Dolph the Unicorn Killer & Other Stories

I am so very excited to announce that my fifth book is now officially published! Dolph the Unicorn Killer & Other Stories is my first short story collection, after previously publishing only novels (Inside the Outside and The Vampire and the Hunter Trilogy).  

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I published Dolph the Unicorn Killer & Other Stories in collaboration with the wonderful folks at Exciting Press. If you'd like to get some more info on my new book, here's what Exciting Press has to say:

Wait, seriously? You want book info? Did you see the title? It's called Dolph the Unicorn Killer & Other Stories. Did you see the cover? Because that's Dolph. Look at that guy. Look at his biceps! Look at that decapitated unicorn head with its freshet of rainbow blood.
 
And now you want book info? As though that title and image alone can't tell you right away whether this is the book for you? Like you can't already tell whether you NEED to read this one, or seek more appropriate fair? Maybe you need something more normal. Something a little less...out there. And that's fine. There are lots of great books out there like cozy mysteries you might listen to over audio while darning socks. Maybe you'd like a bodice ripped or a heart pounded. You can find those.
 
But this?
 
This is Dolph the Unicorn Killer. And this is Martin Lastrapes. This is the acclaimed and award-winning author who brought you the utterly terrifying Inside the Outside and the utterly terrific The Vampire and the Hunter Trilogy.
 
This is vampires, serial killers, unicorns, and more, all of them intersecting within that alluring stretch of the American Southwest known as Las Vegas. This is a collection of short stories that shifts seamlessly from horror and comedy to fantasy and literary fiction, weaving together an eclectic tapestry of characters who are bonded by themes of loneliness, revenge, friendship, and sex.
 
This is the most badass, gloriously vulgar, gut-punching, giddy-inducing collection of short stories you'll ever encounter.

How's that for book info?

 

Introducing Dolph the Unicorn Killer

I'm very proud to be publishing my new book, Dolph the Unicorn Killer & Other Stories, in collaboration with the amazing folks at Exciting Press.

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Here's what Exciting Press has to say about it:

I know it’s been a while. I’ll explain shortly. In the meantime, I wanted to share this awesomeness it’s my pleasure to be making available next Friday, October 27th the newest collection from Martin Lastrapes.
I first met Martin five or so years ago when...

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST!


Update (10/27/17):

Dolph the Unicorn Killer & Other Stories is officially published! Get yourself a copy in paperback or Kindle (or both! You've earned it, so treat yourself). In this collection, you'll find horror, fantasy, comedy, and even stories about people just being people. And, of course, you'll meet Dolph the Unicorn Killer. I mean, who is Dolph? And why does he hate unicorns so much? And is there really a unicorn named Golden Showers? There's only one way to get answers to all of these questions...buy the book and I'll tell you what it is!

New Book Update

Hey all, on Episode 166 of The Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour, I talked about the progress of my upcoming short story collection, Dolph the Unicorn Killer & Other Stories. I also talked about the genesis of the book and the personal significance of it in his writing journey. So, please take a listen and enjoy!

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Update (10/27/17):

Dolph the Unicorn Killer & Other Stories is officially published! Get yourself a copy in paperback or Kindle (or both! You've earned it, so treat yourself). In this collection, you'll find horror, fantasy, comedy, and even stories about people just being people. And, of course, you'll meet Dolph the Unicorn Killer. I mean, who is Dolph? And why does he hate unicorns so much? And is there really a unicorn named Golden Showers? There's only one way to get answers to all of these questions...buy the book and I'll tell you what it is!

Blondie and the Brit...and Me

I had the great pleasure of being a guest on Blondie and the Brit with KJ Waters (Blondie) and Suzanne Kelman (The Brit) . It was my second time on the show and this time it was "Episode 81: Confessions of an Author." The author, in this case, is me and the confessions are mine. Here's more about the episode from their website:

This week we are excited to bring you award-winning author Martin Lastrapes, a great friend to Blondie and the Brit and one of our Podcast Heroes. Martin brings to the show all the weight of his comedy and interviewing expertise from his own podcast, "The Martin Lastrapes Podcast Hour."

This is a fun upbeat interview that also has very poignant moments where Martin opens up about the struggles we all face on the writer's journey. Don't miss this open, funny, 'telling it like it is' interview with one of our favorite guests.

It was great fun being on their show, so press PLAY and enjoy:

Chatting with John Palisano

On Episode 143 of the podcast, I enjoyed a conversation with 2016 Bram Stoker Award Winner John Palisano. John talks about writing horror, being the Vice President of the Horror Writers Association, and what it was like to win the Bram Stoker Award. 


Marvin P. Vernon, in his review of Ghost Heart for Hellnotes, writes,

"When reading the summary of John Palisano’s Ghost Heart, it is impossible not to think “vampire” (and it would be fair to call this a variant of the vampire mystique) but Palisano’s vampires are not eternal – they are sick. The condition brings lots of perks to it provided you have a fresh supply of blood, yet there is a price to be paid."

Vernon goes on to say,

"I would recommend Ghost Heart to someone who likes a good horror novel yet wants something that also features important human interactions and issues or someone looking for a novel that is vampire yet not really vampire. It is always nice to see a new bent on the old warhorse and doubly nice to read a book that is able to add some real human dilemmas to its story."

Politics, Voting, and America

In the wake of the monumental election that elevated Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States, I decided to record a podcast sharing my thoughts on the state of hope and optimism. In short, I feel both hope and optimism thanks to people like Jared Rivera.


Politics and, perhaps more specifically, politicians can be very divisive.  So, however you feel about the Hilary Clinton or Donald Trump, what I want you to take out of this is episode is that my friend Jared Rivera is a man who cares deeply about his country. Whatever side you fall on with concern to the election, your passion is born from that same place. You also love your country and, like Jared, you simply want it to always be its best. And that’s really the point.

For all of the anger and passion we’ve seen on the news and social media and, frankly, on the very streets we live on, it’s all born out of the same place. People just want what’s best for the world. And Americans just want what’s best for America.

Maybe we can’t agree on what’s best for the world, but it doesn’t mean than anybody is wrong for wanting what they believe is best.

Writing Fear (Live from Hollywood, CA)

I was invited to join a panel of horror authors at the North Hollywood Amelia Earhart Regional Library on 10/23/16. Along with the other panelists, I talked about writing, publishing, and why horror authors are heroes to the world (you're welcome!). And, more importantly, I recorded the panel for The Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour.


The Writing Fear panel was also covered by First Comic News and World Media Revolution. Afterward, First Comics News caught up with me to find out about some of my other projects:

Chatting with KJ Waters

I had a wonderful time chatting with my friend, author, and podcaster, KJ Waters! She came onto The Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour and talked about surviving hurricanes, her novel Stealing Time, and her first year as co-host of Blondie and the Brit


Carlie M.A. Cullen, in her review of Stealing Time, writes,

"I was intrigued by the blurb on this book, especially as it mentioned Hurricane Charley which I experienced in 2004, so although it’s not the sort of book I would normally read, I was interested enough to give it a go and I’m glad I did.

The concept of the plot was very original and I liked the way Waters constructed the method for the time travel to take place. She weaved the plot well and it certainly kept me turning the pages. KJ had certainly done her research about London and the time period. Factually it was very accurate, especially when it came to how women were treated more as chattels to be sold into a loveless marriage to advance the standing or financial position of the family. She’d also done her homework on what happened to women who were accused of witchcraft. The detail she included gave the reader an accurate picture, but I’m glad to say there wasn’t an info dump. The author intertwined it with the plot so it read as a natural progression within the story.

The detail included in the hurricane scenes was scarily realistic. Trees crashing through roofs, bringing down power lines, loss of power and water – these were all things I remembered only too well!"

Chatting with Miya Kressin

On Episode 135 of the podcast, I enjoyed a lovely chat with my friend, Miya Kressin, author of The Asylum Saga trilogy. Miya talks about publishing with Exciting Press, making young boys uncomfortable, and being her dad's second favorite author. #GiveMartinAChance    


"Fear choked me as I slithered beneath another set of low-hanging branches. Dirt and rocks dug into my hands, filling the space beneath my fingernails while I crawled. Briars caught my hair, but all my attention was on the nemetonmy peoples sacred spacetwenty feet beyond the willow that hid me. Speeding breaths disturbed the branches, steaming in the chilling air.

Prophet of Bas and imbued with the strength and magic of her goddess, Roseen is a woman bound by faith and compelled by honor. When a powerful vision calls her back to Madani, her home, and Sheelin, the island where she first experienced her calling to Bas, she encounters a land ravaged by war and desecrated by marauders. She also finds Cade, a talented blacksmith forced to craft swords for the invading Army of Righteousness and with whom she shared a childhood and now shares a different type of bond altogether.

Being with Cade in Madani brings Roseen’s past to collide with both her present and future. With the courage and heart to match his skill, the blacksmith may be Roseen's best ally in the carnage ahead. Can he see past his own feelings to let the priestess' power be unleashed? Not content to allow him fight alone, Roseen will be forced to find her faith and lend her strength and magic to her people, lest they all be destroyed."

Chatting with Michael Van Cleve

On Episode 134, I enjoyed a great conversation with comic book writer Michael Van Cleve, author of Child of the Sun. Michael talks about his childhood influences, his favorite comic book writers, and his secret technique for getting Hollywood executives on the phone. 


From Keith Grayeb at Comic Bastards:

"Biblical mythology has always fascinated me. I am a big fan of mythology in general, but I feel the Greek and Norse mythos are a tad overexposed in popular culture these days. I would bet the name Hercules/Heracles is much more widely known than Samson, who some historians consider his Hebrew Bible counterpart. Child of the Sun dares to unify these legends by offering as compelling a mythological crossover event as I can imagine. At the end of issue one they are still friends, but I don’t care. Heracles vs. Samson: Who ya got?!"

Chatting with Will Entrekin

I spent over three hours gabbing with my friend, author and publisher, Will Entrekin. 

PART ONE: Will talks about reading Stephen King, starting Exciting Press, and writing The Prodigal Hour

PART TWO: Will talks about publishing my stories, the merits of Amazon.co m, and why he hates the term "self-publishing." 


From Sam Sattler at Book Chase:

"Is there anyone not fascinated by the notion of time travel?  

Whether the pull is simple curiosity about what the past was really like, or wonder about the future one is doomed to miss out on, there is just something irresistible about the possibilities of traveling up and down the time continuum at will.  Or, perhaps, the lure is more personal, a desire to right some personal wrong we have done or suffered, for instance.  Whatever the reason, Will Entrekin is here to tell you to be careful what you wish for – because you might just get it.

If Chance Sowin, the main character of Entrekin’s new novel, The Prodigal Hour, had arrived for work at the World Trade Center just a few minutes earlier, his life might well have ended on September 11, 2001." 

Chatting with Michael McCarty & Mark McLaughlin

On Episode 130, I interviewed Michael McCarty & Mark McLaughlin, getting the inside scoop on their latest collaboration, Dracula Transformed And Other Bloodthirsty Tales. I also share my thoughts on the epic rematch between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor at UFC 202.


From Amazon.com:

"Throughout history, people have been fascinated by the seductive allure of vampires. We read about them in books, watch stories about them on television and in movies -- but do we know all there is to know about them? Of course not. These creatures of the shadows have kept their most shocking secrets hidden . . . until now. 

Dracula Transformed & Other Bloodthirsty Tales features eleven vampire stories by Bram Stoker Award-winning author Mark McLaughlin and Bram Stoker Award finalist Michael McCarty. In these stories, they have unearthed many of the secrets of the bloodthirsty dead.

In the novella Dracula Transformed, Dracula is brought back from beyond the grave in a manner that gives him startling new powers. Using these powers, he begins a bloody campaign of vengeance. In Lucy Transformed, you will learn of the relationship between Dracula and his daughter Zaleska, as well as his growing fondness for Lucy Westenra -- a fondness that will seal Lucy's doom. Even more vampiric horror awaits you in the remaining nine tales."

Chatting with Mary Mackey

On Episode 129 of The Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour, New York Times Bestselling author Mary Mackey talks to me about her new novel, The Village of Bones, writing screenplays for Hollywood, and how she got invited to speak at Europe's largest furry convention, Eurofurence 2016.


"Mary Mackey's The Village of Bones, gives us the vivid adventures of The Clan of the Cave Bear, the magic of The Mists of Avalon and Lord of the Rings, and the beauty of Avatar. Filled with the belief that love drives out fear, it contains stunning twists that will leave you wanting more." —Dorothy Hearst, author of the Wolf Chronicles

In 4386 B.C., a young priestess named Sabalah conceives a magical child with a mysterious stranger named Arash. Sabalah names the child Marrah. This child will save the Goddess-worshiping people of Europe from nomad invaders called eastmen, but only if her mother can keep her alive long enough to grow up. Warned in a vision of the coming invasion, Sabalah flees west with Arash to save her baby daughter, only to discover that she is running into the arms of her worst enemies. In the dark forests of northern Europe, other humanlike species left over from the Ice Age still exist.

Praise for the Earthsong Series and Mary Mackey
"Grand adventure and a grand reading experience ... sexy, explosive." —Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides

"A fascinating evocation of a prehistoric world..." —Marion Zimmer Bradley, author of The Mists of Avalon

Chatting with Taryn Spates

On Episode 125 of The Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour I interviewed memoirist Taryn Spates, author of 35 by 35: A Runner's Quest. Taryn talked about running marathons, winning an Emmy Award, and wrestling with her girlfriends.  


Here's an excerpt from Running Ruminations' review of 35 by 35: A Runner's Quest Running:

"Taryn is quite candid about when things didn’t go well or when shit just sometimes happens – quite literally, as it were – in races. When you’ve been an endurance athlete for so long, as Taryn shows, sometimes you have good seasons and good races, and sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. It’s the ebb and flow of training and racing, much as we all seem to have an ebb and flow of life. There’s a reason that so many runners are also writers; the sport is like one big freakin’ metaphor."

Ben Eads: Action Star

My friend Ben Eads, author of Cracked Sky, made a triumphant return to the podcast on Episode 122. For the first 40 minutes of this episode, I am riveted to near silence by an unbelievable story Ben shares, garnering the nickname "Ben Eads: Action Star."


Excerpt from Louise Bohmer's review of Cracked Sky:

"Cracked Sky is Ben Eads debut novel, and it’s a work he should be proud of writing. It tells the story of Stephen and Shelley Morrison–a couple dealing with the painful loss of their daughter. Ben doesn’t sugar coat their suffering either. He shows it in raw, emotional detail. Cracked Sky is a powerful read because Eads takes you on a rollercoaster of feeling, from terror, to sadness, to anger, and more. There are hints of a Stephen King influence peppered through this book. Ben’s antagonist evokes dread similar to what I experienced when I first met Pennywise, and his otherworld is eerie, chilling, yet beautiful. I highly recommend you check out Cracked Sky."

Chatting with Rebecca Jones-Howe

I enjoyed a terrific chat with Rebecca Jones-Howe, author of Vile Men, on the podcast. Rebecca talked about growing up in Canada, her road to publication, and writing dark, sexy stories.


Excerpt from Christie Stratos' review of Vile Men in The Scary Reviews' review:

"Rebecca does a great job peeling back the outer layer of humanity and showing us what we’re made of.  The broken or sometimes worn down person we try to hide for the sake of others. Vile men encompasses the dark side of ourselves and if we look hard we can see a small part of one of these characters within us.  Rebecca touches on a wide range of subjects, topics we don’t like to think about or ones we feel shouldn’t be discussed." 

Chatting with Richard Thomas

On Episode 107 of The Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour, I chatted with neo-noir fiction author Richard Thomas. Richard is the author of several books, including Transubstantiate, (Otherworld Publications, 2010), Disintegration (Random House Alibi, 2015) and Breaker (Random House Alibi, 2016).

We talked about writinghis experience working with Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk, and his new literary magazine (which was recently funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign) Gamut.


Below is an excerpt from Bob Pastorella's review of Breaker for the website This is Horror:

This is Neo-Noir done right, and what makes Breaker even better is it’s something you would expect to read in a newspaper, or see an award-winning documentary about. Real life truth is often stranger than fiction. At times, Breaker is over-the-top, almost unbelievable, but if you step away from the pages and scan the current news stories around the world, it is quite refreshing to realize that these events are not true.

Thomas is never shy about throwing his influences around, and Breaker is no exception. Faint undertones of Raging BullLeon: The Professional, even Fight Club, permeate the prose, but just enough to recognize the homage. Breaker is very much its own story, culled from an organic intimacy with the characters and their need for closure.

Chatting with Diana Wagman

Diana Wagman, author of Life #6 and The Care and Feeding of Exotic Pets, was my guest for an epic two-part series on The Martin Lastrapes Show Podcast Hour. In PART ONE, Diana talks books, screenwriting, and close calls with Hollywood. In PART TWO, Diana talks about her friend Janet Fitch (author of White Oleander), her latest novel (Life #6), and the awesome clown novel she's working on (which I cannot wait to read!). 


Excerpt of the New York Time's review of Life #6:

"If every stage of growth proceeds from a sort of metaphorical death, how many times in life does one person die? We cycle through our grand repertory of possible selves, striving in adolescence and adulthood for reinvention, yet our most enduring feature never recedes: We are always dying. Diana Wagman explores themes of immortality and time in her fifth novel, “Life #6,” about 49-year-old Fiona, a part-time art educator at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles who gives tours to snickering, incurious teenagers and their disgruntled teachers. When the book opens, Fiona — contemplating life’s big questions as she stares at a statue of Venus — has just learned she has breast cancer. So many times she’s almost died, but cancer might be the one death she can’t dodge. How did she get here, and did she make all the wrong choices?"

The Super Jenius Show

I had the pleasure of chatting with Jennifer Ott on Episode 115 of the podcast. Jennifer is the author of Desperate Moon and she's also the host of The Super Jenius Show on the Artist First Radio Network. Jennifer talks about indie publishing, vampires, and being a radio host.

Jennifer also interviewed me on her show, which you can hear in its entirety on Episode 116 of the podcast. We talked about negative book reviews, indie publishing, and the creative spirit.


Excerpt of Kristin Ravelle's review of Desperate Moon:

"The vampire trend in books is still out there, and Jennifer Ott's take is quite different from the usual modern, YA versions. Desperate Moon is well rounded with oodles of philosophy, medicine, politics, and sex. These are shown through the experiences of Katerina, a 600 year old vampire, and then along with Dr. Siegfried Andrasko. We begin in 1800s Eastern Europe. Katerina’s old husband dies and she and her maid servant, Hilde, set out on travels from their quiet town."

Chatting with Christopher Bernard

I had the opportunity to interview the prolifically interesting Christopher Bernard on the podcast, author of Voyage to a Phantom City. Christopher talks about growing both in the country and the city, the difficult task of getting reviews for e-books, and writing about growing into manhood.


An excerpt from The Free Library's review of Voyage to a Phantom City:

"Literary, allegorical and spiritual discoveries permeate the expedition and weave together literary and daily worlds alike, creating waves of surreal thought and interactions between very different protagonists. At the heart of Voyage to a Phantom City is a focus on these different directions and how these roads are chosen: 'Corn circles, witches' covens, corn wizards corn was the basis of Mayan blood rituals. That's what got me into archaeology, when I discovered that. Midwestern corn no longer seemed like such an embarrassment. We had a secret, we were wild and weird, dancing bare-chested beneath the slowly fattening cobs. All summer long.' From drifters to anarchists, believers to students, each searcher seeks something different from the expedition ... more than archaeological discovery."