Fifteen Episodes into BREAKING BAD and…

…it’s even better than the hype. It’s not a pleasant viewing experience. It’s not uplifting or escapist. In fact, my jaws are clenched pretty much from beginning to end.

But it’s the best written television show I’ve ever seen. I mean, Seinfeld was brilliant in a different way, but that’s like comparing Jaws to The Big Lebowsi. The two belong in different solar systems.

Actor

Actor

Each episode my breath is stolen by something different:

–Bryan Cranston’s astonishing acting (like when he tells off an ex-girlfriend in a restaurant and packs more emotion into a famous two-word sentence than any actor ever has)

–A stunning plot twist (like when a tortoise goes meandering across the desert whilst loaded with a very atypical object and then…)

Perfect Casting

Perfect Casting

–A fascinating bit of direction (like a perfectly chosen overhead shot when an old man in a wheelchair decides to provide a surprising answer to a DEA agent’s question)

–An acrobatic feat of editing (like an excruciating cross-cutting sequence between the wonderful Dean Norris and his bloody standoff with a mad dog drug lord and the shocked/horrified reactions of Jesse and Walt)

Okay, if I’m being honest, I notice all of the above elements and more every week. Each episode is a masterclass of storytelling. I’ve learned more watching BREAKING BAD than perhaps any other television show. So while on one level I’m mesmerized by the show, I’m marveling at the writing on another.

Deserves to Have His Own Show

Deserves to Have His Own Show

Gotta get back to editing now. A deadline is looming. Have a good night, friends.

High Noon with the Dust Devils – An Interview With Jonathan Janz

Jonathan Janz:

My very good friend Hunter Shea (who also happens to be one of the best writers in and out of the horror genre working today), interviewed me on his blog. Here’s what happened…

Originally posted on Hunter Shea:

Jonathan Janz is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. If you’ve never read his books, you might assume the mind behind the man is as unassuming as a Norman Rockwell painting. Thankfully, you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. This is a man who knows how to spin a twisted, pulse-pounding yarn. He’s been one busy dude since making his Samhain Horror debut a couple of years ago.

I’m both thrilled and honored to interview the man who conjures some of the finest books in the genre. His latest, Dust Devils, is a terrifying tale of Vampires in the old west. Grab a stake, crucifix and some garlic and read on, my children of the night….

Speaking as a fellow author who was writing his own western horror the same time as you, what made you decide to set Dust Devils in the old, wild west?

I think—at least at this point in…

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Book Review of Dust Devils by Jonathan Janz

Jonathan Janz:

New and very cool Samhain Horror author reviewed DUST DEVILS on his blog. Here’s what he had to say…

 

Originally posted on Scary Funny:

Courtesy: Samhain Publishing

Courtesy: Samhain Publishing

Jonathan Janz has a way with words (sometimes requiring me to grab a dictionary), but that’s okay! His story, Dust Devils, set in New Mexico in the 1880s, chronicles the journey of Cody, a vengeful young man whose wife is slaughtered by a troupe of vampires masquerading as actors.

Thank God Janz subscribes to the notion that vampires are evil creatures that torment and murder without remorse. Teenage girls looking for forlorn, pasty-skinned vampires who’ve never had a pimple and who attend high school to blend in will find no sanctuary here.

It would be simplistic and a disservice to say Dust Devils, released earlier this year by Samhain Horror, is a tale of one man seeking revenge on those who wronged him. It’s a story that touches on the definition of masculinity in a harsh world (harsh to Cody even before the vampires entered…

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Horror Novel Reviews Gives “The Clearing of Travis Coble” Five Stars!

Hey, friends. In a deadline month, so gotta be brief. Reviewer Joe Hempel, whose thoughts are featured on both Horror Novel Reviews and Top of the Heap Reviews, just published a new five-star review of my novelette “The Clearing of Travis Coble.” Here’s how the review opens…

“The Clearing of Travis Coble is an exercise in excellence when it comes to short story telling. Jonathan Janz manages yet again, to create believable, yet terrifying, characters, and stunning, yet terrifying locations.”

You can read the entire, excellent review right here.

And if you haven’t picked up “The Clearing of Travis Coble” yet, the terror awaits you here.

Available now from Untreed Reads

Available now from Untreed Reads

Have a great night, friends. My kids and I just dropped off a wife-made cake for my grandpa, who turned 89 today. Now I’m gonna go hang with the kids, then the wife, then the current manuscript. And maybe call grandpa one more time before bed.

Bloodshot: A Violent Love Letter

When I first heard about Kindle Worlds, I have to admit that I didn’t see myself participating in the program. Sure, it sounded interesting, but the control freak in me recoiled at the idea of using someone else’s creation to fashion my own narrative.

Until I started thinking about Bloodshot.

Ready to explode onto your Kindle

Ready to explode onto your Kindle

He’s an anti-hero, a loner, a being who will forever exist on the fringes of society. Ordinary human relationships will always be a challenge for him, not so much because he doesn’t feel anything—as you’ll see in my novel, I believe he actually feels a great deal—but because he will forever be immersed in dangerous situations and can never truly grow comfortable in the world most of us know.

So in Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows, I explore these ideas and really try to examine the marrow of this iconic anti-hero. I also allow Bloodshot to do what he does best—dish out ultra-violent retribution to those who have it coming. But even the action sequences, I believe, illuminate the ongoing evolution of this character. Whether he’s battling mobsters inside a famous New York landmark or fending off supernatural creatures in the lightless catacombs beneath the city, Bloodshot is developing his own personal code.

In some ways, he is a uniquely innocent character—my story takes place only a year after his blood was replaced by microscopic technological marvels called nanites, which effectively means he was reborn—yet there is also a shady, violent past that haunts him and renders him unable to begin his newer existence with a completely fresh slate. The tension between what Bloodshot once was and what Bloodshot now is creates a supercharged conflict within him as he decides what he will someday become.

I find that fascinating.

My story is violent; there’s no question about that. Bloodshot is faced with ferocious villains who won’t scruple to destroy lives and to endanger innocent people to further their vicious agendas. And Bloodshot isn’t shy about dispatching these villains with his unique brand of brutality.

Bloodshot1coverB-780

But despite his lethal abilities, Bloodshot is far from an unthinking, unfeeling machine. Bloodshot has a heart, and he doesn’t want innocent people to suffer. No, he might not win any sensitivity awards, and at times his lack of sentimentality makes me cringe. But I believe he wants to do the right thing. He wants the world to be a place of light instead of shadow.

In Bloodshot: Kingdom of Shadows, he will confront the forces of darkness to save an old friend’s life. And I hope you, Dear Reader, will take that journey with him. Whether you’re a long-time fan of Bloodshot or meeting him for the first time, I think you’ll find the journey worth your while.

“It all builds up for an astonishing ending”: Fresh Fiction Reviews THE DARKEST LULLABY!

Hey, friends. I’m poring over the final edits of CASTLE OF SORROWS (coming in July!), editing THE NIGHTMARE GIRL (my January 2015 Joe R. Lansdale-inspired suspense-thriller), and taking a brief respite to post this great new review for THE DARKEST LULLABY, which was my third Samhain Horror novel (for those of you keeping score).

Check it out right here.

Creepy Horror

Creepy Horror

And within a few days, I should have some very exciting news to share about an upcoming signing/event that has me incredibly stoked. And for a guy who walks around in a perpetual state of stoked-hood, that’s saying a lot.

Octane Loaded Second Review of Jonathan Janz’s Vampire Western, Dust Devils! Plus an Interview (Squeal All You’d Like)!

One of the coolest things for a writer is waking up to a great review. Well, here’s a WONDERFUL review from my good friend Erin Al-Mehairi at her awesome Oh, for the Hook of a Book blog. If you haven’t “followed” it yet, you need to. There’s consistently great quality there, and Erin examines a diverse array of genres. Anyway, here’s the review, as well as an interview with me:

Octane Loaded Second Review of Jonathan Janz’s Vampire Western, Dust Devils! Plus an Interview (Squeal All You’d Like)!.

FEARnet Loves DUST DEVILS

I meant to post about this fabulous review the other day but didn’t because I was so busy. I’ve either been with my family, at my day job (teacher), or working my other job (writer), and when I’ve had a spare moment, it’s been devoted to letting the puppy outside, or waiting for him to do his business, or chasing him into the snowy backyard after he’s escaped through the fence slats, or cleaning up after him when he’s left a surprise for me on the floor, or trying not to think about where his paws have been as he climbs onto my face.

photo 3

The Culprit

Which brings up another point—I’d forgotten just how horrible dog excrement smells. I mean, I love the little guy, and I know fecal matter isn’t pleasant in any form. But dude. It’s almost as if Mother Nature designed dog feces to have the worst smell, the hardest-to-clean texture, the most staying power of any type of feces. In fact, it’s my contention that dog crap is the George Strait of the fecal world. Delivering number one hit (or number two, if you prefer) after number one hit, decade after decade, it’s the excrement that lingers in the air long after other odors are gone. It’s—

Let’s move on, shall we?

FearnetLogo

On a more pleasant note, the awesome Blu Gilliand (FEARnet) reviewed my vampire western DUST DEVILS last week. Here are just a couple of the glowing highlights:

Dust Devils is a healthy size, but it reads like a book half its page count. It would be easy for the scenes of Price and his crew cutting their way through townspeople to become repetitious, but Janz has a real knack for writing action. Blood spills and sprays in a variety of crazy ways, bodies are torn asunder, and none of it bogs down. At various times I was reminded of movies like Near Dark, From Dusk Till Dawn and Kill Bill to give you an idea of the grit and scope Janz achieves. In other words, this would make a great horror flick, so somebody get on that, okay?”

And this:

“Dust Devils is the most pure fun I’ve had reading a book so far this year. Granted, we’ve got a ways to go in 2014, but the bar has been set. For out-and-out unflinching horror with a strong western feel, you can’t go wrong with this one.”

Dust Devils is a healthy size, but it reads like a book half its page count. It would be easy for the scenes of Price and his crew cutting their way through townspeople to become repetitious, but Janz has a real knack for writing action. Blood spills and sprays in a variety of crazy ways, bodies are torn asunder, and none of it bogs down. At various times I was reminded of movies like Near Dark, From Dusk Till Dawn and Kill Bill to give you an idea of the grit and scope Janz achieves. In other words, this would make a great horror flick, so somebody get on that, okay? – See more at: http://www.fearnet.com/news/review/book-review-dust-devils-jonathan-janz#sthash.m7eTxHkV.dpuf
Dust Devils is a healthy size, but it reads like a book half its page count. It would be easy for the scenes of Price and his crew cutting their way through townspeople to become repetitious, but Janz has a real knack for writing action. Blood spills and sprays in a variety of crazy ways, bodies are torn asunder, and none of it bogs down. At various times I was reminded of movies like Near Dark, From Dusk Till Dawn and Kill Bill to give you an idea of the grit and scope Janz achieves. In other words, this would make a great horror flick, so somebody get on that, okay? – See more at: http://www.fearnet.com/news/review/book-review-dust-devils-jonathan-janz#sthash.m7eTxHkV.dpuf

And here’s the entire review.

key_art_fearnet

If you haven’t picked up a copy of DUST DEVILS to see what everybody’s talking about, you can do that here or wherever else ebooks and paperbacks are sold. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read the review one more time before attending to the dog. Hopefully, that will edify me against the withering stench of puppy dung.

*dons gas mask*

PIERCING THE DARKNESS: A Charity Anthology for the Children’s Literacy Initiative

Hey, friends. The blog has been dormant for several days.

Notice how I attribute the inactivity to the blog itself? As though it’s a force of nature, a virtual Vesuvius lying in wait and preparing to explode at any moment? As though there isn’t a person behind it responsible for updating it? Not only does this capture the raw power of my blog, it absolves me of all responsibility. In other words, win-win (both wins for me).

So on a less self-indulgent note, I got to participate in an incredible project featuring writers like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene. The extremely cool and talented Craig Cook was the mastermind behind Piercing the Darkness, which is a charity project to promote children’s literacy. In other words, it’s a fabulous cause. There are several more savage horror beast-monsters from the writing community (Jonathan Maberry, F. Paul Wilson, and Christopher Golden, to name three more), and I could keep on dropping shockingly impressive names, but I’d rather let the official listing tell you the story:

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“An All-Star Anthology Benefitting the Children’s Literacy Initiative. Featuring N.Y. Times bestsellers Jonathan Maberry, Joe R. Lansdale, F. Paul Wilson, and Christopher Golden. Plus new, never-before-published stories from James A. Moore, Jeff Strand, Ronald Malfi, and others. Twenty-eight of the biggest and brightest names in horror have gathered to shine their light upon an ever-increasing darkness—children’s illiteracy. Join them as they take you down into the depths, and hope you make it to the light on the other side.”

Jack Ketchum. He's in this book.

Jack Ketchum. He’s in this book.

And the TOC:

KING OF SHADOWS by Joe R. Lansdale
QUIET BULLETS by Christopher Golden
HAVEN by Kealan Patrick Burke
BRAVE GIRL by Jack Ketchum
DEALING WITH MAMA LILA by Sandy DeLuca
HUSBAND OF KELLIE by T.T. Zuma
OBEDIENT FLIES by Greg F. Gifune
EXIT STRATEGY by Tim Waggoner
ABATTOIR BLUES by James A. Moore
CANNONBALL LYCANTHROPE by Janet Joyce Holden
THROWING MONSTERS by Jonathan Janz
THE FIERCE STABBING AND SUBSEQUENT POST-DEATH VENGEANCE OF SCOOTER BROWN by Jeff Strand
THE HOUSE IN CYRUS HOLLER by David Bain
COOKED by Jonathan Maberry
MIZ RUTHIE PAYS HER RESPECTS by Lucy Snyder
LETTING GO by Mary SanGiovanni
THE VIKING PLAYS PATTY CAKE by Brian Keene
SHADOW CHASER by Simon Wood
THE FOLLY by Robert Dunbar
SPIDER GOES TO MARKET by Gerard Houarner
PEST CONTROL by C. Dennis Moore
I’M SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS by Ronald Malfi
TIMOTHY MEEK by Gord Rollo
TRAPS by F. Paul Wilson
SEARCHING by Monica O’Rourke
FIRE by Elizabeth Massie
DANCE OF THE BLUE LADY by Gene O’Neill
DINOSAUR DAY by Gary A. Braunbeck

Joe R. Lansdale. He's in this book too.

Joe R. Lansdale. He’s in this book too.

So I could talk about what an amazing honor it is to have been asked to contribute a tale to this wonderful project (my story, by the way, is a never-before-in-print yarn called “Throwing Monsters”), but that part would be incredibly obvious, wouldn’t it? I mean, you’ve heard me geek out about Lansdale, Ketchum, and Keene right here on this blog, so to be published in the same anthology with them? Fuggedaboudit. Permanent geek-outage.

So buy the book. The stories are top-notch, and the cause is amazing.

That’s all for the night. Stay warm, friends.

Dust Devils by Jonathan Janz (Brand-new Review!)

Jonathan Janz:

Here’s the newest review of DUST DEVILS, this one courtesy of Mika Reads Horror Fiction, a blog that consistently provides insightful reviews.
I’m very happy with it and humbled by it, but here are two of my favorite parts:

“The action is very well paced – the 250-page novel goes past in a breeze – and there’s a sparkle to the language already familiar from writer Jonathan Janz‘s previous novels; in horror, perhaps only Robert R. McCammon manages to keep a story going with such constant energy.”

And this:

“The fifth novel by Janz, Dust Devils is plotwise concise and psychologically streamlined; it’s all muscle and heart. The small cast and the straightforward, nearly real-time storyline also help, giving the novel a wonderful immediacy and a fierce, kinetic energy that drives the narrative compulsively forward; for sheer speed, Dust Devils, pardon the pun, truly leaves many others in its dust.”

I hope you read the rest of the review, and I hope you pick up DUST DEVILS soon to see what all the buzz is about.

UNLEASHED!

UNLEASHED!

Oh, and one more piece of news: We got a puppy today. More on that later…

Originally posted on Mika Reads Horror Fiction:

dustdevilsIt’s on from page one, and it doesn’t stop until it’s done. On a desert in 1880s New Mexico, a man called Cody and a boy named Willet spy a group of vampires feasting on some nice human barbecue. The vampires, travelling from town to town as a theatre troupe, have taken Cody’s wife; from Willet, they’ve taken his whole family.

We get the backstory bit by bit, but otherwise it’s nonstop action, told on the go; after a fight with the vampires, Cody and Willet try to head off the creatures at a nearby town. Soon enough the troupe shows up again, this time for a show at the local saloon. It’s not exactly Shakespeare these vampires perform, but the crowd does go wild. The final standoff at a ranch caps things off in a gory whirlwind of headshots, decapitations and torn arteries.

It’s not subtle, but hell…

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