Archive for the Barbara Custer Category

NIGHT TO DAWN MAGAZINE ISSUE 23

Posted in art, Australia, Barbara Custer, horror writer, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, set in Australia, Uncategorized, USA, Vampire author with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2013 by ROD MARSDEN

NTD23frontcover-229x300
Nice colour scheme on the front cover art.

 

Of the interior art, David L. Transue’s noble knight on page 22 is well done. Marg Simon’s sketch on page 58 reminds me of the great Gene Colan back in his Tomb of Dracula days.

Of the stories Todd Hank’s one-pager Vampire Ferris Wheel comes with a nice twist to the tale.

A Road Less Travelled by Hal Kempla has some nice atmospherics. Careful how you go about ‘seeing America.’ Careful what you take for innocent.

Oh and it was wonderful to see my Midnight Gunslinger in print. Kansas really was known as bloody Kansas back in the days just before the American Civil War broke out. Perfect locale for a gun toting vampire.

Of the poems, Twisted Nursery Rhymes by Lee Clark Zempe hit the spot. This fellow does have a dark sense of humour.

I wonder if issue 25 will be a silver issue with a silver cover and silver stories inside.

Meanwhile I’ll look forward to issue 24 and what it has to offer. 

 

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

Advertisements

DESK JOB REVIEW FRESH FROM SCOTLAND

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, birds, Butterflies, dark fiction writer, desk job, Glasgow, Great Britain, horror writer, Knightswood, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Moths, mythology, Neil K. Henderson, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, revenge, Romance, Scotland, set in Australia, Teresa Tunaley, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN
DESK JOB

DESK JOB BY ROD MARSDEN

Review by Neil K. Henderson

Knightswood, Glasgow G13 4SB, Scotland, U.K.

DESK JOB: SARAH IN OFFICE-LAND by Rod Marsden, ISBN 978-1-937769-14-7 Night to Dawn Books, P.O. Box 643, Abington, PA 19001, USA (www.bloodredshadow.com) 243 pp.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

Set in the offices of a big Sydney business concern in the 1990s, DESK JOB, by former Masque Noir editor Rod Marsden, reads like staring through a hothouse window at a weird menagerie of mismatched captive fauna. Among the exotic and nightmarish metaphors for office ‘types’ – such as praying mantises (women ‘of a certain age’ out for blood at a sniff of male impropriety), dung beetles (sycophants to the mantises), hawks (upwardly mobile managers), caterpillars (semi-comatose top brass), mules (disregarded drudges) and butterflies (pretty young do-nothings) and their older, drabber moth counterparts – real human souls live out daily dramas in this infernal inversion of Alice’s Wonderland. Animal behavior is controlled by the government-imposed political correctness dictates of the period. No-one dares infringe the rights of a ‘protected species’. On the other hand, it’s open season on the native wildlife. Tensions mount. Fear, paranoia and madness ensue, until one employee is murdered by another while most are too busy watching their own backs to notice. It‘s the kind of mess you’d need a psychic investigator to work out.

Enter Sarah Hollingsworth, who’s seen it all already in a dream. She can read people’s minds to present the reader with psychological profiles and biographical insights into the group of characters under the microscope. (She even interviews the victim!) This lets her give the kind of non-judgmental overview that keeps things nicely in balance and stops the reader (and some of the characters) from totally losing the plot. She also provides a few surprises along the way with her own interaction among the forces of the mystical realm. It’s a testament to Rod Marsden’s easy style, that the whole unfolding kaleidoscope of animal imagery, social comment and dark fantasy reads with a page-turning immediacy that keeps the attention gripped until a satisfactory conclusion is reached. (Not so much a Who Dunnit, this, as a Why Dunnit.)

But that conclusion is not the end of the book. What Marsden does with the remaining third is to literalise the previously metaphorical types as living dream creatures, in a totally fantastical coda  section reflecting back the Lewis Carroll motifs from a new perspective. Sarah here ventures through an interdimensional portal, like Alice’s looking glass, to interact with real mantises and beetles and a Queen of Hearts who wants to psych out the office workers visa computer consoles and hand-mirror gateways. A fast and furious fantasy adventure follows – ensuring the novel achieves a flying finish.

Sandwiched in between the episodic close-ups on specific cases in part one, collected quotes from contemporary Australian books on office psychology provide a comic Greek chorus to the developing drama. These interludes continue as a unifying factor through the second part. Here, the lika-lika bird (every conversation starts or ends with “Like a…”) rears her gorgeously plumaged head. She’s still young and uncorrupted, prior to landing that fatal office job. Her outside view is refreshingly alternative. There is also the graffiti-spraying mall rat, destined to become a mule, or even a hawk, someday.

It is difficult to encapsulate in a brief review the complex interplay of fantastical dream situations, figuratively represented actuality and actualised fantasy contained in DESK JOB. Odd magical moments come to mind, such as the vision of several ‘brown-nose’ dung beetles lining up to boil themselves in a cauldron because the praying mantis they worship likes soup. There’s also the annoying whistling man who appears in the office every so often, and is perfunctorily assaulted by a member of staff. Then there’s the cats which periodically pop through mirrors or get their tails pulled by startled mortals. Particularly amusing is the scene near the end of lika-lika birds all crowding round one such hand-mirror, convinced that the cat which just appeared was cleverly programmed in by the manufacturers. I can just see them haunting all the shops in Sydney asking for the mirrors with the pop-out cats.

Does that make sense? Not maybe on the face of things, but in the context of this curiously individual and delightfully engaging novel it makes perfect sense. If you don’t believe me, I recommend you take a psychic trip through the portal of its covers and experience it for yourself. DESK JOB is a book with “Read Me” written all over it.

 

Note: Neil K. Henderson cleverly ends his review with an off hand reference to the Alice books. Meanwhile Neil is busy on his own novels which are most curious and fun to read.

 

 

A TAIL TO TELL

BOTH A TAIL AND A TALE TO TELL. WHAT FUN!

NIGHT TO DAWN

Posted in art, Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, Egypt, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, pulp fiction writer, Romance, Teresa Tunaley, Tom Johnson, Uncategorized, USA, Vampire author, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 21, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN

Night to Dawn is a semi-annual horror magazine put out by Barbara Custer. She goes to some effort to get the best stories, poetry and artwork from around the world. Though an American publication, it often contains stories from as far afield as Australia.

Starting out as primarily a vampire magazine, Night to Dawn has spread its black wings of late into other areas of horror. Tales dealing with zombies, ancient gods, and the Egyptian dead are now most welcome. Egyptian horror has, in fact, appeared in issues 21 and 22. As for what kind of story fits into the magazine, there’s everything from your classic romantic undead piece to a salute to Joe R. Lansdale’s Dead in the West.

Since 22 is the latest issue (It is dated October 2012 but I have an advance copy), I’ll pick out my favorite stories, poetry and illustrations within to give you an idea of the quality of Night to Dawn magazine.

The front cover to 22 is an eye catching red and gold. The illustration by Marge Simon appears to be reminiscent of the Roman era and puts me in mind of a female Roman vampire story I read ages ago. The back cover by Teresa Tunaley shows a female vampire with blood on her lips. The way her eye lids are painted, she might be off to some mardi gras celebration somewhere in the world.

In the editor’s section we learn about the latest round of books being published by Night to Dawn. They include Desk Job by Rod Marsden, City of Brotherly Death by Barbara Custer, and Tom Johnson and James Reasoner’s Jur: A Story of Pre Dawn Earth.

Of the interior illustrations, I am drawn to the third eye effort by David Transue (page 14), the all teeth and eyes freak out by Denny E. Marshall (page 32), and the zombied out mardi gras spectacular by Chris Friend (page 40).

In poetry there’s Tod Hanks’ splendid though traditional take on the vampire, Concubines of the Vampire (pages 6 and 7), Fatale by Cathy Bryant (page 14) which has a nice, bouncy rhythm, and Christmas Eve by Chris Friend (page 39) which is a delightful bit of fun with the spirits of the dead.

Of the tales I liked Rajeev Bhargava’s Mirror, Mirror on my Cellar Wall best. Here we have a touch of Greek mythology with a modern take on a particularly monstrous legend.

Coming up a close second is The Harlots of New Chapel Row by a writer going by the name Horns. It is a to be continued tale of bloody intrigue where lust and keeping up with your mates already goes terribly wrong.

A very close third is The Triangle by Derek Muk which hauls out the Bermuda Triangle for inspection. The suspense builds up in this one making it well worth the read.

For more information on Night to Dawn magazine and books check out these sites:

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/tom-johnsons-sf-and-adventure/jur-a-story-of-pre-dawn-earth/

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/

TO WALK LIKE A LIKA-LIKA BIRD

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, birds, dark fiction writer, desk job, Great Britain, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, set in Australia, United Kingdom, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN

THE LIKA- LIKA BIRD

Today the lika-lika bird is the new, improved ‘bush telegraph’.

If you want your local news but not from the tele then have a chat with your nearest lika-lika. Of an afternoon, on a work day, you will find her at the mall. On weekends in summer you will find her at the beach.

If you want to spread the word about something then take a lika-lika into your confidence. She’s sure to find the best way to get your message out there. Of course there are some naughty lika-likas that go in for graffiti. Sometimes their feathers are ruffled by the law.

Today there are former lika-likas in news print, radio and, yes, television. They are also in advertising.

Lika-lika birds can be found in Australia, the USA, Great Britain, Japan, China and lots more locales. They tend to get around. They like to have fun in the sun and hang out with mall rats and surfers. Freedom and gossip are their meat and bread.

For more information on this rather active flapper check out Desk Job.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

THE OWL AS A MESSENGER AND GUARDIAN

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, Great Britain, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, mythology, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, set in Australia, United Kingdom, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN

EYES IN THE NIGHT

It is said that Athena, the goddess of  Athens, uses owls to keep tabs on the people of her favorite Greek city.

Owls have their place as mail birds in the Harry Potter novels and movies.

In the 1967 novel I Heard the Owl Call my Name by Margaret Craven, the owl doing so is making known that the listener who owns the name will soon pass away. It is set in a native Indian village in British Columbia.

I once went fishing with an owl. It was on a river bank at Iluka in northern New South Wales, Australia. He was a young white fellow. I didn’t mind the company and neither did my feathered friend for the evening. He was on a branch about ten feet away from me and I am glad to say he didn’t seem concerned at all being so close to a Human. It was a pleasant night for both of us.

In my novel, Desk Job, owls are there to guard and protect. The frog-mouthed variety guard and protect property. The white kind seek to accomplish the more difficult task of guarding the minds and the souls of the office workers. Owls sometimes appear in dreams with words of wisdom for those who will listen. North American Indian mythology has it that if an owl calls your name it has a special meaning and significance. It is a call to you from the great beyond.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

BIG BROTHER?! AGAIN! OH! BROTHER! OH! BOTHER!

Posted in Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lied to and tricked via television, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, rip off merchants, scam artists, set in Australia, USA, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2012 by ROD MARSDEN
BIG BROTHER WATCHING

YOU WATCHING BIG BROTHER AND BIG BROTHER WATCHING YOU. ALL POLITICALLY CORRECT!

In Australia Big Brother is due to return to television. The show that trivialized George Orwell’s warning to the future is back. Games will be played during the daylight hours in some house setting and gross things will no doubt happen at night. In any event, George Orwell’s 1984 warning to the future, our present, will be distorted once more and thus reduced.

Contestants in search of a brain will get on their soap boxes to talk a lot of deep and meaningful rubbish about current affairs they don’t understand and there will be tears on cue. The brain washing of a generation of young people will be sickeningly revealed. There will be propaganda.

What’s more, those who don’t want to watch the show will not be able to escape this fate except by turning off the screen all together and grabbing a book to read. Yes, during commercial time for any and every other show you will be pelted with reminders that Big Brother is on and you need to either support or evict via phone this loony or that loony. (And you will no doubt be expected to pay a lot for making these calls.) Wait! It gets even worse! Big Brother of old had a nasty habit of running overtime. Thus you are sitting there waiting for the show you want to watch to finally come on and, in the meantime, you have to put up with 10, 15, even 30 minutes of Big Brother you hadn’t bargained on watching at all. AAAAARRRGGHHH!

Back in 1948 George Orwell wrote 1984. He warned against being part of a government that spied continuously on its citizens without just cause and tended also to promote war over peace, hate over love. Make a man feel bad about having any affection even for his own wife then put him in a uniform and send him out somewhere to do some killing. Use religion, any religion, to beat any sense of real decency out of him. Also do the same to her. This is how warrior races are made and are perpetuated. Then, to make sure it all sticks, have words that could do future harm to this set up outlawed for everyone’s own good. Oh, and to top it all off, re-write history continuously to continually suit the government.

1984 was first published in 1949. It would have been published earlier save that the publisher wanted to be very sure that nothing in it could be thought to support Communism in any way. In his early years Orwell did have Communist leanings but these were knocked out of him when he learned how Stalin had treated his own people in the 1930s.

To George Orwell our best defense against a nightmare state are our own memories, histories, sense of right and wrong, and our free flowing, warts and all, language.

From the early 1990s, efforts were made to introduce political correctness where academics and politicians thought it would do the most good. Born out of a desire to do right, political correctness has mostly shown, at least in Australia, that Hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

Through political correctness, some workplace personnel became protected species while others were given little protection at all from anything. The result was a double standard that had not previously existed. What’s more, the language was tamed making it even harder for some individuals to cry out against injustice. And there was monitoring of behavior for some but not for others.

Today, in many offices, political correctness is merely a sick joke from the  recent past. It is still there, however, waiting to be relaunched with the old vigor.

There was talk in the news in August of 2012 of government initiatives in Australia to reinvent political correctness. It would, of course, go under another name as yet to be decided or no name at all but still be out there attacking the rights of some individuals and supposedly protecting the rights of other individuals. According to the news report a quarter of the the country’s population would immediately be better off. This of course means to me that three quarters of the country’s population would no doubt be forced in the end to crawl rather than walk, to listen rather than vent their own views, and to generally be second class citizens in their own country.

This initiative has come about in a similar way to the old political correctness. It is going to be pushed by academics, politicians, groups likely to benefit from such actions, and brain-washed school kids venturing forth to become brain-washed college and university students. The truly sad thing is that many of the kids that will find themselves as part of this initiative if it really does get off the ground will unwittingly be selling their collective future to hostile interests without even knowing it. By the time they figure it out it will be too late. It appears to be an attack or series of attacks against racism in Australia but it comes with the dangerous assumption that only certain types can be racist and that one quarter of the present population are victims or are to be victims if something isn’t done.

The truth is that everyone can be a racist or act in a racist manner. If this is not recognized then the folly that was and to some extent still is political correctness will definitely make a return though most definitely, in some quarters, in action rather than name.  There is likely to be the return of the ‘protected species’ that can do no harm and will not be called upon to account for their actions when they do in  fact do harm. Television is already geared up to promote and apply this new initiative.

In my novel, Desk Job, I deal with political correctness and how it can destroy lives. How close to reality my fictional office is for the mid-1990s and for now I will leave up to the reader to decide.

http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/

THE CROWDED CITY AND THE NEED SOMETIMES TO GET AWAY FROM IT ALL

Posted in Australia, Barbara Custer, dark fiction writer, desk job, horror writer, Lewis Carroll enthusiast, Lyn McConchie's friend, Night to Dawn author, Published in the USA, set in Australia, Writer with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2009 by ROD MARSDEN
VOICES!

VOICES!

The city is where most of us make our living. The little luxuries of modern life are all tied up in the ‘Big Smoke’. Luxuries such as the internet and television.

It is good sometimes to get away from the crowds and go some where you can be more yourself. I virtually grew up with a fishing rod in my hand. Fishing has always been my sport. When the big city gets to be too much it is great to go away somewhere and do some fishing.  I am a salt water fisherman. I have had nothing to do with fresh water fishing though I might have a go at it some time.

While fishing it is possible to contemplate the universe and your place in it. With beautiful surroundings you can relax and, if the fish are biting, there is excitement.

Of late I have been collecting WW One and WW Two fighter planes. They worm their way sometimes into my fiction.

Occasionally the great Clarence River and the people living there make their way into my books and so do the people of the Wollongong area.

I remember my last visit to the USA and that also helps my writing.

 Right now there are some nice Agatha Christie novels in reprint coming out. I’ve picked up the first in this series more out of curiosity than anything else. It has been a while since I read any Agatha Christie.

I have also laid my hands on the latest Terry Pratchett novel. If anyone knows the strangeness of modern life and can write about it it would be Pratchett. An earlier Practitioner of this would be Lewis Carroll. I have a shot at it in my latest novel, Desk Job. http://bloodredshadow.com/about/night-to-dawn-magazine-and-books/rod-marsden-supernatural-thriller-vampire-lore/desk-job/