Graveyard Shift Sister: Jayde Brooks

Black girl saves the world.

I’m tempted to leave it at that and post a pre-order link to Jayde Brooks’s new release, Daughter of Gods and Shadows.

The stunning cover art for the new release from Jayde Brooks.
The stunning cover art for the new release from Jayde Brooks.

But I’ll do more than that. I was flattered to have been asked by St. Martin’s press to read an advanced copy of this upcoming release. Daughter is an epic, spanning eons and continents, to bring the heroine, Eden’s–gotta love that name– story to searing life. The characters are placed in real peril, as is the fate of the world. African deities and folklore are brought to the fore, while keeping this story relevant to any reader of dark fiction or fantasy, regardless of color.

Head over to the Graveyard Shift Sisters site to read the full review and interview with Jayde. Daughter of Gods and Shadows will be released February 3 by St Martin’s Press and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Music Review: Venus de Vilo, the Voice of Horror

Typically, I write book reviews. It’s my comfort zone: the place that I go to when I need content for my blog or when I’ve promised to help boost the signal for a fellow indie author’s work.

I know what I love to read and I know when I’ve found a great story. While I will read anything, I think I’ve found my niche when it comes to reviewing: dark fiction written by independent authors. (Especially horror written by women.) I love to support their work because I know what it takes to get the book done. I know what it takes to get the book seen and—hopefully—purchased.

When I was asked to review horror music, I happily agreed. However, I knew I was on unsteady ground. I had no idea what to expect. At first, I thought it would be good to listen to something that would inspire my own dark scribblings. Then I realized I’m not one of those authors who can write to music. Especially since I imagined an album cobbled together of creepy clips from horror movies and death metal demonic screaming.

Venus de Vilo pic

I was wrong.

Venus de Vilo’s voice is haunting—lulling even—and I found myself listening openmouthed while her lyrics dragged me into the recesses of her twisted mind. I also found myself replaying tracks. But I didn’t feel like jumping off a building after listening. Quite the contrary.

Yes, the lyrics and album titles support the horror theme: From the album Handle With Scare, there’s “I Got 99 Zombies and a Witch Ain’t One” and the evilly quirky “Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder”.

The type of music I usually enjoy isn’t conducive to writing dark fiction. But music can change outlooks, set mood, and in general give you something to look forward to. Even if it is

But de Vilo’s music is addictive. The Dublin spawned musician is a BCFE Rock School graduate and has been described by The Bite, alternative and goth magazine as “The love child of Marilyn Manson and Amanda Palmer.”

One of my favorite songs was “Personal Satan”. The tune is catchy and I found myself humming it later in the day. Makes me think of a background track over a film montage of a woman getting dressed for a date with the dark lord.

Add to that “Crazy for You”. Seems like it could be a run-of-the-mill romantic song until you get to the lyric about eating her lover’s heart in puff pastry. Well, that’s one way to get him inside of you.

Her album Songs From the Stalker Point of View takes a sympathetic, almost longing look at the deranged, conjuring up thoughts of ruined castles and maidens fleeing across misty moors.

Find Venus De Vilo, The Voice of Horror, Queen of The Pumpkin Patch and her music here:

If music isn’t enough, Venus also has horror comics and calendars for sale on the merchandise tab of her Bandcamp page.

Follow Venus on her Facebook page and check out a few videos and pick up some of her music. Uptempo guitar strumming with alternative horror lyrics: stalking, cannibalism, and other darkness. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite lines. It’s from the song, “Bubbleglum”:

“Misery like bubbleglum/ I brought enough for everyone…”

I may start adding a playlist to the end of my stories and books in 2015. If I do, Venus de Vilo’s music will definitely be front and center.

Graveyard Shift Sister: Lori Titus

It’s a new year and I have some great new interviews with some amazing authors for you!

Starting out 2015’s Black female horror author spotlights on the Graveyard Shift Sisters blog is author Lori Titus and her epic post-apocalyptic tale, The Guardians of Man.

Photo of author, Lori Titus
Photo of author, Lori Titus

This story is a bit different from others you’ve read about on my blog and on the Graveyard Shift Sisters site as it was a collaborative story that began with an idea formed by two authors: Crystal Connor and Lori Titus. You’ll find Guardians is published under the name Connor Titus. (Fantastic pen name, by the way.)

You’ll also find there is more than one book in this world, but they’re not technically sequels. The story grew and Lori and Crystal each decided to spearhead their own version of the story from the ideas they spawned together.

Guardians of Man cover
Guardians of Man cover

Crystal will chat with me later in the year, but for now, hop over  to the Graveyard Shift Sisters site and to read my review of The Guardians of Man and my interview with the super talented Lori.

Happy New Year, everyone!