GUEST BOOK REVIEW by Armand Rosamilia: Tender Is the Flesh

Tender Is the Flesh
“Cadaver Exquisito”

By: Augustina Bazterrica
Translator: Sarah Moses

Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: 8.4.2020

Genre: Horror, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 223

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans —though no one calls them that anymore.

His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing.

Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.


Armand’s Review

Brutal but in a good way. Well-written, very graphic and not for the faint of heart. Not even kidding. Likely the book of the year for me right now, too. The characters are brilliant, the impact of what’s happening makes you think, and the ending will tear you apart. But hopefully not eat you.


Boo-graphy:
Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not sleeping. He’s happily married to a woman who helps his career and is supportive, which is all he ever wanted in life…

He’s written over 150 stories that are currently available, including horror, zombies, contemporary fiction, thrillers and more. His goal is to write a good story and not worry about genre labels.

He not only runs two successful podcasts…

Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast – interviewing fellow authors as well as filmmakers, musicians, etc.

The Mando Method Podcast with co-host Chuck Buda – talking about writing and publishing

But he owns the network they’re on, too! Project Entertainment Network

He also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool.

You can find him at his website for not only his latest releases but interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes and e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal.

The Beast
The end of summer, 1986. With only a few days left until the new school year, twins Jeremy and Jack Schaffer are on very different paths. Jeremy is the geek, playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends Kathleen and Randy, while Jack is the jock, getting into trouble with his buddies.

And then everything changes when neighbor Mister Higgins is killed by a wild animal in his yard. Was it a bear? There’s something big lurking in the woods behind their New Jersey home.

Will the police be able to solve the murder before more Middletown residents are ripped apart?

Trapped
Forget the conspiracy theories about Denver International Airport… this just got real.

When a massive snowstorm shuts down the airport and forces a plane carrying exotic and deadly cargo, those trapped inside the terminal have no idea what’s in store for them.

Can a group of passengers and airport workers band together to face the onslaught, or will they be ripped apart?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Armand Rosamilia

Meghan: Hey, Armand! It’s always a pleasure to have THE Armand Rosamilia on the blog. Thanks for stopping by today. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Armand: The kids coming to the house each year, especially since I moved to Jacksonville in 2013. We live in a big neighborhood and get over 200 trick or treaters each year, so we set up a table in the driveway with stacks of comic books, stacks of Halloween themed books for kids and adults, and small bags of candy. They’re allowed to take one from each pile, which is confusing for some kids, who think they have to choose.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Armand: Since we added our Little Free Libraries beginning of 2020, we added the books to our Halloween giving. We also have extra books put into both Little Free Libraries (we have an adult one and a bench one for children) that get lit up and decorated, and it’s great to have so many people thank us for it as well as new people who didn’t know it was up or what it was at first.

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Armand: Honestly… this is going to shock some people, but I love Christmas Eve more than anything, because I’m half-Italian and we do a lot of seafood. Then it would be Thanksgiving because my wife’s family makes a ton of food and we have it at our house. Third would be Halloween, maybe because we don’t have enough food, although I do eat a metric ton of candy all day and the few days after, until it’s all gone, so… maybe Halloween is my favorite, after all.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Armand: Every time my palm itches I shove it in my pocket. Then I get money. It’s worked a lot of the time. I wish it itched more.

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Armand: Cthulhu. Gotta be. I am a huge cosmic horror fan, and Lovecraft was one of the first truly horrific authors I read everything I could get my hands on. Most of it was over my head as a kid, but Cthulhu hooked me from the beginning.

Cthulhu Rises – bramsels – CGSociety

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Armand: All of them. We watch the Investigation Discovery channel every night, and I love seeing a case I haven’t seen before. I wish they’d stop focusing on only Dahmer, Bundy and Gacy and do shows on the many other serial killers out there. Zodiac was always a big one I followed. I’m still wondering where DB Cooper and all that cash went, too.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Armand: None of them scare me. They’re all fascinating. One I wrote about (in my novella The Beast) is the urban legend about a Bigfoot in New Jersey in the town I grew up in. I read Weird NJ for years, with tons of fascinating sightings. Still pick up copies when I’m back in NJ, too.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Armand: Ed Gein. He might not be the most prolific, he might not be the smartest, but he’s the one I always read about. He inspired so many stories and movies, too. He even inspired songs, like Dead Skin Mask by Slayer. How cool is that?

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Armand: I was 9 in 1979 when I saw When A Stranger Calls. Scared the crap out of me. That opening twenty minutes is still scary. My parents took the family to the drive-in and me and my brother were supposed to be sleeping in the backseat but I stayed awake and watched and then couldn’t sleep that night.

As for books… I know Phantoms by Dean Koontz was the first horror book that got to me, but I read two or three a week when I was 12 thanks to my mother’s massive paperback horror book collection.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Armand: I accidentally read an Edward Lee novel once. Don’t remember which one, but it was gut-wrenching. I was able to tell him that years later at a convention, and Ed just chuckled.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Armand: By the time Hostel came out, I was already pretty much done with horror movies. I don’t remember why I watched it, but that was it for me. I grew up on the classics (Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc.) that had intense moments, plot, character, but then it turned into just a lot of gore and blood and over the top shocks in horror, which I wasn’t a fan of. Now get off my lawn, you damn kids!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Armand: As a child, I went as Ronald McDonald. I don’t really remember it too well, I was about five. I’ve seen the pictures, though. I look like a creepier young John Wayne Gacy. My mother made it for me since we were poor.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Armand: It’s a tie between “Halloween” by The Misfits or “Halloween” by King Diamond. I play them both every year because they’re awesome.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Armand: Anything chocolate. I make sure we buy a giant bag or three of Kit Kats, Twix, Milky Way, etc. and then slowly pocket as many as I can before my wife catches me. In my office I’ll go and dump handfuls into my file cabinet, and then eat them over the next few days. I hated getting pennies as a kid. Just don’t open your damn door, lady. No one wants your loose change.

Meghan: Thanks again, Armand. You’re definitely one of my favorite people to have on. Before you go, what are your go-to Halloween movies and books?

Armand:
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Classic. Simple as that.

Halloween. Still a great movie. The original, not the awful remake.

Every horror book ever written or to be written. Halloween is the perfect time to read a scary book. Yes, my answer is a cop-out but I felt so much pressure to answer this in a timely manner. Stop looking at me like that. And get off my damn lawn, you kids!


Boo-graphy:
Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not sleeping. He’s happily married to a woman who helps his career and is supportive, which is all he ever wanted in life…

He’s written over 150 stories that are currently available, including horror, zombies, contemporary fiction, thrillers and more. His goal is to write a good story and not worry about genre labels.

He not only runs two successful podcasts…

Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast – interviewing fellow authors as well as filmmakers, musicians, etc.

The Mando Method Podcast with co-host Chuck Buda – talking about writing and publishing

But he owns the network they’re on, too! Project Entertainment Network

He also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool.

You can find him at his website for not only his latest releases but interviews and guest posts with other authors he likes and e-mail him to talk about zombies, baseball and Metal.

The Beast
The end of summer, 1986. With only a few days left until the new school year, twins Jeremy and Jack Schaffer are on very different paths. Jeremy is the geek, playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends Kathleen and Randy, while Jack is the jock, getting into trouble with his buddies.

And then everything changes when neighbor Mister Higgins is killed by a wild animal in his yard. Was it a bear? There’s something big lurking in the woods behind their New Jersey home.

Will the police be able to solve the murder before more Middletown residents are ripped apart?

Trapped
Forget the conspiracy theories about Denver International Airport… this just got real.

When a massive snowstorm shuts down the airport and forces a plane carrying exotic and deadly cargo, those trapped inside the terminal have no idea what’s in store for them.

Can a group of passengers and airport workers band together to face the onslaught, or will they be ripped apart?

GUEST POST: Somer Canon

The Halloween Mood

It’s that time of year again. Summer has come to an end, the days are getting shorter, and the color orange is starting to saturate our world of capitalistic vice and consumption. There’s pumpkin spice, well, everything and the general cozy feeling that comes with the season, and then we have the people who are annoyed with the deliriously evangelical followers of the autumnal cult of joy. Fall is the favorite season of many, and the favorite punching bag of others. Personally, I’m a big fan of the season and the mood it sets. I haven’t even touched on the best day of the season, in my opinion at least: Halloween.

I sit pretty comfortably in the opinion that Halloween is one of the best holidays. I’m not even close to being alone in that belief. In 2019, almost 70% of Americans celebrated Halloween. It dropped a bit in 2020 and looks like the downward trend may continue this year, thanks to the pandemic. But still, more than half of Americans, pandemic or not, are going to be indulging in the spooky, in the morbid, and in the deliciously decadent delights that horror can give. Children and adults alike love Halloween. Horror fans and otherwise love Halloween. The love of Halloween spans various belief systems and religions. How is this so? Why is Halloween such a hit?

I think that it has a lot to do with the fact that it happens at the end of October, just as fall is getting into full swing. Like Christmas, we start celebrating Halloween before the actual day with trips to pop-up stores for new costumes and goodies for our homes, visiting haunted houses and hay rides, and scary movies play on the television every night. Summer is the season that we spend mostly out of our homes, away on vacations and with school being out, mostly on a relaxed or nonexistent schedule. Fall begins with school going back into session, the return to routine and to the end of the vacation season. We’re home, we’re settling in, we’re getting cozy, and we get to do that as the lush beauty of nature prepares to wow us one last time. In the autumnal season, nature proves that she saves the best for last. The sweet smell of dead leaves and their lovely crunch under our feet as we walk, it romances us. Death woos and charms us. Pumpkins start appearing everywhere, flanked by decorative baskets of chrysanthemums. But alongside that magazine-cover pretty picture, there are skeletons, spiders, black cats, corpses, vampires, bats…all of the ambassadors of the decidedly spooky. And they go together wonderfully. I put a seven-foot werewolf on my front porch, but I’ve also got mums and pumpkins. I put out a small cemetery in my side yard with zombies and skeletons climbing out of the graves, but they’re surrounded by beautiful falling leaves from the large tree. The beauty of nature’s death pairs nicely with the human macabre.

Halloween also has the distinguished position of being a holiday that normally doesn’t come with family obligations. Every season comes with a holiday that carries some sort of requirement that can stress us out. Halloween has no such demand. It stands as one of the special days on the calendar that is set aside purely for fun. Obligations are minimal, usually, and having to eat a big dinner next to your judgmental aunt is still at least a month away. Halloween is so much more casual. I know the history of Halloween and I know the pagan-held beliefs of the day, but it has become a day of laughter, fun, sweets, and ridiculousness. It has a few songs, it has a lot of movies, and it has costumes. Halloween is an absolute delight, and I know that I start looking forward to it every August. I sometimes hold out through September before bringing out my spooky and corny decorations, and sometimes I don’t. But, at the very least, the month of October is dedicated to Halloween in my house. My giant porch werewolf and the many other outdoor decorations pale in comparison to what I have inside of my house. A disassembled skeleton hangs from my dining room chandelier, I drink my coffee from Halloween mugs and have my evening tipple in Halloween glasses. For crying out loud, I have Halloween bedding and bathroom hand towels! I love every stitch of it. All of it.

The U.S. is an enormous country with many different regions and not all of them necessarily have four seasons, and yet, they still celebrate Halloween. I live in Eastern Pennsylvania where we certainly experience the full four seasons, but Halloween is pervasive in this country of ours regardless of whether autumn happens or not. Again, why? I’m not an academic and I have no deep philosophical answer for you. What I do have is my observation, and my knowledge of both your average person and the horror community. Halloween is popular because it’s fun. Being scared is fun. Horror carries a stigma of being sick and taboo, and yet I rarely meet a person who doesn’t have a favorite scary movie. People tell me all the time that they don’t like horror, but they love Halloween. Yes, it’s the day for the horror-lovers, but it’s also the day for the “normies” to take a walk on the spooky side and it turns out, they have just as much fun as us horror folk. It’s fun! That’s not a deep answer, but it is an obvious one, and a truthful one.

So, if you’re like more than half of us and celebrating Halloween, enjoy it. Have the fun. Watch the movies, eat the treats, put up the decorations, and do it with people that enjoy it as much as you. Do a Halloween night recitation of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” and eat some apple dumplings. But could you do this horror author a favor? Pick up a scary book from an author you’ve never read. Give a smaller name a chance. Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree is a terrific book and everything by Stephen King can be appropriate at this time of year. But there are so many horror authors out there who are putting out works that will surprise you with the imaginative takes and amazing storytelling and it’s a shame to only read the biggest names, or only a few names. Try something new, someone new, and allow yourself to be surprised and delighted. After all, ‘tis the season!

I’ll start you off. I’ll throw some authors at you, and you pick what thrills you most.

If you love monster books, authors Hunter Shea and Mary SanGiovanni write some of the best monster-based fiction out there. Wile E. Young is really climbing the ranks here as well.

If you love a good haunted house book or gothic horror, check out Catherine Cavendish.

If you like really strange, creative horror that takes unexpected turns, Wesley Southard, Stephen Kozeniewski, and Armand Rosamilia deliver.

If you like it spicy and want your horror a little sexy, check out Sephera Giron and Jessica McHugh. But don’t be fooled by the erotic bent of these works, they are every bit as brutal and horrifying as any other horror book, just with an added bonus.

Do you like horror that doesn’t really fit into a category but can be emotional and somehow beautiful? Robert Ford and John Boden belong on your shelves, then.

Grab a short story collection from a new author. As a reader, I find the best authors out there put together amazing short story collections. Most of the authors I mention here have short story collections in their bibliography. Also, try one of Matt Wildasin’s Horrors Untold volumes. They’re wonderful and varied fun.

Lots of authors write Halloween-themed works. Ronald Kelly, Kevin Lucia, Douglas Clegg, and yours truly have Halloween works out there.

I’m barely scratching the surface here, and could spend all day pointing you to terrific authors, but if you start here, and do a little digging of your own, I guarantee you’ll find your new favorite author. Happy Halloween!


Somer Canon lives in Eastern PA with her husband, two sons, and three cats. She loves to read and write and although she is polyamorous when it comes to genres, horror always seems to be her favorite.

Boneyard
Halloween is a night of spooky fun…at least it is for the living. What about the dead? What kind of fun do they have? Read and find out how the no-longer-living entertain themselves at the expense of very much alive and disrespectful people!

A Fresh Start
Still hurting from her divorce, Melissa Caan makes a drastic life change for herself and her two young children by moving them out to a rural home.But the country life came with some extras that she wasn’t counting on. Doors are slamming, she and her children are violently attacked by unseen hands, and her elderly neighbor doesn’t like to talk about the murders that happened in the strangely named hollow all those years ago.Ghost hunters, witches, and a sassy cancer survivor come together to help Melissa fight for the safety of her children and herself.All she wanted was a fresh start, will she get it?

Slaves to Gravity (with Wesley Southard) —
After waking up in a hospital bed, paralyzed from the waist down, Charlie Snyder had no idea where life would take her. Dejected, broken, and permanently bound to a wheelchair, she believed her life was truly over. That is…until gravity no longer applied.It started out slow. Floating from room to room. Menial tasks without assistance. When she decided to venture outside and take some real risks with her newfound ability, she rose above her own constraints to reveal a whole new world, and found other damaged individuals just like her to confide in.But there are other things out there, waiting in the dark. Repulsive, secretive creatures that don’t want Charlie to touch the sky. And they’ll stop at nothing to keep her on the ground.

REVIEW: Make Pretend: The Complete Short Fiction of Armand Rosamilia, Volume 1

Author: Armand Rosamilia
Publishing Company: Rymfire Books
Publication Date: 21 November 2020
Pages: 203
Genre: Short Stories

Make Pretend is the first book in a series collecting all of Armand Rosamilia’s short fiction.

Twenty-one tales ranging from horror to crime thriller to science fiction, contemporary fiction to fantasy, and more. From stories a few days ago to one forty years old.

Some stories you might’ve read in previous collections or anthologies. Maybe on the author’s Patreon. Many more never before read. Written for this and the future collections. 

Make pretend these stories aren’t real, aren’t fact, and aren’t exposing the best and worst of humanity… 

I am always impressed with the writings of the talented Armand Rosamilia, so when this book was offered to me for review, there was no option, as far as I was concerned, but to say yes.

As usual, I was not disappointed.

Armand’s Forward reveals a lot about him, as does the blips he has to say about some of the stories in the collection (I honestly think that every author who does a short story collection SHOULD have little blips talking about the story behind the story, or when it was written, why it was written, etc). Though he warns us that he picked out some good, as well as some bad, to show not only his range, but how much he’s grown, I can honestly say that there was not a single story in this collection that I did not enjoy. The only negative I can give you about this particular collection is that, when I came to the end of the last story, there were no more stories or me to read.

If you have not experienced an Armand Rosamilia book, I would definitely suggest this collection as a starter. He has such an amazing imagination, and the execution of his stories leave me satisfied while wanting more. I can’t wait for the next installment.

Halloween Extravaganza: Jay Wilburn: Some of My Favorite Books of 2019

I love hearing avid readers talk about their favorite books, always looking for my next favorite book or my next favorite author, so when Jay Wilburn asked if he could write about his favorites so far this year, I quickly said yes. Especially because it was Jay. I’ve read other books he’s called his favorites and haven’t been disappointed yet. Get ready to get your credit card out… or just have your Amazon app open so you can add to your cart easily.


I try to read as much as I can. I grab up the new hot books and then eventually read them. I find some of the most interesting and surprising stories among indie writers. That’s no knock on the bestsellers, but there is a wider range in some of these releases that don’t answer to big publisher marketing departments.

I’ve made a new rule for myself that I can’t buy a book until I’m ready to read it. So, if I’m not going to read it now, I have to wait to buy it. It makes me read a little faster. It keeps me from buying up everything. Friends stare at me like I’m insane when I explain this rule to them.

I will go back and reread older books. I’m still in the process of rereading Stephen King’s books in order. I’m feeling a strong temptation to go back and read Swan Song by Robert McCammon which I haven’t read in years even though I can’t count how many times I’ve reread The Stand by Stephen King.

All that to say my reading habits are a little sporadic. I have managed to read a few things this year that I enjoyed and feel strongly about recommending.

CARNIVOROUS LUNAR ACTIVITIES by Max Booth III is easily one of the greatest werewolf stories I’ve ever read. It is a great book even outside the werewolf subcategory. The dialogue in particular is exceptional in this story. It is great when the story is confined in a location. It is great when it breaks out of that confinement. I’m a huge fan of this book and the writer.

For fun, I contacted each of the writers I included in this list and asked them what they saw as their strongest book, excluding the one I had read and reviewed. Max said the new book he has coming soon might be his best. It’s going to be called TOUCH OF NIGHT. I’m looking forward to that. Of the ones that are out, he said THE NIGHTLY DISEASE is probably his best. Having read that too, I’d have to agree. That book is awesome.

HOUSE OF SIGHS by Aaron Dries is another great book I’ve read this year. The chapters are done in a countdown format like The Running Man. The story barrels forward from beginning to a gut punch of an ending. The characters in the story could have easily been flat stereotypes, but Dries makes them full and interesting. It hurts when they are hurt. Even when you sometimes secretly want them hurt a little bit.

He was a little taken aback when I asked him to name his best book. I imagine he has a little trouble bragging on himself. He finally settled on THE FALLEN BOYS. Based on the strength of HOUSE OF SIGHS, I’m excited to check this one out, too.

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS by Bob Ford and Matt Hayward was another great read. Two great authors making a great book is something to behold. This one feels like the story is crawling up out of the dirt and the trouble is building behind every turn. The story felt very tactile to me. Even when they weren’t specifically describing anything, I still felt like I could reach out and touch the scene and really feel the grit on the surface of things. The sequel is in the works and I’m looking forward to that.

When asked about best other books, Bob Ford said SAMSON AND DENIAL while Matt Hayward told me BRAIN DEAD BLUES is probably the best representation of his work. In the case of Brain Dead Blues, it is a collection of short stories which is the type of thing I love to read from a talented author. Short story collections sometimes make me feel like I’m getting a little bit more of the author and a wider range of work. Check out these two works, as well.

I also wanted to talk about a couple works on the way I’m looking forward to. In this case, both are nonfiction books. John Urbancik is a great writer. I’m particularly impressed with his short stories. He did a number of short story collections under the Ink Stains moniker. Now he has a nonfiction INK STAINS work on the subject of creativity in the offing. Review copies are out now and I’m going to grab it up as soon as it is available for purchase.

Tim Waggoner has a book in the works about the process of writing. There are a lot of this kind of book out there. I like the one Stephen King did. Others out there, I’m less impressed with. Considering the source on this one, I can’t wait to read this book when it is finished. From the classes he teaches, the information and questions he shares online, and the blog posts he shares on the subject of writing, his online presence alone contains so many pearls of wisdom on the craft. Having this compiled into a single work is a resource I intend to snatch up.

I feel strongly about the quality of the books mentioned in this article and believe you will likely enjoy them, too. Start reading!

Jay Wilburn is a full-time writer of horror and speculative fiction. His Dead Song Legend series follows music collectors during the zombie apocalypse. The Great Interruption follows and apocalypse of a different sort. He has coauthored The Enemy Held Near and A Yard Full of Bones with Armand Rosamilia. Follow his many dark thoughts at his website, his YouTube channel, and on Twitter.