fellside by M.R. Carey - Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of England's Yorkshire moors. It's the kind of place where even the walls whisper. And for Jess Moulson, one of the voices belongs to a young boy who says he has a message for her.

Medusa's Web by Tim Powers - A haunted house in the Hollywood Hills is the backdrop for this tale of speculative fiction in which a man must uncover cult secrets to save his sister, who has fallen under the spell of the house.
The Fireman by Joe Hill - Please see my previous post which featured this novel.

Monday 25 July 2016

Summer Reading

If you're planning a vacation and would like to stock up on books--electronic or paper--please consider The Home Child, Fire Whisperer & Circle of Souls: Two Novellas of the Supernatural, and The Accusers. They are reasonably priced and can be read in one or two sittings while you're relaxing on the beach or by the pool.

The Home Child is the story of Jake Hall, a transplanted city dweller trying to adjust to the realities of country life. He knows it isn't going to be an easy transition. He's prepared for major renovations to the old farm house he's bought, but what he hasn't counted on is finding a former resident still inhabiting the house in spirit form! Set in eastern Ontario, Canada, against the backdrop of a rural town in transition, this story combines historical detail and the supernatural in the poignant tale of a home child wanting simply to be reunited with the family he lost so many years ago.

"Fire Whisperer" - Injured in a hotel fire, Keva Tait experiences auditory and visual hallucinations and is diagnosed with schizophrenia. But is this illness really at the root of her constant encounters with a young, dark-haired woman and an elder who materializes at night on her bed? With the tenth anniversary of the fire looming, Keva wants to take back her life by confronting what really happened when she was seventeen years old.

"Circle of Souls" - A young woman doing research at a small museum in Ottawa is almost pushed down a set of stairs. Her sister-in-law, who restores fossils at a museum of natural history, is touched by an unseen presence. A videographer glimpses unsettling images in his work. A paranormal team leader encounters the inexplicable as he investigates an old mill. A student working part time at an old jail experiences the despair of its former inmates. All of these locations are said to be haunted, but who exactly is the ghost? Or are there many ghosts seeking human intervention?

The Accusers - At first glance, Berwick Street is a quiet cul-de-sac: a safe place to raise a family and enjoy retirement. But in the dead of winter when most Berwick Street residents have gone south to escape the bitter cold, there is something evil lurking in the coming snowstorm. A group of followers with specially-honed powers of destruction seeks final retribution for events that occurred more than four hundred years ago. Aided by a teenager with precognitive abilities, an unlikely trio of women - Cassie, an introvert in her twenties, Rebecca, a sixty-five-year-old grandmother, and Mabel, an ailing octogenarian - must face the coming onslaught. Who will prevail?
 These books are available through Amazon and other outlets.

To read Goodreads reviews, please see

Happy reading!

Monday 18 July 2016

Third Installment of Summer Viewing

Two final recommendations for you if you're interested in TV series on DVD/Blu-Ray:

Wayward Pines is based on the novels of Blake Crouch. The pilot was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and he is one of the executive producers of the series. The inhabitants of Wayward Pines are trapped there by an electrified fence, and any attempt to escape is punished by a public execution known as a "reckoning". This is an offbeat series where what is going on beyond the confines of the small town is gradually revealed to the viewer. (The series reminds me of  Shyamalan's film The Village.)  I've watched only the first season; the second season is currently airing on television.

Although Fargo doesn't fit into the horror/science fiction category, it's excellent viewing for those who enjoy black comedy and missed the first two seasons when they aired on television. The series was inspired by the movie Fargo, and the Coen brothers are executive producers of the show. Fargo has won a series of awards and stars an excellent cast.  I was especially impressed by Ted Danson's performance and that of Kirsten Dunst in Season 2.

NOTE: Both series contain violent content.

Monday 11 July 2016

Second Installment of Summer Viewing

Continuing with the theme of science fiction/horror series on DVD and Blu-Ray for summer viewing, you might like to check out Falling Skies, a very classy science fiction production with Steven Spielberg as executive producer.  It is a post-apocalyptic drama that follows the resistance mounted by humans against alien invaders who have conquered the earth. The special effects are well-done and the acting is top-notch. Fans of the Star Wars movies will no doubt enjoy this series with its exotic array of extraterrestrials and its classic battles between good and evil.

Extant, another Steven Spielberg production, combines the themes of space travel, alien incubation in
humans, and artificial intelligence.  Although the series lasted only two seasons, it has a very interesting dual story line and features Halle Berry in the lead role as an astronaut who discovers upon her return to earth that she is pregnant. The series has overtones of the Alien franchise, as well as Spielberg's AI movie.

Stay tuned for more suggestions next week.

Monday 4 July 2016

Summer Viewing

If you're interested in some summer viewing on DVD or Blu-Ray and didn't catch these series when they were televised, here's a couple of suggestions:

The Leftovers - In the aftermath of the unexplained disappearance of 2 per cent of the world's population,
those who were spared must deal with their survivors' guilt and try to go on with their lives while not knowing if or when another such event will occur. Generally, a good cast and intriguing story, although the "Guilty Remnants," who want to inflict as much misery on themselves and others so as not to forget the event, become a bit tiresome after a while.

The 4400 - In this series, 4400 people who have disappeared from earth beginning in 1946 are suddenly returned. Why did they disappear, what changes did they undergo
and what danger do they now pose? These three questions provide the basis for the series. Generally well-acted and suspenseful.

I'll return with some other suggestions in next week's blog.


Monday 13 June 2016


Photo courtesy of NPR

Today NPR previews some of the new summer TV series, including BrainDead, developed by the creators of The Good Wife.

The series parodies the US political system with the premise that alien bugs have infiltrated the brains of politicians and taken control of them. (What could be more timely with Donald Trump running as the Republican presidential candidate?)

As the NPR article notes, the show has to walk a tightrope between "savvy political drama and wryly funny sci-fi horror thriller" and doesn't always succeed in doing so. But if you'd like to check out this new series, it starts tonight on CBS.

.To view the NPR article, please click here.

Monday 6 June 2016

A Review of The Thing Is by Kathleen Gerard

Once again we are pleased to host a stop in the Tribute Books Blog Tour to review Katherine Gerard's The Thing Is.

Book Summary and Buy Links

Can a woman mired deep in the throes of grief have her heart and soul rallied by a therapy dog
named Prozac who possesses supernatural wisdom and a canine Mensa IQ?

Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancĂ©, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.

Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.

Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and even love—along the way.

THE THING IS—a perfect read for fans of General Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romantic Comedy, and Dog and Pet Lovers!

Prices/Formats: $5.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Romantic Comedy
February 9, 2016
Red Adept

Amazon buy link

Barnes and Noble buy link

iTunes buy link

Author Bio

Kathleen Gerard writes across genres. Her work has been awarded many literary prizes and has been
published in magazines, journals, widely anthologized and broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR). Kathleen writes and reviews books for Shelf Awareness. Kathleen's woman-in-jeopardy novel, IN TRANSIT, won "Best Romantic Fiction" at the New York Book Festival.

Our Review of The Thing Is

This is a charming and innovative novel that alternates between the points of view of Meredith, a reluctant dog-sitter who is struggling with grief and loss, and Prozac, a little dog that in his present incarnation serves as a spirit guide to humans trying to cope with the personal tragedies in their lives. There is also a supporting cast of well-developed characters.

Prozac (the dog rather than the chemical) is a natural remedy to the unexpected turns that life throws each of us. He's not only instinctively wise, but also very funny.

The Thing Is will appeal to a wide audience: not only animal lovers, but also readers of supernatural fiction, romantic comedy, and inspirational works.

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Monday 30 May 2016

The Last Ship

I'm currently watching Season 2 of The Last Ship and was pleased to see that it was renewed for another season scheduled to start on June 12, 2016.

The premise of the series, which is based on a novel of the same name by William Brinkley, is that after a global viral pandemic wipes out over eighty percent of the world's population, the crew (consisting of 218 men and women) of a lone, unaffected US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the fictional USS Nathan James, must try to find a cure, stop the virus, and save humanity.

As post-apocalyptic adventures go, the series focuses less on the horrors of the disease and more on finding and disseminating the cure. There are no zombies as in The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, but there is a great deal of suspense based on the constant thwarting of enemy vessels and colonies trying to get the cure for their own political ends. The acting is also top notch.

If you haven't seen this series, you might like to check it out.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Monday 23 May 2016

An Interview with Joe Hill

There's an interesting interview with Joe Hill on NPR in which he talks about his latest book, The Fireman, a plague novel that he says was influenced by The Stand. Hill also talks about his happy childhood and his constant exposure to story-telling that inspired his choice of careers.

We previewed The Fireman in a previous post.

To listen to the interview, please click here.

For an early post on Hill and his father's influence on him, please click here.

Monday 16 May 2016

Bram Stoker Award® Winners

The Bram Stoker Award® winners were announced yesterday. In case you missed the announcement, here's the list:

Superior Achievement in a NOVEL   
Paul Tremblay - A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a FIRST NOVEL  
Nicole Cushing - Mr. Suicide (Word Horde)

Superior Achievement in a YOUNG ADULT NOVEL   
John DixonDevil's Pocket (Simon & Schuster)

Superior Achievement in a GRAPHIC NOVELS  
Sam Weller, Mort Castle, Chris Ryall, & Carlos Guzman (editors) Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (IDW Publishing)

Superior Achievement in LONG FICTION  
Mercedes M. Yardley - Little Dead Red (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)

Superior Achievement in SHORT FICTION   
John Palisano - "Happy Joe's Rest Stop" (18 Wheels of Horror) (Big Time Books)

Superior Achievement in a SCREENPLAY   
David Robert Mitchell - It Follows (Northern Lights Films)

Superior Achievement in an ANTHOLOGY  
Michael Bailey - The Library of the Dead (Written Backwards)

Superior Achievement in a FICTION COLLECTION 
 Lucy A. Snyder - While the Black Stars Burn (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in NON-FICTION 
 Stephen Jones - The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)

Superior Achievement in a POETRY COLLECTION  
Alessandro Manzetti - Eden Underground (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Congratulations to all of the award winners.

Monday 9 May 2016

The Witch

Our fascination with witchcraft continues unabated. Is it the special ability of persons to control their environment and events that intrigues us? Or maybe there's a much simpler explanation: witches are downright scary, and who doesn't like the catharsis of a good scare from time to time?

The Witch has an 83% rating on Metacritics and will be available in DVD and Blu-ray format on May 16.

Here's a synopsis:

In this exquisitely-made and terrifying new horror film, the age-old concepts of witchcraft, black magic and possession are innovatively brought together to tell the intimate and riveting story of one family's frightful unraveling.

Set in New England circa 1630, The Witch follows a farmer who get cast out of his colonial plantation and is forced to move his family to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest rumored to be controlled by witches. Almost immediately, strange and unsettling things begin to happen-the animals turn violent, the crops fail, and one of the children disappears, only to return seemingly possessed by an evil spirit.  As suspicion and paranoia mount, everyone begins to point the finger at teenage daughter Thomasin. They accuse her of witchcraft, which she adamantly denies...but as circumstances become more and more treacherous, each family member's faith, loyalty, and love will be tested in shocking and unforgettable ways.

To watch a trailer, please click here.

Monday 2 May 2016

Upcoming StokerCon™ 2016

Just a reminder that StokerCon™ 2016 will soon be upon us. It takes place at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas from May 12-15, 2016.

Guests of honor include Jack Ketchum, R.L. Stine, and many other distinguished horror writers.

The winners of the Bram Stoker Awards® will be announced at a special banquet during the convention.

A feature of the convention is Horror University, a series of presentations and workshops "run by some of the best and brightest in the horror field".

For more information, please click here.

And stay tuned for a subsequent blog post on the Bram Stoker Award® winners.

Monday 25 April 2016

The Fireman: An Upcoming May Release

Fans of Joe Hill will be pleased to know that his latest novel, The Fireman, is due for release on May 17, 2016.

Here's an excerpt from the book description:

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.
Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. . . .
 . . . The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.
In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman's secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke. 
 To view some preliminary reviews of The Fireman and to enter a Goodreads giveaway for the book,  please click here.

Monday 18 April 2016

The Stanley Hotel: Is It Really Haunted?

Photo courtesy of Stanley Hotel Website

Fans of Stephen King's The Shining will probably know the story behind the Stanley Hotel, which is said to have been the inspiration for the novel. (In the novel, the hotel was known as The Overlook.)

Located in Estes Park, Colorado, the Stanley Hotel has a history of being haunted. Recently a guest staying there claims to have photographed a ghost on its grand stairway.

You can check out his photograph to see if you agree with him.

To visit the website of the Stanley Hotel, please click here.

It's accepting reservations and you can even order your own REDRUM coffee mug...

Monday 11 April 2016

LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Giveaway for The Accusers

If you're a member of LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program--or would like to sign up for free to become a member--you'll see that 25 copies of The Accusers in e-book format are available as giveaways in the April batch of recently published books.

This program allows publishers and authors to connect with readers in all genres. Like the GoodReads giveaway program, it encourages readers to publish reviews for the books they receive.

For more information, please click here.

Monday 4 April 2016

Goodreads Book Giveaway for The Accusers

The Goodreads giveaway is up and running for my new book, The Accusers, and it is now available on Kobo as well as Kindle (and in paperback through Amazon).

Here's a brief excerpt from the book:

. . . Rebecca Anderson, affectionately known as Becca by family and friends, was a pleasant-faced woman, short and a bit plump, with curly grey hair. She was usually quick to smile, but today her expression was one of sadness. She turned on a reading lamp as she sat in her living room. It was February: the shortest, yet longest month of the year. The last rays of the winter sun had already died, and it was only 5 pm. According to the local news channel, there was heavy snow in the forecast.

Becca didn’t understand the depression she’d been experiencing lately. She’d lived in this house on Berwick Street for forty years and had raised three children here with the help of her beloved husband Jack, dead of cancer for five years now. She’d always tried to see the best in people and circumstances. . . .

She headed for the kitchen to begin preparing her supper. Her constant shadow, Mooch the cat, was nowhere to be seen.

He must be sleeping somewhere.
Becca pulled the cutting board from the cupboard and started assembling ingredients for a salad. She searched for the knife she always used to cut vegetables, but it wasn’t in the butcher’s block or the dishwasher.

Strange. I’m only sixty-five. I hope I’m not starting to get forgetful and misplacing things.

She selected another knife and began to slice the lettuce and tomatoes, trying to pinpoint when exactly this depressed feeling had started. . . .

Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud thump outside on the porch. Becca wiped her hands on a dish towel and hurried to the door. When she opened it, she found a note pinned there with her missing knife.Her hands shaking, she removed the knife and read the note.

You have been marked.

She spotted Mooch under the living room couch. The cat was hissing violently in fright, but there was no one to be seen on the street nor were there footprints in the crusted snow. . . .

Monday 28 March 2016

The Accusers: A New Novel by Lynn L. Clark

I'm very pleased to announce that my third novel, The Accusers, is now available on Amazon  in paperback and Kindle format. The e-version for Kobo will be published shortly.

I enjoyed writing this story and, as usual, did background research so that I could blend history and fiction, as in my previous two books, The Home Child and Fire Whisperer and Circle of Souls: Two Novellas of the Supernatural.

What's it about? It's the story of three women and a young boy who stand together against an evil that threatens to consume them, their families, and their neighbours. It's also a tale of how unmitigated hatred and the urge for revenge can destroy ordinary lives. I think this is probably the most suspenseful of the books I've written to date.

This is the back cover blurb:

At first glance, Berwick Street is a quiet cul-de-sac: a safe place to raise a family and enjoy retirement. But in the dead of winter when most Berwick Street residents have already headed south to escape the bitter cold, something evil lurks in the coming snowstorm. A group of followers with specially-honed powers of destruction seeks final retribution for events that occurred more than four hundred years ago!

Aided by a teenager with precognitive abilities, an unlikely trio of women--Cassie, an introvert in her twenties; Rebecca, a sixty-five-year-old grandmother; and Mabel, an ailing octogenarian who has outlived her husband and sons--must face the coming onslaught. WHO WILL PREVAIL?

There will be a Goodreads giveaway in April, and the novel will also be available through the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing.  More about this in my next post.

Monday 21 March 2016

No Clowning Around

From time to time, I like to re-publish posts that attracted a fairly large audience of readers.The following post was originally published on Behind the Walls of Nightmare in August 2013:

Anyone who has ever read or seen horror depictions of clowns can testify to the power of the clown as a figure of malevolence. To me, the clown has always been an ambivalent figure, more tragic than comic, but not usually downright scary. So I was interested to read an article on the history of the clown figure entitled "The History and Psychology of Clowns Being Scary".

The article traces the history of clowns from pagan times to the present day, noting the early clown was primarily a buffoon or mischievous imp. The image of the "tragic" clown is associated with Joseph Grimaldi in England, who was famous as a comic pantomime player on the London stage, known not only for his painted face but also his extreme physical comedy. Sadly, he had a tragic personal life and was also always in excruciating pain from his performances. His memoirs were edited by Charles Dickens, who did much to reinforce the tragedy behind the clown's mask and the image of an individual who would literally destroy himself to get a laugh.

A "sinister" figure behind the clown's face was Jean-Gaspard Debarau, known as Pierrot and famous for his pantomime and his clown's white face with red lips and black eyebrows. In real life, he killed a boy who ridiculed him, but was acquitted of his murder.

Later, in America, there were "hobo" clowns such as Emmett Kelly, who used slapstick humor for comedy but also expressed the underlying tragedy for the common man of the Great Depression (as did Charlie Chaplin, who isn't mentioned specifically in the article).

The article also references the deranged clown doll in Poltergeist (lampooned in The Simpsons' Halloween special); Stephen King's Pennywise in It; and Heath Ledger's depiction of the Joker, as well as various other permutations of the malevolent clown.

And, all clowning aside, these negative images of clowns have obviously been detrimental to the profession because "in the mid-2000s, articles began popping up in newspapers across the country lamenting the decline of attendees at clown conventions or at clowning workshop courses."

Of course, along the way there were some good clowns: think Bozo the Clown, for example. No, this isn't just a name you call someone who cuts you off in traffic: there actually was a beloved Bozo with his own television show, which most of us who grew up in the 60s watched faithfully.

And, as the Ringley Brothers' talent spotter (and former clown) indicates, "good clowns are always in shortage, and it’s good clowns who keep the art alive".

For the full text of this very engaging article, please click here.

Monday 14 March 2016

Markets and Writing Tips for Horror Writers

If you're an author looking for an audience, there is some very useful information on the Horror Writers Association (HWA) website on the marketing of horror material, as well how to prepare your submission. The HWA recommends markets that pay five cents per word or more.

There are also extensive links to writing tips.

This information is available to all horror writers, not just HWA members.

For market information, please click here.
For writing tips, please click here.

Best of luck with your submissions!

Monday 7 March 2016

Bram Stoker Award® Nominees

The Horror Writers Association has released a list of nominees for this year’s Bram Stoker Awards® to highlight the best of horror fiction for 2015. The nominees are as follows:

Superior Achievement in a Novel
  • Clive Barker – The Scarlet Gospels (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Michaelbrent Collings – The Deep (self-published)
  • JG Faherty – The Cure (Samhain Publishing)
  • Patrick Freivald – Black Tide (JournalStone Publishing)
  • Paul Tremblay – A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow)
Superior Achievement in a First Novel
  • Courtney Alameda – Shutter (Feiwel & Friends)
  • Nicole Cushing – Mr. Suicide (Word Horde)
  • Brian Kirk – We Are Monsters (Samhain Publishing)
  • John McIlveen – Hannahwhere (Crossroad Press)
  • John Claude Smith – Riding the Centipede (Omnium Gatherum)
Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
  • Jennifer Brozek – Never Let Me Sleep (Permuted Press)
  • Michaelbrent Collings – The Ridealong (self-published)
  • John Dixon – Devil’s Pocket (Simon & Schuster)
  • Tonya Hurley – Hallowed (Simon & Schuster)
  • Maureen Johnson – The Shadow Cabinet (Penguin)
  • Ian Welke – End Times at Ridgemont High (Omnium Gatherum)
Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
  • Cullen Bunn – Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Victor Gischler – Hellbound (Dark Horse Books)
  • Robert Kirkman – Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder – Wytches, Vol. 1 (Image Comics)
  • Sam Weller, Mort Castle, Chris Ryall, & Carlos Guzman (editors) – Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (IDW Publishing)
Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
  • Gary A. Braunbeck – "Paper Cuts" (Seize the Night) (Gallery Books)
  • Lisa Mannetti – "The Box Jumper" (Smart Rhino Publications)
  • Norman Partridge – "Special Collections" (The Library of the Dead) (Written Backwards)
  • Mercedes M. Yardley – "Little Dead Red" (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)
  • Scott Edelman – "Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen" (Dark Discoveries #30)
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
  • Kate Jonez – All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck (Black Static #47)
  • Gene O’Neill – The Algernon Effect (White Noise Press)
  • John Palisano – Happy Joe’s Rest Stop (18 Wheels of Horror) (Big Time Books)
  • Damien Angelica Walters – Sing Me Your Scars (Sing Me Your Scars) (Apex Publications)
  • Alyssa Wong – Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers (Nightmare Magazine #37)
Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
  • Guillermo del Toro & Matthew Robbins – Crimson Peak (Legendary Pictures)
  • John Logan – Penny Dreadful: And Hell Itself My Only Foe (Showtime)
  • John Logan – Penny Dreadful: Nightcomers (Showtime)
  • David Robert Mitchell – It Follows (Northern Lights Films)
  • Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement – What We Do in the Shadows (Unison Films)
Superior Achievement in an Anthology
  • Michael Bailey – The Library of the Dead (Written Backwards)
  • Ellen Datlow – The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls (Tor Books)
  • Christopher Golden – Seize the Night (Gallery Books)
  • Nancy Kilpatrick and Caro Soles – nEvermore! (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing)
  • Jonathan Maberry – The X-Files: Trust No One (IDW Publishing)
  • Joseph Nassise and Del Howison – Midian Unmade (Tor Books)
Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
  • Gary A. Braunbeck – Halfway Down the Stairs (JournalStone Publishing)
  • Nicole Cushing – The Mirrors (Cycatrix Press)
  • Taylor Grant – The Dark at the End of the Tunnel (Cemetery Dance Publications)
  • Gene O’Neill – The Hitchhiking Effect (Dark Renaissance Books)
  • Lucy A. Snyder – While the Black Stars Burn (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
  • Justin Everett and Jeffrey H. Shanks (ed.) – The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers)
  • Stephen Jones – The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
  • Michael Knost – Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth (Seventh Star Press)
  • Joe Mynhardt & Emma Audsley (editors) – Horror 201: The Silver Scream (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Danel Olson – Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (Centipede Press)
Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
  • Bruce Boston – Resonance Dark and Light (Eldritch Press)
  • Alessandro Manzetti – Eden Underground (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Ann Schwader – Dark Energies (P’rea Press)
  • Marge Simon – Naughty Ladies (Eldritch Press)
  • Stephanie M. Wytovich – An Exorcism of Angels (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
The awards will be handed out during the inaugural StokerCon™ in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 14, 2016. In addition, life-time achievement awards will be presented to George A. Romero and Alan Moore. For more information, please visit the Horror Writers Association website.

Congratulations to all of the nominees!