"If you like Steven King, especially his more "fantasy-based" work (Dark Tower, The Stand, The Talisman) you'll be sure to enjoy the macabre and mystery of this book."
"This is quite possibly one of the scariest books I have ever read."
"Violent hearts is a book for the top shelf, it's a kind of book that you just can't get enough of, I've read it twice already and I'm still yearning for more of the ride it takes me on."
"An incredible read... There were points where the hairs on my arms were literally standing on end and quite a few times I almost had a tear or two drop from my eye. This I liked as well, the authors ability to mix horror and sadness in such a intricate and beautiful way."
"The writing is a marvelous example of astute creativity, with different creatures and oddities. Along with the creative bent, Deininger has a way of fully creating his characters, adding depth and humanity, giving them very real emotions... A must read."
"Violent Hearts, the new novel from the hugely talented Keith Deininger, may be his best yet... I feel like anything I say isn't doing Violent Hearts justice. It is a great book, recommended for all fans of horror or weird fiction. Five stars, highly recommended."
The reviews that are pouring in for my new novel VIOLENT HEARTS mean a lot to me. They're proving to me that I am doing something right. My previous titles have often been highly-regarded by particularly astute readers--and by that I mean, reader-readers, those with patience and understanding of more literary works, patience for characters that are more like real people and who are not always likable--but not by more casual readers. It has taken me some time to learn how to write with more relatable heart and emotion, while still maintaining my style and dark themes. With Violent Hearts I believe I have accomplished this.
And I know the title of this post is a bit "click-baity," but, like it or not, that name, you know, that Stephen King guy, sells books. So when you get a review that says your book is like one of his, you use it.
Years ago, in college...
It's been years now, but I'm still writing about college, those heady and reckless days. At least, they were for me. Some people, I hear, actually learn things in college, substantial things, things that help them to form job skills and find lucrative careers. But for me, college was one big social experiment. For me, college was binge drinking, parties and experimentation, followed by all-nighters writing papers for my English classes. A lot of things I did in college have since haunted my life, not to the extent where nightmare creatures came to terrorize me like they do to the characters in my new novel, but the concept remains the same.
I wrote Violent Hearts (the first draft, anyway) over three years ago. At the time, my life, with the exception of my writing, was in a rut. I had a depressing, dead-end job and lived in a tiny townhouse that my wife and I hated. We were underwater on the mortgage and felt trapped. In college, we hadn’t been thinking about our future and now we were in debt. We had been trying to have children for seven years, but since it hadn't happened, we figured it just wasn't in the cards for us, and on a personal level, I had thought I was okay with this. It was no big deal. I didn’t really want to have kids anyway. Until it happened, and the course of my life changed forever.
Violet Layne Deininger was born August 27th 2015, my daughter, bright-eyed and healthy, and what followed was an adjustment period in which very little writing took place. Two years after that, Rook Randall Deininger was born, my son, another member to my rapidly growing family. By the time I looked again at the manuscript for Violent Hearts, years had passed and I had a very different perspective on it.
I was amazed to discover a theme running beneath the surface of the manuscript, a theme I had not consciously intended, a theme about having children. In Violent Hearts, Owen and Chloe have several opportunities, in one way or another, to have a child, but they don’t work out. It seems, having children had been a little more important to me than I had thought. And Owen… Well, let’s just say Owen, throughout the course of the novel, learns a thing or two about creation.
But let’s not forget, literary themes aside, this is a horror novel and things are not always pretty. Violent Hearts revolves around a mistake Owen and Chloe make in college and the nightmare consequences of their decisions years later. It is a novel about creation, sure, but also nightmares and unimaginable terror. But you’ll just have to read it and see for yourself…
Owen, a man on the brink of suicide after losing his wife and baby daughter in a brutal drunk-driving accident, and Chloe, a dispassionate academic who believes in scientific research as a means to make the world a better place, took part in a ritualistic act in the woods. After, neither of them can remember exactly what happened that night, but darkness has since haunted them both.
Now, as adults living separate lives, the once minor manifestations from that night have grown into threats not only malignant and dangerous to them, but to all of humanity.
A surreal tale of horror and heartbreak, rife with dark oddities, wonderfully realized characters, and terrifying nightmares. Here the blind Guitar Man gives insane advice on the brink between reality and nightmare; eerie clones known as umbriates sneak into the world with murderous intent; and the once-imaginary being called Ozy is gathering strength and followers in his effort to rip through the very fabric of reality with the intent of dominance and darkness. And only Owen and Chloe can stop him.
It's here! My new novel, Violent Hearts, is now available on Amazon. I know it's been a long time coming and it feels great to be able to finally share this one. Here are the links:
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2yGbfWE
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Sx9J1k
This novel was begun toward the end of the DarkFuse days and was written with DarkFuse in mind to publish it, but after the company folded and around the time my daughter Violet came into my life, I put it aside. I then had another kid, Rook, and only this year dug the manuscript back up, did some major editing work on it, finished it, and now here it is.
For those who enjoy the "uber novel," that is, the larger narrative arc that connects many of my works, you'll be pleased to see the Umbra Ina features prominently in this novel.
Check it out and remember: reading is intellectual freedom!
Huge shout-out to Greg F. Gifune for believing in my work and for calling my work "Bradbury on acid." It's humbling and awesome! And it looks fantastic on the cover to Violent Hearts.
Print edition should also be available in the next couple of days.
Also, if you review horror novels, this novel will be listed on NetGalley shortly.
The Fever Trilogy, offered in its entirety!
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2wujeVJ
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2MHnriY
This collection includes all 3 books: Fevered Hills, Buried Soldiers, and the never-before-published Apocalypse Artist, in which Martin, from book 1, shall meet Grady and confront the Bearded Man.
Tomorrow, Fevered Hills, the first book, will be Free on Amazon.
Book 3! The final book in The Fever Trilogy is now available on Amazon.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2P5jAsM
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2NkAAur
This final novella in the series is new and has never before been published. The last couple of days I've announced the first two books: Fevered Hills and Buried Soldiers.
A collection, including all 3 books, will be available very soon, including a print edition.
Oh, and Fevered Hills, the first book, will be free for 5 days on Amazon on September 1st.
Cover reveal! Book 2 in The Fever Trilogy. Originally published as a serial in DarkFuse Magazine, this disturbing novella is now available on Amazon.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2MS5AF2
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2PzxwvU
Yesterday, I revealed Fevered Hills, book 1 in the trilogy. Book 3 is called Apocalypse Artist.
A collection including all 3 books together will be available in early September, including a print edition.
Oh, and the first book, Fevered Hills, will be Free on Amazon for 5 days starting on September 1st.
Originally published by DarkFuse in 2013, this disturbing novella is once again available, currently for $0.99.
Although I didn't know it at the time, this piece has turned out to be the first in a loosely connected series I call The Fever Trilogy. Book 2 is called Buried Soldiers (previously published in DarkFuse Magazine) and Book 3 is called Apocalypse Artist, a new and never-before-published novella. All 3 titles are now available on Amazon in digital format.
A collection including all 3 together will be available soon, including a print edition.
Oh, and spoiler alert: Fevered Hills will be free for 5 days on Amazon starting September 1st.
It is night now, or the end of the world.
I pause, my trembling hand upon the curtain, frozen in that last moment before drawing the day to a close and succumbing to the cicada applause of night, but already my thoughts are on the last of the flour and the tiny bag of dried lentils, of the salt, the butter--is there really any butter left?--the single potato sprouting roots, and the young men of the supply convoy, their faces strained and tired, due to arrive three days ago. Where are they? What could have happened?
You have to go…
That voice again, from long ago. A message? A warning? Strange how the night takes our thoughts, present and past, and sails away with them on the wine-dark sea. Strange how, at the cusp of sleep, all our concerns, real and imaginary, blend into the storm, filling the mind, until the brewing cyclone closes over us in one humongous ball of swirling nonsense.
You have to get out of there...
A shiver takes me then, an excited shiver, a young person’s shiver not at all fit for my old bones. It’s so close, even after so many years. It’s as if he’s here, in the room with me. It’s as if I can hear his breathing, waiting, as he used to, to step forward at the proper dramatic moment. To clear his throat and speak. To say...what? Something real? Or just more riddles in my head? More nonsensical voices.
The problem is, if you’ve heard voices in your head once, you’re never sure again if a random thought is just a thought or something more.
My hands hum with arthritis as I turn from the window and make my way toward bed. If the convoy comes tomorrow, we’ll be fine. I’ll slice the potato real thin and fry the pieces in butter with a little salt, or cook the lentils and mash them up with the last of the flour to make lentil pancakes. The kids will like that.
The arthritis moves from my hands to my wrists as I lie down. It’s getting worse. I can almost hear it, like those heat lamps that used to buzz in old bathrooms. I turn onto my back and stare at the ceiling, trying to ignore the pain that isn’t so bad, but never ends. A constant in my life. A constant background singing. A lonely dirge.
Of course, if it weren’t for the arthritis, it would be my stomach doing the singing.
And my thoughts, despite everything, turn to him. How many years has it been? How many decades? When I see his face, all I see, rising from the darkness, are his eyes, filled with expression. The kind of eyes that speak without speaking. What are they saying? Why do I have this feeling? It’s more than the usual worries over where the next meal is coming from, of the ache not only in my hands, but in my side--the old cancer waking up again?--of how my family will take it when I die; and the reports of active nuclear weapons in the hands of the Russian dictator; and the net--my only communication with my brother trapped halfway across the world--growing spottier every day; of people growing desperate, beginning to loot, turning to violence; of how the millions of men, women and children will get through the winter; and rumors of a strange fever spreading across Europe; and Kyle’s asthma; and Cecilia’s depression; and…
It’s the old dread returning. It’s that feeling I haven’t had in years. It’s being on the run again, of constantly looking over my shoulder, scrutinizing every strange face. But why? I’ve been safe for years. That was another time, another life. I’m an old woman now. They’re just night thoughts.
You have to go... He’s coming!
I turn onto my side and close my eyes. Sleep is what I need. I just need to sleep.
And thus the new edition of GHOSTS OF EDEN from Crossroad Press was birthed into the world...
A neglected and abused little girl… A hopeless drug addict… Horrifying visions of bizarre beings that may or may not be human… A haunted desert refuge that could hold the key to everything…and all of it tied together by a mysterious jar that contains the secrets of good and evil, reality and nightmares, creation and death…and everything in between…
Following a family tragedy, Kayla, a twelve-year-old orphan, and Garty, a college dropout and junkie, are sent to spend the summer with an enigmatic uncle neither of them have ever known, at his palatial desert home in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the birthplace of the Atomic Bomb. While Garty struggles to come to grips with his reckless past, and Kayla attempts to discover her place in the world, their Uncle Xander reveals the true purpose for them being there.
Soon, dark secrets will be revealed. They will be shown things that will change their perceptions of the physical universe, because nothing is as it seems, and no one is safe from the terrifying secrets awaiting them. When the strange jar is opened, otherworldly horrors slip forth with ambitions of dominance, oppression and terror.
Eden will be reborn.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghosts-of-eden-keith-deininger/1127058306?ean=2940158850820
Kobo: any day now, keep checking...
Apple: any day now, keep checking...
As you might have heard, DarkFuse, the publisher of a good number of my books, has folded, declared bankruptcy, and is now gone from the horror scene. Many of my writer friends are either saddened by this news or downright angry. Some of them feel they are being screwed out of sales and royalties and they may be right. Me? I fall mostly into the sad category, as DarkFuse gave me an audience for my particular brand of horror, which is literary, surreal, and not easily digestible. In terms of food, my work is not a cheeseburger. Cheeseburgers are great. They taste good, they're easy to make, and they're everywhere. My work has more complex flavors, more elements to it. It's like those fancy meals in American Psycho. Okay, no, that's going too far, but it completes the metaphor.
The point is, I now have a lot of work previously published by DarkFuse without a home. I've sold my first three novels to Crossroad Press. They offer solid terms and they'll be able to get my work back out into the world fairly efficiently. A lot of DarkFuse authors are moving their work over to them, so they're good people. But as far as some of my more specialized work, like my novellas, I'm now free to play with them. Novellas are a tough sell to any publisher and I was fortunate to have so many published by DarkFuse,
The good news is that I've learned a lot about publishing these past few years and have been honing my skills. I can now format my own work, hire editors, and even my graphic design skills are fairly solid. I have all the tools in place to go full indie. I would, of course, love to find full-time financial success as an indie author, but I've discovered my particular style and content may not be well suited to that world. Which is fine. I will continue to toil in my own personal misunderstood limbo. I will continue to publish with those publishers more willing to take risks on my work that continues to be dark, often highly-disturbing and unusual. And I will continue to self-publish.
It will begin with "Fevered Hills", which has been called a "McCarthyesque fever-dream." This was my first published novella. Before "Fevered Hills" I had published only a few poems and a couple of short stories. It will have a few minor edits and include the original forward (published on the DarkFuse website at the time).
Next will come "Buried Soldiers," another novella set in the same "devastated by insanity" world as "Fevered Hills," although with a different protagonist. This work was originally published as a serial in DarkFuse magazine a couple of years ago and then in the DarkFuse anthology series.
Finally, "Apocalypse Artist" will enter the world like a wailing and deformed afterbirth. This never before published novella sees the return of Martin from "Fevered Hills" and picks up just about where that novella left off. It follows Martin as he meets and confronts the Bearded Man. I was working with DarkFuse on this third novella, but now that they've folded, I'm going to publish it myself.
And so, over the course of five years, the Fever Trilogy has finally come together.
Watch this space for descriptions of all three novellas - and the good news is, since I'm the publisher this time, you won't have to wait for long!