On free ebook

Hey gang, a quick post here to let you know that during the month of November, my LGBT YA horror ebook Camp Carnage is available completely free over at Amazon.

Camp Carnage front coverBlurb: In the summer of 1986, Billy Collins is sent to his own personal Hell – summer camp. The remote Camp Genesis offers desperate parents a place to “straighten” out their gay teenagers with the help of the puritanical Katherine Creevey.

Besides the typical horsing around, campfire tales and summer games, the Genesis program forces gay and questioning teens into humiliating gender-based lessons. While Billy wants nothing more than to escape Camp Genesis, he can’t help worrying that something even more sinister is hiding just out of sight.

Unknown to Billy, two campers were murdered three years ago. Just days after Billy and the new campers arrive, people start to go missing, and it’s up to Billy and his new friend Jem to find out what’s really going on. Is a maniac on the loose? Is history repeating itself? One thing’s for sure – at Camp Genesis, you have to fight to survive…

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy reading.

On Inkshares Horror Novel

Have you guys heard about this? I recently heard about a crowdfunding site called Inkshares. It’s basically Kickstarter or Indiegogo crossbred with Createspace or Lulu. It looks like a site where you can crowdfund a novel that will have an ebook and physical presence in bookstores. Unlike Kikstarter or Indiegogo where you give them thousands of dollars and then the writer keeps a percentage and has to then hire editors and distributors, Inkshares does all of that. So if a project is successfully funded at Inshares, it includes a professional manuscript editor and distributor.

I had no idea how any of this works, so I figured I’d dive in and take a look see with my current manuscript. I’m working on a 90 thousand word novel about three strangers entering the witness protection program when they accidentally thwart a serial killer. They’re relocated to a new state, but their new home brings them into contact with horrors beyond imagination.

You can find the Inkshares page, along with fun FAQs and whatnot, and back this project here are: https://www.inkshares.com/projects/horror-novel

Thanks so much for your support!

This is Elliot Arthur Cross eternally grateful for your support. For any questions about the project, please email me at elliotarthurcross@gmail.com. Thank you and happy reading.

On Camp Carnage reviews

Camp Carnage front coverHey all. It’s been a busy summer. Thought I’d share some book reviews for the recently released Camp Carnage.  Here are some selections. For full reviews, click on the bloggers’ links.

Boys, Bears, and Scares: 5 stars

“Imagine an 80s summer camp slasher movie that features gay kids getting massacred, and you’ve got the novel Camp Carnage by Elliot Arthur Cross and Joshua Winning. Set in 1986 (complete with 80s pop culture references), this page-turning gay horror novel has basically re-imagined Friday the 13th—at a conversion camp!”

Wall-to-Wall Books: 5 stars

“If you are not afraid of a little blood and guts – mua ha ha ha! I dare you to read this! It was a surprise for me right up to the end, I did not have it figured out. Great job Elliot and Josh! Two thumbs up!”

Genuine Jen: 5 stars

“This book jumps right into the action in the first chapter. It reminded me of an 80’s/early 90’s horror flick, like Jason. It was a little different with the kids going to a “gay” camp to be “cured”. One by one campers start to disappear and then they are found dead. It was scary, not too gruesome but definitely had me on the edge of my seat.”

For more, check out Camp Carnage at Goodreads or Amazon.

On Camp Carnage

Camp Carnage front coverFor your reading pleasure, I’m proud to announce Camp Carnage, a slasher book in the vein of a fun 1980’s horror movie. Co-writer Joshua Winning (author of the on-going Sentinel trilogy) and I love the 80’s slashers of yore (think Friday the 13th, Halloween, Sleepaway Camp, etc.) and so we set about writing a book that both upholds traditional slasher story lines and subverts them.

Blurb: When Billy Collins is sent to Camp Genesis in the summer of 1986, he’s forced to participate in a frightening program meant to “straighten” out gay teenagers. Even more frightening is when the campers start disappearing one at a time at the hands of a mysterious maniac. What will it take to survive the brutal summer camp?

And what’s that about being a NIGHT TERRORS book you ask? This is the first in a horror line of  books Joshua and I are starting. Think of it as a Twilight Zone of horror.

The ebook is set for release August 1 with the paperback coming to Amazon mid-month. You can pre-order in various formats for the first week sale price of just $0.99 at Smashwords.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy reading.

On Veronica Mars film review

I recently took a short road trip to the theaters to see the Veronica Mars movie. Here’s my history with the franchise: I never watched it when it aired, “girl teen detective” sounded really stupid to me, and eventually I let a friend lend me the three seasons on DVD. I loved them and devoured the series in 2 weeks. The kickstarter came up to fund the movie, so I helped out with a whopping dollar donation. Yep, I sure helped make it.

The film picks up years after the series ends, and embroils Veronica (the impeccable Kristen Bell) in another murder mystery back in her hometown of Neptune. You don’t need to have seen the series, but you should have if you want to get the references (season three optional).

Cons: The murder mystery part has always been the weakest point for me in the series. They usually don’t drop in any clues about the killer until Veronica figures it out. So it’s more of a ‘how will the detective find the killer’ than the audience playing ‘whodunit.’ I won’t spoil the solution, but I figured out the killer very quickly. Besides that, there’s the whole evil organization sub-plot that never gets resolved. It felt like set-up for a future movie (fingers crossed we get one). And I was bummed at some of the character deaths.

Pros: Humor, acting, script, direction. It’s a really fun movie with some big payoffs from the series. A movie continuation from a TV show could easily suck, but this was Veronica Mars at its very best. The series had great cameos from well established actors, and the movie continues that tradition (Jamie Lee Curtis, James Franco, Justin Long, etc.). The best part of season three was the introduction of Piz (played by Chris Lowell), and there’s lots of great Piz action here (I love Chris Lowell and his character, but why that horrible name?).

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars. Fun, witty adventure with high stakes and great characters.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy viewing.

On Stage Fright (2014) review

Stage Fright (which has nothing to do with the 1980s Italian horror film) recently came out on VOD. I’ve been looking forward to this one. And while I love musicals, horror movies, and Meat Loaf, I did not love this musical horror movie featuring Meat Loaf.

Plot: Minnie Driver appears as a Broadway star killed off in the first scene. Her agent is Meat Loaf, and she has twins (daughter Camilla and son Buddy). Fast forward 10 years, and Meat Loaf is poor and running a musical theater summer camp where his adopted children/slave laborers Camilla and Buddy work as cooks. The big show of the season is the Phantom of the Opera rip-off that Minnie Driver died in, and it seems as if the killer is returning to keep the show from performing.

Cons: The show centers around the Haunting of the Opera, an obvious Phantom of the Opera clone. Why not be original and come up with a new horror idea? Yes, Meat Loaf sings, but his talent is not utilized here. The man has been on Broadway, has performed in numerous movies and music videos, and I’ve seen him live. They could have written him better music. It seemed like characters were well thought out, but perhaps underdeveloped, which makes me wonder if there are a few scenes that were left on the cutting room floor for time and pacing issues.

Pros: Snappy script that left me chuckling a few times. Good acting. Fans of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil will recognize Hannah as the camp diva. Enough music that had me tapping along (but I could have used more). I only sort of figured out the killer (there was an additional twist I didn’t see coming, but fit). Decent set-up and well shot. Really, the movie felt like it bordered on greatness.

Overall: I so wanted to love this movie. There’s a lot going on for it. But for anyone who’s seen Project Runway, you know what I mean when I say it felt a tad safe. The envelope could have been pushed further, the script could have been sharper, etc. Still, I don’t wish for my time back and I could see the potential for rewatches. So I’ll go for 2.5 out of 4 stars. That seems fair.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy viewing.

On Tex, the Witch Boy review

I’ve been slacking on this blog because I’ve been watching less movies and falling under Netflix’s spell. Thanks, Supernatural, for having eight seasons to get caught up on.

I recently read Stuart R. West’s YA novel Tex, The Witch Boy, in which a good-natured high school student deals with discovering he’s a witch someone’s brutally killing high school football players.

Cons: I would have liked more magic, but with this being the first in a trilogy, I can see that it’s setting it up. There were a few loose threads that might be tied up later, but they felt dangling after reading just this book. The murder mystery is solved rather easily, although it’s nearly justified why it couldn’t be solved sooner. Tex comes off a little older than a 15 year old, but he does comment on it and it helps set him up as an outsider, so not much of a qualm there.

Pros: There were a few laugh out loud scenes, mostly involving Mickey Goldfarb, Tex’s mentor. She’s not the typical wise old witch stereotype which is refreshing. In fact, none of the characters felt clichéd. The characters are the strong suit, actually making you feel for them. I was anxious and upset when one of Tex’s friends gets in trouble, and author Stuart R. West doesn’t pull any punches. In fact, the story is more about the horrors of bullying than magic, but it doesn’t turn into an after school special. West states in the afterword that every instance of bullying is something he and his friends experienced growing up. I applaud his use of turning negative life experiences into art with a positive message.

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars. Tex, the Witch Boy has fun characters, a good mystery, and an interesting take on magic. This was a great start to a trilogy, which I look forward to reading the rest of. Here’s the Amazon link for your convenience.

This is Elliot Arthur Cross wishing you happy reading.