Monday, August 6, 2018

Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories - One Legendary Venue, edited by Matt Hayward and Doug Murano

Release date: August 3, 2018
Subgenre: Horror anthology

About Welcome to the Show: 17 Horror Stories - One Legendary Venue


17 horror Stories. One legendary music venue.

We all know the old cliché: Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Now, add demons, other dimensions, monsters, revenge, human sacrifice, and a dash of the truly inexplicable. This is the story of the (fictional) San Francisco music venue, The Shantyman.

In Welcome to the Show, seventeen of today's hottest writers of horror and dark fiction come together in devilish harmony to trace The Shantyman's history from its disturbing birth through its apocalyptic encore.

Featuring stories by Brian Keene, John Skipp, Mary SanGiovanni, Robert Ford, Max Booth III, Glenn Rolfe, Matt Hayward, Bryan Smith, Matt Serafini, Kelli Owen, Jonathan Janz, Patrick Lacey, Adam Cesare, Alan M Clark, Somer Canon, Rachel Autumn Deering and Jeff Strand.

Compiled by Matt Hayward. Edited by Doug Murano.

Bring your curiosity, but leave your inhibitions at the door. The show is about to begin…

  • Alan M Clark – What Sort of Rube
  • Jonathan Janz – Night and Day and in Between
  • John Skipp – In the Winter of No Love
  • Patrick Lacey – Wolf with Diamond Eyes
  • Bryan Smith – Pilgrimage
  • Rachel Autumn Deering – A Tongue like Fire
  • Glenn Rolfe – Master of Beyond
  • Matt Hayward – Dark Stage
  • Kelli Owen – Open Mic Night
  • Matt Serafini – Beat on the Past
  • Max Booth III – True Starmen
  • Somer Canon – Just to be Seen
  • Jeff Strand – Parody
  • Robert Ford – Ascending
  • Adam Cesare – The Southern Thing
  • Brian Keene – Running Free
  • Mary SanGiovanni – We Sang in Darkness

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.




Dark Stage

Matt Hayward

Leather-clad rockers milled about the open floor of the Shantyman with their voices raised to be heard above the juke. Sweat, smoke and aftershave collected in an invisible cloud, hot-boxing the venue for another night of sex and sin. In the morning, recollection of those smells would send a hot jet of puke into the bowl of many unfortunate drinkers, but for now, tomorrow stayed at arm’s length. The night had just begun.
At the bar, Fred involuntarily spat beer as his bones burned like hot coals. He slammed his glass to the countertop and clutched his fist with a wince. Only Tuesday night, and already he’d experienced several flairs. Arthritis at forty-three. Man, sometimes life dealt a stinker.
Paul paused with a handful of empty glasses behind the bar and arched a bushy brow. “Another one?”
“Make it a whiskey.”
“I meant your hands, man. Bad?”
Fred flexed his fists and lay them out on the countertop, ignoring the layer of sticky film. His digits visibly shook. Goddamn it.
Paul sighed and grabbed a bottle of Jack, untwisted the top. “Look, I’ll make it a double and I’ll make it free. Ain’t gonna lie, this place won’t be the same without you, man. You were the best sound guy I ever knew.”
Fred gave a tight-lipped smile and watched the bartender pour, jealous of the smooth motion. He envied the majority of the population and their pain-free joints. “Much obliged, buddy.”
Paul grunted and returned the bottle beside the others, most half empty even though they’d only restocked Sunday. Then he shouted for Justine to handle the clamor of drinkers who’d swarmed like the walking dead and stepped out from behind the bar. He pulled up a stool next to Fred, snorted. “Bossman due down soon?”
Fred eyed his whiskey, hands folded together while waiting for the tremors to pass. Pain thumped beneath his skin in rhythm to the music of the room’s speakers. “He gets in at ten. Just enough time for me to catch the show tonight. Then I do what I got to do.”
“He’s not going to be happy about losing you, Fred. There’s a reason he bought you out from the Fillmore. You know how to work a sound desk better than any man in all of San Fran.”
“Don’t I know it, babe.” Fred reached for his whiskey and quickly scooped it to his lips before spilling too much. He gulped, returning the glass to the table with a hiss. The chore hurt more than he cared to admit. Hot liquor burned his chest and he relished the waxy air in his throat.
Paul shook his head. “Man, it’s gotten bad, huh? Jesus.”
“Looks like benefits for me until I find a job that doesn’t involve my hands.”
For a moment the thought twisted Fred’s guts and he eyed the wall of signed memorabilia behind the bar to avoid overthinking. His future looked as grim as most the Shantyman’s pint glasses—but he had the choice to drink from one or not.


Amazon | Goodreads | Crystal Lake Publishing



 About Matt Hayward:


MATT HAYWARD is a Bram Stoker Award-nominated author and musician from Ireland. His books include Brain Dead Blues, What Do Monsters Fear?, Practitioners (with Patrick Lacey), and the upcoming The Faithful. He curated the anthology Welcome to The Show, and is currently writing a novel with Bryan Smith. Matt wrote the comic book This Is How It Ends with the rock band Walking Papers, and received a nomination for Irish short story of the year from Penguin Books in 2017. His work has appeared in Clickers Forever, Tales from The Lake Vol. 3, Lost Highways, Dark Moon Digest and many more.

Hailed as “one of the best new voices in horror fiction” by Brian Keene, MATT SERAFINI’s books include Feral, Devil’s Row, Island Red, and Under the Blade, which FilmThrills called “one of the best slasher films you’ll ever read.”

He co-authored a collection of short stories with Adam Cesare called All-Night Terror and his short fiction has appeared in numerous anthology collections, including Dead Bait 4, and Clickers Forever: A Tribute to J.F. Gonzalez.

He has written extensively on the subjects of film and literature for numerous websites including Dread Central and Shock Till You Drop. His nonfiction has also appeared in the pages of Fangoria and HorrorHound.

Matt lives in Massachusetts with his wife and children.

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About Doug Murano: 


Doug Murano lives somewhere between Mount Rushmore and the mighty Missouri River. He is the Bram Stoker Award-winning editor of Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders and the co-editor of Bram Stoker Award-nominated Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories.

Since 2008, his short stories have appeared in a number of venues. He is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association, and was the organization's promotions and social media coordinator from 2013-15. He is a co-recipient of the HWA's 2014 Richard Laymon President's Award for Service.

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