Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Brian Keene

Later today, I'll get to meet one of my favorite authors. Those who might've not heard yet, Stoker Award winning and Horror Grandmaster--and let's just say it--and fucking bestselling horror fiction legend, Brian Keene is stopping by my store from 2-5pm to sign copies of his latest novel, PRESSURE.

Needless to say, I'm honored, excited, flattered to have him...and just a wee bit apprehensive and nervous.

I've never met him before, so that's understandable, but have corresponded via social media and on his forum. As his aptly named nationwide tour begins this summer, THE END OF THE ROAD (BUT NOT REALLY) TOUR, I just want the book signing to be successful and not look like an idiot and total fanboy. Although I've got the former covered, not so sure about the latter. But I do know one thing: I just want to express my gratitude and appreciation for his work, what he has done, and continues to do for the horror genre and fellow authors (unknown or newbie), via his website, forum, and stellar weekly podcast.

I first became aware of Brian Keene before he hit it big with THE RISING. Fellow author and friend, John Urbancik, told me I should read him, and on a whim, ordered a couple of his books at the time: FEAR OF GRAVITY, 4X4, and NO REST FOR THE WICKED REDUX. I enjoyed those books, but when THE RISING came out from Leisure, I was hooked. Then came GHOUL, and I became a fan. While I've enjoyed everything he's written, GHOUL still stands as my favorite Keene novel, with TERMINAL being a close second. But then again, everything the man writes is simply worth reading, regardless of the plot or genre.

And if you haven't read his latest release, PRESSURE, do check it out. While probably the most mainstream book he's written to-date, there's lots of subtle, and not so, nods to previous works and even characters named from other genre authors. His novel, THE COMPLEX, published as a limited edition last year and released in trade paperback and ebook earlier this year, is classic Keene and one of his best.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt a certain kinship with Brian. We're the same age. While I was born in Pennsylvania, I've lived in Florida most of my life. I'm a stepfather to three, and while they may not be mine biologically, I take my role as a father figure as the most important. While we certainly have taken very different paths in life, I have a deep respect for Brian, not just as an author, but as a father and human being, who--if you've listened to some of his more personal podcast episodes and even nonfiction writings, such as posts on his website and recent column series for Cemetery Dance--because while you may not always agree with him, he doesn't just talk the talk...he fucking walks the walk.

Due to several changes in my personal life over a decade and a half ago--a couple divorces and financial upheavals, moving several times, etc--I became lost to my writing, and disconnected to the genre that I fell in love with back in the mid to late 80's. Then, I discovered social media for the first time, and began to reconnect with some old friends and made new ones. Slowly, but eventually, I got back into it and finally, after a long dry spell, I feel like the writer I was meant to be. But I still have a lot of work to do.

Brian, I just want to say thank you. I know I'm not the only one, but the work you do is incredibly important to the horror genre. You're inspiring beyond measure.