Avon Horror

Avon Publications started in 1941 by publishing comics and digest magazines, and was one of the first American companies to publish paperback books following the success of Pocket Books, the inventors of the pocket-sized mass market paperback. Avon’s early digest magazines are now highly collectible; Avon Fantasy Reader (1946-52) was edited by Donald A. Wollheim featuring lurid covers and stories by many now famous pulp authors who, at the time, were not well known.

Avon was an influential publisher of romance and horror in the late 1960s and 1970s. The 1972 novel The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss was “the first full-length romance novel to be published first in paperback rather than hardback” according to Wikipedia. The Flame and the Flower is cited by romance scholar Janice Radway as a landmark work responsible for the explosion of historical romance novels in a similar vein; it sold over two million copies and set the stage for Avon’s later romance titles to hit the bestseller lists.

For a period of time from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, Avon had a strong showing in the horror field with solid entries like The Auctioneer by Joan Samson and The Godsend by Bernard Taylor. Avon’s paperback originals launched the careers of some well-known horror and thriller authors including Robert McCammon, Michael McDowell, and William Hallahan. All Avon horror novels I have read that were published during this period range from good to excellent.

Avon now focuses primarily on publishing romance titles. They were acquired by the New York publishing conglomerate HarperCollins in 2010.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with occasional horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

Avon Titles Spotted in the Wild

Conan the Cimmerian

Conan of Cimmeria is the creation of pulp author Robert E. Howard. Conan was introduced to the world in a short story called “The Phoenix on the Sword” in the December 1932 issue of Weird Tales. Through a series of fortuitous if controversial events in the decades after Howard’s death, the character grew to become a part of American mythology and culture, one of the most well known fictional characters in modern history.

It is best to know Conan as introduced by Robert E. Howard.

Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black haired, sullen eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.

Howard wrote less than 30 stories featuring Conan during his lifetime. The number of Howard stories featuring Conan represents just a fraction of Howard’s total output; a prolific author who made his living writing for the pulps in the 1920s and 1930s, Howard wrote somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 stories. The Hour of the Dragon was Howard’s only full-length Conan novel. Stories featuring his other characters were revised or rewritten by L. Sprague de Camp and released as Conan stories long after his death, hence elements of Kull stories in particular came to be associated with Conan lore. The original Conan stories by Robert E. Howard were later curated, restored, and released in modern editions now available from Del Rey. These include The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, The Bloody Crown of Conan, and The Conquering Sword of Conan.

There are Conan purists, and there are Conan fans regardless of creator or medium. Aside from the collected stories, Conan has appeared in novels, comics, movies, live action television series, cartoons, RPGs, and video games. Like many Conan fans from my generation, I came to know of his adventures through the paperback story collections published by Lancer, later reprinted by Ace. The Frank Frazetta covers are iconic representations of Howard’s best known character. These editions spawned myriad pastiches in the sword and sorcery vein.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with occasional horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

Richard Matheson

Richard Matheson (February 20, 1926 – June 23, 2013) was an American author and screenwriter. He is primarily known for his work on the seminal TV show The Twilight Zone and his early work in the suspense field, namely his short story collections and his classic novel, I Am Legend.

Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where his earliest stories and poems appeared in the Brooklyn Eagle in the mid-1930s, earning his first publication credit at eight years old. After high school, he served as an Army infantryman in World War II. After the war, he attended Cornell University and graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1949.

Matheson’s first professionally published story, “Born of Man and Woman,” appeared in 1950 and prompted the author to move to California hoping for a shot at working in the motion picture industry. Matheson enjoyed the horror films of Val Lewton and, later, enjoyed the mutual admiration of Ray Bradbury. As more of Matheson’s fiction saw print in everything from Weird Tales to Playboy, he landed a book publishing deal for his first collection of science fiction stories, Born of Man and Woman, in 1954. His novel I Am Legend was published the same year.

The door to Hollywood opened in the late 1950s when Universal Studios bought the rights to film his 1956 novel The Shrinking Man. Matheson wrote the script, which served as a springboard to his work on The Twilight Zone. Joining a roster of talented authors that included his friend Charles Beaumont, Matheson wrote 14 scripts for the show over the next five years. That led to later work on TV shows such as Thriller, Star Trek, Night Gallery, Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, an adaptation of Fritz Leiber’s novel Conjure Wife (Burn Witch Burn), and a 1971 script based on one Matheson’s stories that became Stephen Spielberg’s feature-length directorial debut, Duel.

Even while Matheson was busy with television and motion pictures, he never neglected his prose fiction. He continued to sell short stories collected in several books in the 1960s, namely the Shock series, Shock! (1961), Shock II (1964), Shock III (1966), and Shock Waves (1970).

Matheson began to steer away from horror in the 1970’s. His romantic time travel novel Bid Time Return won the 1975 World Fantasy Award and was later filmed as Somewhere in Time with starring Christopher Reeves. This led him toward mainstream work, and eventually westerns. Matheson’s influence is hard to quantify, but many authors who achieved popularity in later years named him as an inspiration, including Stephen King.

I have fond personal memories of discovering Richard Matheson’s fiction. In the mid-1980s, I spent summers at my aunt and uncle’s house (as I’ve no doubt mentioned elsewhere). My aunt used to attend a Tai Chi class in St. Louis in Forest Park on Saturdays. I rode into the city with her and waited on the steps of the Missouri History Museum reading a reprint edition of Shock! Years later, as an aspiring author, I was at a Dallas convention with a friend and professional writer. I shared with him that I planned to attend a panel with editors from a major publishing house as guests, hoping to pick up some valuable tips. Since we talked shop, he knew of my fondness for Matheson’s work. He gave me friendly smile and said, “I attended a con once where Richard Matheson was on a ‘How to Get Published’ panel. He said there is no secret to success in writing except putting your butt in a chair and doing it. Someone asked the question, and he responded [paraphrased no doubt] ‘While you’re here at this convention, someone else is at home writing. That’s what I recommend.'” Having attended many conventions in past years I can say with 100% certainty that’s the best writing advice anyone has probably ever given at a convention: go home and write. Conventions don’t get you published, writing and submitting your work does.

The biographical information in this article came primarily from an interview in Faces of Fear by Douglas Winter, plus an article in Dark Dreamers by Stanley Wiater, and a 1994 New York Times article “New Jersey Q & A: Richard Matheson; An Influential Writer Returns to Fantasy” by Albert J. Parisi.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with occasional horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

Gallery Updates

I started Realms of Night just over four years ago, in June 2015, to share my love for horror and fantasy paperbacks. Now here we are, and look what’s happened to the world of paperback collecting! This is an exciting time to be a paperback horror collector in particular. These lurid little books finally have their day in the sun.

Another note worthy of mention — this is the 101st post on Realms of Night! It’s been an off-and-on again project for me as life happens, but I have sincerely enjoyed the conversations and people I’ve met online since I’ve undertaken this endeavor. I wish there was more time to post, but it becomes increasingly apparent our kids will be grown up and leaving us sooner than we’d like. I want to be there to enjoy every moment between now and then. I’m also pursuing a Master of English degree, which effectively drains a lot of the spare time I used for updating the site. This has a direct impact on the length and depth of the articles I will post going forward, but I think the important thing is to share the scans.

I said in the beginning that my goal was simply to share scans of my horror and fantasy library, so there really was an end in sight … and there still is. It’s just taking a little longer to get there. It doesn’t help that I keep buying more books! Which brings us to the reason we’re here.

Below are scans of books that I have added to existing posts on the site. A couple are replacements; the rest are new.

An important note: the new R.L. Stine and Nicholas Pine scans were provided by our friends at Retro Reads, so please check them out!

The scans are below, but the individual posts I have updated are listed here:

With the exception of the scans provided by Retro Reads (noted above), these cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with monthly horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

 

 

 

Charlee Jacob

Nell Anne “Charlee” Jacob (June 6, 1952 – July 14, 2019) was laid to rest Saturday, July 27 in Oak Grove Memorial Gardens in Irving, TX among family and friends. Charlee was married to Jim Jacob in January, 1983 at Meadowbrook Baptist Church, where the memorial service was held yesterday morning. In recent years, she suffered from a number of ailments, including fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, and narcolepsy. She was a Texas native, born in Wichita Falls in 1952, a poet and horror author with over 900 publishing credits, 18 books, and four Bram Stoker awards to her name.

She began publishing fiction in earnest in the mid-1990s, but had credits dating back to 1981. Her earliest work was published under the name Charlee Carter Broach, including poetry in small press magazines such as Electrum and Orphic Lute. Her first published short story, “September Street,” appeared in the October 4, 1990 issue of the Dallas Observer under the name Charlee Jacob.

Charlee was a prolific poet as well as an author of stories and novels. In the early 1990s she was frequently published in the magazines Prisoners of the Night, Palace Corbie, Black Lotus, Star*Line, Thin Ice, and Midnight Zoo, among others. Her first poetry collection, An Ancient Death is the Most Beautiful was published by Shadowfire Press in 1997, and her first novel, This Symbiotic Fascination, was published by Necro Publications in 1997. Her collection of short stories, along with the title novella, Dread in the Beast, came out the following year from Necro Publications. She later expanded the novella into a full length novel, which won the Bram Stoker award in 2005. Delirium Books published her collections Up, Out of Cities that Blow Hot and Cold and Guises in 2000 and 2002. In 2002, This Symbiotic Fascination was published by Leisure Books in mass market paperback, followed by Haunter in 2003. An expanded version of Haunter was published by Delirium Books in 2004 as Soma in signed limited hardcover editions. Charlee continued to be published by Delirum Books, Bloodletting Press, Dark Regions, Wilder Publications, and Necro Publications. Necro remains her primary publisher today, with most of her back-titles reissued in attractive and affordable editions. Her latest novel, Containment, was released in 2017.

I first met Charlee and Jim in 2003. I was searching for like-minded souls in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area when I heard about a book signing with a group of local horror authors around Halloween. I had joined the HWA not long before that, saw that many chapters had formed in other regions, and was intent on forming one in our area. I drove to the Borders bookstore (now long gone) on Lovers Lane in Dallas where I met my future wife Angeline, plus Steve Wedel, Richard Weber, John Paul Allen, Elaine Cunningham, and of course Jim and Charlee. I stayed for a couple of hours, we all got along great, and everyone was on-board with forming what came to be known as the DFW HWA. We had our first formal meeting a few weeks later, and were joined in 2005 by Dean Andersson, Brian Moreland, and a handful of other members. Those were fun times, when horror seemed to be on a comeback. We had well-attended events, sponsored tables for signings at local conventions to help our authors publicize their works, hosted authors from other regions, and received strong support from Deborah LeBlanc, a Louisiana author who served as president of the HWA from 2006 to 2010. Our chapter regularly attended FenCon, ConDFW, and Texas Frightmare Weekend as guests, with Jim and Charlee as anchor members. Alas, life happened, personal interests turned elsewhere, and the DFW HWA shut down in 2012 after many good years promoting awareness of locally crafted horror fiction.

In our years together in the DFW HWA, Charlee was kind and always gracious with her time, advice, and support. She was happy to chat with fans and open to conversation on various sundry topics from history to mythology to the stars, from the meaning of life to the meaning of death. She’s now found her place in the great beyond, leaving behind a loyal following of fans and devotees. Her official obituary is available here. Those interested in visiting her grave site to pay their respects can find it here.

During the DFW HWA years, I was webmaster for Charlee’s site. It included a complete bibliography up through 2005, which I can’t seem to find on the web elsewhere, so I have made the bibliography available for download, albeit incomplete.

The following scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright and the featured art for this post is by Travis Anthony Soumis. To browse the list of Charlee Jacob titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

Twilight: Where Darkness Begins

In the early 1980s, Dell launched the Twilight series with the tag line “Where Darkness Begins” as a counterpoint to Bantam’s popular Dark Forces series. The series included 26 books and ran from 1982 to 1987. A complete list of books in the series, in the order they were published, is online here. Two notable books from this series are Nightmare Lake by Richard Laymon writing as Carl Laymon, and Richie Tankersley Cusik’s Evil on the Bayou, which was her first published novel before she went on to write YA thrillers for Archway and the Point Thriller line.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with monthly horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

To browse the list of Twilight: Where Darkness Begins titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

T. Chris Martindale

T. Chris Martindale is an author of horror novels about whom I’ve been able to find precious little online. His most well-known novels appeared between 1990 and 1993. His first horror novel, Nightblood was published in 1990 by Warner Books, followed by Where the Chill Waits in January 1991. After a publisher change, Pocket Books released Demon Dance in September 1991. His last horror novel during this period was The Voice in the Basement, published in 1993.

Nightblood was nominated for the 1990 Bram Stoker Award for First Novel, but lost to Bentley Little’s The Revelation.

It appears T. Chris Martindale is the author of a TSR Endless Quest book, Duel of the Masters, which was published in 1984 as by Chris Martindale (no “T”). If this is the same author, he also wrote Curse of the Werewolf, an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Gamebook in 1987, and a second book in the same series, Prince of Thieves.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with monthly horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

To browse the list of T. Chris Martindale titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

Bernard Taylor

Bernard Taylor is a British author and playwright who landed on the horror scene in 1976 with his debut novel The Godsend, published in the U.S. by St. Martins and then in mass market paperback by Avon in 1977. The novel arrived on the scene emblazoned with inevitable comparisons to Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and The Other, but actually (surprise) doesn’t bear much resemblance to those novels at all. The Godsend made a solid impact and was well received, blazing the trail for several more horror novels Taylor wrote through the mid 1990s. He quickly followed up with Sweetheart, Sweetheart (1977). His third novel The Reaping was published in 1980. Taylor wrote several thrillers and horror novels throughout the 1980s, but like many authors working in the genre at that time, hit a dead end in the mid 1990s. His ninth novel, Evil Intent, appeared in 1994, and represented the end of a respectable run in horror. He wrote romantic fiction in the early 2000s under the pseudonym Jess Foley.

Taylor was born in Wiltshire, England, went to college in London, and became a teacher for several years before moving to New York City. There he wrote plays and acted in several theater productions on Broadway. Upon his return to England, his first play was produced in 1975, the same year he wrote The Godsend. He briefly wrote teleplays for the BBC, and works of true-crime non-fiction. Two of his novels were adapted to screen: The Godsend in 1980 and Mother’s Boys in 1994 starring Jamie Lee Curtis. Taylor now lives in Blackheath, London.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright. Please note that Realms of Night has an eBay page with monthly horror auctions. Follow our page and save us as a favorite seller for updates.

To browse the list of Bernard Taylor titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

Norman Partridge

Norman Partridge is an American author of mystery and horror who got his start in the small press magazines of the late 1980s. Partridge had been working in a library and wrote a children’s novel that was rejected several times. He decided in 1987 to polish up a few horror stories he wrote in college and try his luck with those. Partridge cast an eye toward markets late in the 1980s horror season: Twilight Zone Magazine closed its doors before he could submit, and The Horror Show published its last issue before he could crack the market.

Despite withering death that swept like a plague through the horror marketplace in the mid-1990s, Partridge did remarkably well, due in large part to accolades from some heavy hitters and a solid dose of talent. His first horror sales were to Noctulpa and a freshly-born Cemetery Dance magazine, where his story won the lead spot in issue number two. He earned his chops in many small press magazines, then gained momentum, landing stories in Charles Grant’s Final Shadows, anthologies edited by Joe Lansdale and Martin Greenberg, and an issue of Amazing Stories. His tales were selected for inclusion in a couple of “year’s best” anthologies in the early 1990s. He garnered praise from Stephen King and Peter Straub for his debut novel Slippin’ Into Darkness, which was the first original Cemetery Dance hardcover novel in 1994, later released in mass market paperback by Kensington.

Further success came in the form of two original mass market mysteries for Berkley, a DAW anthology co-edited with Martin Greenberg called It Came from the Drive-In, and a milestone short story collection The Man With the Barbed Wire Fists in 2001. Partridge also did some work in the comics business and wrote a Crow novel, Wicked Prayer, which was loosely adapted to screen in 2005. One of my favorite Norman Partridge books is a signed, limited hardcover edition from Subterranean Press, Mr. Fox and Other Feral Tales, an extensively expanded edition of his 1992 short story collection. It is one of my favorites by him for two primary reasons: it contains a reprint of his short story “Velvet Fangs” which, while not his best work, was nonetheless my introduction to him back in 1993; my first semi-pro fiction sale was to Joseph K. Cherkes, and my story “Last Respects” appeared in the Haunts #25 Summer 1993 issue alongside “Velvet Fangs.” My second reason for enjoying Mr. Fox so much is that it serves as a semi-autobiographical journey of a writer, a text that is both entertaining and instructive for aspiring scribes.

Partridge’s Halloween themed short novel Dark Harvest is required reading for the hardboiled horror fan. Dark Harvest was published by Cemetery Dance in 2006, then picked up by TOR in 2007. The book got some nice recognition from Publisher’s Weekly, won a Bram Stoker award, and was nominated for both the World Fantasy and International Horror Guild awards.

To browse the list of Norman Partridge titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright.

T.E.D. Klein

Theodore “Eibon” Donald (T.E.D.) Klein is an American editor and author who, despite a short list of publishing credits, made an impressive impact on the horror genre. He was a fan of Arthur Machen, M.R. James, Ramsey Campbell, and H.P. Lovecraft. He attended college at Brown University in Lovecraft’s hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, where he wrote his honors thesis on the works of Lovecraft and Lord Dunsany. After he graduated in 1969, he briefly taught high school English in Dexter, Maine before returning home to New York City. He had a handful of stories published from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s. One of his earliest stories, “The Events at Poroth Farm” was published in From Beyond the Dark Gateway, an offshoot magazine of Harry O. Morris’s Nyctalops, in 1972. The story gained a larger audience when it was reprinted in DAW’s The Year’s Best Horror Stories: Series II in 1974. Some of his other stories were published in Charles L. Grant’s Shadows series, and Kirby McCauley’s landmark anthology Dark Forces in 1980.

Klein was editor of The Twilight Zone Magazine from 1981 to 1985, as well as its sister publication Night Cry. His novel The Ceremonies was originally slated to be published by Morrow, but was pulled for unknown reasons and placed with Viking, which published the book in 1984. The novel received high praise from Stephen King and Peter Straub. Klein announced a follow-up novel in his 1985 Faces of Fear interview with Douglas Winter. The interview wraps up by saying Klein resigned as editor of The Twilight Zone Magazine in order to finish the novel, but the book never materialized. His follow-up to The Ceremonies turned out to be Dark Gods, a collection of three previously published novellas, plus a new novella, “Nadelman’s God,” which won a 1986 World Fantasy Award.

To browse the list of T.E.D. Klein titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright.

 

 

An Online Gallery of Horror and Dark Fantasy Cover Art