Posted on

LampLight Editor Jacob Haddon on The Horror Show with Brian Keene


Editor, Jacob Haddon was on The Horror Show, with Brian Keene. The interview discusses the origins of Apokrupha, the hows and how-nots of making a magazine, and more!

Links for the two books, LampLight Volume 3 and the steampunk adventure, The Honey Mummy are below!

More discussion about the podcast on

LampLight Volume 3

Subscribe and never miss an issue.

The third Volume of LampLight magavol3-ebookzine, collected into a single volume, featuring issues from September 2014 – June 2015

Featuring the full novella by Kelli Owen, Wilted Lilies. Fiction and interviews with Yvonne Navarro, Mercedes M. Yardley, Nate Southard, Victorya Chase.

Fiction from:

Gary A. Braunbeck, Sana Rafi, Nick Mamatas, Roh Morgon, Tom Brennan, Salena Casha, Rati Mehrotra, J. J. Green, Damien Angelica Walters, Gwendolyn Kiste, John Boden, Kristi DeMeester, T. Fox Dunham, Davian Aw, John Bowker, Kealan Patrick Burke

Get it today!

The Honey Mummy


honey_promoA mummy bound in honey.

An auction of archaic wonders.

An immortal link to the past.

Beneath the streets of Alexandria, Agent Cleo Barclay stumbled into a catacomb that changed her life. Her arms were taken, transfigured, and something remarkable was revealed–something that will stir an ancient life from the ashes of history.

A serpentine sarcophagus holds clues to Cleo’s past and future. She enlists Eleanor Folley and Virgil Mallory to collect the artifact at auction, to unravel its mysteries and her own. When the sarcophagus falls into the hands of an enigmatic Egyptologist, they find themselves participants in his diabolical pursuits.

Drawn to Alexandria by their friend–and the temptations of a newly discovered ring–Folley and Mallory will be challenged as never before.

The Honey Mummy is coming, 1 March, 2016!

The Glass Falcon



falcon_promoA bungled museum theft. An ancient Egyptian riddle.

The rumor of strange creatures moving beneath the streets of Paris.

Kindle edition updated to include a free preview of The Honey Mummy!

The Rings of Anubis


Looking for the book that started it all? Travel to Egypt near the turn of the century for a steampunk adventure!


Posted on

Interview with John Boden

With John Boden, one of the editors at Shock Totem, author of Dominoes and bearer of some of the most impressive sideburns in this hemisphere.

We talk to him about Dominoes, the new issue of Shock Totem and even spoken word.

* * *

APOK: Dominoes is a unique offering, apocalypse in a prose poem illustrated to look like a children’s book. Can you talk some on how it came to be, as the writer?

JB:  I’ll try and give the short version.  Dominoes began as a series of micro flash pieces I had that I was going to compile as a piece called “Screaming Windows.”  I can’t recall why but I decided to tamper with the dynamic and scheme of the thing and add a bunch of odd shit. Lyrics, poetic snippets, gibberish.  I then sent it to some friends for their opinions, some dug and some did not so I stuck it in the wait locker and moved on.  It was influenced by many things: John Skipp & Craig Spector’s The Bridge, the work of William S. Burroughs, Throbbing Gristle…just wanting to do something that I thought would be neat to write.


APOK: And on the publishing side?

J.B.: In 2013, We at ST were discussing the possibilities of starting to put out chapbooks. We were each going to chose a project to handle for this and see what happened.  Tom Bordonaro, who was with us at the time wanted to do this and we decided to format it as a kid’s book…we  had a few false starts before we finally got it the way we were thinking it should be. Yannick Bouchard nailed it. Though he and ST parted ways, I owe him a great deal of thanks for helping get this out there.  It seems to be an experiment that worked somewhat as while not selling huge numbers, it moves and those who get it seem to dig it.


APOK: Shock Totem has been around a while now, bringing great fiction and more under its highly noticeable covers. How has it changed since 2011?

J.B. :  Man, in so many ways.  When we began in late 2008, it was an idea that Ken Wood had and brought up to Nick Contor and myself via messages on a heavy metal lovers forum.  We were originally going to be an e-zine, but the dream grew bigger and we  (after taking some serious public floggings and rib-kickings) finally decided what we wanted to do.  We have had more staff changes than we’d like, shit, who loves any?! Being as we are all friends first, it’s always painful when these changes happen.  We brought on Mercedes after getting to know her on the ST forums, not long after we accepted her story for issue #1.  When Nick left, it sucked. It seriously hit the dynamic and we weren’t sure how to proceed. We still miss Nick in the halls of ST manor.  Then Tom Bordonaro came on and then he left. Then Merc moved on to focus on her writing which as you can see if you follow that woman was the right thing for her to do, she’s everywhere.  We’ve brought on new folks and have a decent crew going now, but it’s always there….change…like a buzzard on the branch just biding its time.

The important thing, I think and hope, is that over the course or these years and the ten issues, two novels, one collection and one chapbook, is that we’ve remained true to our vision and kept the bar high.  All we ever strive for is to bring the world unique stories. Names matter not, although we are lucky to count a lot of big names in the genre among our fans.


APOK: The new issue is on its way out, care to tease us with some of the contents?

J.B.:  I am certain it will be another stellar issue. We have another amazing batch of fiction from authors known and unknown- Stephen Graham Jones, Bracken MacLeod, Tim Leider and loads more. Interviews are with Stephen Graham Jones and F. Paul Wilson. Plus the usual non fictiony goodness. Bracken stepped in for Simon Marshall-Jones to help me with the music article this go round.


APOK: Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

J.B.:  We’re readying Shock Totem #9 for release as soon as possible, we want and try to adhere to a schedule but we really run until we have enough quality to fill the issue.  We have a special Halloween treat coming as well.

Then We have a new novella, Zero Lives Remaining, from Adam Cesare in the chute and ready to drop very soon. I can assure you it will be one of the coolest limited editions ever.  I tend to not be a big supported of the limited edition as it generally consists of a hard cover pressing with an authors signature in it and for the $40 or more they usually run, that’s a bit shite.  So we wanted to offer something more…intricate. trust me, THIS is worth your money and with a number of one hundred being printed there will be hurt feelings when the snoozers realize they have indeed become the losers.

After that we have a novella from Justin Paul Walters, and we’ve discussed other things but nothing etched in stone.


APOK: Talk to us about you. Dominoes, you were in Radical Dislocations as well. Is poetry a passion? Or distraction? And does it always lean to the dark?

J.B.:   I started writing shitty stories in high school, shitty poetry as well. It wasn’t until the early 90’s, after hearing Steven Jesse Bernstein’s “Prison” cd, that I realized I was doing it wrong. There is no formula, meter or any of that shit necessary to poetry-just raw words. Sometimes it can have an agenda or sometimes just finger-painting with words and their meanings. So the style of my stuff changed.  I was invited to do some spoken word stuff with a local gothic industrial band, Suture.Seven (long defunct) but if you can find their cds, each of them feature a spoken word piece by yours truly.  I also got to do a spoken word piece on the album, “Gabriel” by the technical-trash band, Believer.

I like to write but but don’t do poetry as much as I once did. It depends, sometimes no other medium will work.  It is often dark but more often just odd.


APOK: Spoken word is often a combination of writing and performance. Did you change your composition tactics when you wrote those at all? And if so, did you bring any of that back into your toolset for fiction?

J.B.:  Not with Suture.Seven, I was friends with their main member and he was a fan of my writing and just had me records myself reading stuff and they put music to it.  Believer was a bit harder as they had a decided theme but the production was similar, I wrote the material and used my hand held digi-recorder to get it down. It didn’t really change much in the way I do things.


APOK: What are you working on now?

J.B.:   I try to keep at it, but life has a way of seeing to it that doesn’t happen.  I recently finished my first ever novella. It’s called Jedi Summer and concerns the adventures of a thirteen year old and his little brother during the summer of 1983. I read a bit from this at Scares That Care! last summer.  I started another novella or longer project under the working title of Spungunion. This one concerns a grieving trucker looking for answers in the murder of his wife, the quest will lead him to odd places and even odder, um…people. It’s my attempt at something noir-ish and I hope it comes out of my head as cool as it is in there. I have notes on a bizarro/horror thing I’ll be co-writing with Brian Rosenberger one of these days, a crypto zoological drug war epic.  I also started another Dominoes -style short thing about a haunted house. I usually try to keep stories out in the submitted ether. I do have some stuff coming out soon in Blight Digest, Despumation magazine and Halloween Forevermore.

* * *

Dominoes, by John Boden is highly recommended by us, get it for your bedtime reading.

Shock Totem Issue 9 is out soon, get it, and the previous ones for a great selection of the macabre.

Posted on

Interview with James D. Jenkins

With James D. Jenkins from Valancourt Books, a press which specializing in bringing older books back into availability (something we LampLight people think is pretty awesome!). Their press will soon release the last of the horrid novels from Northanger Abby, and we spoke to Jay about that and some of their other endeavors.

* * *

Apok: Jane Austen’s horrid novels were thought to be made up for Northanger Abbey, until Michael Sadleir tracked them all down in the 1920s. Recently Valancourt put out one of them, Eleanor Sleath’s The Orphan of the Rhine, which has only two known surviving copies. Can you tell us a bit about that process.

VC: Absolutely!  Actually, Orphan is the sixth of the seven horrid novels that we’ve republished.  We started waaaaaaaaay back in 2005 or 2006 with our first, Regina Maria Roche’s Clermont (1798), which is a really terrific Gothic novel.  Over the years, we published the others: Francis Lathom’s The Midnight Bell (1798), Peter Teuthold’s The Necromancer (1794), and Eliza Parsons’s Castle of Wolfenbach (1793) and The Mysterious Warning (1796).  We still have one left to go: Carl Grosse’s exquisitely titled Horrid Mysteries (1796).

The horrid novels are great reads.  As you mentioned, until Michael Sadleir tracked down hard copies of each of them in the 1920s, many scholars thought Austen had made up the titles to parody similar books that were being published during her day.  It’s hard to imagine today, but in Sadleir’s day, there wasn’t Google or an international online library catalog like Worldcat, so without mailing letters to each major world library or visiting them in person, it wasn’t easy for a scholar like Sadleir to find copies of the books or know for certain they existed.  In the end, he got lucky and found them when he bought huge lots of old books in crates at auction. After the books were proved to exist, many critics insisted that Austen had singled out these seven ‘horrid novels’ to ridicule them.  In reality, among the hundreds of Gothic novels published in the 1790s, Austen picked out seven of the best.  The mention of these specific seven titles in Northanger Abbey is actually an 18th-century example of astute literary criticism.  And Austen’s mentioning of these seven texts has saved some really interesting novelists of that era, such as Francis Lathom and Eliza Parsons, from being totally lost in obscurity.

As far as the process goes, it’s a matter of tracking down the original text, usually either on microfiche, or obtaining a PDF from the British Library, and then manually retyping the book — often four volumes — then carefully proofreading the text multiple times to make sure it’s accurate.  We also get university professors and scholars to contribute introductions and notes to help modern-day readers appreciate the texts.  For The Orphan of the Rhine, it was a little more difficult — there was no PDF or microfiche version of the book, so we had to drive from where we living at the time, Kansas City, to Charlottesville, Va., where one of the two surviving copies was housed, a two-day drive.  Then we had to sit in Special Collections and take photographs of each of the 1600+ pages of the book on our phones, so that we could go home and type out the text.


Apok: But this isn’t the only classic you have brought back into the light. Valancourt’s purpose is bringing these classics back. Do any of the other titles you have republished have a story of rediscovery?

VC: They all have stories!  We’ve now published over 250 books, dating all the way back to Charles Johnstone’s Chrysal from the early 1760s up to neglected novels from the 1980s, like Stephen Gregory’s The Cormorant.  Some of the titles in our Gothic Classics series are actually so rare that only one copy is known to exist worldwide, like Peter Middleton Darling’s The Forest of Valancourt; or, The Haunt of the Banditti (1813).  Some of the more modern ones have stories too.  We’ve now published six novels by the excellent Francis King (1923-2011); it all started when, as I was browsing at the library, I came across a copy of his novel An Air That Kills (1948), which sounded interesting.  Actually, that ended up being the first 20th-century title we published, and we’ve gone on to publish dozens of other great modern novels.


Apok: How do you discover new books to republish?

VC: All kinds of ways.  We’re constantly on the lookout for great obscure books in need of new editions, whether we’re browsing at a used bookstore, library, or on eBay, or researching online.  We’ve also been fortunate to get a lot of great recommendations from our readers. Many of our editions have been the result of someone’s recommendation or an email from someone offering to edit and introduce a particular text.


Apok: Horror isn’t the only thing you guys do, though. Tell us a little about the other books you publish.

VC: We publish in three categories, horror/weird/supernatural/occult being one of them; we also publish vintage gay-interest fiction as well as a more general catch-all category for neglected literary classics that don’t really fit into the ‘horror’ or ‘gay’ categories.  I talked about it in another interview recently online, so I won’t go into it as much here, but although some people may not understand why we publish horror fiction and gay-interest stuff, the fact is that the two overlap a great deal.  Historically, dating back to the 1700s, and even today, it’s often been gay people writing horror fiction: the two often go hand in hand.

If you browse our website and the 250+ books we offer, you’ll find a lot of fascinating stuff.  Besides the rare 18th-century Gothic novels I already mentioned, there are the “penny dreadfuls” of the Victorian era, like George W.M. Reynolds’s The Mysteries of London, which was originally so popular that it outsold Dickens, as well as some of the strange fin de siècle fiction of the 1890s, like the novels and supernatural short stories of Richard Marsh.  Every one of the books we publish has its own really interesting story, and if you click through the website and take a look at some of the titles, you’ll see that.  In the description for each book, we explain not only what it’s about but also why it’s still worth reading all these years later, and most of them also include excerpts from contemporary reviews.


Apok: What is next in store from you?

VC: Tons and tons of great stuff!  In our series of 20th-century classics, we have reissues of great horror stuff from Michael McDowell (Cold Moon Over Babylon, with a stunning Mike Mignola cover!), Michael Talbot, Bernard Taylor, and Robert Marasco’s Burnt Offerings (basis for a classic 1970s film). On the more literary side, we have a brand new book (not a reprint!) from Michael Frayn, author of Noises Off, the funniest farce ever written, and three-time nominee for the Booker Prize.  And for our 18th and 19th century classics series, we have a great anthology of Graveyard Poetry from the 18th century, our final ‘horrid novel’, Horrid Mysteries, and a bunch of other great stuff. Also, we’ve started reissuing a ton of great classic books as e-books for $2.99 each, and we have some really fun stuff planned for that series for October for Halloween!


Apok: Any shows, or events that Valancourt will be at over the next few months?

VC: We’ll be at Monster Fest in Chesapeake, Va. in October, and then at the World Fantasy Convention in Washington, D.C. in November.  If anyone happens to be there, stop by and say hi at our table!

* * *

We are admirers of Valancourt and their great work, and hope you’ll check them out. Get Eleanor Sleath’s The Orphan of the Rhine from Valancourt books, and other classics, such as The Elementals by Michael McDowell, now!

Posted on

Interview with E. Catherine Tobler

Read The Glass Falcon, which continues the adventures of Folley and Mallory, out now!

* * *

E. Catherine Tobler, author of Rings of Anubis, and all around extraordinaire.  Her work has appeared in LampLight, a story called “By The Book” which was a literary sci-fi detective story. She helps edit over at Shimmer, and current has a story at LightSpeed.

Her new book, Rings of Anubis came out in July, so we talked with her about it, writing and what is coming up.

* * *

APOK: Rings of Anubis has just been released, tell us about it

ECT: First and foremost everyone should know it’s the best book ev–

Er, Rings of Anubis is my first novel, and I’m equal parts excited and nervous over it. It’s very strange to have people buying your book and reading the words you’ve worked on for so long. You wonder how they will react and then realize you have to let go of that, because that’s out of your control.

Rings of Anubis is a mashup of science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, and historical fiction, taking our heroine from turn of the century Paris to Cairo where she will undercover secrets–though they aren’t the secrets she thinks they are. Along the way, she encounters werewolves, ancient Egyptian gods, and a side of herself she never knew. As you do.


APOK: Writing historical fantasy, I assume, presents its own sets of troubles, with both history and your world building creating their own rules. Did you have troubles with that? Did you find yourself having to bend one rule set to make it fit with the other?

ECT: There is certainly an aspect of the book that is alternate history. When the story began to take on a fuller shape, I knew there was no way it would be Exactly What Happened In History. It was also important to me to respect the actual history of Egypt, mindful of the customs and myths as I worked to build my own alternate version. Wanting to both show and respect the magic of Egypt was a fine line to walk.

I kept having to tweak what I’d already done to make sure everything stayed where I’d put it–kind of like when you’re making a model, or a puzzle, and the pieces don’t totally snap together, so you realize you’ve borked something earlier in the process. Branching off from real historical events was hard to wrap my mind around at times. “It didn’t happen like that,” I would find myself thinking, and being okay with that was a slow process.


APOK: Were you drawn to this time period first? or had you been working on a story and thought “you know, if i set this in Paris… yes yes…(maniacal laughter, mad scientist noises)” ?

ECT: I was not drawn to this time period first. The book started set in the near future; picture Blade Runner but not quite so rainy and bleak. I knew I wanted to talk about the preservation of the past by someone who had a personal stake in that preservation, but when coupled with the technology of the future replacing it, the set up felt entirely too much like Tolkien and his nature vs. technology arguments in LotR. So I took a step backward and started to wonder.

It was while I was looking at images of the Eiffel Tower under construction that it hit me. What could possibly be more metal and steampunk than the Eiffel Tower? I knew at that point it was Paris in addition to Egypt, I just needed to determine Paris of what era. World’s Fairs have always fascinated me and when I read more about the Tower, and why and when it was built, everything fell together naturally from that point. Seeing airships actually photographed around the Eiffel Tower…

Well yes, there was maniacal laughter at that point.


APOK: Tell me a little bit about how you became a writer to begin with

ECT: I started writing fan fiction, chiefly Star Trek, because stories where people are on journeys, seeing strange worlds and new ideas remain intoxicating for me. Fan fiction gave me a safe place to practice, and introduced me to a bunch of friends who also wrote. Then, Pocket Books did its Strange New Worlds anthologies, which is where I made my first pro sale (I was in SNW #4 and #5). But when Trek-writing friends began to write Trek novels, I realized I wanted to write in my OWN worlds, so took that leap and never looked back.


APOK: Do you have a specific writing process? Mood lighting and light music,  or a crazy hectic coffee shop?

ECT: I sit down. I apply my fingers to the keys. I type.

Okay–possibly it’s not that basic (but it also is). I have a brain that doesn’t want to write every day and when I stopped trying to force that, I became a happier and more productive writer, and I also started to sell more.

I’m the kind of writer who fills up on art, music, movies, the creative output of others, and feeds all of that into the “writing” part of my brain, before spewing words onto the page. And after I’ve emptied all those ideas, I have to go back and fill up again.

Some stories get soundtracks; some don’t. Sometimes I write in complete silence. Mostly, the writing happens at my desk, no coffee shops, no libraries, because when I’m out, I watch people–I find myself filling back up, rather than writing.


APOK: What is on the horizon? Releases? Appearances? Dance off-s?

ECT: I am appearing daily at my desk for editing and writing adventures! I may also attend MileHiCon in Denver later this fall. (

“A Box, a Pocket, a Spaceman” appears in the August Lightspeed (and will be free on the site starting August 19).

As for releases, September sees another book from me (in digital release to start), Watermark. This is the story of a fairy who is sent to the human world as a kind of punishment; of course things don’t always go as planned, and the center cannot hold. Chaos ensues!

As to dance offs, we totally have a future date with one of those. Maybe we’ll cosplay as Daft Punk at the 2015 Worldcon?


Check out Rings of Anubis, out now in print and ebook, as well as some more links below.