Dark Silo Artist Publishes Books

Posted: December 10, 2015 in Dark Silo News

Artist Jack Larson does all of the covers for Dark Silo publications. And, he supports himself with his art (a great accomplishment). But his talents don’t stop there. Jack has released two books in the last few months, and they are worth checking out.

Larson

The first of Larson’s two publications is Zombie Marketing: The Epidemiology of Brand Awareness. Designed to help Indy creators (writers, musicians and artists) build a brand using social media. Want to make your art go viral? Jack will tell you how, step by step, using the metaphor of a global pandemic to illustrate viral marketing.

The second book is a biographical explanation of Jack’s art. Death’s Driver: The Life of a Body Transporter covers Larson’s decade asDeath's Driver a hearse driver and state morgue worker, and the effect his experiences had on his art. Want a glimpse into a side of life people seldom see – a side kept hidden…for a reason? Artists will be fascinated by the darkest of inspirations. And Dark Silo fans will get a glimpse into the genius behind the cover art they love.

Has reading all of the Dark Silo books left you hungry for another good read? Follow the links.

 

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Brad Steiger on CRYSTAL ROSE

Posted: April 23, 2015 in Dark Silo News

bwbradCrystal Rose is a novel about a paranormal investigator and her team. Great read, but what would a real paranormal investigator think of the book?

Brad Steiger is the author of Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places. Brad has published 181 books, and has more than 17 million copies in print. His work on the paranormal earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National UFO and Unexplained Phenomena Conference (1996). He’s appeared on television with Tom Brokaw, Ted Koppel, Peter Jennings, David Suskind and David Brinkley. Brad is married to Sherry Steiger, minister and author/coauthor of 45 books on spirituality, animal awareness and the paranormal.

Brad’s reputation in the paranormal field is extraordinary. The Oklahoma Daily notes, “A veteran of seeking answers in the realm where the questions are still uncertain, Steiger is one of the most widely known and respected investigators of unexplained occurrences.” The San Francisco Examiner advises, “Suspend disbelief when you talk to this man…He is intelligent, articulate, plausible.”

We asked Brad to take time out of his busy schedule to review Crystal Rose. This is what he had to say:

“Crystal Rose is a fast-moving, smoothly written story of a team of paranormalists who investigate hauntings. In the course of their professional quests to aid both the haunted and the hauntees, they discover mystery, suspense, chills–even love. Who could ask for anything more in a paranormal novel?”

The folks at Dark Silo are pretty proud to have an author of Brad Steiger’s stature take a look at our novelette. Those interested in learning more about Brad and Sherry (and their amazing bibliography) can visit their Web site at:

     http://www.bradandsherry.com/

NoahDark Silo Press recently visited Polaris Expeditionary Learning School for Zombie Week – five days of integrated learning presented with a zombie theme. Students received copies of Eric S. Brown’s “The Taint,” and had a question-and-answer session with Brian Kaufman (author of “The Wretched Walls”).

This year, we were particularly impressed with the work of Noah Fields. In the past, we’ve occasionally done a little minor editing for presentation of student work. This piece is presented to you untouched. 

Kudos to Ryan Grindel, the teacher who arranges this week of creativity. Kudos to the kids as well. We always leave Polaris confident in the future of the genre we love!

And now, Fallen – Day One

“Ugh. I hate these damn tights!”

“Why are you wearing them, then?”

“So that people like you don’t look up my skirt while I’m fighting.” Lily threw a glance back at Cedric, a smirk plastered across her face. “Perv.”

“How exactly would the two of us end up in a position where I could look up your skirt?” Cedric wondered aloud.

A quick look of confusion crossed her face, before it returned to her trademark smug appearance. “Oh, you’ve never seen me fight, have you Ced? It’s quite mobile. One glance in my direction when we get there and you’ll see exactly what I mean.”

Just one? Ced thought to himself. I’ll probably give you a few more than that. Lily certainly was eye-catching in her resplendent emerald-green dress, custom-built with both style and combat in mind by incorporating a combination of leather, steel, and magically enhanced fabric that could never get bloodstained. The skirt of the dress ended several inches above the knee (“so I can run,” she said), and the dark jade tights and brown boots she wore under it revealed her well-sculpted legs. Lily’s outfit complemented her long, dark brown hair and eyes nicely, and even managed to match with the crossed pistols she had slung across her back. She is quite pretty. It’s too bad she’s also completely insane.

Cedric would say he hadn’t bothered to get such magnificent attire for fighting ghouls, wights, and other undead beasts, but in truth the idea had never occurred to him. Instead, he donned a simple leather jerkin and matching armored trousers, with a black shirt underneath. Ced’s hair and eyes were both a much lighter shade of brown, cropped much closer to his head.

“Stop. We’re here.”

At the sound of Lily’s voice, Ced stopped walking. Stealing a quick glance around, he saw a dark cave etched into the side of a small hill. Given the size of the hill, the cave could not possibly have been very large. “You sure this is the place?” Cedric looked it over, and then glanced at the ground. Hard-packed earth, just as the townsfolk had said it would be. “Sure, it’s a cave, and the area around it seems right, but there’s no way a zombie horde could be originating from this little place.”

“Best check anyway. Could be a summoner, or a portal.”

“True,” Ced admitted. “We’ll need a plan, though.”

“We both go in with our weapons and kill everything. That’s the plan. I take SteelShock, you take whate-”

“Steel Shock?”

“Steel.” Turning around so that Cedric could see both guns, she gestured to one pistol on her back. “Shock.” She tapped the other. “SteelShock. One word. They’re a pair.”

Cedric could almost feel her smile as she discussed her weapons. She loves those things.She can tell them apart, even though they look exactly the same. Does she care about nothing in her life beyond weapons and fighting?

“What’s yours?”

“Sorry, what?”

“My weapon is SteelShock. What’s yours?”

Cedric unslung the rifle on his back and presented it to Lily. “It’s a Carbine.”

“And?” Lily turned around, irritation readily apparent in her face and her stance. “What’s its name?”

“Umm… it… doesn’t have one?”

“Then. Give. It. One.” Each word was enunciated with slow precision, Lily barely managing to hold back what was clearly intense fury. “Good. Weapons. Have. Names. Exca-” Her voice tripped over the long word in her rage. “Excalibur. Sting. Crescent Rose.”

You… you dumb bitch! Why did we both have to end up taking the same damned job?  “We don’t have time right now. We have to go… Tell you what, by the end of this mission I’ll have come up with something.”

“You’d better.” Lily turned around in a huff and strode into the cave, leaving Cedric behind.

Ced smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand. “My god, you are insane.” Shaking his head in dismay, he followed Lily into the cave.

“Ragh!” A guttural roar emanated from behind him. Immediately turning, he saw a monstrous… thing… in the corner of the cave.

It was wearing tattered and bloodstained clothing. It had legs, powerful and muscled. It had arms, fierce and strong. It had claws, sharp enough to cut through iron. It had teeth, perfect for ripping and tearing flesh. It had eyes, red and almost glowing in the dark.

And it was staring at him.

And running.

“Agh! Shit!” Immediately aiming his Carbine, Cedric fired a shot at the beast. In his panic, he wasn’t able to aim properly, and the creature easily dodged out of the way of the shot and continued to move. Another blast from the gun knocked off one of its arms, spraying blood and bone across the ground and slowing it considerably, but still it charged. I am dead. I am fucking de-

The sound of crackling lightning echoed throughout the cave, and suddenly Lily landed behind the beast, SteelShock in her hands. A flurry of shots rang from both of them, and the creature fell to the ground, dead.

Suddenly, two more of them were running at her from the sides, from some location Cedric couldn’t, or simply hadn’t, seen. Jumping into the air, she flipped and kicked one of them so hard it collided with the roof of the cave, causing drops of blood to drip upon Lily’s hair and face. The other she bashed with Steel (or was it Shock?) as she landed, knocking it to the ground and allowing her to shoot it with Shock (he believed, at least). The electrically charged shot left the beast writhing on the ground as she stomped on its head and destroyed it.

The beasts’ bodies began to glow and then dissipate, sucked back into the ethereal plane they had been summoned from.

“Now you see why I wore these tights,” Lily said pompously, smiling even as she wiped the monsters’ blood off her face with one hand. “You could’ve looked up my skirt easily.”

Ced was in shock. This one insane girl just took on several beasts of the damned and beat them! No, she absolutely DESTROYED them! And now she’s… oh, gods, that is sick… Cedric internally moaned as he saw Lily licking the blood off her hand and her weapons, seeming to savor the taste. What the hell is she?

“And if you don’t manage to kill at least one of them, I’m taking your share of the money, got it?”

“G-got it.” Keep my share, take it all! Just don’t fucking kill me!

“By the way… told you this was the place.” Lily was looking over at a hole in the ground at the seeming end of the cave. “There’s a pit with a ladder here, a few feet deep. It leads to a deeper floor. We’ll find our source of these guys there, I’m sure.” Eschewing the ladder, Lily jumped down the pit.

Ced fearfully trudged after her. I don’t think I’m taking another mission to down anything this deadly for a while. I’ll just stick with hunting problem animals for farmers.

The cave was dark, but Lily moved through it with ease, rapidly clearing bends in the cave’s structure that Cedric could barely see. Sometimes she would turn and fire SteelShock at something he couldn’t see, before a body toppled from the wall, riddled with bulletholes.

Minutes passed. It felt like hours.

At last, a glow shone in the distance. “Found our source.” Lily confidently strode forward, firing at a few seemingly invisible monsters along the way. “Who are you?” she called out.

A voice responded. “I am but a servant of the Dark Lord Azazel. I am his acolyte, and I fill the world with his holy children.”

“Well, tell him to take his holy children and shove them up his ass!” Lily jumped forward, SteelShock in hand. As she did so, she shoved one of her guns (Shock, Ced was sure, as it seemed to be the only one that fired electric bullets) into a chamber of the other one. Pressing some hidden switch on the side of them, a crevice opened on one of the guns, steel plates folding out into a blade. Another switch, and the blade crackled with lightning. “And while you’re at it, how about you let me grant you a quick death?”

The voice laughed, as a man stepped out from behind a pillar. He wore massive plate-mail armor, complete with a chestpiece, leggings, and gloves. His dark red cape flowed behind him, starkly contrasting against the massive greatsword on his back. His shocking white skin and hair caused his blood-red eyes to stand out, and the twin pentagrams floating in the air above his hands denoted but one thing.

“A Lich Lord,” Cedric whispered to himself.

At once, the pentagrams began to glow as the creatures began to tear themselves out of the ground. Lily swung SteelShock and carved through several of the beasts in a single blow. Flipping in the air, she landed behind the Lich Lord and tried to slice his head off. He retaliated by blocking with his greatsword, and the fight began.

Cedric couldn’t keep track of the battle. Flips, dodges, sword swings, bullets and spells colliding in midair. He spent his time just crouching in the corner, gripping his Carbine so hard his hands ached and hoping nothing spotted him while Lily finished the battle.

Clang! SteelShock was knocked out of Lily’s hand, ringing with the sound of metal hitting metal. The Lich Lord raised his arm, preparing a spell to launch at it and destroy the blade.

“No!” Lily yelled. Running, she jumped in front of her weapon as the dark fire slammed into her chest.

“What the hell did you just do?” chuckled the Lich Lord as he stood over her, greatsword in hand.

“Kill me. Torture me. Do whatever you want. Just don’t touch SteelShock.”

“Let it not be said that the Great Lord Azazel is honorless. Your weapon shall remain untouched. You, however…”The Lich Lord raised his greatsword and prepared to stab Lily through the chest.

Shit! Shit shit shit shit shit! Cedric panicked, frantically firing off a shot in the vain hope of hitting something. The sound echoed throughout the room.

The Lich Lord turned to face him. “Oh, you brought a friend? I didn’t notice him there.” Dismissively waving his hand, he muttered “Kill him.”

Three of the beasts began to crawl towards Ced as he brought the rifle to his eye.

Cedric could have sworn time slowed down the instant he began to look down the sights. The monsters slowed to a near-halt as he surveyed the room.

BOOM

A beast’s head flew to bits from a precise shot in his carbine.

BOOM

Another.

BOOM

“Oh, for the love of Great Lord Azazel… The Lich Lord looked mildly irritated at worst. “Everyone, on him!”

Cedric didn’t bother to count how many there were. He just fired.

BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM click

Cedric grabbed a new magazine from the holster on his back and reloaded, faster than he knew how to.

BOOM BOOM BOOM

The monsters kept coming. There was no way Cedric could hold them off forever. As he fired, he tried in vain to think of a-

“God damn it, Ced, just shoot the Lich!” Lily called out.

Before the Lich Lord had time to react, Cedric had him in his sights.

BOOM

The monsters vanished, their summoner gone.

“Headshot.” Ced looked at Lily and smiled at her. “My Carbine’s named Headshot.

“Damn good shooting, Ced. Damn good name, too.” Lily rose shakily to her feet and almost tripped over herself. “Oh, for the love of-I’ll have to take a few days off to heal.” She looked at Cedric, still smiling, as she bent down and picked up SteelShock, licking the blood off her fingers as she did so.

Ced looked down at his hands. They had but a few drops on them, as few creatures got close to him during the fight. Sticking his tongue out, he gingerly lapped up one of them. “Huh. Tastes pretty good.”

“I know, right?” She was now looting the Lich Lord’s body. “Just don’t have too much at first. It took me a while to get down more than a few drops, but now I could drink a full keg of the stuff without getting sick.” Lily picked up a scrap of paper and squinted at it. “This is a map. It’s got location markers all over it.” She turned to Ced. “This place is marked, too. It probably leads to more of these guys.” Cracking her knuckles, she exclaimed, “You should come with me!”

“No.” Ced turned around and began to walk off. “I nearly died. We both nearly died. I don’t like danger. You can keep my share of the gold.”

Lily smiled as she got up again. “If you do, I’ll show you how to move like me. You’ll be shooting off heads while upside down and airborne.”

Cedric stopped walking. “Right. Just before hitting the ground and getting mauled to death.”

“And I’ll mod Headshot to turn into a warhammer so you can bash whatever’s left to dust.”

Cedric turned around. “So, I’ll survive, but still be scarred for life from all this crazy shit?”

“And,” Lily put a hand on Ced’s shoulder, “I’ll clear one or two of the caves without wearing the tights.”

Cedric smiled, mirroring Lily’s trademark expression. “Deal.”

Wretched Walls_final thumbWhile renovating an old home, Garrett Jenkins finds an antique box full of vintage 1920s pornography hidden in the walls. Who was the woman in the photos? Is there a connection to the presence Garrett suspects is haunting the home? As curiosity turns to obsession, the restoration of the building suffers. His mother’s life savings and his girlfriend’s hopes for the future are on the line. But with each new discovery, Garrett steps closer to a shattering truth that may end in madness.

The Wretched Walls, a novella by Brian Kaufman. Dying alone would be better.

The Wretched Walls is a novel that can easily fill you with dread. The strange occurrences may be enough to give you chills, but what will keep you at the edge of your seat is the novel’s use of psychological horror… this book is definitely one that made my skin crawl.” Airam Valarde  (Online Book Club)

“A slow burn about haunted obsession. You’ll spend the last half of the novella terrified of finding out the truth. Kaufman draws you in with his character work so well, you don’t even realize when he’s begun to scare you…” (Desmond Reddick, Dread Media)

Dark Silo Gets “Schooled”

Posted: February 13, 2015 in Dark Silo Event

brian at polaris 2Polaris Expeditionary School in Fort Collins, Colorado held its annual “Zombie Week” – integrated learning centered around a theme of the living dead. Author Brian Kaufman represented Dark Silo Press in a discussion about writing, zombies, a career in letters and general mayhem.

Each student in the class received a copy of Eric S. Brown’s novelette “The Taint” (illustrated by Jack Larson). The discussion ranged from H.P. Lovecraft to Bigfoot, and from the writing process to the political implications of the zombie metaphor.

As in previous visits, Kaufman was stunned by the energy and creativity of the class. “I had an opportunity to speak with some of the students after the presentation,” Kaufman said. “I found myself wondering which of the students I talked to would be genre superstars a decade from now.”

Students in the class were required to produce a zombie self-portrait, a short story (some of which will be published on the Dark Silo Site) and additional materials during the week. Look to upcoming posts to get an advanced look at the horror writers of the future…

The Taint.inddEric S. Brown’s The Taint is now available on Amazon for the Kindle (coming to the Nook and Kobo this week). The Great Old One is awake – and the stuff of nightmares have risen up with him, spreading a blight across the world. The dead have returned, laying waste to the world of man. All that stands in the way of total death and destruction is a secret religious order, armed with courage, some ancient rituals, and…a battleship. It’s the zombie apocalypse like you’ve never experienced it before.

Eric S Brown is the author of numerous books including the Bigfoot War series, the Kaiju Apocalypse series (with Jason Cordova), and the A Pack of Wolves series. Some of his stand alone books include War of the Worlds Plus Blood Guts and Zombies, World War of the Dead, Last Stand in a Dead Land, The Weaponer, and Kaiju Armageddon. The first book of his Bigfoot War series is now a feature film from Origin Releasing. Eric also writes an ongoing comic book news column for The Guide and has scripted books for Unstoppable Comics. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two children.

The Taint includes some interior illustrations by the cover artist, Jack Larson. Jack is a self-taught artist who has been painting and selling macabre art since 2009. Although he began painting as a teenager, he didn’t take it seriously as an occupation, and instead enlisted in the U.S. Army immediately after high school. His training as a Mortuary Affairs Specialist prepared him for a decade long career in the death-care profession which included embalming, decedent transportation, and homicide cleanup. The years he spent away from art prepared him for the business side of being an artist, as well as providing him with the experiences and sights that inspire his work today.

Wretched Walls_final smallSo you think your relationship problems are bad? Garrett Jenkins is remodeling an old Victorian mansion. He has a new girlfriend and a demanding mother (who is also his business partner). Garrett has no room for another woman in his life. Certainly not one who died decades earlier…

Desmond Reddick of Dread Media says, “A slow burn about haunted obsession. You’ll spend the last half of the novella terrified of finding out the truth. Kaufman draws you in with his character work so well, you don’t even realize when he’s begun to scare you…

Just in time for Valentine’s Day. “The Wretched Walls.” Dying alone would be better.