Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, January 30, 2017

Women in Horror Month

Hey, everybody!  It's almost February, and that means it's almost one of my favorite celebrations of the year: Women in Horror Month.  For the whole month I'm going to shut up and introduce you to some of the best women acting, writing, directing, and publishing in my favorite genre.

Now, a couple of questions perennially surround WiHM, and I'm not going to pretend like they don't exist.  So here are some of my thought on the matter.  If you feel differently, or, hell, even the same, I don't care, chime in below in the comments.

1.)  Do you think women write with their breasts and/or vaginas?

No, I don't.  Women can write as well in every subgenre of horror as men, and men can write as well in every subgenre as women.  Body parts and bodily functions play no role in writing skill.  And while I understand that singling people out because of their sex and/or gender (no, they're not the same thing) can be a dark road to discrimination, failing to acknowledge that society treats members of the various different sexes and genders (yes, there are more than two) differently is a road to myopia and a form of dismissal.

2.)  Doesn't having a Women in Horror Month just perpetuate tokenism and the idea that women shouldn't be involved in horror?

I don't think so, at least, not in 2017.  I was fortunate enough to come into the genre at a time when many of my peers and best friends were women, and didn't seem to suffer sales-wise from that fact.  But I'm also a student (admittedly a very elementary-level one) of the genre's history, and I know that wasn't always the case.  When Mary Shelley arguably invented the horror genre two hundred years ago, FRANKENSTEIN was dismissed by critics very explicitly because of the Victorian notion that women shouldn't write novels.  That was an ominous foot to start off on.  And as recently as ten, fifteen years ago horror was still not considered a seemly place for women.  Take a look at how many of the authors from last year's WiHM still go by just their initials.  That's a throwback to an era when publishers assumed men wouldn't buy books by know, women like Joanne Rowling.  We're not talking about the '30s or even the '50s here.  We're talking about the '90s and '00s.  So while horror seems to have come to a place where men and women have equal seats at the table, it wasn't that long ago - within almost all of our lifetimes - that the exact opposite was true.  I'd say WiHM is trying to celebrate that relatively recent change, and ensure that it's cemented into the public consciousness.

3.)  Wouldn't it be better to just treat every month like Authors in Horror Month, and to hell with what's between their legs?

I think I do.  I've never gone back and counted, but I'd wager in all the interviews I've done over the years, men and women are probably equally represented.  I don't tend to think about gender when I'm inviting someone onto the blog.  However, I'm also in my early thirties, and I've been part of the horror community for about three years.  There are a lot of people not a whole lot older than me who literally lived their whole lives watching horror function as an old boys network.  (Or "Buddy System" as it's almost universally never been called.)  I don't think that being of a certain age or a certain generation makes you inherently biased.  But I do think that it may take active semaphore on the part of younger people to signal to older people that things have changed.  I don't think male Baby Boomer authors are all sitting around twirling their moustaches going, "Fucking dames trying to horn in on our territory!"  But they may be surprised to learn that things have changed.  They may even be happy about it.  Maybe the old guard is saying, "Oh, good, look how far we've come!"  And if, in a few years, the idea of a Women in Horror Month seems so laughably outdated we have no more need for it, then great.

4.)  Isn't this just another self-congratulatory PC bullshit waste of time?

Maybe.  I know it's all the rage lately to be anti-political correctness, but I've also noticed that a lot of people seem to use "I know it isn't PC to say this..." as a preamble for some horrible misogynistic and/or racist remark.  Sure, there are issues with PC culture, but if you look at political correctness as some kind of straitjacket that is preventing you from being your true, racist, sexist self, then you are just a bad person.  So, no, I don't think WiHM is bad because it's PC.  It may be self-congratulatory.  It may be masturbatory.  It may be the fruit of all those SJWs I keep hearing about because no one ever actually admits to being one.  It may even be...problematic.  Certainly it's problematic, and every time I bring it up with a female author, we have a mini recap of this blog post.  But the way I look at it, if the absolute worst possible outcome of WiHM is that you hear about a bunch of horror professionals you never heard about before...then the whole thing is a net gain.  That's why I do it.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Revisiting Women in Horror Month 2016

Hey everybody!  I'm about to clock out for the next 28 days, because February is...

Dun dun dun dun!

Women in Horror Month!

As I'll discuss on Monday, WiHM is a bit hokey and maybe mildly controversial, but if the worst outcome of it is that you meet a few great horror authors you might not have heard of otherwise, I consider it a net positive.

Last year was a smashing success in terms of blog traffic, and it featured all of the women in the genre that I consider dear friends and would do anything for.  (If you're a regular visitor, you'll probably recognize their names, no doubt.)  But I decided this year to give you a whole new slate of authors, editors, actors, and the like.  So before we jump into WiHM 2017, why not take a few minutes this weekend to go back and peruse last year's participants?  Then, like I said, on Monday we'll talk about some of the controversy around WiHM, then starting Wednesday you won't have to listen to me ramble again for a month.  Again: net positive.

Ursula K. Raphael
A. Giacomi
Lily Luchesi
Sharon Stevenson
Samantha Kolesnik
E.M. MacCallum
J. Rudolph
Rachel Aukes
The Sisters of Slaughter
Rhiannon Frater
Chantal Noordeloos
Trista M. Borgwardt
Tonia Brown
J.L. Murray
Rebecca Snow
C.A. Hoaks
Vanessa Ionta Wright
Stevie Kopas
Renee Pickup
Erin Sweet al-Mehairi

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Horror Show 100th Episode Telethon or Bust!

Hey kids!  Tomorrow is going to be my first public appearance of 2017.  I'm very excited to be a part of a worthy charitable event benefiting the Scares that Care 501 (c) (3) Charity.  That event will be the 100th episode of The Horror Show With Brian Keene, which will be a 24-hour marathon.

The telethon will take place Thursday and Friday, January 26-27 12:00 noon EST - 12:00 noon EST.  If you live in the Baltimore, MD area, feel free to stop by any time.  It's going to be at:

Holiday Inn Express
11200 York Rd.
Cockeysville, MD 21030

I'm scheduled to be on as a guest from 11:00 pm to midnight.  That may be a bit negotiable depending on what ends up happening on the ground.  I'm also going to be around for the whole event, and there will be a book table, so I'll be available to sell and sign autographs.  Or just chat or something if that's your thing.  

If you can't make it out, you can still enjoy the telethon on Brian Keene's YouTube channel and definitely contribute a little something to Scares that Care.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kick-Ass Females in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Giveaway

Hey all!  If you've followed the blog for very long you've probably met Mary Fan and Sharon Stevenson, two of my favorite authors (and people) in the world.  Well, they, along with five other great authors, have combined to bring you the Kick-Ass Females in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Giveaway.  It's so massive, I'm not going to take up another centimeter of space with this prologue.  Take a look!  And enter. 


Win a $35 Amazon gift card, three signed paperbacks and four eBooks! Totally Addicted to Books has teamed up with seven must-read authors to bring you our Kick-Ass Females Giveaway. These books feature amazing female characters in the fantasy, paranormal, and science-fiction genres. ONE (1) lucky winner gets all of the following: $35 Amazon Gift Card A signed paperback of ARTIFICIAL ABSOLUTES by Mary Fan. A signed paperback of DAUGHTER OF THE RED DAWN by Alicia Michaels. A signed paperback of DEMON DIVIDED by Sharon Stevenson. And eBook copies of: THE PROPHECY OF ARCADIA by M.H. Soars, DYING BREATH by Kory M. Shrum, PETRIFIED CITY by S.C. Green & Lindsey R. Loucks, and EDEN FOREST by Aoife Marie Sheridan.


FROM AWARD WINNING AUTHOR AOIFE MARIE SHERIDAN Sarajane Anderson is your regular twenty-one year old with family, friends and a normal job. She also happens to be the only person who can save Saskia, a parallel world to earth. When Sarajane is taken to Saskia, she could never have imagined the reality of the world that she is stepping into- a world where magical abilities are in everyone's possession. She must face a father she never knew, a world that is beyond her belief, a guardian who captures her heart; and a darkness that wants to take it. On her journey, Sarajane discovers her magical abilities, and realizes too that they come with a price. She is truly tested as her own loved ones are put at risk- the ultimate question she is forced to ask herself is, how do you choose who lives and who dies?

Blood Bound.jpg 

BLOOD BOUND is the Amazon bestselling Scottish urban fantasy novel that combines a breakneck plotline with flawed characters and a wicked sense of humour. "It's a read that grips you from the beginning, and keeps you enthralled until the very end." – Ashley, Fae Books 19-year-old twin demon trackers Shaun and Sarah Gallows are used to running into trouble—mostly the kind with fangs—but while Sarah embraces her powers to their fullest extent, trusting her instincts implicitly, Shaun distances himself from his abilities and can do little more than despair at his sister’s reckless nature and idly back her up. When they come across 17-year-old Melissa Carling, a demon tracker who’s been torturing innocent super-naturals, they know they have to stop her. Sarah is desperate to punish Melissa for what she’s been doing but Shaun’s instant attraction to the girl points to a soul-mate bond stronger than anything he’s ever had to fight before…

  The Prophecy of Arcadia.jpg 

Being a teenager is tough, especially when you have to pretend to be something you’re not, and you’re in love with someone you shouldn’t. 115 years ago, a small planet called Arcadia was invaded by a vicious alien race and nearly destroyed. Cut off from their resources, the Arcadians turned to Earth for help. A group of Arcadian explorers discovered a Prophecy that claimed their salvation lay in the hands of two children from Earth. To ensure their safety, the Arcadian Council sent their most gifted youngsters to Earth to act as protectors. Samantha is one of them. To succeed in her mission she must learn to control her Arcadian powers and keep her true identity from her best friend, and the girl she swore to protect, Alexia. But Samantha will soon realize that nothing is as it seems. Someone is trying to prevent the Prophecy from taking place and the prophecy boy hasn't been found yet. There is also a new drug circulating at school that is turning students into freakishly strong menaces. To make matters worse, distractions keep getting in her way. Such as her love/hate relationship with her “cousin” Matthew. Or her confused feelings toward popular and mysterious Julian. She wants nothing more than to be free to live her life. But the survival of Arcadia depends on her and her friends. Free will is not an option.


Welcome to PETRIFIED CITY, where the dead don’t stay in the ground. Ten years ago, an accident at the city chemical plant leaked toxins into the soil of the historic Brookwood Hill Cemetery. From the poisoned ground emerged the wraith – ghosts of the long dead who gorge on the energy sucked from the city’s dwindling population. Desperate to contain the threat, the government enclosed the city in a giant dome, trapping the wraith and the residents inside. Now, there’s almost nothing left. Sydney Cale – a thief with a strange and secret power – attempts to escape from the city’s jailers, only to find herself facing off against the wraith. She teams up with Alain, a raven shapeshifter who is a member of the Order of the Reapers, a powerful force who work to banish the wraith back to the underworld. Alain agrees to protect Sydney and her friend Diana in exchange for her help. She must enter the Citadel – the wraith compound in the center of the city – and steal back his kidnapped daughter. But what Sydney finds inside the Citadel will change everything. The wraith are evolving, drawing energy from the decaying city itself. Soon, they will be powerful enough to break free of the dome. Sydney and Alain must stop the wraith before they escape and infect the world, even if that means dooming themselves, and everyone they love, to petrifying inside the dying city.

Artifical Absoloutes.jpg 

Jane Colt is just another recent college grad working as an Interstellar Confederation office drone—until the day she witnesses her best friend, Adam, kidnapped by a mysterious criminal. An extensive cover-up thwarts her efforts to report the crime, shaking her trust in the authorities. Only her older brother, Devin, believes her account. Devin hopes to leave behind his violent past and find peace in a marriage to the woman he loves. That hope shatters when he discovers a shocking secret that causes him to be framed for murder. With little more than a cocky attitude, Jane leaves everything she knows to flee with Devin, racing through the most lawless corners of the galaxy as she searches for Adam and proof of her brother’s innocence. Her journey uncovers truths about both of them, leading her to wonder just how much she doesn’t know about the people she loves.

Dying Breath.jpg 

"I always knew I was going to die. I just didn’t know it was going to be today." Maisie won’t live to see her seventeenth birthday. Her mother and sister are locked in a war over the world, and Maisie is stuck between them. She must decide if she will join her sister’s cause, or defend her mother. In the face of her mother’s demands, Maisie doubts herself and what she truly wants. But her only alternative is to be murdered by the person she loves most. Jesse wants to find her father’s body and finish him before he can resurrect. If she succeeds she will save millions, if not billions, of lives. But first, Jesse must defeat the woman protecting him. Will Maisie stand with her? Or fight by her mother’s side? One decision will make all the difference in the world.

Daughter of the red dawn.jpg 

On the outside, seventeen year-old Selena McKinley is like any other teenage girl. Yet, Selena has always felt as if she doesn’t belong and is counting the days to graduation and her freedom from the small town that makes her feel so out of place, when the arrival of a stranger turns her world upside down. Selena will learn just how different she is and the truth of where she comes from. A lost princess, they call her, the catalyst for a war involving a world that she was taken from as a child. An evil queen obsessed with her own beauty with a plan to enslave the human race.…the notion seems so silly, yet Selena knows in her heart that it is true. Then there is Titus, the shape shifter whose blue eyes and claims of destiny hold her heart captive. Can Selena find the strength to do what she must while following her heart?

Kick-ass females .jpg 

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Day of Service

On this Martin Luther King Day a lot of uncomfortable things, unfortunately, spring to mind to discuss, but I intend not to discuss them here and now.

I don't know a lot about Dr. King but I suspect that he would not have liked the way that his name gets tossed around these days.  So rather than add my voice to the chorus that became a cacophony declaring in all contraindication to anything that ever actually happened what Dr. King would have wanted, I'll just say that this is, correctly, a day for service.  It is a day to remember that the struggle goes on, and perhaps now, more than ever, to realize that the struggle is never really over.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Horror Show With Brian Keene Episode : Give It Away Now

Hey everybody!

If you're a longtime reader, you've probably gathered my thoughts on the whole "don't work for exposure" controversy, most explicitly from this post but also a little bit from this one and sprinklings among others.

So I've been pitching this controversy as a discussion topic to my friends at The Horror Show for a little while now and this week we finally did it!  Filmmaker Mike Lombardo joined Dave, Brian, and I for a round table discussion on working for free, working for barter, and all the ins and outs of a fairly complicated issue which the internet has reduced, in its customary style, to a meme.  I think it really turned out well and I hope you enjoy it.

(If this embed isn't working for you, the direct link to Project Entertainment is here and The Horror Show website is here.  Oh, and while we're at it, you should probably give their FB page a like.  They're about a hair's breadth from 1000 followers.)

Monday, January 9, 2017

2017 Appearances

Hey all!  I'm getting an early start posting my appearance schedule this year.  And rightfully so!  There'll be some events in January and February.

So, the usual rundown: red entries are events that I attended in the past.  I don't list any tentative events here - these are all confirmed.  I have my own personal tentative list and as that changes I will update this list, so make sure to check back periodically for updates.

If you'd like me to make an appearance at a convention or other event you're organizing or attending, feel free to contact me and we'll discuss it.  Most events in Baltimore or Philadelphia are a slam dunk for me to attend, but I'll consider travelling if invited.

The Horror Show With Brian Keene
Date:  Thursday, January 12 7:00 pm EST
Location:  Virtual

The Horror Show With Brian Keene 100th Episode Telethon
Dates:  Thursday and Friday, January 26-27 12:00 noon EST - 12:00 noon EST
Location:  Holiday Inn Express
11200 York Rd.
Cockeysville, MD 21030

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, February 17-19
Location: Radisson Hotel North Baltimore
2004 Greenspring Drive
Timonium, MD 21093
Friday 4:00 pm - Chesapeake 1- "But I Liked That Guy" 
Friday 6:00 pm - Chesapeake 1- "Complex Villains and Questionable Heroes" (M)
Saturday 11:00 am - Seat A - Autograph session
Saturday 1:00 pm - Chesapeake 2 - Walking Out on the Walking Dead"
Saturday 3:20 pm - Chesapeake 6 - Reading
Saturday 5:00 pm - Chesapeake 1 - "Editing: It's Not For Wimps"
Sunday 12:00 noon - Ridgely 1 - "Are We Just Going Mad? Online Civility and Social Media"
Sunday 1:00 pm - Seat A - Autograph session

Scares that Care Shrimp Feast
Date:  Saturday, March 18
Location:  Jimmy's Famous Seafood
6526 Holabird Ave, Baltimore, Maryland 21224

Carlisle High School Sci-Fi Day
Date:  Saturday, April 29 11:00 am - 5:00 pm EST
Location:  623 W Penn St
Carlisle, PA 17013
Saturday 2:30 pm - LGI - "Q & A for Aspiring Authors"
Saturday 1:00 pm - M41 - "Promoting Yourself in 2017"

Shore Leave 39
Dates:  Friday, Saturday, and Sunday July 7-9
Location:  Hunt Valley Inn
245 Shawan Rd.
Hunt Valley, MD 21031
Friday 4:00 pm - Salon A - "Public Face on Social Media"
Friday 7:00 pm - Hunt - "If I Had a Publishing Empire" (M
Saturday 11:00 am - Chase - "Your Writing or Your Life" (M)
Saturday 3:00 pm - Chase - "The Role of Science Fiction"
Sunday 12:00 noon - Chase "The Devil's in the Details"

Sunday 1:00 pm - Derby - "Chasing Our Tales" (M)

Scares that Care Weekend IV
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday July 21-23

Location: Double Tree by Hilton
50 Kingsmill Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Saturday 9:45 pm - "This Is How We Do It: A Discussion on Self-Publishing" (M)
Sunday 11:15 am - Reading and Q&A with Ralph Bieber

41st Annual Red Lion Street Fair
 Saturday, August 12 9:00 am - 4:00 pm EST

Location:  Red Lion Square
Intersection of Broadway and Main Streets
Red Lion, PA 17356
Booth N17

Chessiecon 2017
Dates:  November 24-26, 2017
Location:  Radisson Hotel North Baltimore
2004 Greenspring Drive
Timonium, MD 21093
Friday 5:30 pm - Chesapeake 6 0 "Workshop: How to Turkey"
Friday 9:15 pm - Greenspring 3-5 - "What's good on TV?"
Saturday 10:00 am - Greenspring 3-5 - "Small Everyday Forms of Resistance in SF/F"
Saturday 11:15 am - Greenspring 2 - "Turkey Awards Panel"
Saturday 12:30 pm - Greenspring 2 - "PowerPoint Improv"
Saturday 3:00 pm - Greenspring 1 - "Where Do We Dystopia From Here?"
Saturday 6:45 pm - Greenspring 1 - "How The Twilight Zone Embraced 'Less is More'"
Saturday 8:00 pm - Atrium - "Author Meet and Greet"
Sunday 10:00 am - Greenspring 1 - "Cultural Ramifications of Universal Translators"
Sunday 12:30 pm - Greenspring 1 - Reading

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Top Ten Manuscripts Burn Posts of 2016!

Well, I finally did it.  Long-time blog followers will know that since I started doing my end-of-year round-ups, I've traditionally used the same number of posts as the year (so top 12 of 2012, top 14 of 2014, and so forth.)  With 2016 finally crossing the median threshold of 5, though, I think it's time to finally scale these back to a top ten list.  So, without any further ado, here are the ten most popular posts of 2016 in ascending order:

10.)  Making the Sausage: Book Sale / Review: Shin Godzilla (a rare tie)

9.)  The Art to Seeing and Seeing as Art in Dark Fantasy (Guest Post by K.P. Ambroziak, Author of THE JOURNAL OF VINCENT DU MAURIER)

8.)  Women in Horror Month #9: The Sisters of Slaughter, Authors of ISOLATION

7.)  Are You Scared to Write a Review?

6.)  A Conversation Which Must Have Taken Place Offscreen During "Star Trek: Generations"

5.)  Do Not Cut Yourself Slack: Interview with Jeffrey Stackhouse, Screenwriter of "I am the Doorway"

4.)  Scares That Care Autopsy

3.)  Making the Sausage: Judging a Small Press

2.)  KJA and I

1.)  Creating the HUNTER OF THE DEAD Cover (Guest Post by Zach McCain, Professional Artist)

Monday, January 2, 2017

Cover Reveal: RIGHT TO SILENCE by Lily Luchesi

Hey, kids!

If you've hung around this blog for any period of time, you've probably figured out that there are about four or five people in this industry I'd do anything for, and one of those is Lily Luchesi.  So when Lily asked me to host the cover reveal for her fourth novel I was delighted to say yes.  But that's enough of me yakking.  Let's get straight to it!

The truth can be deadly.

In the first of this two-part novel, we learn the history of hunters Brighton Sands and Mark Evans in their two lifetimes, culminating in their final battle with the insane vampire they have been hunting for centuries.

In the second part, with Angelica Cross still on the run, multiple vampiric murders lead to the kidnapping of a famous vamp. Detective Danny Mancini must drag a mortal into the bowels of Hell in order to rescue her.

But why does Leander Price want her so badly, and what does she have to do with an ancient vampire prophecy?

About Lily Luchesi:

Lily Luchesi is a young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things "dark". At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call "Gothic", she doesn't believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-love who will always associate vampires with love, blood, and rock and roll.

Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe's complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and was first published at twenty-one.

Her debut novel, STAKE-OUT (Paranormal Detectives Series Book One), was published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19th, 2015. Book two, MIRANDA'S RIGHTS, was released on January 8th, 2016. Book three, LIFE SENTENCE, was released on August 2nd, 2016 by Vamptasy Publishing, and book four, RIGHT TO SILENCE, was also just accepted by the publisher and will be released on January 17th, 2017.

She had a short story, "Undead Ever After" in the CHBB Publishing anthology LOVE SUCKS (released on June 13th, 2015). Her first erotic short story, "Have No Fears", was published in the Hot Ink Press anthology NAUGHTY BEDTIME STORIES: IN THREE WORDS on October 10th, 2015. She will also have a short erotic horror story, "The Devil's Dozen", in the Hot Ink Press anthology DEATH, LOVE, LUST, which was released on February 4th, 2016. Her horror short "Too Young To Kill" was released in the CHBB Publishing anthology LURKING IN THE SHADOWS on June 28th, 2016.
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