Is The Horror Revival Skipping the Book Market?

Yes, I’m a horror author so let’s get that out there right away. What that means is I’m particularly biased when it comes to the subject of horror fiction and its place in popular culture.

While the last few years have seen various increases in what some would consider horror, or let’s call it genre fiction for now, there may be a corner of the mainstream that’s surprisingly lacking in this area.

Sure, Netflix has quite a few popular hits with series like Stranger Things (which isn’t quite horror but dives into that realm), Black Mirror (sci-fi psychological horror), and a slew of independent horror films that people either love or laugh at. And yes, in over the last few years films like Get Out, Don’t Breathe, The Conjuring franchise, and the remake of Stephen King’s IT has all renewed an interests in genre fiction beyond the formulaic hack-n-slash or torture porn seen in prior eras.

On place this resurgence isn’t hitting is, amazingly enough, in horror novels. Searching through Amazon.com’s list of Top 100 horror books and ebooks you’ll notice quite a few titles but there’s more than meets the eye here.

Joe Hill
Author Joe Hill

Firstly, unless you’re Stephen King or his son Joe Hill there aren’t too many other authors selling a large number of books. You do have indie mavericks like Willow Rose who have managed to carve out a good spot for herself on sheer volume of titles alone but then there’s the rest of us (yes, I include myself here now that I have two published works out) who haven’t quite caught on yet.

One might think because genre fiction is so en vogue now that the book market would be raking in the cash. Not so much. Of course the question is why.

There’s no one thing really. On Amazon and other online ebook retailers there are a flood of indie authors in the genre like myself. However, unlike other genres, the horror indie author community hasn’t quite gotten on board with the standards the other genres have. We don’t really have a standard book cover style that is guaranteed to sell, the covers are all over the place. Some are great, some look like they were done by a third-grader with crayon. The content is another story.

I’ve read quite a few reviews of even the top selling books from readers saying that the stories are all the same. The trend is towards ghosts stories, haunted houses, and of course the zombie apocalypse. There are a few gems out there that do something fresh (I read quite a few reviews if you couldn’t tell) but there seems to be a general been-there-done-that attitude.

We have left the age of the New Weird and entered an era that I can’t really describe. Horror fiction was known for being innovative and for a time was a top selling genre. Mavericks like Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, and Ramsey Campbell gave us fresh takes and fresh ideas in the past. While Campbell and Koontz continue to put out books Barker has all but disappeared and many other authors have gone silent as well. My latest trip to the bookstore came with no trip to the horror section because there was no horror section.

Even on Amazon if you look in the top 100 there are quite a few books under “horror” that aren’t horror books at all. They’re not genre fiction either. They’re slightly paranormal and use the tag to get a top 100 ranking in a field that is woefully understocked.

Of course, I aim to do my part over the next few years to add something to the genre. My greatest desire, even more than having a successful bestseller or recognition (which anyone who pays attention can tell I really don’t want), is to give readers a new experience. If readers say they’ve gotten something that wasn’t the same old stuff they’ve read and they thoroughly enjoyed what I wrote then that’s the best compliment I can get as an author.

While I enjoy this new revival in genre fiction for pop culture, I’m hoping it touches the book industry sooner than later.

Top Ten FREE Horror eBooks for Winter 2017

Top 10 Horror EBooks Winter 2017

Need some fun and terrifying reading for the cold months of winter? Looking for a break from the holiday cheer to dive into something more naughty than nice?

Here are Top Ten FREE Horror eBooks you can read during the cold, snowy months of winter in 2017. Ranging from deteriorating zombies to night devils to post-apocalyptic horror, these creepy stories will chill your bones much more than the below freezing temperatures outside!

Rotten Bodies


Rotten Bodies by Steven Jenkins

Dead Days: Season One


Dead Days: Season One by Ryan Casey
The Priest of Blood



The Priest of Blood by Douglas Clegg
The Lost Orphans


The Lost Orphans by J.S. Donovan

Miss Polly Had A Dolly


Miss Polly had a Dolly by Willow Rose
The Black Parade


The Black Parade by Kyoko M
Empty Bodies by Zach Bohannon


Empty Bodies by Zach Bohannon
Suicide Forest


Suicide Forest by Jeremy Bates
Tempt


Tempt by Claire Farrell
The Dark Verse


The Dark Verse by M. Amanuensis Sharkchild

The Immanent World: Cluichi (A Horror Anthology Series)

The Immanent World: Cluichi A Horror Anthology Series

Six Twisted Tales of Terror

Available for: Kindle and Kindle Unlimited as well as paperback

The Immanent World: Cluichi  A Horror Anthology SeriesOmar Snellings had no idea that on this day — the final day of his life — that he’d be introduced to the ethereal forces of Heaven and Hell engaged in a series of card games, or cluichi, that used human souls as currency.

Clive Reznor‘s newest horror anthology book will test your limits. Told in six short stories ranging from gothic horror to social commentary to dark comedy, The Immanent World: Cluichi A Horror Anthology Series is a thrill ride through the darkest hidden corners of the human mind.

Clive Reznor’s newest horror anthology book will test your limits

For readers who enjoy:

  • The Books of Blood, Night Shift, Six Scary Stories, The New Weird
  • Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Dean Koontz, Stephen King
  • Short story collections / anthologies
  • Supernatural tales of angels and demons
  • dark comedy, societal horror, body horror
  • paranormal, graphic tales, books for adults

This book will be a great addition to your nighttime reading collection.

The Apollyon Game (A Horror Short Story by Clive Reznor)

For his first short story under the AOE Studios banner, new author Clive Reznor presents a demented horror short story called The Apollyon Game.

Portia is a young girl who has been ridiculed and shunned her entire life because she was different. One night, she invites five of her “friends” over to play The Apollyon Game: a twisted card game of truth or dare where if you lose a hand the consequences are devilishly fatal.

This short story is available on Kindle but is also free to members of our mailing list. This is just a taste of Reznor’s work that will be shown in even greater (gory) glory this Fall with the release of The Immanent World Vol. 2 – Cluichi.

Get your FREE copy of The Apollyon Game by clicking here or visiting our main website.

Excerpt from The Death of Omar Snellings

The Immanent World Vol. 2: Cluichi

The Immanent World Vol. 2: Cluichi will be available this coming Fall. Written by Clive Reznor and illustrated by KC Hunter, this horror anthology will feature eight terrifying stories from the supernatural to the grotesque.

Here is a sample from the initial “wrap-around” story “The Death of Omar Snellings”:


Omar stumbled again as he tried to find his car. Where had he parked it? The throbbing in his head was keeping him from focusing. Too many thoughts were racing through his head, back and forth from the room he had just left, to the fall, to the street, the houses, and the neighbors, but where was his car?
Another spasm in his skull forced him to double over, grabbing at the side of his head. He’d have to go to the hospital first. Something was wrong. He thought that the fall hadn’t harmed him but that was turning out not to be true.

“Mr. Omar!” he heard a young voice call out.

What did these kids want? He wasn’t working now.

“Mr. Omar!” the voice called again.

The pain was shooting on the other side of his head now.

“Mr. Omar! Mr. Omar!” now came several voices.

What in the world were they yelling at him for? He forced his hand from his temple, knowing as soon as he did the headache would intensify but he needed to know what was so damn urgent. Angrily, he lifted his chin up and stared in the direction of the voices. Before he could yell at them in response, the breath he was taking in order to do so was cut short.

The impact of the truck was sudden and violent. How Omar had not heard the horn or the screeching tires as the vehicle slid down the middle of Hanover Street, no one quite knew. Neither did Omar. The truck’s metal grill seemed to appear out of nowhere as he turned to see it, just in time before its pattern was embedded in his face.

A crowd quickly gathered around the scene of the accident. The driver of the truck was in utter shock, the amount of blood and tissue that splattered across the front of his vehicle made him sick.
“Didn’t you see him?” a voice cried out.

“Is that Omar?” another said.

“Yeah, that was Omar.”

“Someone call an ambulance!”

“What for? Someone get a shovel!”

The children, who had been content to play games at the end of the street before all of this had happened, were now consumed with using their smart phones as recording devices. Every single one of them was taking pictures, recording videos, and some even were streaming live on social media to show this tragedy to the world in real time.

“Stop that,” one of the older females of the neighborhood said as she tried to usher the younger children from the scene. “You don’t need to be seein’ this. Certainly the rest of the damn world don’t neither! Go on, get outta here!”

The adults in the neighborhood had just as little compassion as the children. Many of them were recording the event in the same way. The chatter continued in the crowd, people asking questions, throwing accusations, speculating on whether or not he heard the truck or whether the driver could have stopped. A few even vomited after the smell and sight of Omar Snellings’ remains overwhelmed them.

While many knew it was wrong on one level to be gawking at this scene; the gruesome dismemberment of a fellow neighbor, they also couldn’t help but indulge in their voyeurism. Who was to say they were wrong? They were all guilty of it, even the older woman who had told the children to leave was now was just as consumed by the scene as they had been. How many times do you get to see a mangled corpse?

Sample from The Immanent World Vol. 2: Cluichi by Clive Reznor

The Immanent World Vol. 2: Cluichi

Looking for feedback on this story as Clive Reznor is in the midst of finalizing it. Over the next few months we’ll be releasing excerpts from the story for your review and critique.

Thank you for checking out our story and we look forward to the release of The Immanent World Vol. 2: Cluichi this year.


THE DEATH OF OMAR SNELLINGS

We are all one unforeseen breath from death.
That last breath, the final inhalation and exhalation, has its own mind and its own unique chemistry that is unlike any other drawn before it. Whether its a short gasp, a long sigh, muffled by a groan, pierced by a shriek, that last ritual of consumption and expulsion summarizes for its master what their life was, and in a sense, how they had used it.
It has its own rules. But, as with any rule, they can be broken.

Omar Snellings drew in a deep breath just before his graceless tumble down the stairwell. His head bounced into the stained plaster of the walls, blurring his vision and muting his hearing. He feared that these bumbling moments would be his last; a fear that crept into his bowels, causing them to spill their contents just a little.
His mind rapidly scanned through his memories, trying to relive the most meaningful before the end. All that he wanted to see, all that he wanted to be, the people he would miss and — he hoped — would miss him, came rushing into his brain with as much insistence as the throbbing pain he felt with each tumble.

This shouldn’t be how it ended. Focus on how not to die.

The base of his skull struck the metal steps once, twice, and then a third time. Fortunately, that was the end. His body slid to a halt at the bottom step.

No blood. No bumps. I’m fine, he thought, as he pulled himself up from the filthy floor. He took this time to adjust his leather jacket, run his hands over his thinning head of hair, and most importantly, find his glasses. Thankfully, they had not been broken during the fall. He did his best to wipe them clean, sliding the lenses back and forth between a portion of his shirt he held between finger and thumb.

Good enough. Time was wasting.

The 22nd block of Hanover Street was halfway between abandoned city blight and gentrified urban renewal. While many of the row houses remained in a state of disrepair, every third or fourth one stood refreshed. A new coat of paint, modern interior design, and a charming red and blue sign displaying the name of their seller flapping against the refurbished front doors. They seemed to mock the other homes, proudly boasting their value and newness while the others depressingly sagged into their concrete moldings, occupied by owners, renters, and sometimes vagrants who cared little for their well-being.
Omar could relate. He often identified more with the dilapidated over the decorated. It was not as if the new homes didn’t possess character, but they were a symbol of this neighborhood — where he had spent his childhood — changing away from what was and into something that, quite frankly, didn’t belong.

Stammering out of one of the older homes, he immediately became dizzy as he entered the afternoon’s chilly air. It was late fall and winter was already whispering her chill a month early. He stopped moving and took a moment to steady himself, his breaths short at first, creating translucent white clouds as they exited his lips.

The street was unnaturally busy today. The neighborhood children were gathered on the stoops near the end of the street, some chattering outrageously while others busied themselves on their smart phones. The older kids, who knew Omar by reputation, kept an eye on him as he composed himself. And there, across the street, was one of those new houses.
What an obnoxious sight. The damn thing might have very well been mocking him now. His clothes were not new, his face was worn into lines and crevices of any man who had lived a life as rough and challenged as he had. The first few patches of gray had shown up in this last year, hurting his vanity and forcing him to shave his beard. He had seen the owners of the new house and knew they were younger, more accomplished, and better looking.

They were probably there now, the couple with their designer clothes and fashionable hairstyles, looking out the window at him as if he was part of the entertainment: a living display of urban life. Perhaps the older of them, a man in his forties, would be more respectful, but his partner, a much younger man in his early twenties with an undeniable love for hair dye and orange shoes, was certainly watching. He had caught the skinny twerp doing it before, the look on his face that of inquisitive shock.

I’m not here for your entertainment.

Omar stumbled again as he tried to find his car. Where had he parked it? The throbbing in his head was keeping him from focusing. Too many thoughts were racing through his head, back and forth from the room he had just left, to the fall, to the street, the houses, and the neighbors, but where was his car?
Another spasm in his skull forced him to double over, grabbing at the side of his head. He’d have to go to the hospital first. Something was wrong. He thought that the fall hadn’t harmed him but that was turning out not to be true.
“Mr. Omar!” he heard a young voice call out.

What did these kids want? He wasn’t working now.

“Mr. Omar!” the voice called again.
The pain was shooting on the other side of his head now.
“Mr. Omar! Mr. Omar!” now came several voices.
What in the world were they yelling at him for? He forced his hand from his temple, knowing as soon as he did the headache would intensify but he needed to know what was so damn urgent. Angrily, he lifted his chin up and stared in the direction of the voices. Before he could yell at them in response, the breath he was taking in order to do so was cut short.
The impact of the truck was sudden and violent. How Omar had not heard the horn or the screeching tires as the vehicle slid down the middle of Hanover Street, no one quite knew. Neither did Omar. The truck’s metal grill seemed to appear out of nowhere as he turned to see it, just in time before its pattern was embedded in his face.
A crowd quickly gathered around the scene of the accident. The driver of the truck was in utter shock, the amount of blood and tissue that splattered across the front of his vehicle made him sick.

“Didn’t you see him?” a voice cried out.
“Is that Omar?” another said.
“Yeah, that was Omar.”
“Someone call an ambulance!”
“What for? Someone get a shovel!”

The children, who had been content to play games at the end of the street before all of this had happened, were now consumed with using their smart phones as recording devices. Every single one of them was taking pictures, recording videos, and some even were streaming live on social media to show this tragedy to the world in real time.
“Stop that,” one of the older females of the neighborhood said as she tried to usher the younger children from the scene. “You don’t need to be seein’ this. Certainly the rest of the damn world don’t neither! Go on, get outta here!”
The adults in the neighborhood had just as little compassion as the children. Many of them were recording the event in the same way. The chatter continued in the crowd, people asking questions, throwing accusations, speculating on whether or not he heard the truck or whether the driver could have stopped. A few even vomited after the smell and sight of Omar Snellings’ remains overwhelmed them.

While many knew it was wrong on one level to be gawking at this scene; the gruesome dismemberment of a fellow neighbor, they also couldn’t help but indulge in their voyeurism. Who was to say they were wrong? They were all guilty of it, even the older woman who had told the children to leave was now was just as consumed by the scene as they had been. How many times do you get to see a mangled corpse?

Introducing: Clive Reznor

The latest edition to the AOE Studios family pulls from the veins of the macabre and the pulse of your nightmares.

Clive ReznorClive Reznor is a horror/supernatural/genre fiction author from the East Coast of the United States. His early life is much of a mystery but his fascination with the dark, the dangerous, the mysterious, and the grotesque has marked much of his life through his early writings.


With the series The Immanent World now given over to him, he plans to expand the series into even darker realms than were conceived by the gang of poets, illustrators, and authors who created the first volume.

I want people to feel dread. That is my main goal for writing this new series: to take people on a ride through the most twisted of nightmares through haunting imagery and outlandish characters.

Among his influences he lists the writings of Stephen King, Clive Barker, Anne Rice, and China Mieville among others. Not limited to the written word, he has also been inspired by the lyrics of musical masters such as John Lennon, Tool, and the band Nine Inch Nails.

His first entry into the twisted realm of his dark dreams will come this summer with the release of The Immanent World Vol 2: Cluichi.

We’re sure to hear much more from this dark mind as 2017 continues …