Saturday, March 17, 2018

From the PH Archives: An Interview with EDWARD LEE

A blast from the past from the Page Horrific Archives; this interview is dated 2005. Enjoy!!

THE QUESTIONS 10 FOR EDWARD LEE

[Edward Lee has had over twenty-five books published in the horror and suspense field, including FLESH GOTHIC, MESSENGER and CITY INFERNAL.  He is a Bram Stoker nominee, and his short stories have appeared in over a dozen mass-market anthologies, including THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES OF 2000, Pocket’s HOT BLOOD series, and the award-wining 999.   Visit his official website at www.edwardleeonline.com.]

  1. What book are you currently reading?

EL: Tom Piccirilli's NOVEMBER MOURNS, which is absolutely stellar, and more proof that Piccirilli is an absolute master of the horror novel.  I actually don't read very much–I'm real busy most of the time, plus I don't want another author's muse interfering with mine–but over the past year I've read more than usual.  I also just finished Tim Lebbon's BERSERK, which I  wrote an intro for, and it too blew me away.  In December I re-read John Shirley's CELLARS for yet another intro (it's being re-released soon).  I've made no secret that I believe that book is not only one of the first hardcore horror novel but remains one of the very best.  Next on my list is Doug Clegg's THE ABANDONED and Michael Laimo's THE DEMONOLOGIST.  I can't wait to sink into the both of them.

2. What is your all-time favorite horror novel?

EL: Hands down, it's Fritz Leiber's OUR LADY OF DARKNESS.  No book has creeped me out more than this 30-year-old masterpiece.  Several years ago I took a trip to San Francisco solely to see Corona Heights and the "Mt. Sutro" tower that Leiber worked prominently into the story.  I'm hoping I'll be able to see it from my hotel window at World Horror next year.   

3. What was the first horror book you ever bought with your own money?

EL: The first horror book that I ever bought upon becoming aware of horror as a genre was the late Brian McNaughton's SATAN'S LOVECHILD.  I bought it in an Army PX when I was training at Fort Knox in, I believe, 1977.  The title (which McNaughton hated) rang my bells.  Of course, there's no Satan and no love children in the book.  Instead, it's sort of Lovecraftian and unique in that it's shockingly explicit–a wonderful, wonderful proto-hardcore horror novel full of teeth-grinding erotica.  It was actually released by a paperback porn publisher (Carlyle) but I think McNaughton got to bend the rules by slicing hardcore sex into a keenly-plotted and absolutely explosive horror project.  Incidentally, I read most of this book in the driver's compartment of an M60 A1-series main battle tank.  It was this book that got me actively interested in modern horror fiction.  I'll ramble a bit and add that immediately after reading the McNaughton, I spotted–in another Army PX, this one in Erlangen, West Germany--a Hamlyn (I think) hardcover of classic horror stories.  It contained everything that matters: Poe, Le Fanu, Onions, "The Horla," of course, Grave's "The Shout," Machen's "Count Magnus," and many others.  But the last story was "The Rats in the Walls" by Lovecraft, which absolutely warped me.  After this I became addicted to Lovecraft and devoured all of those old Ballantine paperbacks of his.  By the time I was finished on this HPL binge, I was back in the USA, and I picked up the mylar-covered pb of THE SHINING.  Then I was officially hooked on horror fiction for life.      

4. Who is your favorite writer?

EL: Impossible to name just one, but I can say that my favorite horror writer is Ramsey Campbell.  Every sentence he writes is somehow nightmare producing.  (And my favorite Campbell story is "Loveman's Comeback."  Jesus.)

5. Tell us a little about your next novel.

EL: It's officially untitled as yet, and I don't want to jinx it by running my mouth about it.  All I'll say is that it's a Big Bug book–but doesn't involve bugs; it's much grosser.  For the longest time I've wanted to write my own Big Bug-type book, like the old Guy N. Smith and Shaun Hutson novels...only Edward Lee-style.  I'm two-thirds done with it now and I can say I'm having a ton of fun writing it.   

6. What is your favorite post-punk album?

EL: Another impossible one to answer but if I had to name one right now, I'd say 154 by Wire.  Over the past two years 90-percent of what I've been listening to is either Industrial or Classical (I'm a huge Vivaldi fan).  My favorite Industrial group is Funker Vogt, and I think I can say my favorite song since 1991 is Vogt's "Faster Life."  I have the lyrics taped to the inside of my front door.  Their SURVIVOR lp is unparalleled in my opinion: unmatched Industrial.  In the early ‘90s I lost all interest in music for some reason, which is inexplicable because music has always been crucial to me.  The first three albums I ever bought, for instance were, in this order, Led Zeppelin I, Sir Lord Baltimore's KINGDOM COME, and the first Black Sabbath lp.  I was 13 at the time, when everyone else my age was listening to The Archies and The Beach Boys.  I hate ALL pop music.  From there my addiction to non-pop music took off, and throughout the ‘70s it was King Crimson, Hawkwind, original Genesis, and perhaps my all-time faves Van Der Graaf Generator.  I had a brief punk period (I bought the Sex Pistols album in, again, Germany, and went on to become a huge Stranglers and Siouxsie fan).  As far as post-punk goes, I love Magazine whose frontman, Howard Devoto was a founding member of the Buzzcocks in, I think, 1976.  He seemed to realize at once, though, that he was a bit too intelligent for the raucousness of punk.  He's my all-time favorite singer and poet.  The biggest curve ball in my oddball musical taste was a non-categorizable ‘80s group called the Gun Club, and a vocalist/songwriter named Jeffery Lee Pierce–which is nothing like any of the other stuff I've mentioned!  (Think: nightmares of the deep south.)  But Wire was the first stuff I was buying right after the "punk" wave.  Also, two of Wire's members (B.C. Gilbert and Lewis) did an lp much later called The Shivering Man, which is another work I couldn't live without.  PS–I know that many author's listen to music while they write but I've never been able to do this, with two exclusive exceptions: Eno's DISCREET MUSIC, and Fripp & Eno's NO PUSSY-FOOTING.

7. What is your favorite Edward Lee book?

EL: I’m pretty sure it's INFERNAL ANGEL, for reasons I can't pinpoint.  Perhaps because it's less "fantasy" than CITY INFERNAL and more in-the-face horror.  It's odd, though, that I like that book so much because it received more reader complaints than anything else I've written.  One fan even wrote to me and said I should have to go to Edward Lee Hell for the ending.  Oops.  All I can say to that is that all things dead in an Edward Lee book can easily come back to life.  

8. What is your biggest vice?

EL: Collecting crab shells.  No lie.  Most people wrap crabs shells up in the newspaper and throw them out but I collect them.  I have crab shells from all over the world and have gone to preposterous financial expenditures to procure them.  I could probably have a decent crack habit on what I've spent on crab shells.
 
9. What is your favorite bit of writing advice?

EL: Write a page a day and in a year you've got a book!

10. Any parting words for PAGE HORRIFIC readers?


EL: I won't be able to attend the Horrorfind convention this summer (and I hate to miss it because Horrorfind truly is the best convention) but I will almost assuredly be at World Horror next spring.  I hope to see some of you there!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Currently Reading: The Armageddon Rag by George R.R. Martin

Published in 1983, The Armageddon Rag is the third novel from prominent fantasy author George R.R. Martin who is most famously known for his Song of Ice and Fire series of books which have been recently interpreted for television as the immensely popular HBO series A Game of Thrones.



Late in 1979, OMNI magazine published a novelette titled "Sandkings." This was the first work by GRRM that I had ever read and it really blew my teenaged mind. Anyone who has not experienced it should find a copy as soon as possible (I now own it in his Dreamsongs collection) and partake of its science fiction goodness. Fevre Dream, the novel preceding The Armageddon Rag, should also be on your bookshelf, because who doesn't enjoy vampires on steamboats? It's another great piece of work by the man and one of the best vampire novels you'll ever read. It wasn't until much later that I came across an excerpt from his novel A Clash of Kings in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, which got me excited about GRRM all over again and prompted me to purchase the full novel upon its release. And I was not disappointed, loving it as well as subsequent books in the series. As you probably know, A Song of Ice and Fire is still an ongoing effort, with many fans waiting impatiently for the sequel to the latest release A Dance of Dragons. For me, the series is meandering a bit at this point but hopefully the wait will be worth the wading.

I'm a little more than half through The Armageddon Rag, and GRRM's typical knack for characterization, pacing and just plain good storytelling is present thus far and I don't expect that to change as I head into the tail end. Unlike much of the other fiction I have read by this author, Rag is very much a murder mystery, revolving around the ritualistic death of a famous rock promoter and including loads of references to Sixties music and politics. It is also sort of a road novel in which our protagonist, an underground rock journalist who now writes novels, drives his expensive car across the country, interviewing members of his favorite defunct hard rock band Nazgul in an attempt to solve the mystery and along the way resurrecting relationships with old hippie friends. Any fantasy elements arise but only slightly midway through the book but I expect this to ramp up as I read on. We'll see...

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Favorite Metal Music of 2017

Hello! How is 2018 treating you?

Don't answer that; I already know: not very well unless you're an exception, and I hope that you are.

So let's change the subject and look at some metal music released in 2017 that I enjoyed. Just the cream of the crop is allowed:

Cloven Hoof - Who Mourns the Morning Star (heavy metal)
The Doomsday Kingdom - s/t (doom metal)
Power Trip - Nightmare Logic (thrash metal plus)
RAM - Rod (heavy metal)
Samael - Hegemony (black/industrial metal)
Stallion - From the Dead (heavy metal)

I was enthralled by the video for "Black Supremacy" from the Samael album mentioned above, and watched it dozens of times. It was a good thing the rest of the songs on the album were of the same quality, making it my album of the year.




Strength Has Returned!

"Eight brings me sight

Seven gives me light

Six days and wounds are healed

Strength has returned"

. . .

"I will hide all trace

Count the days

Nine to reach my fate

Swear to return

Nine days to bring the change

Destiny fulfilled

Five proves me right

Four ends the fight

Three, two and one completes the change

Then I will rise"

-- Grand Magus "Son of the Last Breath"




Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! (2017)

Happy New Year, readers! I hope this post finds you well despite what some consider a horrible year. And I must admit, many bad things did happen in 2016. But enough about that; you already know the story there. Onward...

Below I have posted a couple lists of favorite books and albums that I enjoyed from last year. The albums were released in 2016 but the books vary in publication date, because that's how I roll.  So I hoped you saved some of your holiday money, because this is some great stuff!

Five favorite albums of 2016:
Metal Church - XI (heavy metal)
High Priest of Saturn - Son of Earth and Sky (space/stoner rock)
Eternal Champion - The Armor of Ire (heavy metal)
Dunbarrow - s/t (stoner/doom rock)
Svartanatt - s/t (hard/doom rock)

Favorite books read in 2016:
Tarzan Omnibus, Vol 1 (fantasy comics collection)
The Elementals - Michael McDowell (horror novel)
Rue Morgue's Magazine's Blood in Four Colors - Pedro Cabezeulo (non-fiction)
Criminal Vol. 1: Coward - Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips (graphic novel)
'Taint the Meat...It's the Humanity! and Other Stories Illustrated by Jack Davis (horror comics collection)
Lemons Never Lie - Richard Stark (crime novel)
Night Passage - Robert B. Parker (crime novel)
Azrael Vol. 1: Fallen Angel - Dennis O'Neil, others (superhero comics collection)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat Vol. 1 - Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle, Tim Sale (superhero comics collection)
Last Guardian - David Gemmell (fantasy novel)
Bloodstone - David Gemmell (fantasy novel)
Quest for Lost Heroes - David Gemmell (fantasy novel)

Happy reading and listening and I hope to post in here soon as I have some publication news to pass on.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

New Groups on Facebook

I've started a couple groups on Facebook you might want to check out, and perhaps join, depending on your interests. I've listed them below with a short description for each. Hope to see you there.

THE HARD & HEAVY GANG: Discussion of hard rock and heavy metal. Mainly old school but we rule nothing out.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/hardheavygang/

SWORDS AND CAPES: Adventure in fiction and movies. Sword & sorcery, superheroes and all other things heroic.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/swordsandcapes/

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Marvelous Mark Justice Has Passed Away

My co-writer of the Dead Earth books, Mark Justice, died quite suddenly while staying in the hospital last night. One moment he was posting statuses to his fans and friends on Facebook, and then we all woke up this morning to the heartbreaking news, posted everywhere. It was quite a blow.

Mark and I go a ways back--back to the days before Twitter and Facebook when we both hung out on the horror genre forums like Shocklines and Horror World--just like the rest of the horror community. He told me back then how much he had enjoyed a story of mine published on the Horrorfind site, which was a very nice thing to say because it came out of the blue, totally unsolicited--but that was just Mark's way. 

Some time later, I was co-editing the Damned Nation anthology along with Robert N. Lee, and Mark's was one of the stories that we eagerly accepted for publication. I liked the guy's writing and I thought us compatible both personality-wise and in our way with a story. So one day I asked him if he'd like to hook up and write some fiction together, a "horror Star Wars" is how I put it to him. He was generous enough to agree immediately, and to make a long story short, that's why you now have three Dead Earth books available to you. Near the beginning of our collaboration, probably sometime after The Green Dawn was finished, or during maybe, Mark came up with the idea for a podcast where we'd both talk about the horror genre, tell some jokes and plug our books. That was Pod of Horror, which has lasted to this day (although I dropped out earlier on). It must have been one of the first horror podcasts ever, and who better to host than Mark, not only a great writer but also a professional DJ? It was some of the most fun I'd ever had. 

What else did my good friend and I do together? Lots of things. He wrote reviews for my website Page Horrific. He helped me with my online genre forums. We had many a good laugh over the years while writing books and recording podcasts together...

Cut to two weeks ago: Mark emailed me to see if I wanted to write another novel with him, just like in the old days. Two weeks ago. And now he's gone.

Mark Justice was a kind, caring man who has many fans across Kentucky, where he worked, and the greater world. He and his sense of humor will be sorely missed by many. But at least he left us his podcasts, books and other writings, to enjoy for years to come.

Jesus on ice.