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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Halloween Flashback Flash Fiction and More!

Halloween Flashback

Halloween is just shy over one week from tonight! Can’t wait? Well then I have a ghost’s chain link to a story just for you! Also, below you will find other haunting chain links to posts of past Halloweens. First the story. It’s called “The Boos Brothers”. I wrote it back in Halloween of 2013, but didn’t publish it here to the Fantastic Site until the following year. I talk more about it at my "Halloween Ghost Post" which is the post from the night before I published the story to the Fantastic Site, that night being the one before Halloween or, if you prefer, All Hallows Eve Eve. It also includes a Halloween reading list. I was hoping to include one for this year but didn’t get a ghost of a chance. Anyway, “The Boos Brothers” is a ghost story about Halloween decorating and, of course, Halloween haunting. In this tale, the two are tied together more closely than one would think.

Speaking about decorating, I’m just finishing up with my own for the season of Samhain (the Celtic god Halloween was originally celebrated for). I’ve hung most of my door decorations, most of them that I made throughout the years. My Disney Haunted Mansion scene is already up, complete with The Nightmare Before Christmas characters (just minus the Christmas; I’ll do that in December). You can see some of these decorations from past years at my "Hallow-Day Decorating" post of 2012. I’ve put out my metal vintage style Jack-o-Lantern, my abstract style Jack-o-lantern, my skull-o-lantern and Day of the Dead candy skull cup an aunt of mine made a couple Halloween/Day of the Dead seasons ago. Finally, I put on my kitchen window sill some solar-powered animated decorations: a Jack-o-lantern man, a graveyard scene and some skeletons.

A tin vintage Jack-o-lantern, a skull lantern and a Day of the Dead candy skull cup.
A Jack-o-lantern, a skull-o-lantern and a Day of the Dead candy skull cup. This last one was made by an aunt of mine.
Photo Credit: Steven Arellano Rose, Jr.

Your Ghoul-Ru Fortune Teller Predicts . . .

Next week there will be Halloween treats for you--discounts on my books and a freeby! The details . . . The magic crystal 8 ball is very murky at this time so tune in next week for the details!

Until then . . .
Take scare!

Monday, October 17, 2016

4 Documentaries About 4 Famous, Fearsome Authors

A while back, I talked about how interviews of some of my favourite authors motivateme to write better, especially during those times that I don’t feel like writing for whatever reason. Well I thought I would put together a short list of documentaries about four of the world’s most famous horror authors since we’re nearing Halloween. Below are documentaries and bio films of Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King. All four of these can be viewed for free on YouTube, and one is also at

Frankenstein: Birth of a Monster: This is a dramatisation of Mary Shelley’s life as a writer. Originally aired on the BBC network in 2003.

They Mystery ofEdgar Allen Poe: This was a Biography channel presentation. You can watch either on YouTube or at, but I strongly suggest you watch it at the latter; the YouTube version cuts off the introduction and opening credits (probably to prevent potential infringement issues).

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown: Out of the four, I liked this one best. It’s filmed with both archival footage as well as modern day depictions of author’s work by some really great artists, including comic book artists. The accompanying phonographic recording style of H.P.’s narration footage gives a sense of the “ancient” of his work like his work itself gives the sense of the ancient of the Elders. Let alone, it gives that haunting effect. And if this isn’t enough, there are interviews with contemporary horror writers--including Ramsey Campbell, Guillermo Del Toro, and Neil Gaiman--about the author. Produced by independent film studio Wyrd.

Steven King: Fear, Fame and Fortune: This was an A&E channel presentation originally aired on Halloween of 2002. It covers King’s life from birth through his critical accident that he fortunately recovered from to continue writing his macabre stories up to this day.

If you know of more documentaries about famous horror authors, please let me know by posting in the box below.

Until next time . . .

Saturday, October 8, 2016

6 Far Out Phantastic Finds for Your Halloween Blog Reading

A Jack-o-Lantern

This is one of my favourite times of the year. A time when the darker weather comes (though it hasn’t come enough here in Sacramento yet), the days grow shorter, and a post-harvest haze permeates the air filtering out the sunlight by a few layers and giving off a burnt aroma. Darker days (literally darker, that is) call for darker stories and events that grow out of the horror genre. We like to take on the forms of our favourite creatures of darkness through costuming. Well, as much as I love the season of the witch, more commonly known as Halloween, I couldn’t come up with anything relevant to write about for this post. Yet it’s still early in the season but it will fly by faster than a witch on her broom or a vampire bat fleeing the oncoming dawn. So I dug up this list of six phantastic blog finds for your horror-reading zombie appetite. But there will be a special Halloween treat for you (and maybe even a trick) by the weekend of Halloween as there has been in past years here at the Fantastic Site. But for now, check out these groovy ghoulish links!

The HorrorWriters Association’s Halloween Haunts: This is a seasonal series of blog posts by some of the Association’s authors who give their personal takes on Halloween. 

Season of theWitch at Castle Macabre: This is author Michelle Miller’s seasonal blog read-along series. Her first read is Edgar Allen Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”. 

“Poe Read-Along- The Mask of the Red Death”: She talks more about her Read-Along, Poe’s story of a demonic plague and even Poe himself here. She even has a small but interesting paragraph on the 1960s Vincent Price film adaptation and how you can watch it for free! 

“Witchy Peril-‘Masque’ and other Short Stories”, The Writerly Reader: This post by another author who visit’s Michelle’s above post also discusses here impression of “Masque of the Red Death”. She also goes over other short horror stories, including one by H.P. Lovecraft. 

“Salem’sLot Read-Along”, Gather Together Read: This blog is now reading one of Stephen King’s earliest novels. You may be able to catch up with them if you head on over now to find out where they’re at in this creepy read. 

Blaze McRob’s“Haunted Halloween Party”: Horror author Blaze McRob is producing a series of blog posts for the season where you can participate in contests to win prizes as well as discover horror fiction writers you may never heard of before. Even so, they have some really great stories up their sleeves.

Like I said, I’ll have my annual Halloween treat here for you by Halloween weekend, and maybe even a horror book review before that!

Until next time . . .   

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The New Book-to-TV Trend: 5 New TV series Based on Sci fi/Fantasy Novels

Vintage Television with Vintage PC Screen and Text

Sorry about the late post. My desktop was having problems.

Traditionally books have been adapted for the big screen but now the trend is in ones adapted for the small, including online television. This isn’t a new thing even for the science fiction and fantasy genres. It started as early as the Six Billion Dollar Man in the ‘70s, which was based on Martin Caidin’s novel, Cyborg. Several of Steven King’s novels were made into television series such as It (1990), and then George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones has been an HBO hit since its debut in 2011. But now that there are five novels by four different popular sci fi/fantasy authors that have either recently been adapted to television or are in the plans to be, a book-to-TV trend is definitely forming. Therefore you can expect to see more famous novels (and maybe even not so famous) turn into television shows in the near future. Here are the most recent upcoming five:

1) Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: Cable network Starz will be premiering this series based on Gaiman’s number-one-selling dark fantasy novel next year. Read the latest news on it here. Also, read about the new edition with the far out book cover art by Robert McGinnis!

2) Micheal Crichton’s Westworld: Although the movie came first, the book was written by its screen writer shortly after and who would later write his best-selling Jurassic Park and so that’s why I included it here. More than 40 years later, it just made its television series debut on HBO this past Sunday!

3) Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: This totalitarian futuristic novel is currently in development for its Hulu adaptation. But one of Atwood’s other novels is also in the plans for a TV series and that one is . . .

4) The Heart Goes Last: It’s television rights was just recently acquired by MGM TV, distributor of The Handmaid’s Tale TV series. It is set in, what first seems to be, a utopian future that quickly goes dystopian.

5) Stephen King’s, The Dark Tower: Yes, the best-selling horror author is coming out with another TV series based on one of his novels (in this case, a series of them). It takes place in an apocalyptic future where magic seems to return to the earth in a second dark age. The series’ production plans have just been revealed and, according to Entertainment Weekly, filming will start in 2017 and is due to premiere in 2018. However, those who are impatient to see it need not feel so bad. The big screen adaptation is set to premiere this February! Read more about both and their latest news here.

In the past, movie adaptations have motivated viewers to read the books they originated from. (I myself just started reading Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend.) Hopefully, the book-to-TV series trend will do the same and help to continue resolving the literacy problem in our nation.

Do you think the new book-to-TV trend in sci fi/fantasy will encourage more viewers to read? Do you know of any other sci fi, fantasy or horror novels that have been or are in the plans for weekly television adaptation? Feel free to leave your answers in the box below.

Until next time . . .

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Gaiman and McGinnis restore the human touch to book cover art

I apologise for not posting last week. I started a new day job and so it put me back in my writing schedule. But now I’ve returned to the night job here at the Fantastic Site once again!

A few weeks ago I was at Crocker Con talking to a friend, Chris Wisnia creator of the Doris Danger comic book series. The series commemorates comic book creator Jack Kirby’s art of the 1970s while spoofing 1950s and ‘60s atomic sci fi monsters. Anyway, I told him that one of the comic books I read over the summer was an issue from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman storyline from 2014, Overture. He told me he just finished reading Gaiman’s award winning novel, American Gods. I said I haven’t read that one yet because I normally don’t have the attention span for a 500-plus page novel. (The last one that I read was David Copperfield, which, as great as it is, took me over a year to read because I was reading other books simultaneously.) But I told him that I’ll probably read it as an excuse to buy the new Robert McGinnis cover edition. McGinnis used to paint the illustrations for early pulp fiction magazines and paperbacks, including the James Bond series. And so I’m using this excuse for two reasons: 1) Because McGinnis painted the cover art rather than digitally produced it; 2) The style is that of the late 1960s to early ‘70s. Though Neil himself says that “In my head . . . it's probably from about 1971...”  Close enough, since that was a transitional period between two eras.

Robert McGinnis Book Cover for Neil Gaiman's American Gods.
American Gods, Robert McGinnis cover edition
Credit: Amazon/William Morrow

The McGinnis edition of American Gods is now available. Neil plans to release several more of his titles with book cover art by McGinnis because, as he says, he is a lover of the old school paperbacks and loves the book cover art for its beautiful, hand-painted technique. He also says that it’s of a style of book cover art we rarely get any more. I agree with Neil, totally.

Too many people want realism in images now and so want believability in the technical sense. That photo-realism comes easier than ever with today’s computer technology, which I personally believe humanity has become too damn dependent on like a doper with drugs. This love of the photo sensual as opposed to the aesthetic high of hand-produced art, has been exploited by the corporate system, a system that I confess to being partly guilty of giving into myself in order to sell my own books. But, I haven’t sold out without offering the option of a hand-produced book cover illustration which was the case with “Circa Sixty Years Dead”. In about a month or so, before the holiday rush, I’ll have committed the sin of hypocrisy for “Circa Sixty Years”, or more like half-hypocrisy because I’ll still be offering the hand-produced book cover art edition alongside the digitally produced one.

But I support Neil’s and McGinnis’s return to hand-produced book cover art, because it’s helping bring back the humanity in art which has been taken over by the machine and the drive to make money. If you want to support a return to hand-produced art and you’re a Gaiman or McGinnis fan like me, then you may want to purchase the new paperback edition of American Gods. If you want to go a 16th of a mile further, then purchase “Circa Sixty Years” which you can get a hell of a lot less than American Gods but that’s because it’s on Kindle, though I plan to offer a print edition soon. So, yes the book is digital, and I’ll admit, the art is digitally reproduced, but the cover art is a photo of a hand-produced illustration the exception being the black background and some touch-ups (mainly around the edges of the statue which really runs into the digital black background). So the reason why I say you would be going the extra 16th of a mile is because the cover art isn’t completely hand-produced but also because I’m not Neil Gaiman. Hence, my book on kindle is only 99 cents.

How much humanity would you say is left in today’s book cover art, most of which is digitally produced?

Until next time . . .

Book cover depicting a six-armed goddess statue.
Available Now At Amazon!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

‘Circa’’s Influences and In Search of . . . Bloggers

Well, “Circa Sixty Years Dead” is one week old today, and my previous book, The Fool’s Illusion, will be three years old later this month! Several of you took advantage of the free giveaway of “Circa” last weekend, and so I want to thank you all. When you finish reading it, I ask that you leave a review at the book’s Amazon page at your earliest convenience, even if it’s just one or two sentences. For those of you who missed the freebies, you can still get “Circa” at the low price of 99 cents. I’m not sure when or if there will be another free giveaway for my newest short horror story. However, I am planning some more promotions where you can get a discount or even win a free copy. Watch out for promotions like these as we get closer to Halloween, the time to celebrate the horror genre! Also, I have an online book tour in the plans so watch out for updates on that, too.

A book cover depicting a six-armed goddess statue.
"Circa Sixty Years Dead" Now Available for Purchase!
Photo Credit: Steven Arellano Rose, Jr.

Superficially speaking, many of the influences for “Circa” come from my love of archaeology adventure films like Indiana Jones as well as old horror movies about archaeological finds such as Universal’s Mummy films. But I can’t leave out of the list my interest in documentaries about unexplained findings such as the 1922 King Tut excavation. One of these that I enjoyed as a kid (and still do today) was the old In Search of . . . TV series hosted by the late Leonard (“Spock”) Nimoy. The great thing about this series, as with most other documentaries of the 1970s and ‘80s, is that it didn’t rely on blockbuster- influenced drama and big budget special visual effects to win over its audiences.

Like good journalism should, In Search of investigated accounts of strange phenomena by showing credible sources. Doing so made the events believable of their possible existence, although the show itself made no claims about whether or not they were true. (To do so would have been over-conclusive and therefore opinionated.) It didn’t present its cases by blaring the masses’ televisions with cinematic, over-dramatic soundtrack or smothering them with surreal camera effects. Not that it didn’t use re-enactments or any soundtrack for its episodes, it did. But the producers balanced these techniques out with the exposure of documented sources such as newspaper clippings, news footage and interviews with experts. So below I’ve provided you with a list of sample episodes of this entertaining yet educational show along with some horror movie trailers to some of the cinematic influences on stories such as my above mentioned one.

Far Out Fantastic Archaeological Finds

'In Search of . . .' Episodes

“Mummy’s Curse”

“King Tut”

“The Diamond Curse”

Horror Movie Trailers

The Mummy (Universal, 1932)

The Mummy (Hammer Studios, 1959)

The Mummy (1999 Universal Remake; not that this is a favourite of mine, but it completes the list more.)

Sphinx (1980)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

To Come . . .

Next time I’d like to return to talking more about book cover art, Neil Gaiman’s current work, and my plans for future editions of my own work. As I said, I have a lot more marketing to do for “Circa”. At the time, I’m in search of host bloggers for a near future book tour for “Circa”. If any of you fellow bloggers are interested in featuring “Circa”, please let me know in the box below or email me at and put “Circa Sixty Years book tour” in the subject box so I’ll know you’re not a spammer.

Until next time . . .

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Book Release: “Circa Sixty Years Dead”

Well, it’s finally here! “Circa Sixty Years Dead” is now available at Amazon! And to celebrate the labour of my work as well as the labour all of us put into our jobs whatever they may be, for two whole days I am making my latest book of horror available for free download! So from this Sunday September 4th through Monday September 5th, you can obtain your free digital copy of “Circa Sixty Years Dead”! You don’t need a Kindle device to read it. Just click on “Read On Any Device” under the book’s image at its Amazon page and you’ll be taken to instructions on how to download a free Kindle app that can be used on any digital device. So take a break, celebrate your hard work and the closing of the summer and read about an archeologist’s labour of love . . . and labour of death! Also, after you read it, please leave a review at the book’s Amazon page. It would be greatly appreciated!

A book cover depicting and six-armed goddess statue.
Credit: Steven Arellano Rose, Jr.

Book Title: Circa Sixty Years Dead
Author: Steven Arellano Rose, Jr.
Release Date: 3 September 2016
Format: Kindle/ebook
Length Type: Short-read (equivalent of 24 print pages)
Blurb: A young archaeologist obsesses over an ancient goddess statue that holds a beautiful force but a terrifying fate.
Where to Purchase: Amazon
Bio: Steven Arellano Rose, Jr. is a writer of science fiction, horror and other dark fiction. “Strange Phenomena” was his first short story published in print originally in the anthology Leafkin, Volume II (2010) under the name Steven Rose, Jr. He also writes film and computer technology reviews. Steven’s interests include collecting 1960s and ’70s pop cultural artifacts and other weird things, disco music and meditation. He resides in his native Sacramento, California. You can visit him at his blog,, or follow him on Twitter: @starosep2.

Now that I’ve launched “Circa Sixty Years”, look out for these upcoming events:

  • Possible book tour
  • “Circa Sixty Years” photographic cover edition
  • “Circa Sixty Years” print edition
  • The Hidden, a short fiction collection

I urge you to share this release post to your social media groups on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or whatever platform they’re on. Also, bloggers: if you’re looking for books to feature on your blogs, I’m perfectly open to you featuring “Circa”. Just let me know in the box below, at my Facebook  page or Tweet me! Have a happy Labor Day and a great last few days of summer!

Until next time . . .

A statue of Shiva.