Horror October: Poppy Z Brite Spotlight & Review #HorrorIcons #HorrorOctober

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I’ve long held a fascination with Poppy Z Brite. As an emerging teen goth in late 90s, her (as she was known then) books were like the holy grail. They were extremely violent and gruesome, they were deviantly sexual and on the surface seemed to completely humanise and romanticise serial killers and cannibalism. Plus, they were riddled with hot gay men. Some of them innocent wayward boys, some of them diabolical killers. Poppy Brite was my hero.

All of that was the angsty, blood-thirsty teenager in me. I read them because I thought it was cool; because I knew that I shouldn’t. Because I was too young to read them. A small act of rebellion. 

 

But as I’ve grown up, I’ve returned to Brite (now known as Billy Martin after transitioning to a man), on numerous occasions – his books never made it to the charity shop – and I can now appreciate them on another level. They are not just made-to-shock  throwaway novels. They’re important novels that act almost as a social commentary of New Orleans, focusing on the issues of  feeling different, alienated; on diversity. Brite writes with such a morbid passion. She can describe gutting someone as poetically as falling in love.

If you’ve never read any of Brite’s books, I highly recommend starting with Lost Souls. It’s set in New Orleans, like most of his stories, and centres around three wannabe rock star, bisexual vampires, one of which impregnates a human girl and the child, known as Nothing grows up wondering why he feels so alienated, until eventually meeting up with his blood-thirsty father.

In the past, Brite has been attacked for lacking morals, and writing gratuitous gore and casual sex, and to an extent I guess that’s true, but there’s more to her stories than that, and I can’t think of another writer who creates such evocative atmospheres, and bitter-sweet nostalgia for youth and days gone by. 

 

For Horror October, I decided to read Self-Made Man, a book of short fiction by Brite that I’d never got round to buying. My friend Dora found it in a charity shop and lent it to me. I was dubious after not really loving Love in Vein, another story collection. Short stories just don’t seem to be my thing, even by authors that I love. 

However, I was pleasantly surprised by Self-Made Man. It begins with a very short story written from the perspective of a maggot in a slaughter-house which is basically a showcase for Brite’s ability to make disgusting, putrid things sensual.

Arise, is a story about Cobb, a reclusive ex-pop star who faked his own death, who hears that his old band-mate has died. He then gets a mysterious letter saying that he has left his secluded house to him. Did he know all along that Cobb was alive? And why would he leave his house to him? I really liked this story. It had twists and turns and lots of intrigue. 

The titular story, Self-Made Man was a hit too. It’s very much in the same breath of novel, Exquisite Corpse, based on cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. It’s not for the faint-hearted. As was Vine of the Soul which reunites us with two characters from Drawing Blood. 

The rest of the stories I could take or leave, but my favourite part of this book was the author’s notes on each story. Fascinating, as ever.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Pretty Wicked #HorrorOctober #BlogTour

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Welcome to another book promo on Lipsyy Lost & Found where I’m always thrilled to support indie authors & publishers. Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for arranging the blitz and giveaway for this brand new YA horror novel by Kelly Charron.

Pretty Wicked ~ Kelly Charron


prettywickedcoverPublication date:
  September 30th 2016

Genres: YA, Horror/ Thriller

The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.

But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects.

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price.

Written in a mature YA voice. Some graphic content.

Goodreads // Amazon

Meet the Author

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Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor.

She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Website // Facebook // Twitter

GIVEAWAY

For a chance to win a $50 Amazon voucher enter the rafflecopter Blitz-wide giveaway here. Open internationally. 

Sneak Peak

Chapter One.

Some people are called to certain things in their life. That’s what hunting is for me. An urge. A desire. The closest thing I have to a calling.

My name is Ryann Wilkanson. I’m fifteen years old.

And I’m a killer.

It was hard to pick my first.

Call me sentimental, but it had to be just right.

I knew what I wanted. What I needed. Someone worth the risk, the challenge. Somebody who deserved it. Now, I’m not talking about the horrible, abusive assholes you see on TV. I wanted someone who I thought deserved it…

And to be honest, that could’ve been just about anybody.

Some people might think it’s odd to contemplate killing someone, but it was the most natural thing in the world to me. I didn’t dare talk about it—I somehow knew that much—but my thoughts raced with vivid, red-tinted images.

While my fantasies were fun, I had to wait. I still lacked the skill and organization to actually go through with it.

And, as I matured, I realized part of me was still hesitant. A piece of the puzzle was missing. It was as though I was waiting for permission. Something to give me the final push into action.

Funnily enough, I got that that clarity six years ago, when I was nine. My dad thought he was simply giving me a ride to school, but he initiated the defining moment of my life.

I remember it like it was yesterday. He’d just come off nights and wasn’t in the best of moods when my mom asked him to drive me and Bri. I’d raced to the car first, winning shotgun, leaving Brianna to storm behind me. She was a sore loser, and it only made my grin bigger.

We were just a few blocks from the house when Dad started with one of his commentaries on all that was wrong with society.

Jesus. People like that make me sick.”

We had stopped at a red light, and I spotted a guy standing on the corner with a sign that read Please Help.

At first I felt kind of bad for him, and I didn’t understand why Dad was upset. “At least he’s not dealing drugs,” I suggested.

Brilliant observation. Maybe we could put that on a T-shirt for him,” Bri said. My father laughed and my stomach dropped. She never wasted an opportunity to make me look stupid.

Dad grunted. “Don’t be naïve, Ry. He’s probably scraping enough together to get his fix. People like that are after one thing—and it’s not a job.” He rolled his eyes, disgusted. Not a minute later, while we were still waiting at the light, a kid in a fancy sports car passed us. “See, look at that. Punk probably had it handed to him from Mommy and Daddy. He’s what—seventeen? Probably hasn’t worked a day in his whole goddamn life. Entitled brat. This is the problem with the world. You got two lazy bums on opposite ends of the spectrum, and neither are worth their salt.”

My father didn’t have a whole lot of empathy for anybody, and he certainly didn’t entertain excuses. I had to be the best if I wanted him to love me. “People need to either lead, follow—”

Or get out of the way,” I finished. He patted me on the head. I knew this rant well and kind of understood my father’s reasoning. The homeless guy couldn’t even be bothered to walk up and down the rows of stopped cars to beg. He just stood there with an empty cup. He really was a waste.

I fought the urge to point out to my dad that I was nothing like those people—and never would be—but I knew he wouldn’t care. He loved me, but nothing I did seemed to impress him, especially since my older sister Brianna, the golden child, had perfected every- thing before I even had a chance to try.

I had to do something really big to make an impression.

I had to be a leader.

In the car, all those years ago, I realized that my desires could turn into something much more. Those entitled, useless people my dad despised were taking our hard-earned money, space, and air. And I was someone with deadly urges who wasn’t afraid to do something about it. Not everyone could say that.

But unfortunately, I would have to wait. I was much too young to execute my plans in the way I wanted.

My thoughts, however, were uninhibited, and I became enamored with the power and control that selecting the right kill could bring. The foreplay was intoxicating. I daydreamed about the countless ways I could do it. About all the places I could sneak up and strike. About the legacy I would leave behind.

For years I researched and studied serial killers— or as I liked to call them, The Greats. Most of The Greats hadn’t started until well into their adulthood. Call me an overachiever, but I wanted more kills in less time. I had all the qualities required: above-average intelligence, inside information (Dad was a cop), and a sweet cherub face.

But I also had something more. Tenacity. I knew what I wanted, and come hell or high water, I was going to get it. By fifteen, the thirst inside me could finally be quenched.

Cue my first planned victim—a snotty little brat who lived only a few streets away from me. Olivia McMann. Ugh. She was exhausting. Spoiled. Whiny. Brianna used to babysit her. I’d be dragged along because my parents usually worked overtime at their respective jobs. I was twelve and old enough to stay home alone, but they insisted. Like I had nothing better to do.

Brianna would be online with her friends or texting her boyfriend, and she’d stick Livy with me. Olivia wouldn’t leave me alone. One night she pestered me for hours on end until I lost it on her. Then she got the quivering lip and teary eyes and went crying to Bri.

Bri’s voice ripped across the room. “Ryann, what did you do now?”

Nothing! Why do you always assume it was me? Maybe Livy is being a little crybaby over absolutely nothing,” I said, arms crossed tightly across my chest.

The brat came running up behind me. “You’re mean, Ryann. I hate you!”

I swept my hair into a ponytail and turned my back to her.

Death glare in full force, Brianna dug into me. “Why are you being such a pest? Leave Olivia alone already. Go find something to do, and don’t think for one second I’m giving you any of the money.”

She proceeded to get Olivia some licorice. A reward for her evilness. Maybe they were in on it together and shared private laughs while discussing different ways to torture me.

Brianna was seventeen at the time, and she hated me. No matter how hard I tried, she always dismissed me like I was an annoying pain in her ass.

Not everything is my fault, you know,” I said, determined to stand my ground.

Well, she’s not the one in my face right now. Go play with her for an hour until her bedtime, and maybe I won’t tell Mom.” Smiling smugly, Bri tilted her head. I wanted to punch her. As soon as we were out of her sight, Olivia stuck her tongue out at me and danced around, joyous in her victory.

See, I told you I’d get you in trouble. I always get my way. You have to do what I say.” She laughed.

I promised myself I’d never forget.

Back then, I’d imagined choking her or holding one of her mom’s embroidered pillows over her face until her squirming stopped. I knew her parents were well-off. Only the best for their princess. Olivia was the type of kid who tantrumed, tattled, and fake-cried to get what she wanted, no matter the cost to anyone who got in her way.

Olivia was going to turn into the same kind of spoiled, manipulative bitch I’d seen time and again at school.

I knew how to deal with someone like her. After all, I had killed.

Once.

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If you like the sound of this go forth and buy a copy #SupportingIndyAuthors

NEXT UP ON HORROR OCTOBER: This Week in Books

Top Ten Tuesday: Villains (mwahahahahaaa)! #TTT #HorrorOctober

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Villains!

I’m very happy with this topic as it’s perfect for Horror October! I’m going to narrow the topic down to the most swoon-worthy baddest of the bad guys, but I’m choosing characters from both page and screen. Let’s face it, there’s gonna be a lot of vampires in this list. Sigh. 

These guys take ‘always falling for the bad boys’ to another level!

 

Spike (Buffy)

Spuffy forever! I’ve always loved Spike, he’s clearly the best. Much better than that lamo Angel.

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Lestat (Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles)

 I’m not talking about Tom Cruise here, although I think he played it brilliantly. Lestat is so the original bad boy vampire that we really want to want us, right?  Plus, he’s a rock star on occasion.

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The Darkling (The Grisha series)

It’s so wrong but so right. I haven’t read the final book yet but I’m praying for more evil-hot Darkling action. 

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Eric (True Blood)

Skarsgard. Nuff said.

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Paul Spector (The Fall)

I couldn’t give two shits about the whole 50 Shades thing but OMG Dornan in The Fall is just ueghdhsoigahuy. He’s a serial killer, which is bad, granted…but his accent, and face and well, everything. IT’S TOO MUCH. 

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Kasper Varn (The Dark Heroine)

I only read the first book in this series and I can’t remember a great deal about it tbh. Apart from the main vampire being hot.

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Rowan (Throne of Glass series)

Another non-vampire. Check me out. The last book I read in the series was Heir of Fire (I’m behind, I know) where we meet Rowan, the fae prince and warrior. He’s pretty vicious. He’s also totes hot amiright!? I must be, you just have to look at all the crazygood fan art of him. Swoon. 

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Gavriel (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown)

 OK that was short lived. Here’s another vampire who shouldn’t make our knees go weak but does. At least he’s kind of nice by the end of the book…I think.

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Jareth (Labyrinth)

David Bowie. Cod Piece. Leather. Glass balls. Enough. I mean he might try to steal your baby but at least he’ll sing while he’s doing it. 

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Hannibal (TV series)

Never before has Hannibal Lecter been even the slightest bit hot. Until Mads Mikkleson. What is it about him? It’s so wrong…

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*Bonus Pick* Damon (The Vampire Diaries)

Oh Damon. He’s no Spike but he’d do. 

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Don’t forget to vote for your favourite  horror prompt for my Flash Fiction Battle. More info here. Voting closes in 2 days!

NEXT UP ON HORROR OCTOBER: Pretty Wicked book blitz & giveaway

 

 

Favourites Friday #16 (Horror October Edition): Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite

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I first read this book when I was maybe about 15, and I’d never read, or imagined I would read anything quite like it. There’s gay sex (shock horror!), cannibalism, necrophilia and a whole lot of gore & death. But there’s something of substance here too.

Brite has this great way of vividly encapsulating a certain time and place. Exquisite Corpse deals with the aftermath of the AIDS breakout and the hopelessness felt by the young gay community in New Orleans. Brite writes for a generation, and it’s stayed with me the same way as my own teenage years have.

You’ve probably heard that this love story about two cannibalistic serial killers (loosely modeled after Dennis Nilsen and Jeffrey Dahmer) is over the top. You’ve been warned about the lovingly meticulous descriptions of murder and necrophilia. But the novel also features a keen look at the AIDS plague, in a setting almost worth dying for: Brite’s doomed aesthetes dance in a sweet, heady New Orleans of milky coffee and beignets, alligators, Billy Holiday tunes, scented candles, pirate radio, swamp French, andouille sausage and one bar for every 175 people. And the structure is the tightest of Brite’s books so far”. (From Goodreads)

Full Synopsis:

To serial slayer Andrew Compton, murder is an art, the most intimate art. After feigning his own death to escape from prison, Compton makes his way to the United States with the sole ambition of bringing his “art” to new heights. Tortured by his own perverse desires, and drawn to possess and destroy young boys, Compton inadvertently joins forces with Jay Byrne, a dissolute playboy who has pushed his “art” to limits even Compton hadn’t previously imagined. Together, Compton and Byrne set their sights on an exquisite young Vietnamese-American runaway, Tran, whom they deem to be the perfect victim.

Swiftly moving from the grimy streets of London’s Piccadilly Circus to the decadence of the New Orleans French Quarter, and punctuated by rants from radio talk show host Lush Rimbaud, a.k.a. Luke Ransom, Tran’s ex-lover, who is dying of AIDS and who intends to wreak ultimate havoc before leaving this world, Exquisite Corpse unfolds into a labyrinth of murder and love. Ultimately all four characters converge on a singular bloody night after which their lives will be irrevocably changed — or terminated.

Oh, and I’m still totally in love with Tran!