“Under the Blood” in Skelos 4

Yikes! I haven’t updated this blog in quite a while! When Covid-19 happened, I put my writing on hold while I re-invented my day job, where I work as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the criminal justice system. Most of the work I do is now online, via telehealth conferencing, although I do still see clients about once a week at my office in Marietta, Georgia.

All the conferences I planned to attend in 2020 got cancelled or moved online, but my guest status as an Attending Professional at DragonCon was transferred to 2021.

In new fiction: my Southern Gothic graveyard story “Under the Blood” is now available in print, in Skelos 4: The Journal of Weird Fiction and Dark Fantasy. If you like creepy tales, check it out!


Where I’ll Be at Monsterama 2019

Join us at Monsterama, September 27-29, 2019! While DragonCon is my High Holy Days, Monsterama is my home! It’s a much smaller con, but it’s awesome, especially if you’re a monster kid or a fan of retro horror pop culture.

2019 Monsterama.png

Here’s my tentative schedule for the con:

Friday 9/27, 4:30 pm The Bomb Under the Table: Writing Suspense: Amanda DeWees, John Hornor Jacobs, Darrell Z. Grizzle

Friday 9/27, 9:30 pm Author Readings: Charles R. Rutledge, Jeff Strand, John Hornor Jacobs, Darrell Z. Grizzle

Saturday 9/28, 10 am Terror Down South: Nancy Collins, John Hornor Jacobs, Charles R. Rutledge, Darrell Z. Grizzle

Saturday 9/28, 8 pm Collaborative Storytelling: Amanda DeWees, Jeff Strand, Darrell Z. Grizzle

Sunday 9/29, 1 pm Occult Detectives: Cliff Biggers, Amanda DeWees, Darrell Z. Grizzle

Click here to register and for more information!

Where I’ll Be at DragonCon 2019

I’ll be on three panels on the DragonCon Horror Track, and I’ll be reading one of my short stories at a late-night event, “Spooky Tales & Haunting Music.” If you’re going to DragonCon, check it out! And feel free to send me a friend code on the DragonCon app.

My DragonCon Schedule (tentative):

Friday 8/30, 1:00 pm Unearthly Visitations 
Horror Track, Westin, Peachtree 1-2
Intrusions of the unreal into our world is a hallmark of the horror genre. On this panel, authors will discuss how to effectively present these scenarios in order to elicit chills.
Gail Martin, Moderator. Tentative Panelists: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Anya Martin, Thomas Sniegoski, Tim Powers, Darrell Z. Grizzle.

Friday 8/30, 11:30 pm Spooky Tales & Haunting Music 
Urban Fantasy Track, Westin, Chastain 1-2
Our group of authors will each read a scary story or tell a creepy urban legend, and the time in between each presenter will be filled with atmospheric music by Victorian Chamber Metal virtuosos Valentine Wolfe.
Tentative Panelists: E.j. Stevens, David Boop, Valerie Hampton, Holly Sullivan McClure, Corinne O’Flynn, Valentine Wolfe, Darrell Z. Grizzle.

Sunday 9/1, 2:30 pm The Dark Magic of Folk Horror
Horror Track, Westin, Peachtree 1-2
From The Wicker Man to Midsommar, this influential yet elusive subgenre of horror continues to cast its spell upon us. Join us in a celebration of the terrors of the old celebrations, forgotten yet far from gone.
Moderator: Bill Mulligan. Tentative Panelists: Mari Mancusi, Christopher G. Moore, Blake Smith, Darrell Z. Grizzle.

Sunday 9/1, 4:00 pm V-Wars
Horror Track, Westin, Peachtree 1-2
Jonathan Maberry is joined by a roundtable of contributors to talk about the V-Wars universe. Moderator: Darrell Z. Grizzle. Tentative Panelists: Jonathan Maberry, Scott Sigler, Keith DeCandido, Bobby Nash.

Author Interview: Gail Z. Martin

Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing, and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Newest titles include Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, and Assassin’s Honor. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance. Books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, Badlands, and Lucky Town.


What’s new and exciting in your life as an author? 

I’m really excited about adding new series, expanding existing series, and trying some different approaches. The Splintered Crown (by Larry N. Martin) is a portal fantasy quest adventure, in the heroic tradition of books like the Forgotten Realms, Guardians of the Flame, and Dragonlance. I’ve wrapped up the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga series with Convicts & Exiles, a prequel that ties up the six-year gap that happens in Ice Forged. It’s also exciting to see nearly everything out in audiobook, which is great for so many readers who prefer to listen to their fiction. We’ve also got some exciting conventions coming up, including ConGregate, Raleigh GalaxyCon, DragonCon and AtomaCon. Plenty of chances to connect with readers and make new friends!

What is your connection to the American South? 

We moved South 22 years ago, first to Richmond, Virginia, where we lived for barely two years, then to Charlotte, where we’ve been for twenty years. We’ve raised our kids here, and it has certainly become our home.

How has that connection to the South informed your work as a writer? 

The South is the setting for a lot of our series and novels. The Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series is set in Charleston, SC and it’s all about getting cursed and haunted objects out of the wrong hands and saving the world from supernatural threat. Charleston is very much a character in the book, and I pull a lot from local history and lore.

I also write urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance as Morgan Brice. My Badlands series is set in Myrtle Beach, a place we think of as a second home because we’ve vacationed there so often. It’s all about a psychic and a cop hunting down supernatural killers. My Witchbane series also has several novels that are or will be set in the South. Seth Tanner means to avenge his brother’s murder by hunting down the dark warlock who’ll killed him—he doesn’t expect to fall in love with the warlock’s next intended victim. The first book is set in Richmond, Virginia, and it was fun revisiting favorite places and learning new ghost stories to write that book. Upcoming books are set in Boone, NC, Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC, and New Orleans, all places I’ve come to love.

What can we expect to see from you in the future? 

We have a couple of new series debuting soon from Falstaff Books. Wasteland Marshals is a near-future post-apocalyptic series about the last two US Marshals trying to hold back chaos and supernatural threats after a series of catastrophes end life as we know it. The Joe Mack series is set in the Roaring Twenties, with former steel worker Joe ‘Mack’ Magarac becoming the immortal servant of Krukis, the Slavic god of blacksmiths, with a charge to walk the earth stopping monsters and battling the powers of darkness. The Joe Mack books are a tie-in to John Hartness’s Secret Council (Quincy Harker) series. We’ll also begin a new Spells Salt and Steel cycle, so I’m looking forward to more adventures from Mark Wojcik.

Watch for new books in the Deadly Curiosities and Night Vigil series, as well as more Salvage Rat and a new Jake Desmet adventure in the world of Iron & Blood!

Visit Gail Z. Martin online at ascendantkingdoms.com or on Twitter @GailZMartin

Author Interview: Jeff Strand

Jeff Strand is the four-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of over forty books, most of them humorous horror but with various other genres (thriller, fantasy, a romantic comedy and a smut comedy) sprinkled into the mix.

Jeff Strand Author Photo for Blog

What’s new and exciting in your life as an author? 

My latest novel, MY PRETTIES, just came out. I’m known as a “horror/comedy” guy, but though this book has a lot of humor, at least in the early chapters, it’s definitely one of my darkest books. My previous novel, FEROCIOUS, which didn’t come out all that long ago, is a fun-filled action-packed creature feature with all the chainsaw mayhem you could want. Maybe even more than you’d want.

What is your connection to the American South?

I lived in Tampa, Florida for over twenty years, and I’ve lived in Atlanta, Georgia for two. So I’ve got the street cred, even though before that I spent fifteen years in Alaska and eight years in Ohio. After I graduated from college, my #1 priority for a place to live was warm weather. I’m completely thin-blooded now and even the Atlanta “winters” are too cold for me.

How has that connection to the South informed your work as a writer?

It varies by book. I have to admit that I’ll usually default to setting a book in whatever state I happen to live in at the time, unless there’s a reason the story won’t work there. I lived in Florida when I wrote PRESSURE, but I had an idea for a great scene that took place amidst a field of cacti, and that’s really the sole reason the book took place in Arizona. The closest I have to a true “southern” book is probably WOLF HUNT, which is very specifically set in Florida because our heroes are from New York and are miserable in the hot sweaty weather.

Cabin 12 Roan Mtn

Jeff Strand, finishing his novel MY PRETTIES at a haunted cabin in Roan Mountain, TN
(look closely and you can see him on the front porch)

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

Look for at least two more novels in 2019. Plus I’m working on a very cool project that I’m not allowed to talk about that definitely will NOT be out in 2019, so there was no compelling reason to share it in this interview. Those crazy enough to want more information about my books can find it all at www.JeffStrand.com.

Days of the Dead & Con-Tagion

2019 is off to a great start! In January I was one of the authors featured in readings at Days of the Dead in Atlanta, where I read the title story from my short story collection “I Never Meant to Start a Murder Cult” and sold several copies of the book!

DOTD 2019 Darrell Reading

2019 Days of the Dead Readings Poster

And in February I attended Con-Tagion 2019, a new con in Charlotte, NC, focused on professional development for writers and other creatives. I sat through some very informative writers’ workshops conducted by Gail Z. Martin, Jeff Strand, and John Hartness, the coordinator of the con.

Friends at Con-Tagion 2019

Selfie at Con-Tagion 2019 with friends and fellow writers Lynn Hansen, John Hartness, Jeff Strand, Jessica Nettles, and Richard Dansky.

2019 Con-Tagion Nicole Kurtz

At Con-Tagion with Nicole Givens Kurtz, whose new collection of Weird Western stories, “Sisters of the Wild Sage,” will be published this Spring!

2019 Con-Tagion Gail Z Martin

…and with Gail Z. Martin. I’m a big fan of Gail’s urban fantasy novels (check out her latest, “Sons of Darkness”) and the gay paranormal romance/action novels she writes under the pen name Morgan Brice (check out “Badlands”).

Smelly Cat Coffeehouse, Charlotte 2:9:2019

Me drinking coffee and being cool at Smelly Cat Coffeehouse in Charlotte, NC.

2019 New Year’s Day Review

2018 was a great year for me as a budding author! I did my first two author readings, moderated my first-ever DragonCon panel, got to be on two DragonCon panels with my friend James Tuck, and was on a panel at Monsterama for the first time. I had 4 story publications, and I released my first collection of short stories, the horror/crime chapbook, I Never Meant to Start a Murder Cult and Other Stories.

Some highlights of 2018:

Getting involved in the Atlanta Chapter of the Horror Writers Association

Reading my story “The Curse of the Spider” at Scary Fireside Stories for Halloween, on October 27th at the Lake Clair Land Trust in Atlanta. Good times and s’mores were had by all! Authors reading their spooky tales were (L-R): Lynne Hansen, Nancy Collins, me, Michael Wehunt, Gini Koch, Peter Salomon, Jessica Nettles, Jeff Strand, Amanda DeWees, and Brian Kirk.

2018 Scary Fireside Stories

Being on the Occult Detectives panel at Monsterama with Amanda DeWees and John Hartness:

2018 Monsterama Occult Detectives

Being on a DragonCon panel with my literary idol Katherine Kurtz:

2018 DragonCon Katherine Kurtz

According to Goodreads, I read 104 books in 2018. Several were multiple books by the same author: 2 by Amanda DeWees; 2 by E.J. Stevens; 2 by Katherine Kurtz; 2 by M.C. Beaton; 4 by Bobby Nash; 6 by Gail Z. Martin and her pen name Morgan Brice; and most disturbingly, 13 by Jeff Strand. A spookily large percentage of these books were ghost stories.

Looking forward to an awesome 2019!

DragonCon 2018

[Updated] I was on three panels this year at the DragonCon Horror Track, including my first-ever panel as moderator. All three panels went well and were a lot of fun! Hope to see you at DragonCon 2019!

Friday 8/31, 1:00 pm, Westin, Peachtree 1-2
V-Wars (picture below) 
This year, we’re helping to fill the Jonathan Maberry-sized hole in the schedule by assembling authors who have contributed to his V-Wars (Vampire Wars) anthologies.
V-Wars is coming soon to Netflix!
James R. Tuck, Dacre Stoker, Scott Sigler, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Larry Correia (moderator Darrell Grizzle)

Sunday 9/2, 2:30 pm, Westin, Peachtree 1-2
Collaborative Storytelling from Hell!
A roundtable of authors contribute to a collaborative story that is sure to put the “corpse” in “exquisite corpse.”
E.J. Stevens, Eric Asher, Shawnee Small. Darrell Grizzle (moderator David Maynor)

Sunday 9/2, 5:30 pm, Westin, Peachtree 1-2
Candles in the Night: Christians in Dark Fantasy
Authors discuss the role of Christianity in Horror & Dark Fantasy.
Katherine Kurtz, Faith Hunter, Tim Powers, Clay Gilbert, Darrell Grizzle (moderator James R. Tuck)

DragonCon 2018 V-Wars Panel

DragonCon Horror Track photo