Ginger Nuts of Horror
Shock Totem Publications is an American small-press. They specialise in dark fantasy and horror. The press was founded in 2008 by author K. Allen Wood. Ken is assisted by John Boden, Sarah Gomes Wood, Catherine Grant and Barry Lee Dejasu along with numerous staff writers.
The debut issue of the magazine Shock Totem: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted was first published in July 2009. Since then, Shock Totem has released a string of quality magazines, novels and a collection of short stories by Mercedes Murdock Yardley.
With Issue 10 of Shock Totem soon to be released into the wild, I thought that I would take the opportunity to talk briefly about this excellent publication.
My love affair with Shock Totem came about purely by accident. I was trudging through the pages of Amazon looking for something a little different. Recently, I had been dieting on King and Koontz but decided it was time to take a break. I came across a book titled Ugly as Sin by James Newman-a writer whom I was unfamiliar with. I absolutely loved the cover and was keen to find out more. The synopsis told of a disfigured wrestler (Nick Bullman) who becomes re-acquainted with his daughter after a distressed phone call concerning his granddaughter. Often described as “White-Trash Noir” this is a superb novel about redemption, loss and family that hits hard and has an ending that will knock you over! The writing, characterisation and atmosphere created are all first class and to this day Ugly as Sin remains one of my favourite novels.
I devoured the book in no time at all. I discovered that the publisher was Shock Totem; a press I was unfamiliar with but soon became a huge fan of (and still am) I visited their website and found that they had also released another book by Mr Newman – The Wicked. The Wicked is a wonderful homage to 80’s style horror novels and again cemented James Newman as a serious talent. The press also produced a series of magazines. I thought it best to start with issue 1 which featured conversations with John Skipp and William Ollie, poetry, and some wonderful dark fiction shorts from Kurt Newton, Jennifer Pelland and Mercedes Murdock Yardley. I was blown away by the quality of the publication; everything from the content to the stunning artwork that graced the cover.
I soon acquired every back issue of the magazine and have been a fan ever since. Through this publication I have discovered some incredible talent and I suppose that I have these guys to thank for awakening me to the wonder that is the small-press. Later issues have featured Bracken MacLeod, Kevin Lucia, Adam Cesare, Cody Goodfellow, Damien Angelica Walters and many, many more. You could pick up any one of their issues and not be disappointed.
Recently the team released Zero Lives Remaining – A strictly limited hardcover novella by Adam Cesare that comes housed in a classic VHS case featuring artwork and photos and comes signed by Adam himself. I have one of these and let me tell you it is THE greatest limited edition book that I have ever seen!