In my last post from Castle Dracula I promised you a 2nd reading from my forthcoming Damnation: The Gothic Game tie-in novel… and here it is!
Spoiler alert though — this reading includes an early death scene from the book, so if you prefer to wait and find out who comes a cropper and when, avoid hitting ‘play’ on the video below my exclusive interview about the book.
Today marks the last day of the Kickstarter campaign for Damnation: The Gothic Game, so if you want to get your claws on a copy of the game & my book, plus some very cool perks, make a deal with the devil now!
As you all know, I’ve been working on something top secret and super spooky.
Now, at long last, I can reveal what it is…
But first, a little background info if you’ll indulge me.
Damnation: The Gothic Game is a brilliant new version of my all-time favourite board game. The original Gothic Game was created by ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’ screenwriter Robert Wynne Simmons and Nigel Andrews, and became a horror fan favourite when it was released back in the 1990s.
My own experience with The Gothic Game began when I was working at The London Dungeon (where my Saturday job was scaring the life out of tourists!). The Marketing Manager popped down and said they had this preview copy of this creepy new game. He asked me to take it home and play it, and tell him if I thought it would be a good addition to the gift shop. The concept of the game took competitive play to dastardly new levels with the aim being to kill all the other players on the board. Terry Jones of Monty Python fame said, “This game will make you turn in your grave!” And of course it did! For me, it was love at first bite and I played it every Halloween after that fateful night.
Damnation, the updated version from Kris Rees & his talented team atBlackletter Games, expands beautifully on the original with a cast of cunning characters, tons of new traps, weapons, and artefacts, and also the added attraction of being able to haunt the other players from the graveyard if you get bumped off!
So what’s my part in this exciting revamp (pun intended!), you ask? Well, I’ve been hard at work in my candlelit crypt writing the official novelisation of Damnation: The Gothic Game, and you can pick up a copy as part of a crowdfunding perk over at the game’s official Kickstarter, launching today! I’ve always wanted to write a Dracula story, especially one with a unique twist, so this book is a nightmare come true for me.
Here’s the book synopsis and cover concept reveal to whet your bloodthirsty appetite:
The Carpathian Mountains, 1897. An impassable storm forces a group of travellers to disembark from their steam train and take shelter in a remote castle for the night. Their enigmatic host invites them to take part in some after-dinner entertainment. But as they each explore the castle’s rooms and passageways they discover they have become part of a deadly game. Only one guest may leave in the morning and it is up to each of them to use their wits, and weapons, to survive the night. For the others, Damnation awaits.
Check out the game trailer for a full icy blast of gothic atmosphere, then proceed to the Kickstarter page to make your blood pact with Count Dracula himself!
The game & book are both due to be unleashed in 2022, so I hope to see you all soon… in the graveyard!
Everyone’s favourite demonic dermatologist, The Skintaker, in a handsome, strictly limited hardcover edition.
It’s been fun (and a little bit surreal) to revisit my backlist of books, and to give them a makeover via my own imprint Reel Fearz Editions.
Last but not least to receive the hardcover treatment is The Skintaker (the prequel to my Bram Stoker Award nominated debut novel The Lamplighters), and I’m thrilled with the result. The book features black cloth binding and a matte dust jacket that feels just as luxurious as, well…. human skin.
Order your copy now & get 15% off the print price. Use code BOOKSTORE15 (offer valid through 10 September 2021)
If you prefer a signed copy, gimme a shout on social media or email: info(at)frazerlee(dotcom) and we’ll work out the shipping costs & any special dedication requests.
About ‘The Skintaker’ “You have what he wants!” Reclusive nineteen-year-old Rosie Shields hopes for a new lease of life that will free her from the stigma of her debilitating skin condition. Making a pilgrimage to the Amazon rainforest, Rosie experiences a new world beyond her wildest dreams among the mysterious Myahueneca tribe. But Rosie’s dreams soon turn to nightmares when she embarks on a ritual vision quest that takes her to the very heart of darkness. Trapped between murderous hunters and raging forest fires, Rosie is thrust into a fight for survival, a struggle that awakens an ancient evil stirring in the shadows…the demonic deity known as The Skintaker.
Praise for ‘The Skintaker’ “A grandly entertaining period horror adventure in the classical Kipling and Conrad tradition…THE SKINTAKER has never a dull moment. I thoroughly enjoyed it.” (Eric Red, writer of The Hitcher and Near Dark)
“A phenomenon in horror fiction that is truly chilling.” (Horror Novel Reviews)
“I loved this book! Filled with fabulous descriptions and fully formed characters I devoured The Skintaker in one sitting…I didn’t want the adventure to end. This was my first novel by Frazer Lee but it definitely won’t be my last. If you’re looking for a great read, grab this 5 star book and hold on for the ride.” (Horror Maiden’s Book Reviews)
For the full line-up of Reel Fears Editions limited hardcovers, check the webstore.
So sorry to have to say that my good friend & collaborator Paulo (aka Paul O) Turin has passed away after contracting Covid-19.
My sincere condolences to his family & many friends. We were all hoping he’d pull through after three weeks in the ICU in Brazil. Thanks to all the doctors & nurses who tried so hard to keep Paulo alive.
My friendship with Paulo began in the mid-90s when we were introduced via mutual contacts. We spent many happy hours writing and recording music together, discussing life the universe & everything — and eating penne arabiatta, or pizza, or both. Paulo worked & studied hard and was always inquisitive and determined to master whatever he put his mind to. His musicianship was second to none. Our song Cycles of Abuse featured in my film On Edge, as did Paulo’s killer dance moves (you can spot him in the nightclub scenes that bookend the film). Another composition Defiler featured on the Planet Metal compilation and on Brazilian rock radio.
When Paulo returned to Brazil, we kept in touch and exchanged family photos (and godawful Dad jokes!). A couple of years ago, Paulo asked for my help in putting together a Wikipedia page about him. But the Wiki editors rejected the page as ‘not notable’!!!
Well, screw them. I’m including the Wikipedia text below in full, in tribute to Paulo, who was very notably a gentle giant, and a brilliantly talented musician. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
(And if any Wikipedia wizards out there can create a page for Paul O Turin, please do so. He would have liked that!)
Paulo in his own words…
Paul O Turin
Birth name: Paulo Eduardo Turin
Born: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Genres: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Instrumental Rock/Metal
Occupation: Guitarist, songwriter
Associated acts: Gangland UK, Battlezone, Paul Di’anno, Self Destructive Nature, Aquiles Priester, Felipe Andreoli, Realm of Illusion
Labels: Pony Canyon, Encore Records, Magick Records, Zoom Club Records
Paulo Turin was born in Brazil but made his mark in metal music in England where he lived for 22 years. He was of Italian heritage. His grandparents moved to Brazil from Venice during the first world war. He spoke English, Italian and Portuguese.
He started playing his father’s acoustic guitar at a very young age and learned music from some music books that also belonged to his father. After begging his parents to buy him an electric guitar for two years, he finally got it at the age of 13. It was a Fender Jaguar copy. The first songs he learned on the electric guitar was from Credence Clear Water Revival, Slade and Chuck Berry but when he heard Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin his guitar playing and musical taste went to a new dimension.
Turin then started taking private guitar lessons with some well known teachers around the Sao Paulo area. The lessons included rock, jazz and music theory. During this period he played with some local bands.
In 1986 Paul took advantage of his European (Italian) citizenship and moved to England where he worked part time and took guitar lessons at the Musicians Academy and at the Guitar Institute. Paul also held a degree in management and graduated to be a University teacher.
In England, Paul went to several auditions for bands in the underground metal scene of London and got the job as the guitarist of an up and coming act called Gangland UK. They toured the UK nonstop for two years and recorded two songs Beyond the Law and Death Threat for the album Metal for Muthas‘92 released in Japan. Gangland also put out a single One in a Million/Crazy Angel for the Japanese market.
Paul composed the soundtrack song Cycles of Abuse for the horror film On Edge with Self Destructive Nature (SDN), a band he formed with vocalist and writer/director Frazer Lee. Another SDN song Defiler featured on the Planet Metal compilation. Paulo did session work and played for bands as a hired hand also.
In 1997 he was invited to join Paul Di’anno’s (former Iron Maiden vocalist) Battlezone. They recorded and toured the album Feel My Pain. Paul returned to Brazil in 1999 and put together a band for Paul Di’anno which recorded and toured the album Nomad. Nomad was re-released in 2006 with a few bonus live tracks under the name of The Living Dead.
Since then Turin was writing and recording solo instrumental Rock Metal, and with thrash metal oufit Realm of Illusion, in addition to producing, and hosting guitar masterclasses.
I had pitched the book to legendary horror editor Don D’Auria at Dorchester Publishing’s infamous Leisure Books imprint in 2009, and I was excited to receive a full manuscript request from Don by return. I submitted the book and waited anxiously for the outcome.
…and then Dorchester Publishing went under.
It was difficult not to take that as a sign. Ha ha!
But when Don D’Auria became Executive Editor of the new Horror line at Samhain Publishing, my manuscript followed him there. Don told me he loved the book and thought it would be a fine addition to the line.
Contracts were finalised 26th April 2011, and the e-book was published in November of that year, followed by the paperback in February 2012. An audiobook followed in 2016 (now out-of-print).
Things went a little bit crazy from there. The Lamplighters was selected as a Finalist in the Bram Stoker Awards for ‘Superior Achievement in a First Novel’ from all the horror debuts published that year. I enjoyed sitting up at 4:30am in freezing cold England, watching the Stoker Awards webcast broadcast live from the USA. Don had written to me prior to the awards ceremony and asked me for an acceptance speech ‘just in case’. I wrote some waffle about not winning because I knew I wouldn’t, and I didn’t, so that was that. But as I always say to my creative writing students: “Remember, it’s cooler to be nominated. Unless you win and then it’s cooler to win.”
The Lamplighters was a Finalist again, this time in the Book Pipeline Contest for books deemed suitable for film/TV adaptation, one of only 6 from almost 1,000 entries. I wrote a screenplay based on the novel, and that went on to be a Semi-finalist in the Screencraft Horror Screenplay Competition, from over 2,000 entries.
Close, but no close-up this time Mr DeMille.
I still think The Lamplighters would make for an excellent scary movie, but then I would think that, wouldn’t I? (Ha ha #2)
The book became my first translated work, with the Japanese edition published by TakeShobo in 2015. I was really thrilled about that, especially when I learned that the Tokyo-based publisher has Stephen King and the Star Wars books on its roster. Getting my author copy was a surreal experience, and it’s a very beautiful object, that edition. Hey you guys! My other books are available for translation, just sayin’.
And then, just as Dorchester Publishing had during my initial pitching of the book, Samhain Publishing went under. IT’S NOT MY FAULT, OKAY? STOP MAKING OUT LIKE IT’S SOME KIND OF WEIRD CURSE THAT FOLLOWS ME AROUND… (Ha ha #3).
I like to keep my work out there and available and soon after, I signed with Crossroad Press/Macabre Ink for all my Samhain backlist titles. My thanks to the two Davids at Crossroad for keeping my malformed offspring in circulation.
And so, without any further ado, here it is.
Ten years and a day since I became a fully signed-up novelist, a new 10th anniversary paperback edition of The Lamplighters is now available.
The nightmare continues!
And coming soon… There will be a limited edition hardcover, too.
Happy anniversary, old thing. My thanks to Don D’Auria & all at Samhain, to the two Davids at Crossroad Press, and to all my readers (yes, all 3 of you! Ha ha #4) and reviewers for the last ten years.
Here’s to a few more, eh?
About The Lamplighters:
Life on Meditrine Island is luxurious…but brief. Marla Neuborn has found the best post-grad job in the world—as a “Lamplighter” working on Meditrine Island, an exclusive idyllic paradise owned and operated by a consortium of billionaires. All Lamplighters have to do is tend to the mansions, cook and clean, and turn on lights to make it appear the owners are home. But the job comes with conditions. Marla will not know the exact location of the island, and she will have no contact with the outside world for the duration of her stay. Once on the island, Marla quickly learns the billionaire lifestyle is not all it is made out to be. The chief of security rules Meditrine with an iron fist. His private police force patrols the shores night and day, and CCTV cameras watch the Lamplighters relentlessly. Soon Marla will also discover first-hand that the island hides a terrible secret. She’ll meet the resident known as the Skin Mechanic. And she’ll find out why so few Lamplighters ever leave the island alive.
Here are some nice things that nice people have said about my novel (which is decidedly not nice).
“Lee creates an atmosphere of unease and foreboding that culminates in explosive violence and terror. Rife with frightening imagery, ghosts, and visceral horror, this tale will please the most ardent of horror fans.” – Booklist
“HEARTHSTONE COTTAGE is a nonstop riveting read and the suspense never slackens. Prepare to lose sleep.” – The Haunted Reading Room
“A story which is worthy of being on the big screen! Full of tension, suspense & good old-fashioned heart-thumping scary bits” – Stardust Book Reviews
“This was a fantastic spooky read! The writer pulls you in and does not let you go until the very last page.” – Secret World of a Book
“Hearthstone Cottage is the first folk horror book I’ve read, and what a great introduction to the subgenre…Every chapter represented a new horror for the protagonist as he delved deeper and deeper into madness. Frazer Lee is fantastic.” – The Bookdad
“Gripping from beginning to end, Lee knows how to spin a horror story that makes your flesh crawl. Filled with suspense and tension you will struggle to look away.” – Bunny’s Pause
“Outstanding writing, intriguing layers, the tension and suspense was edge of your seat stuff, relatable characters that I could see myself getting along with and the twists and turns left me aching for more. The author certainly has gained a new fan. Thank you, Frazer Lee, for scaring the crap out of me!” – The Coycaterpillar Reads
“This book had me on my toes until I reached the very last line…I really, really, really enjoyed it.” – Nightfall Mysteries
“I was actually scared to go to sleep at one point…part of the book hit me so hard, I actually had to put it down and have a break…a great read if you enjoy being on the edge of your seat, it was very creepy and suspenseful” – Ally’s Book Corner
“A trippy tale of isolation set in the Scottish countryside that really takes the reader off guard.” – Hedwig’s Books
“A fun, creepy read” – Book Reviews by Shalini
“This is a fantastically creepy tale, with a sense of gradually building menace. Gripping, spooky and thoroughly entertaining.” – Lesley Budge, Orlando Books Blog
I did mention it’s only $0.99 until January 24, right?
2020. A year during which any horror writer would be hard pressed to outdo real-life events with any of their fictional terrors.
Glancing back, here’s my horror writing year in review.
Greyfriars Reformatory my sixth novel, which was published by the fine folks at Flame Tree Press, got some of the most positive reviews i’ve ever had (from Chicago Review of Books, and others). My thanks to all the readers, raters & reviewers!
The inaugural UK edition of Stokercon was postponed, and then became Chillercon, with the Bram Stoker Awards & Final Frame Film Contest (for which i was a Juror) moving online. Congratulations to the winners & nominees!
I was looking forward to screening The Stay and doing a Q&A about my film work at Contemporary Folk Horror in Film & Media conference, Leeds, until the pandemic delivered its own persistent brand of viral horror. Hopefully it will happen in 2021.
Looking forward? I’m hoping to get all kinds of things done in 2021. Making horror stories sometimes helps me to face the real-life ones. And i hope reading/watching them helps you sometimes, too.
If you’re still reading this, I’d just like to wish you & yours the very best of health. And i’ll close on a plea, if i may:
Don’t you dare be one of those characters in horror stories — you know the one who goes down to the basement with a faulty flashlight? Or the one who says, “We’ll cover more ground if we split up.” Just don’t. I’ve written and consumed enough horror stories to know those aproaches rarely pan out so well — for anyone.
Wear a mask. Wash your hands.
Stay safe out there, and keep others safe.
And if you need to borrow a flashlight, just scream!
In case you missed it… I spill the spooky beans about my new novel Greyfriars Reformatory, discuss the darkest movie I’ve ever watched, reveal what scares me, and chat all things horror over at Uncomfortably Dark.