When I was first starting out in my writing career, one of the classic pieces of advice I’d hear was the recommendation to start with short fiction and then gradually make your way up to writing a novel. Sometimes I still hear that advice given to your writers today and I have to admit that it puzzles me now as much as it did back then.

Writing a quality piece of short fiction is no easy task; I’d rather tackle a novel length work any day of the week then try to shoehorn all I have to say on a particular topic into a couple dozen pages or less. Thankfully, there are others out there with far more skill than I in this particular area and I wanted to use today’s entry to introduce you to two of them.

Tom Piccirilli

PENTACLE collects the classic tales of an unnamed Necromancer and his demonic familiar “Self” as they wander the spectral highways of America incurring the wrath of both heaven and hell.

I was first introduced to Piccirilli’s unnamed necromancer and his wise-cracking remorseless familiar Self in the pages of DEEP IN THE DARKNESS PEERING, a limited edition collection of tales published back in 1999 by Terminal Frights Press. Piccirilli’s raw talent shown through like a searchlight in the darkness and I was fascinated with the play between these two characters as they wandered modern-day America dealing with various types of evil.

As Tom himself explains, ” I wanted to create my own kind of mythos, which I could return to over the years. True historical accounts of the Inquisition and the hysteria surrounding the witch trials are fascinating and shocking, with descriptions of some of the most terrible and savage periods in world history. So the challenge was to use realand realisticaccounts from history, along with ceremonies, ritual, legends and superstitions in order to weave them into a cohesive body of work. With each new Self tale I try to play with elements of a different legend, religious practice, or piece of folklore while allowing the reader to learn more about the dual identities of Self and the necromancer.”

This digital collection brings together many of the Self tales that Piccirilli has written over the years and illustrates quite clearly that Tom is a master at the short fiction art form.

Brian Hodge

A hardened photojournalist’s glimpses the face behind the atrocities of war. A report on the arcane origins and tragic premier of the flipside version of Mel Gibson’s most infamous movie. The seeding of Lovecraftian terrors in the unlikely realms of vintage psychedelia and cinematic sound design. The chapter in the life of Dracula’s Van Helsing that reunited Hodge with editor Jeanne Cavelos, mastermind of the Dell/Abyss series. A trip inside one of the Middle Ages’ seven towers of darkest iniquity, now thriving in modern-day Los Angeles. Dying is easy. Living is hard. And forces beyond your control have a bone to pick with you…

Just as with his previous collection LIES & UGLINESS, Brian Hodge doesn’t shy away from digging down deep into the depths of the human soul and shining a light on what might be lurking there. His fiction is always both thought-provoking and emotionally visceral and PICKING THE BONES is no exception.

The seventeen stories included in the collection present a powerful thematic punch as they explore the the nature of man’s deepest fears and darkest longings. At its current $2.99 price, this is an incredible steal!



Joseph Nassise is the author of more than twenty novels, including the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles series, the Great Undead War series, and the Jeremiah Hunt trilogy. He is a former president of the Horror Writers Association, the world’s largest organization of professional horror writers, and a multiple Bram Stoker Award and International Horror Guild Award nominee.

You can find him online at Shades of Reality.

Click here for a full list of Joseph’s picks!

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