Stephen King

Stephen King is the most famous horror author in the history of American literature. He needs no introduction; he is a regular part of the American conversation, indelibly etched into our culture. Who from King’s era has not referred to a savage dog as “Cujo,” called a car apparently possessed of its own mind “Christine,” or playfully typed on a manual typewriter “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” in homage to Stanley Kubrick’s controversial adaptation of The Shining. Yes, King’s influence on American culture is a blend of his stories as well as the transformations of his stories; to my mind, interpretations of his work have rarely matched the quality of the source material. That said, his influence on writers and fans the world over is profound, and in my case, at risk of hyperbole, life-saving.

King is the author of more than 70 novels and more short stories, novellas, screenplays, etc. than I can count. He is a novelist at heart, but got his start as a short story writer with tales published in the late 1960s and early 1970s in fiction and men’s magazines, primarily Cavalier. His early novels are legendary works of dark fiction: Carrie (1974), ‘Salem’s Lot (1975), The Shining (1977), and The Stand (1978), but he went on to cover a lot of territory outside the horror genre. Fortunately, we have a lot of information about King from the man himself, between his autobiographical book On Writing, and myriad interviews. Seldom have I been moved by a speech for a book award, but when I read his acceptance speech for the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2003, I thought “this guy is for real” and felt the power of his early struggles as a touchstone for the rest of his life. Yep, there’s real stuff in that speech and many other interviews, and that’s one of the endearing things to me about Stephen King; despite his millions and fame, he still seems like the kind of guy you’d make small talk with at the Superette, or see down at the little league ballgame on Saturday, getting some hot dogs at the concession stand for the kids. Overall, King’s history and lauded career is well documented, so aside from the cover scans, I’m not sure this article adds more to the King conversation, so I’ll go straight to the blog part, share my personal experience (which you can skip and not tell me, that’s fine), then call it a day.

I first read Stephen King in 1986. Up until that point my forays into horror fiction had been limited to classics, notably Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and the works of H.G. Wells, including The War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man, which I consider solid works of horror. At 15 years old I was dealing with lots of crazy shit, and not dealing with it well. I took a dive into darker interests. I had also been writing stories for as long as I could remember, more as a form of personal entertainment than anything else. When I read Christine, I was enrapt. I had never read a novel that long quite so fast. When I came out the other side, I had a crystal clear moment of self-realization and purpose, or so I thought at the time. My interests in horror movies, hard rock, heavy metal, creepy comics, horror fiction, and the fact that I had written out of pure enjoyment for so many years congealed into a much-needed, if improvident, direction. I felt certain I was meant to be a horror writer. The importance of this realization can’t be emphasized enough. I may not have accomplished all of my goals in this regard, but it is irrelevant to the fact this became my driving force in life, carried me through a lot of hard times, and helped me make the kinds of decisions that pull you out of tailspins. Suffice to say, thanks to Stephen King, I found a guiding light. I had a goal in mind, and I would not be deterred. After years of writing war and fantasy stories, I wrote my first short horror story, imaginatively titled “The Pit,” in 1987. I was struck by the inspiration for this story walking home from a Friday night showing of Creepshow 2.

My interest in horror fiction quickly expanded to H.P. Lovecraft, the wider pulp pantheon, then into Splatterpunk and 1980s pulp horror. These authors were as important to me as rock stars. But my fascination with horror fiction all started with Stephen King. So here we are, at Realms of Night, and here I am, letting you know he’s the reason we’re here together.

Over the years I had to trim my Stephen King collection. I’d like to say it is now a “core” collection — and mostly it is — but there are a few books kicking around here I will likely trade in at some point. I have included them in the gallery nonetheless. You’ll see that much of what I consider my core King collection are his early works, and yes that’s true, but I have enjoyed some of his later books just as much. My favorites from recent years include Duma Key, 11/22/63, and Joyland, which is one of my all-time King favorites.

A few notes about the collection of scanned books below: I obtained the first UK edition Bachman paperbacks several years ago from a vendor at the Dallas Comic Con for $1 each. These were, clearly, the most important finds of my book hunting years. To give credit where credit is due, my wife found them first and came running (literally running) to find me. These and a handful of other paperbacks were in a cardboard box next to a table of comic books and toys. I sorted through them, and they were all quite rare — although none as rare or valuable as those Bachman books. “How much did you say you want for these?” I asked. Surely I hadn’t heard him right. “One dollar each. I don’t care what’s in there, I just need to get rid of them.” Well, I did a service for him that day. I left with a stack of about 20 books. My copy of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is my only signed Stephen King book, because it was the only one I could afford. I purchased it for $40 during a fundraiser for The Haven Foundation, King’s charitable foundation for freelance artists, writers, and other arts professionals in need. My copies of Silver Bullet and Cycle of the Werewolf are signed by Berni Wrightson, one of my favorite artists, who passed away in March 2017. You’ll notice my hardcover copy of Riding the Bullet is in Korean; I purchased it the year we adopted our youngest son from South Korea. I may never be able to read it, but it will always be a treasure.

Looking over all of these covers, I realize I could tell a personal story about my experience with each one, including where I was, what I was doing, how I felt, and why it mattered — all the high times, hard times, or good times of which they were a part. Ultimately, it’s prudent to keep some things to myself. Suffice to say these are some of my favorite books in the world, and reading Stephen King always feels like coming home. With many thanks to Mr. King, and with much gratitude to those of you on this site, I offer this gallery at a strangely apropos time in my own life. Yes, I’m being cryptic, but so it goes. Enjoy.

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

To browse the list of Stephen King titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

 

Gallery Updates

It’s been about six months since I updated any galleries, but it certainly seems like longer. For that matter, it’s been two months since I posted anything here at all. Life happens, and lately it happens a lot. Nothing bad, fortunately; we just have a lot of stuff going on. I have begun work on a Master of English degree, so, in combination with being a father of four, slave to four cats, dutiful husband, and full time employee, time is at a premium. That said, I have tons of author-specific scans all ready to go — I just need to find time to frame the galleries with some mini bios. I was also delayed due to a server move for the site. It was a long ugly story that left me a little raw in my relationship with my web host. After a painful process to get everything ironed out, it seems I am now limited in the sizes of files I can upload. Anyway, I’ll continue to post when I can. We’ll get there!

This time around I have scans of new acquisitions and some replacement scans for books that weren’t in great shape. The Leisure gallery gets another boost this time around. I get questions when I post, so to answer these in advance, some of these items go straight to the “For Sale” pile. Others end up in my permanent collection. I post eBay listings about once a month, usually near the end of the month. You can find me on eBay here: https://www.ebay.com/usr/realmsofnight.

Now, without further ado, new cover scans have been added to the following galleries:

Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison (May 27, 1934 – June 28, 2018) was an American fantasist and author of many genres of fiction as well as incendiary social commentary.  After years of heart trouble, he died this week in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles. He was 84 years old.

Ellison’s best fiction is unclassifiable as anything other than tales written by Harlan Ellison: emotionally charged, full of rage, wit, intelligence, and heart. He was a personality unlike any other in the writing world. Tales of his exploits abound. There are stories of his exploits at conventions, tales of notoriety to be sure, but there are tales of kindness, too.

Full disclosure: I am not doing any research for this article. I have read so much by and about Harlan Ellison that he is a mythical creature in my mind, and this article shall treat him as such. I swear I read somewhere that he ran away at an early age to join a carnival. That he went to New York in the 1950s to join a street gang and wrote novels about his experiences. It seemed he lived something of a transient lifestyle after he left home. He idolized pulp writers, Jack London, and Jack Kerouac, and believed Hemingway’s credo that you should write what you know, so he sought to know everything first hand. He wrote short stories in the windows of bookstores in cities I dreamed of visiting. He was notoriously difficult to work with, both in publishing and television. He had famous run-ins with famous people. His writing was cut-to-the-heart honest and emotionally powerful. Supposedly he was a teetotaler, which I couldn’t ever comprehend. He was admired by some of the greats, and had run-ins with some of the greats. There was no other writer like him. For a long period of time – most of the 1990s in fact – I read his work voraciously. I wanted to be something like him, for it was clear to me that nothing could be exactly like him. I studied his fiction, I wrote as much as I was able following his example.

Alas, I was cut from a different cloth than Harlan Ellison. Most of us are.

Starting in 1990, I collected everything I could find by Harlan Ellison. As I recall, I was introduced to his work by science fiction artist David Martin, who did a lot of work at the time for Amazing Stories and several RPGs. David and I attended the Colorado Springs Science Fiction Writers Workshop for two years between 1990 and 1992. We became friends, and spent some leisure time together, hiking and discussing mutual interests. He pointed me to Shatterday. After that, I hunted down and read all that I could. My favorites from back then are Stalking the Nightmare, Shatterday, Deathbird Stories, and Angry Candy. I was a fan of his earlier science fiction work as well, especially The Beast that Shouted Love at the Heart of the World, but nothing really matched those four key collections for me.

Those of you who follow this blog will recall I had a troubled youth and sank into some dire times in the mid-1990s. I lost pretty much everything, and lived by the grace of friends on their couches. I owned a single duffel bag of clothes that I carried with me. In that duffel bag, I carried one paperback: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. I must have read the book 15 times. It wasn’t his best work in my opinion, but it was all I had for a while. Gentleman Junkie and Strange Wine found me in interesting places personally. Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled and Paingod were some other timely titles, meeting me in places where I needed them the most.

There are so many reviews of Ellison’s career out there right now in the wake of his death, I hope you’ll forgive me this indulgence. I really just wanted to share everything that has stuck in my mind about Ellison over the years. All the stuff above, and more. Edward Bryant was a close friend of Ellison’s, and Bryant ran the workshops I attended all those years ago. I recall tales of how Ellison encouraged Dan Simmons in his early days after reading one of his stories. Bryant would talk to his writer friends in the workshop (not me so much) and I’d hear first-hand of those who’d been encouraged, and those who’d been excoriated. As I discovered Kerouac, I recalled that Ellison had sought out and met with Kerouac (am I misremembering this? I can’t find confirmation). I recall that when Ellison heard Fritz Leiber was broke, writing his stories on a manual typewriter in some squalid hotel in San Francisco in the late 1970s, that he reached out to the author he so admired, infuriated that such a great talent could be reduced to such poverty. That’s the other thing about Ellison: he was a great fan not only of the genre, but the short form – he wrote several novels early in his career: crime, troubled youth, science fiction – yet spent most of his writing career crafting short stories, for which he regularly received awards and accolades from the top down.

For actual facts and more information about Harlan Ellison, which really just scratches the surface but is nevertheless entertaining, click here to read his obituary in the New York Times.

A few notes about my Ellison collection as it exists today: I have two signed books, Memos from Purgatory and Angry Candy.  I sought to complete my collection of the Pyramid and Ace editions, but I’m not there yet. I bought my copy of Love Ain’t Nothing But Sex Misspelled from SF author John E. Stith, who gave me good writing advice that I didn’t follow and was an all-around nice guy. My hardcover editions are worn and well read. While the scans below by no means represent all of the Ellison books that have passed through my hands over the years, these are the ones I ultimately kept hold of, with few regrets.

Much of Ellison’s work has been reissued in electronic editions by Open Road Media. To browse the list of Harlan Ellison titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright. The featured image for this post is from the Deathbird Stories cover art by Barclay Shaw.

Joseph Payne Brennan

Joseph Payne Brennan (December 20, 1918 – January 28, 1990), was an American writer of westerns, horror, and poetry. He graduated from Hillhouse High School in New Haven and lived most of his life in Connecticut. He attended the Junior College of Commerce, but his father became ill and passed away during his sophomore year, so he left school to support his mother and sister. He served three years in the Army during World War II. A guide to his papers at the John Hay Library at Brown University include military documents from 1943 to 1946 showing he was transferred to Europe and received commendations from General George Patton. He received four battle stars, one of them for his participation in the Battle of the Bulge, the last major German offensive on the Western Front during December 1944 and January 1945.

He worked at the Yale University Library before and after the war, where he remained employed until his retirement in 1985. His first professional sale was a poem to the Christian Science Monitor Home Forum in 1940. He had focused primarily on poetry up to that point, but soon branched out into the world of fiction. Brennan wrote 26 western stories for the pulps before he changed gears and came into his own as an author of supernatural horror in the early 1950s. He sold his first horror story “The Green Parrot” to Dorothy McIlwraith at Weird Tales in 1952. He followed up with one of his most celebrated stories, a novelette entitled “Slime,” which appeared in the March 1953 issue, featuring his story on the cover with art by Virgil Finlay. He appeared in Weird Tales regularly until that incarnation of the magazine ceased publication in 1954.

Brennan published his own magazines beginning in 1955, Essence and Macabre, the latter geared toward keeping the spirit of Weird Tales alive. He published 23 issues of Macabre over a span of almost 20 years. At the time, Brennan regularly corresponded with August Derleth of Arkham House fame, an author in his own right. Derleth published the first collection of Brennan’s horror stories, Nine Horrors and a Dream in 1958. That collection was later published in paperback by Ballantine Books in 1962. The Arkham House edition of the book is expensive; the paperback edition is scarce. It is a jewel of my collection. I keep holding out hope that someone will reissue the title so I can read the stories in the middle of the book without cracking the spine.

Brennan was a prolific author of short stories and poetry. According to the Grant edition of The Borders Just Beyond, he wrote several thousand poems and approximately 500 short stories. His stories appeared in over 100 anthologies, including the iconic Pan Book of Horror Stories, the Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories, Whispers, Night Visions, Charles L. Grant’s Shadows series, Dennis Etchison’s Masters of Darkness series, and Ramsey Campbell’s Fine Frights, to name just a few. His work also appeared in such esteemed publications as The New York Times, Esquire, The Chicago Review, and The Yale Literary Magazine. Brennan’s 1980 collection, The Shapes of Midnight collected many of his classic tales with an introduction by Stephen King.

Brennan’s stories were adapted for both radio and television, and he was recognized by fans and contemporaries as an important author at a time when horror fiction evolved from the pulp years into the modern era. The television series Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Tales from the Darkside ran episodes based on his work. Brennan appeared at the 1982 World Fantasy Convention as guest of honor, where he was given a special convention award for lifetime achievement. He also achieved great success as a poet, receiving the Hartshorne award, the Leonora Speyer Memorial Award, and the International Clark Ashton Smith Poetry award. In all, as far as I can tell, nearly twenty collections of Brennan’s work were published in his lifetime.

More information about Brennan can be found in the Brown University’s “Guide to the Joseph Payne Brennan papers,” stored online here.

To browse the list of Joseph Payne Brennan titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright. The featured image for this post is from The Shapes of Midnight cover art by Kirk Reinert.

 

Thomas Tessier

Thomas Tessier is an American author of horror, suspense, and poetry. He was born in Connecticut, but attended University College, Dublin and lived in London, writing for Vogue for several years before returning to the United States. He published three poetry collections in 1970 and 1971. He spent some time as a playwright as well. Three of his plays were professionally staged in Ireland.

His first horror novel, The Fates, was published in 1978. Tessier wrote ten horror novels over the next few decades, most of which were published in the late-1970s and ’80s. Two of his most notable novels include The Nightwalker (1979, Signet/NAL) and Finishing Touches (1986, Pocket Books). His 1982 novel Phantom was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. All of his novels were published in hardcover and paperback formats; several of his early novels were published in hardcover by Atheneum. His paperbacks were reprinted in the 2000s by Leisure Books, along with a new novel, Wicked Things, published in 2007.

Tessier has also written a long list of short stories over the years, collected in Ghost Music and Other Tales and Remorseless: Tales of Cruelty. In 2014, five of his short stories were selected for an upcoming anthology film, Thomas Tessier’s World of Hurt. A June 2016 update on IMDb cites the project’s status as unknown.

To browse the list of Thomas Tessier titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.

Al Sarrantonio

Al Sarrantonio is an American author whose work has spanned several genres over the years, including science fiction, fantasy, westerns, mystery, and horror. I discovered Sarrantonio through his short stories published in Charles Grant’s Shadows anthologies, and from there branched out to read Campbell Wood and The Worms, which led me on to his other books for further exploration.

Sarrantonio earned a B.A. in English from Manhattan College and spent the early part of his career working as an editor in New York. His first published short stories appeared in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in 1979 and Heavy Metal in 1980. After a rapid-fire series of short story acceptances over the next two years, Sarrantonio quit his job as an editor to write fiction full time, back when the prospects of success in such an endeavor didn’t seem quite so improbable. His first published novels were The Worms and Totentanz, released in 1985 by Berkley and Tor, both of which were well enough received to establish his place in the genre. He later wrote what came to be known as The Orangefield Cycle, including the novels Horrorween, Hallows Eve, and Halloweenland (all published in the mid-2000s by Leisure Books), plus a number of short stories set in his fictional town of Orangefield. He went on to write two science fiction trilogies — one for Ace in the late 1990s, and one for ROC in the mid-2000s.

Despite branching out into other genres, Sarrantonio seems anchored to horror. His career followed a trajectory that led to numerous short story publications in major horror markets, including Twilight Zone magazine, its sister publication Night Cry, Cemetery Dance, and celebrated anthologies such as Shadows (appearing in five out of ten books in the series), and the more contemporary horror series Shivers. He also enjoys a career as an accomplished editor of anthologies, the most notable of which was 999, a horror anthology which won the World Fantasy Award in 2000. He has won a long list of genre awards, including the Stoker, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Shamus, the International Horror Guild Award, and the British Fantasy Award.

His Wikipedia entry is fairly comprehensive, and his website adds enough information so that anyone interested can find out more about Sarrantonio and his work. The author photo posted here was taken by Hunter Goatley during an interview with Robert McCammon at the World Fantasy Convention in 1990.

To browse the list of Al Sarrantonio titles currently available on Amazon, click here.

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.

The featured art for this post is by Gary Ruddell.

Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith (January 13, 1893 – August 14, 1961) was an American author of horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction. He rose to prominence during the golden age of the pulp era, and was part of the famous Weird Tales triumvirate along with H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. He was widely published not only in Weird Tales but literary journals and other pulps as well, including Wonder Stories, Astounding, Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror, Stirring Science Stories, The Magic Carpet, The Black Cat, and others. Smith was author of approximately 250 short stories and over 900 poems. He wrote only one full length novel, The Black Diamonds, which owes a lot to his fondness for the Arabian Nights. The novel was 90,000 words, written at the age of 14.

Those who’ve read Smith’s work but who know little about the man himself might be surprised to learn he never attended high school. Possibly due to “psychological disorders including a fear of crowds” (Wikipedia), Smith’s education was finished at home, where he read voraciously and studied a variety of subjects. Smith’s vocabulary is wide in scope and gave his fiction a singularly otherworldly feel that, in my opinion, wove a spell around the reader unlike any other prose written by the peers of his time. His dark fantasy and horror was dark indeed. Sorcerers of the black arts from Smith’s stories are deeply disturbed individuals with gruesome keepsakes and a clear penchant for diabolic evil.

Smith’s prose certainly isn’t for everyone. I have had discussions with pulp fans who either love or strongly dislike his work. Some find him unnecessarily verbose. Those like myself, who enjoy his work, find his vast vocabulary and amazing use of language the clear differentiation between his and other writers’ dark fiction. Among his admirers are Ray Bradbury, who cited Smith’s story “The City of the Singing Flame” as a standout favorite.

Smith’s careful employment of uncommon language and cadence in his prose is due in part to his history as an artist; Smith spent ten years as a poet before he attempted to sell any fiction. One of his earliest publication credits was a booklet called The Star-Treader and Other Poems in 1912. He began publishing short stories in the mid-1920s. He increased his fiction output as The Great Depression settled over America. He wrote the bulk of his fiction between 1929 and 1935. Throughout the mid to late-1930s, a series of tragedies left him deeply affected to the point that he stopped writing fiction completely. His mother died in 1935, Robert E. Howard committed suicide in 1936, and H.P. Lovecraft died of cancer in 1937, which was the same year that Smith’s father died. The deaths of his contemporaries, with whom he had forged meaningful relationships through letters over the years, coupled with the deaths of his parents, “left him exhausted.” Ultimately, Smith turned to sculpting, art, and resumed writing poetry.

In the early 1940s, August Derleth started Arkham House and published many of the first collected works of Smith’s fiction. Despite Derleth’s encouragement, Smith never took up writing fiction again. He left behind a relatively large number of unpublished pieces of fiction, many if not all of which were published posthumously.

Smith lived the majority of his life in Auburn, California. He passed away at the age of 61 in Pacific Grove, California. His remains were cremated and his ashes were buried near the site of his boyhood home in Auburn, which was destroyed by fire in 1957. The burial site had no marker until recent years, when the site was commemorated by a plaque in what is now a small park near the Placer County Law Library. For those interested in learning more about Clark Ashton Smith, I recommend a comprehensive website called The Eldritch Dark. Smith has received his rightful share of scholarly attention, as the site clearly shows. He also achieved literary canonization in a Penguin Classics collection of his work in 2014.

Clark Ashton Smith’s work has been published in many collectible editions over the years. My personal collection includes an Arkham House hardcover, A Rendezvous in Averoigne, with cover art by Jeffrey K. Potter, which is one of only a handful of things that I still own from my teenage years and holds a great deal of sentimental value for me. I do have one of the Neville Spearman hardcover editions of Lost Words, but other than that, the rest of my CAS collection in is paperback — some seriously beautiful paperbacks with amazing wraparound art. Ballantine’s adult fantasy series features art by George Barr, Gervasio Gallardo, and Bill Martin. Panther Books in the UK released paperback editions of Neville Spearman’s Arkham House reprints with more amazing cover art. Some of the art was done by B. Pennington, but the other artwork, including that on the Out of Space and Time volumes which I have featured here, is uncredited.

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

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.

Nicholas Pine

Nicholas Pine is the pen name of C. A. Stokes, an author of young adult horror and suspense, namely the Terror Academy series published by Berkley Books in the early 1990s. This series (and a long list of others) clearly intended to capitalize on the popularity of R. L. Stine and Christopher Pike. It also seems clear it appealed directly to fans of the latter author, since the chosen pen name got these books shelved next to books by Christopher Pike. Clever indeed.

No information about the author is listed in the books, and searches online yield no biographical details. The series itself appears to have run for 15 books between June 1993 and May 1995. The titles indicate that all teen horror requirements were met: Sixteen Candles, Spring Break, The New Kid, The Prom, and Breaking Up. I did find a complete list of all titles in the Terror Academy series, relisted here in the event the source site goes belly-up.

  1. Lights Out
  2. Stalker
  3. Sixteen Candles
  4. Spring Break
  5. The New Kid
  6. Student Body
  7. Night School
  8. Science Project
  9. The Prom
  10. The In Crowd
  11. Summer School
  12. Breaking Up
  13. The Substitute
  14. School Spirit
  15. Boy Crazy

I also found a great blog where the last book in the series gets a pretty entertaining review. Fans of young adult fiction from the glory days should check it out: Young Adult Revisited.

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

These cover scans are from the library of Christopher Fulbright, except The New Kid, which was provided by Retro Reads. 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.

Jeffrey Konvitz

Jeffrey Konvitz is an American author of horror and suspense, best known for his 1974 novel The Sentinel, which hit #2 on the New York Times bestseller list in the wake of Catholic horror blockbuster The Exorcist. The stepback art for his first novel was probably one of the first in a long line of novels featuring the soon-to-be overused blurb “Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, The Other, and now….”

Konvitz’s debut propelled him, and his follow-up novel The Guardian, to the top of the lists. Around the same time, he co-produced with Lloyd Kaufman of Troma fame the horror film Silent Night, Bloody Night, which appears to have set him up to write the screenplay for and produce the 1977 film adaptation of The Sentinel. He only wrote a couple more novels — Apocalypse (1979) and Monster (1981), which was published as The Beast in the UK. He continued to produce films through 2007.

Konvitz is a native New Yorker, and was educated at Cornell and the Columbia University School of Law. Biographical information in the back of The Guardian says “he began his career in 1969 working for a Hollywood talent agency.” He went on to become general counsel to a theater chain, and then a production executive at MGM studios. He currently works as an entertainment finance attorney in Los Angeles.

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

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.

 

Mason Burgess

Mason Burgess is a pen name for Canadian horror author Gregory Zawidoski, who wrote three novels for Leisure Books in the mid-1980s. There is no biographical information in any of the novels published during that time, but his debut novel Child of Demons (1985) bears a copyright under his real name, which led me to a Google search, where I found confirmation in the Lotus archives of the pen name, and — surprisingly — a website for the author. A new Mason Burgess novel, Skinned Babies, was released in 2015 and, as of this writing, can be picked up for a mere $788.29 from Amazon.

Prior to his latest effort, the horror novels published under the Burgess name were Child of Demons, Blood Moon (1986), and Graveyard (1987). Burgess’s Web site says “Blood Moon became a national best seller in the span of only three weeks.” He has Facebook and Twitter accounts which were only updated for a few weeks to promote his new book, and then nada since 2015.

Burgess’s bio cites his influences as Poe, Lovecraft, M.R. James, Bloch, Bradbury, Matheson, and Stephen King. It also notes that he has written a number of other books (fiction and non-fiction) under various other pen names. A search for him or other books under his own name of Gregory Zawidoski nets nothing, so one can only guess at some of the other names under which he has written. The public catalog of the U.S. copyright office only has two records in its database associated with Zawidoski’s real name, Blood Moon and Graveyard, and two spellings of his last name (alternatively listed as Zawidowski), so honestly, I have no idea which spelling is correct. All I can say for sure is, this is the guy who wrote these three novels from Leisure in the mid 1980s, and he re-emerged to publish a new horror novel in 2015 … only to disappear again. Here is a link to his Amazon page for more information on his books and their availability.

These cover scans are from the library of author Christopher Fulbright.

 

An Online Gallery of Horror and Dark Fantasy Cover Art