Sequelland: A Story of Dreams and Screams

A collection of essays and interviews written and conducted by Jay Slayton-Joslin

4/5 Star Review

Jay Slayton-Joslin is a writer experiencing an existential crisis. His first book, Kicking Prose, came out in 2014. It’s a collection of poetry that he followed up six years later with Sequelland. Slayton-Joslin did not want one piece of work to define his career and this is the connecting theme that carries the essays interspersed throughout this book.

Sequelland is comprised of eleven interviews with directors and writers tied together with the self-reflective essays from the author. It is both an informative read and an homage to the legacy of horror sequels. While there are some big franchises involved, these sequels all struggled with small budgets, script changes, studio driven changes, and the directors who still made it work. We are talking about franchises that have shaped the horror genre – Nightmare on Elm Street, Saw, Hellraiser, Cube, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and even Leprechaun and Puppet Master.

This was a really quick and enjoyable read. Sequelland is filled with fun, behind-the-scenes tidbits about movies that genre lovers know, as well as with the headaches that directors and writers have to deal with in the industry. There is a section in the interview with Uwe Boll that I found particularly interesting that was about production budgets and profitability for films in the direct-to-video market versus the streaming market that dominates the industry today. I would recommend this collection to any fan of the horror movie genre.

I received a digital copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.

End of the Road

Essays from The Farewell (But Not Really) Tour by Brian Keene

5/5 Star Review

When my pre-ordered copy arrived in the mail, I was only going to crack it open – just to take a peek. That peek lasted the rest of the night and into the next day. In less than 24 hours, I had completely consumed the book that I was intending to savor. C’est la vie. What can you do?

End of the Road is comprised of all of the essays that Keene wrote for Cemetery Dance Online during his Farewell (But Not Really) Tour in 2016. Cemetery Dance Press has collected all of the essays, plus a few extras – including a wonderful introduction from Gabino Iglesias – into a beautiful signed and numbered hardcover. As of this posting, it’s still in stock and limited to 750 copies. It’s a steal at only $40.

These essays are raw, heart-felt, and honest. If you listen to Keene’s podcast, you’ll know that he often speaks of bleeding onto the page – and that’s exactly what he has done here. He channels Hunter S. Thompson in a whisky-fueled cross-country tour and discusses his thoughts on grief, loss, mortality, longing, familial bonds, fandom, horror, friendship, love, art, comics, the rise and fall of horror publishing, and the craft itself.

I had the pleasure of meeting Brian Keene and John Urbancik on this tour when they were in Oviedo, Florida. They were signing at the Barnes & Noble in the mall there. Kudos to Chris Kosarich for organizing this event – by the way! The signing was a blast and it was my first time meeting both of them. I picked up Stale Reality by Urbancik and the two books Brian was promoting on the tour- Pressure and The Complex. Both authors were incredibly gracious and Brian even signed all my backlist books that I brought with me. I mention this because it was a great experience and Brian was so jovial – it’s hard to imagine, looking back at that signing after reading these essays, how very much he was going through in his personal life at that time. Let it never be said Keene is not on for his fans.

I’ve enjoyed so many of Brian’s novels and this was my first foray – aside from his newsletters – into his non-fiction and I am hooked! I just bought The Triangle of Belief for my Kindle and can’t wait to get to it! A “memoir-styled treatise on faith, religion, the occult, atheism, agnosticism, science, and the supernatural…” Yes, please!!