I want this to be a platform for EVERYONE within the horror community; authors, publishers, bloggers, reviewers, actors, directors, artists. I could go on, if you work in the genre then you are more than welcome to apply for the job.
The rules are quite simple…
You are invited to imagine yourselves as warden for an old graveyard, and choose eight books, preferably horror/dark genre, to take with you to cover your shift; here you can discuss why you chose the books.
As well as the books, wardens are allowed one song/album to listen to. Again, an explanation for this choice is required.
You must also discuss one luxury item you can bring, which must be inanimate and not allow communication.
If you’d like to take part in The Graveyard Shift then please submit an application to email@example.com
A new shift is about to begin. The warden for the week’s #GraveyardShift is…
Mark Allan Gunnells
Brad Storm doesn’t believe in ghosts, but moving into the house at 324 Abercorn just may change his mind.
Best-selling author Bradley Storm finally has enough money to buy and restore his dream home. Despite 324 Abercorn’s reputation as one of the most haunted houses in America, Bradley isn’t worried. He doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Then strange things begin to happen. Objects no longer where he left them. Phantom noises heard from empty rooms. Shadows glimpsed from the corner of his eye.
Is his house truly haunted, or is there something more sinister happening on the property?
With the help of Bradley’s new boyfriend and a few friends who are just as intrigued with the seemingly inexplicable occurrences surrounding the infamous house, they set out to find the truth of what stalks the halls at 324 Abercorn.
Misery by Stephen King
This is one of my all-time favorite suspense novels. The pacing is tight and quick, the characters complex and rich. Since it is limited for the most part to just the two characters, the book reads like a dual character study. What I think makes it even more than the sum of its parts is how much insight King gives us in this narrative as to why creators create, what drives our passion/obsession with storytelling. That makes the novel not only exciting and compelling but also thoughtful and meditative. For me, this is a near-perfect novel.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman is a magician of the written language, a successor to Ray Bradbury. I find his work enchanting and mesmerizing. I love so much of his work, but his first solo novel remains my favorite. It was one of those reading experiences where finishing the book actually left me a little bereft like I was having to say goodbye to real friends I might never see again. At the end of the book when two of the characters walked off together, I wanted to follow them, I wanted to know what adventures they would have next. That is the sign of a great story.
Electric Gumbo by Joe R. Lansdale
There are few works by Lansdale I don’t admire, but his short fiction is something truly special. He has a plethora of collections out there, but the one that always stands out as a favorite for me is this one, probably because it was the first I bought and read. It contains some of his most well-known short fiction that span a variety of genres, and really highlight what a gifted storyteller he is and how he can use sparse language to say so much.
Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice
I am enthralled by the extravagance and lushness of Rice’s language. The exact opposite of Lansdale’s sparse language, but she uses her complex sentences to give her work a feel of another time, casting a spell over the reader that really transports us into her romantic world. This is never more true than in her third novel, which is one of her rare non-supernatural efforts. The tale of castrati singers in 19th century Italy, this is a soap opera of betrayal, passion, and revenge. It is a stunning accomplishment.
The Cove by Ron Rash
Ron Rash is not known nearly as much as he should be. A southern writer who often writes period pieces, his work also speaks very strongly to the here and now. This one is my favorite of his, a novel set during World War I in which he talks about prejudice, ignorance, love, and sacrifice. He provides characters you fall in love with, you celebrate with, you suffer with. The ending is emotionally raw and powerful.
The Dwelling by Susie Moloney
This is one of my all-time favorite haunted house novels. I wish it was more well known that it is. She creates multiple narratives in one, as this house is inhabited by more than one ghost. The novel takes place over several years and takes us through several different owners and the ghouls they encounter. I think Moloney really understands what makes ghost stories creepy, the insidious nature of horror that comes at you so subtly that you can’t shake it even after you close the book.
Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon
I don’t think the word masterpiece would be out of the question for this novel. It’s coming of age done to perfection, and it captures the magical feeling of childhood where your fantasy almost feels as real as reality better than anything I’ve ever read. The mystery plot is intriguing and gripping, but more than anything what really makes this one special is the way he reminds us all what it felt like to be young, just on the cusp of adulthood. This book left me delighted and nostalgic. It doesn’t matter if you grew up in the specific time of the novel or not; like all good coming of age fiction, the truths revealed are universal.
Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
There will never be another like Bradbury. His joy at storytelling was infectious, and he left behind a legacy that will never die. For me, this one ranks as one of my top picks because of the dual nature of it. It speaks of youth, yes, but within the context of a series of stories (as like other novels by him, this is really a collection of short stories that tell a larger narrative) about a young boy growing up, he speaks eloquently and painful about getting older, and the grief of still feeling like a kid when your body won’t let you do the things you love. I think it’s Bradbury at his best.
Yes I Am by Melissa Etheridge
There are a lot of great albums to choose from, but this one was seminal for me. There is not a song on this album that I do not love, and it came out during a period of my life when I was truly discovering who I was and who I wanted to be, and therefore it’s all mixed up with that in my mind and heart. Ethridge sings with passion and raw power, yearning and pathos. Songs like “Silent Legacy” felt as if she’d looked into soul and discovered my deepest pains and insecurities. When I listen to this album now, it takes me back and still perfectly captures a time in my life.
(KR: Hmmmm, I’m not so sure about this one. hahaha)
I’d have to have my Kindle. I love stories, and I honestly have no preference for the delivery system. I love print books, the feel and smell and all that. But I love my Kindle as well, how I can carry so many books with me everywhere I go. Simply to maximize my reading pleasure, I would definitely want that with me. I can do without access to social media and all that, but don’t’ take away my Kindle.
Mark Allan Gunnells
Mark Allan Gunnells loves to tell stories. He has since he was a kid, penning one-page tales that were Twilight Zone knockoffs. He likes to think he has gotten a little better since then. He loves reader feedback, and above all, he loves telling stories. He lives in Greer, SC, with his husband Craig A. Metcalf.
You can follow Mark on Twitter @MarkAGunnells