A PLACE FOR SINNERS isn't out until May 6, 2014, but some very generous praise has started rolling in already. Here's the scoop on my psychological, Thailand-set, survival novel. Also, here are some promotional paintings that I've been doing, featuring characters and scenes from the book.
Illustration by Aaron Dries
"Like the country in which it's set, A Place for Sinners is fascinating, evocative, dangerous and surprising. A harrowing roller-coaster ride of a novel that'll leave you dazed and shaken."
- Brett McBean, author of The Awakening and Wolf Creek: Desolation Game
Illustration by Aaron Dries
Illustration by Aaron Dries
"Combine the dark, poetic prose of Clive Barker with the high-octane suspense of Dean Koontz and you get a hybrid of horrifying fiction by Aaron Dries. He's a true master at writing prose that will make your skin crawl... If hell were a tropical island off the coast of Thailand, then Aaron Dries has masterfully described its creepy atmosphere and hidden terrors in A Place for Sinners. A viscous island, compelling characters, and an original serial killer make A Place for Sinners a must-read for horror fans. Highly recommended."
- Brian Moreland, author of The Devil's Woods and The Witching House
Illustration by Aaron Dries
I'm so very happy to announce that A PLACE FOR SINNERS, my third full length novel, has been accepted for publication by Samhain Horror! This will be the third time my work has gone under the scalpel of Don D'Auria, editor-extraordinaire and all 'round great guy.
Here's the official synopsis:
Sometimes, survival is a sin.
Amity Collins has been deaf since she was seven. That was the day the wild dogs attacked, fighting for her bones. The day her father died. This trip to Thailand is exactly what Amity and her brother, Caleb, need—freedom... As their boat slits through saltwater, Amity, Caleb and the other passengers are having the time of their lives. They watch the island emerge on the horizon. Its trees twitch, as though impatient or hungry. Within its shadows, secrets best kept hidden will be unearthed. Sacrifices will be made. Terror will reach out to grasp Amity, as real and frightening as what’s lurking in the dark.
I've put together a book trailer for AND THE NIGHT GROWLED BACK. I'm very happy with how it turned out. Feel free to let me know what you think.
"I named The Fallen Boys by Aaron Dries as one of my favorite horror novels of 2013 here on FEARnet, so my expectations were high as I cracked open his new (well, new-ish – it came out in October of last year) novella from Samhain Publishing, And the Night Growled Back. I’d like to publicly thank Dries for not making me look like a chump. Like the aforementioned novel, this new piece takes relatable actions and emotion – in this case anger, jealousy and panic – and spins them into horror that is as tragic and effective as anything based in the supernatural."
Cue trumpets and herald the arrival of my first e-novella. It's a brutal, short piece, inspired by my travels through Iceland. It's out now! Grab a copy through Amazon.com, Samhain Horror or wherever good, gory, in-your-face horror eBooks are sold!
They shouldn’t have run.
There are three of them, Sam, Lila and Paul—young travelers with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and yet, everything to lose. Their visit to Iceland has invigorated their senses…until the carnival. There, a single punch is thrown. A man lies dead on the ground. Blood speckles Sam’s bruised knuckles. In a blind panic, they flee the scene and disappear down an unpaved road, winding through the barren landscape. Soon they find an empty cabin, the perfect place to hide until they figure out what to do. Dead is dead; wrong is wrong—this cruel truth is etched into their minds as though carved with a rusted blade.
Twilight turns to night. All is still. It is then that the travelers realize they are not alone. Something is lurking out there. In the dark. They can hear its growls. And to the creature, the guilty and the innocent taste exactly the same.
It's thrilling for an author to gain praise from websites they frequently visit. I've always been a FearNet fan; their content is second-to-none. And I was truly ecstatic over their rave review for THE FALLEN BOYS, which said, among other kind things:
"Every year there are books coming out that I’m pretty sure I’m going to like. They may surprise me in some ways (the best ones always do), but it’s no surprise that I like them. I’m talking about books from my favorite authors, like this year’s Joyland by Stephen King or NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. Naturally, books like that are part of the reason I keep reading. But comprising another, even more important part, are the books that come out of nowhere and blindside me with how good they are. Books like The Fallen Boys."
But this was nothing compared to THE FALLEN BOYS being voted ONE OF THE BEST HORROR FICTION NOVELS OF 2013 (read full article here).
Here's what FearNet thought:
"The Fallen Boys was one of those delightful discoveries I look forward to each year, a book (and author) that cuts through the clutter of new releases and familiar names to demand your time and attention. Dries takes a variety of common ingredients and influences and whips them into a fresh tale of adolescent vulnerability and family tragedy punctuated with vivid characterization and sharp prose."
Wow. And to be listed alongside authors like Stephen King, Joe Hill and Gary McMahon is a real thrill. Happy days, indeed.
Check out THE FALLEN BOYS graphic novel prologue!
Hey there folks. For promotional purposes (and because it was bloody fun), I've illustrated and adapted the prologue of THE FALLEN BOYS into a graphic novel format. Drawing comics was something I used to do daily when I was a kid, so it was great to get back into the habit. I hope you enjoy it.
It's four pages long, so just grab the PDF and have fun. Who knows, I might even do more if there's interest? Feel free to share.
THE FALLEN BOYS has been released. Would you like to enter a draw to WIN a FREE eBook copy? Simply add me on TWITTER and tweet the following (just cut and paste):
Please RT. "Terrifying," & "Gut-wrenching" - THE FALLEN BOYS by Aaron Dries. Out now! #aarondries http://store.samhainpublishing.com/aaron-dries-pa-1699.html
I'll draw the winner in 3 days and will contact them via Twitter. GOOD LUCK!
I've also launched my blog tour, starting with the following sites:
* Book feature / FREE eBook giveaway at Writer's Block Party!
* A guest blog at Not Now ... Mommy's Reading, where I wrote an article called, "Halloween in a Halloween-less Land". Check it out and enter to WIN a copy of the book.
And finally, have you ever wandered what it feels like to be on the eve of your book release? Click here and find out...
Happy reading, everyone!
Here's the Official book trailer for my second novel, 'The Fallen Boys', which is out 2 October, 2012. Pre-order it here!
Hi there, folks.
Following hot on the heels of my successful giveaway, I'm getting another copy out there for a lucky someone - this time via Goodreads. To be in the running to win an autographed copy of 'House of Sighs' just ENTER HERE!
And congratulations again to Tim Olliver on his initial win. Enjoy the book.
Also, for all the Stephen King fans out there, don't forget that I've got a new blog titled "Bastard Princes - The Underappreciated Films of Stephen King". Feel free to check it out here . Trust me, guilty pleasures abound.
I can't help but share this fantastic review of HOUSE OF SIGHS by Adam Cesare, author of Tribesmen titled, "This is Australia – Everything Here is Poisonous: House of Sighs by Aaron Dries." It truly made my day.
Check it out here!
Here's a small excerpt:
"I haven't read any other reviews of Sighs, but I'm guessing that the names Ketchum and Laymon are going to be dropped as descriptors of Dries' hardhitting, normal-day-descending-into-chaos setup. They're not wrong, these hypothetical reviewers that I've just tried to pigeonhole, but they're not wholly right either.
What's horrifying about Jack Ketchum's most widely-read stories is their universality, the idea that they could happen anywhere (I can't even remember where The Girl Next Door is set, that's how nondescript its suburbia is). Dries story can only be told in a small town in New South Whales. That's a virtue, not a drawback."
"I had no idea what to expect from Aaron Dries's first novel, but it totally blew me away! From the begining I was hooked. House of Sighs is gruesome, scary, mean and nasty. As for the reader, you have no idea what will happen and when it does you're like "Wow and woah!" I love his writing style, how he talks about one character's point of view and sprinkles in something like "as his daughter blew some kid's head off." Read it and you'll understand. This is a true, horrifying horror novel, filled with chaos to the maximum level, but done so damn smoothly. I have a new favorite author on my radar."
Reviews like these make all of the hard work worth it.
Over the past couple of months I've been interviewed at some fantastic sites and in addition, I've done a couple of guest blogs. They all touch on the writing process, my inspiration (the real story that inspired my debut novel) and in one particular article, discover what really -more than anything else- scares the living shit out of me (and why). Feel free to check them all out below and get a glimpse inside this ginger headed skull of mine ...
And of course, as always ... rock on.
It's my pleasure to announce the gritty details of my second novel, The Fallen Boys, which will be released October 2, 2012 - just in time for Halloween.
Here's the lowdown:
Marshall Deakins has tried to come to terms with the tragic suicide of his young son. But it still tortures him. His search for answers will lead him down a twisted path paved with secrets and grotesque lies. Instead of peace he finds madness, held captive as part of a deranged plan filled with suffering…and blood. As the nature of his captors’ insanity is revealed, Marshall will need to confront the truth about his son and his own past if he hopes to have a future.
This merciless novel is available for pre-order in paperback now at Amazon.
I've posted a blog titled, "Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain - On Forgetting Robert Bloch'. Feel free to check it out here. In it, I pay tribute to one of the authors who has most influenced me over the years and whose work I find continuously entertaining. For the uninitiated, Robert Bloch was the author of Psycho and a number of other amazing works.
Also, here are excerpts from a 4.5/5 review for HOUSE OF SIGHS, care of Hellnotes.com
"... House of Sighs, like the best fiction, works on a number of levels. If you want a hard-core thrill ride, you’ll get it. If you demand more, it’s very much there. It’s this balance that makes horror scary... Told in a well-written, literate style, House of Sighs digs deep into a lot of the social prejudices and concerns of the mid-nineties, and intentionally draws sad parallels with today. Tackling issues such as gun control, homophobia, racism and spousal abuse, the book takes no punches and shows little mercy. Yet despite so much horror, there are often passages of incredible, honest beauty...
The characters are very well drawn ... the psychological reasoning for their motivations is explored in depth, and is frighteningly real… There is a definite ‘nurture vs. nature’ theme running throughout and smartly ... The pace is fast; all details vividly realised; and it’s alive with suspense (the chapter numbers are listed backwards in a dread-infused count-down to disaster). The setting is vivid and some daring plot-twists and challenging character motivations are dealt with an expert hand. Dries throws in a fair share of red herrings and MacGuffins in a number of clever ways — and it’s all very cinematic. You can see the heat waves rising off the road, feel every shard of glass and hear the desperate cries. Australian readers will revel in the local detail (with references to real-world fires, police events and even the 1995 Grand Prix!) but the themes (and Dries’ concerns) are universal and the primal terror will translate to any audience
This is a deeply unsettling book and a powerful debut. There isn’t enough quality Australian horror fiction out there, and in the face of this, Dries proves himself an author to watch. House of Sighs serves psychological horror straight up and without sensation, or apology."
Also, here are some great Amazon.com user reviews. Loving the feedback.
"An unbelievably good debut novel. I couldn't put it down (but I wanted to several times just from being delightfully creeped out). It's not only a good scare but it's got heart. You really feel for these characters. Sometimes it's pity, sometimes empathy and sometimes anger right up until the brilliant ending. If you like horror drawn from realistic situations (no vampires or zombies here) you will love this. Dries has style. Looking forward to a lot more from him." - Brian in Toronto
"I was given the recommendation for this title by a friend of mine who knows the author. It sounded like something I would enjoy so I spent the $5.00 and bought it for my Kindle. Best $5.00 I ever spent on a book. Ever. It is set in the author's native Australia, and while I'm from the USA, I've visted Australia (loved it!) and thought that a horror book set in Australia would be very interesting. I cannot recommend this book more highly. It's like an ecclectic mix of Stephen King's twists and turns and Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses gore and graphic violent sequences. I would love to see this book be made into a movie! Congrats and thank you Aaron, you're an impressive talent and I can't wait for your next book. :)" - Kira
"Horror has never really been my genre but how can you resist a horror story set in rural NSW in Australia- its unique. This debut novel takes you on a trip you never saw coming and I could not put it down. I can't wait for Aaron Dries' next offering!!!" - Peree, Australia
For a writer, there's nothing worse than having no words to describe how you're feeling.
But I have no words to describe how I'm feeling.
After writing for years; after hours and hours of hard work; after winning an international writing competition; after watching my publisher fall apart at the seems; after being saved and sold by—what has to be—one of the best editors in genre literature ... after all this and more, my debut novel, HOUSE OF SIGHS, has finally been released.
Damn, that makes me feel really happy to say.
... and wherever terrifying, twisted bastard novels are sold.
It's available in the following formats:
• Adobe Acrobat
• Adobe Acrobat for Sony
• eBook ETI-2
Looking for a copy in paperback? Don't worry. It is released in July, 2011. Pre-order a copy today through any of those fabulous sites.
Thank you everyone.
I've just posted a blog that you can read here ,which pretty much sums up what it feels like to be on the eve of your ebook release. Trust me, to say I'm nervous is an understatement. Feel free to check it out if you like.
Also, here is another advance review. Reading something like this makes all the hard work worth it.
HOUSE OF SIGHS - 4.5 stars out of 5
"Aaron Dries’ debut pulls out all the stops in this fast-paced, gruesome story that delves into the human psyche and explores what pushes a person to commit horrific acts of violence. The villains Dries creates are incredibly realistic and absolutely terrifying. Filled with plenty of gore, enough to cause this reviewer to pause mid-page and look away, this story is not for those with a weak stomach, but will please any horror fan looking for an entirely unique, twisted tale."
... So happy. Don't forget, the ebook is released tomorrow.
The door to the House of Sighs is creaking open.
With HOUSE OF SIGHS being released next week in across-the-board electronic formats (paperback is due in July 2011) the reviews are starting to come in.
The first is from RT BOOK REVIEW, in which it discusses three novels from Samhain's new horror line. Check it out here or read the review below!
"This was definitely the most unique of the three stories. Rather than using supernatural or paranormal entities to drive the plot, Dries creates a haunting tale of a mad woman with a disturbing past. Bus driver Liz Frost is having more than just a bad day when she decides to take her passengers hostage. She’s more than willing to kill anyone who tries to stop her from taking her public transit bus back to her home to meet her deranged family. The story’s non-linear narrative is slightly disorienting at first, but is ultimately well executed. Dries goes above and beyond with the death scenes in House of Sighs with many memorable, incredibly visceral, disturbing deaths."
To celebrate the release of HOUSE OF SIGHS next week I've put a FREE short story up on my blog. It's a very creepy, unsettling and disturbing little tale about a lonely man longing for the child he never had ... It was originally published in SNM Horror Magazine last year.
Check it out here
Finally, here is the final and official book trailer for HOUSE OF SIGHS. It pretty much encompasses the intense and disturbing nature of the novel. Initial feedback: "you might have pushed it a little too far. I'm too scared to read it now!"*
*Cue evil laugh.
Remember, House Of Sighs is released internationally in ebook on 6 March, 2011 and in trade paperback in July. Spread the word.
Check out the Youtube trailer here!
Howdy there folks. Thanks for your patience on this one, but trust me, it was worth it. MIDNIGHT MOVIE: CREATURE FEATURE from May December Publications has been released and it's beautiful. Both the cover and interior art are stunning- a real credit to everyone involved. I'm very proud of the way my story, AND THE DARK GROWLS BACK has been treated. I can't wait to curl up and really dig into the stories.
Featured below is the interior art for my story:
And here is that wonderfully grisly cover art:
This is a top class anthology and I'm super happy to have been involved in it . . . Happy reading.
My new (and rather long) short story AND THE DARK GROWLS BACK has been accepted for publication in May December Publications new kick-ass anthology MIDNIGHT MOVIE CREATURE FEATURE.
AND THE DARK GROWLS BACK
Three backpackers take refuge in a secluded Icelandic holiday house after accidently killing a man. But what lurks in the dark outside that cramped, dimly lit cottage, proves far worse than any retribution the law could ever enforce . . .
They never should have run.
. . . More on the release as it comes. Stay tuned.
Featured below is the official cover art for Samhain's ebook/trade paperback release of HOUSE OF SIGHS, which should be released in early March, 2012.
As for the art itself . . . I love it.
I think it really captures the cinematic nature of the novel in a super eye-catching way. A huge thank you to everyone who was involved and for working with such efficiency and dedication.
As my subject implies - I have big news. A lot has happened since my last notification and I have been holding off releasing this information until it was finalised.
Firstly: I have left Dorchester Publishing, with whom I had been intending to release the paperback version of HOUSE OF SIGHS.
Secondly: HOUSE OF SIGHS has subsequently been picked up by Samhain Publishing's brand new horror line. To read more about the release (which is expected to land in the new year- ebook first, followed by the trade paperback) simply click here.
Thirdly: In a staggering surprise (mostly to myself) my second novel THE FALLEN BOYS has also been picked up by Samhain Horror, to be released hot-on-the-heels of HOUSE OF SIGHS.
. . . So, it appears that 2012 will be a big year for me. Here's hoping that the world does not end as expected. I'll be sure to release more news as it arrives.
My short story "DADDY" has been published in issue #35 of SNM Horror Magazine, The March Marionettes edition. SNM is an online magazine that is free to readers worldwide. "DADDY" will be available for the entire month of March starting today. To read it, click here
As mentioned above, this months theme is Marionettes; evil puppets, mannequins, Voodoo dolls. Small, twisted effigies of humans, created by our own hands and minds, designed to portray actors in a world of their own; a world that exists inside our heads and reflects back upon it.
Sound freaky enough for you?
SNM is a great magazine that publishes solid, scary stuff every month. I consider it a great honor to be a part of it.
"DADDY" is about a man who finds a baby in a dumpster-- a discovery that leads to a harmful, self-destructive obsession with a child he cannot own.
My story features one hell of a creepy doll. It was a blast to write.
So it's 28/02/2011, the official release date of the hardcover (more or less, considering its limited print run and fluctuating shipping times), but already I've been getting reports of copies arriving. It's an exciting feeling. My little baby is out there now, warts and all (and rest assured, there are warts).
I've learned a lot over the past year and a half; honestly I never thought I'd be in this position. I'm happy. I truly am. And more than that, I'm writing. I've written a bunch of short stories and sent them off (one has been accepted already, the others are in delightful purgatory), book two is half-way done (gulp) and I've got ideas galore (including a direct sequel to HOUSE OF SIGHS). It's an exciting time. Paperback issues are still ongoing, but I should know soon. Stay tuned.
In the words of the great Jon Brion, "I continue in the hope I have a follow up/ and if I do then you might not ever shut me up. But you gotta start somewhere."
So, if you ordered a copy- take a happy snap of you and the book and send it my way. I'd be happy to upload these pictures to the gallery here. Add me on facebook and let me know who you are.
Thanks everyone. What's a writer without readers?
As a little pre-release tease for you readers out there, I've compiled a soundtrack (of sorts) to accompany the book. Listed here, with youtube links for your “enjoyment”, are all of the songs and pop-culture tv/movie references featured in House of Sighs.
A word of warning, though.
Don't expect any Tarantino inspired greatness here. This list will hardly rank with the Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction soundtracks. I love music- and as much as I would like to craft my references around my tastes, I could not do this for the most part. House of Sighs is a period piece set in the mid-nineties. So for better or worse, the references reflect that time period (and earlier). That said, some of these tracks are close to my heart.
Also, many of the references are rather “boppy and upbeat”- a far, bloodcurdling cry from the content of the novel. It's not a terribly original move, but a deliberate one. The references are meant to create a pleasant, fuzzy-around-the-edges nostalgia in the reader for a time that has only just slipped past. Juxtapose this with horror and you got a recipe for awkward displacement and unease (well, at least that was the intent).
In a nutshell: if you've been craving a 90's flashback lately, this might float your boat. Two birds one stone, as they say.
In addition to the soundtrack, I've also listed some music that I compulsively listened to whilst writing. There's nothing like a good tune to help you through a tricky chapter. In this secondary list you will find examples more (tonally) akin to the horror genre.
SONGS/ARTISTS FEATURED IN THE NOVEL:
FILMS AND TV PROGRAMS REFERENCED IN THE NOVEL:
MUSIC THE BOOK WAS WRITTEN TO:
This is an intense and frightening piece. I must have listened to this a hundred times whilst writing.
The great Mike Oldfield here with a track from The Killing Fields. It's a war-survival-film that is directed/scored like a horror film. Intense, blood-boiling stuff.
I remember hitting a brick-wall with the book. I felt like shit; exhausted from all the writing (with the deadline looming in the distance), doubting myself over and over. So one afternoon I ventured out to the cinema- seeking distraction. I saw Rob Zombie's Halloween 2. Surprisingly, I came back enthused and inspired. Most people hate this movie... I adored the theatrical cut, falling in love with its almost Lynchian surrealism and brutality. I guess it just goes to prove what a crap-shot life is when it comes to the personal taste. This track was on constant repeat during a final act chase sequence in the book.
This is a touching piece from The X-Files. I just love this melody. It was tied in with many scenes in the book- quieter, less frenetic scenes, of course. It tapped into an emotional reservoir in me- one that I drew from more than once... In a word: haunting.
Anything by John Carpenter is inspirational. Not only because of the sickening, dread-infused atmosphere, but because of the repetitive, trance-like beats. I'd be pounding away at the computer, tapping my toes ... and the hours would fly by. Good times.
Angelo Badalamenti greatness. Enough said.
Another emotional piece. For some reason this film makes me want to cry; perhaps it has something to do with me working in nursing homes in the past. I don't know. Whenever I hear this music, I associate it with acceptance; accepting that things are going downhill and that hope is drifting away. It also reminds me of the importance of fighting for what you think is right. Fight as hard as you can, even if you know you are going to lose (a central theme to the book).
When it comes to writing horror, nothing inspires more than the music of Goblin. My skin crawls when I hear their melodies; those chills filter down through my fingers and into my writing (hopefully).
And with that the House of Sighs soundtrack draws to a close.
The delicate click-click after the record has stopped. The silence left behind once the echo dies away...
If you made it this far, I thank you. Hopefully the above will give you a tonal head start. Enjoy the book. Feel free to contact me through the site to let me know what you thought.
I just got the heads up that HOUSE OF SIGHS was October's number one Bestseller at Horror-mall.com! I am over the moon. Thanks so much to every single person who bought a copy. You all are the reason I write. After all, what's the point in putting pen to paper if nobody reads it?
If you haven't picked up a copy, hurry! They're selling out and pre-orders close at the end of the month!
To purchase a copy click here
To read the first chapter of the book click here . It's been described as "twisted", "fucked-up", "intense" and "stomach-churning". You know you're onto something when people start thinking you're insane...
Kids, grab your signed, Deluxe edition NOW!
Peace and horror to all!
Just a reminder to everyone that HOUSE OF SIGHS is available for pre-order right now and can be purchased through Horror Mall by clicking here
I invite you all to visit my blog to read my two most recent entries, Brick by Bloody Brick; Meet the Characters of "House of Sighs" (featuring the entire cast of the novel, with illustrations and descriptions by me) and an Excerpt of the novel: The "House of Sighs" PROLOGUE
My novel HOUSE OF SIGHS officially goes on advance sale today and is available through horror-mall by clicking: here
To coincide with this release I present the latest Promotional Trailer for the book, made specifically for the ChiZine limited edition hardcover. It was edited by myself but features animation by the fantastic and talented Todd Fuller (who is also from my home town aka "James Bridge" in the novel) Feel free to check out his art here.
It's an exciting and scary experience to see your book finally appear online for sale. It's an abstract concept that I've really got to wrap my head around. My first reaction was WOW, that's expensive. But then I realized, it's Deluxe, it's Limited, it's Hardcover. That's my dream coming true right there. I know the book is good. I know it's worth it. I'm happy.
THUS, AN INCENTIVE
As an incentive to anyone who purchases a copy, contact me here and I will be only too happy to personally reply to each and every one of you (just give me time). Also, for those who would like it, I can arrange to send you a personalized, autographed booknote/mark for your hardcover slipcase.
The folks at ChiZine have really pulled out all stops on the book. It's gorgeous.
Thank you everyone.
My Blog has officially gone online. Visit it by clicking here.
It will feature regular musings and ramblings, as well as reviews and interviews.
Check out the Rue Morgue Magazine Issue 104 (on stands now) for a one page promotional spread for HOUSE OF SIGHS. Looks great!
The amazing folks over at Chizine Publications have released the Official Cover art for HOUSE OF SIGHS Limited Edition Hardcover.
I couldn't be happier.
This edition of the book will work on an "as ordered" basis. So essentially however many copies are pre-ordered will equal the amount printed.
Stay tuned for more details.
Here are the official HOUSE OF SIGHS Teaser Trailers.
The videos were conceived by myself and I also did the soundtrack. They were shot, cut and post-produced by the amazing Simon Anlezark, with production help from Tina Lin. Liam Tobin provided the voiceover. The videos star Ben Brock as "Jack", Belinda Smith as "Liz" and Lou Smith as "Suzie"