Kevin Quigley over at FEARnet has posted a review of my new mini-collection of short stories, Weak and Wounded, which very well may be the best review my work has ever received.
Here is a little bit of the review:
Weak and Wounded plunges us into small worlds, in which people live desperate lives and struggle with impossible decisions. Loss permeates every page: these people survive the deaths of parents, children, spouses, and siblings, only to find that survival might be a fate worse than death. But the power in these pages comes not from what our protagonists suffer, but how they suffer it. How they continue to go on…. By tying these stories together by theme, feel, and intent, Freeman has created a work of collected fiction that stands as one piece. Each story beats with its own punctured heart, but taken as a whole, Weak and Wounded is even better than the sum of its broken and damaged parts.
If a reader ever asks you what I write about, you might want to point him or her toward the full FEARnet review.
The signed Limited Edition of Weak and Woundedsold out in one week after it was announced, but there will be affordable trade paperback and eBook editions next year.
The first review for the The Painted Darkness unabridged audiobook has arrived and it’s from one of the biggest horror websites around: FEARnet.com. Here is just a little sample of the glowing review:
Brian James Freeman’s fascinating novella, The Painted Darkness, is one of those rare gems you sometimes find in fiction that manage to effortlessly capture the strangeness of being young… The Painted Darkness concerns itself with classic themes: letting go of childhood, the power with which we wield creativity, and the tricky nature of monsters. The novella is structured so that we simultaneously experience young Henry’s childhood snow-day adventure in the woods and his adult self’s horrific experiences in his isolated farmhouse during a snowstorm… The Painted Darkness is a rewarding, fun, scary read; it may be an even better listen. While Freeman has been publishing books since 2004’s Black Fire, The Painted Darkness is his first work on audio. If this production is any indication, he and the format have an interesting and thrilling future together.
I want to say thanks again to everyone who helped make Seven Storiesthe #1 bestselling free eBook short story collection on Amazon in the US, UK, Germany, France, and now Spain, plus #2 in Italy. It’s been climbing into the Top 5 and Top 10 in several other categories in the stores, too, including #1 in the “Short Stories” category.
Here is just a little bit of the recent media coverage of the eBook that I wanted to share real quick before I have to get back to work:
Help For Those Who Don’t Own A Kindle:
Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still read this eBook for free on any of the free Apps to read Kindle eBooks on your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android device, Blackberry, or Windows Phone: Free Kindle Apps
Or you could read the eBook in your web browser with Amazon’s Free “Cloud” program: Amazon Cloud Reader.
Hope that helps, and thanks again for the support!
As I mentioned the other week, my new feature called “The Question of the Month” over at FEARnet is a mix of “The Final Question” from Cemetery Dance magazine and also original content. What I forgot to mention was that last month’s column ran before my blog was launched, so I’m going to post that content here today to catch everyone up.
The feature has a simple premise: each month I’ll ask a handful of horror/dark suspense authors to answer the same question and then I’ll publish their responses exactly as I receive them. In theory, this should give you some insight into how these authors think and where their work comes from. Each month you can read the answers here on this blog or over at FEARnet.com.
This month’s question is: why horror?
Given the immensity of the gulf between what we desire and what we must live with, given also our own dread of what lies in us of both monstrosity and transcendence, horror was an inevitability. — Peter Straub
Because there’s nothing so extreme — from there you can work your way back to courage, loyalty, community, tenderness. Then there’s that old sex ‘n death thing…. — Jack Ketchum
Horror is a genre in which I can throw characters into dire situations, strip away the veneers of their self-imposed personas, and then explore with them their most basic human emotions and reactions. — Elizabeth Massie
I misspelt “humor” on the application. — Kealan Patrick Burke
I read horror for the same reason I read any other kind of fiction. I want strong stories about interesting and sympathetic people. The bonus with horror, as with science fiction, is that the writer can conjure a world of his own to comment on our world. Ramsey Campbell and Christopher Fowler are two good examples. They twist reality into hyper-reality so that a visit to a pharmacy can become a horrific comment on the medical system. Their monsters are not only the great dark Them, they’re also Us. — Ed Gorman
Why horror? … Indeed. Because horror in all its manifestations says … and sometimes whispers … the deepest, darkest secrets about what it means to be human…. Horror addresses and, when brave, confronts the twin terrors of existence … and non-existence. — Rick Hautala
Horror! What a rotten name for an amazing genre. Because Horror’s great appeal isn’t just the screaming and the gore–it is a voyage into our spiritual natures. It asks questions about that “otherness” that’s so important in our lives, but which we cannot taste, touch, smell, see or hear. Horror allows us to encounter that dimension, which we intuitively believe in, but lies just beyond our fingertips. — Simon Clark
Because, as–for instance–H. P. Lovecraft so deftly asserted, the greatest fear we can experience is, not the fear of the dark, or the fear of death, mutilation, rape by monsters, impregnation by para-dimensional abominations, or what have you, but the fear of the unknown. No genre transfigures this fear more potently to the reader than the horror genre. Even in great “literature,” I’ll contend. True, great literature often exists on a much more important level than horror (though not always!) but it seems to me that horror must stimulate the reader’s mental pressure points more effectively and more consistently than other genres. It must! And with that mental stimulus comes the provocation that makes us ponder our inner-selves. Provocation is the key, and it can be just as legitimate in horror as any other field of creativity. I very passionately appreciate the works of, say, Faulkner, Kafka, Sartre, Marquez, etc., and regard their literary contributions as paramount and more significant than even that of the most astute horror writers. Ah, but horror is so much more fun, isn’t it? And the provocation of thought that it induces in us is just as functional. — Edward Lee
Haunted houses, bloody footprints, hitchhiking ghosts, and devil dogs–the stories I heard in the backyard as a kid were the first stories that made my imagination boil, and there was something about them I understood. Or wanted to, because those stories always left questions. Did that really happen? Could it happen to me, and what if it did? The tale became a springboard to an answer or conclusion that made the reader/listener reach, and that’s a very good thing. — Norman Partridge
Why not? Nothing wakes you up in the morning or lets you know you’re alive like a good scare does. — Brian Keene
It’s not that I made a conscious decision to write in the horror genre. It’s just that when I wrote, what came out of me didn’t fit anywhere else. — Ray Garton
My new feature called “The Question of the Month” over at FEARnet is a mix of “The Final Question” from Cemetery Dance magazine and also original content.
The feature has a simple premise: each month I’ll ask a handful of the genre’s authors to answer the same question and then I’ll publish their responses exactly as I receive them. In theory, this should give you some insight into how these authors think and where their work comes from. Each month you can read the answers here on this blog or over at FEARnet.com.
This month’s question is: What is the future of horror?
Writers in pain. Their wounds, unconscious or otherwise, define the genre. — R.C. Matheson
I don’t know what the future of horror will be, but I always live in hope that whatever it is, it’ll be a bit more subtle, quietly disturbing, surreal, and otherworldly than a lot of the trends we’ve recently seen. Something that instills genuine dread rather than aiming to shock or gross out. Not because I dislike accessible, splattery fun, but just to shake things up a bit. I’m loathe to use the word “cerebral,” but something with a bit more depth would be nice. Can we rewind to the ’80s and welcome Clive Barker as the future of horror, please? That would be grand. — Brett Alexander Savory
The future of horror is the past–the sins of the past, that is, repressed and otherwise, which have been at the heart of virtually every horror story since Horace Walpole wrote the first gothic novel way back in 1764. — Dale Bailey
The great thing about horror is that it doesn’t give a crap about the future or the past. It’s immune to trends. Humans will never lose interest in sex or death. — Scott Nicholson
My hope is that horror will blaze a course through this present fascination with extreme violence without any subtext or meaning—simple shock and brutality—and start re-exploring the concepts that make the genre so powerful. Without a human element to these stories, the characters are just so many pieces of wood waiting to be hewn and chopped into kindling. If horror is to have a future beyond revolting people and making them scream with cheap scares, writers, readers and moviegoers alike need to rediscover that the best horror is about bad things happening to characters in whom we have an emotional investment. — Bev Vincent
The future of horror is…assured. The arc of expression seems to be following the media arc as a whole: less attention to print, more to video games and movies, but horror reinvents itself to fit. Horror will prosper as long as people get a frisson down the spine from things that go bump in the night. — Holly Newstein
The future of horror? The past. As always. — Glen Hirshberg
People (or Soylent Green, if you prefer the packaging). Us. With our capacity for feeling and inflicting pain, our reaction to mystery and the unknown, our appetite for the world and each other, we’ll be drawn to horror like lemmings to a cathartic sea for a while. The Greeks dug it, we dig it. However the source medium may evolve, as long as there are people, there will be both the inspiration and audience for horror. Horror will truly be dead when we’ve split angel from demon and cast off the monsters inside us. And we’re a long way off from that feat of genetic engineering. Or exorcism… — Gerard Houarner
It’s vampires who sparkle in the sunlight, like David Bowie in his sequined androgynous glam-rocker phase, or maybe it’s werewolves who crap strawberry scented sprinkles. I’m pretty sure it’s one of those. — Gary Raisor
What is the future of horror? WHO THE FUCK KNOWS? But I betcha we’re about to find out! (P.S.: The future of horror starts right… about… now.) — John Skipp