STILL WATER is in a new anthology

STILL WATER has joined nine other stories in the new horror anthology TEN OPEN GRAVES.

This collection includes:
Closet Treats by Paul E. Cooley
The Crypt of Dracula by Kane Gilmour
Eldren: The book of the Dark by William Meikle
Still Water by Justin R. Macumber
Refuge-Night of the Blood Sky by Jeremy Robinson
Dark Rite by David Wood and Alan Baxter
The Flat by Rick Chesler and Jack Douglas
Laughing Boy’s Shadow by Steven Savile
Piercing Through by RJ Fanucchi
Hunger by Jeremy Robinson

All this can be yours for the price of just $0.99! Head over to Amazon now and get your copy today!

What STAR WARS Means To Me

Given all the chatter that’s sprung up about Star Wars since THE FORCE AWAKENS was released, I thought I’d post a little piece regarding it and my history with the franchise.

Ahem ahem…

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What Star Wars Means To Me

If you’ve heard this story from me before, please bear with me. I repeat it here now so that it’s fully and officially on the record.

STAR WARS, what we would later come to alternatively call EPISODE IV and A NEW HOPE (depending on your level of geekery), was released upon the world in May of 1977. I was four and a half years old. I clearly remember my parents taking me and my little brother Scott (he wouldn’t have even been two at the time) to the local drive-in movie theater to see it. The weather was clear, the playground up near the screen was filled with kids swinging and clambering over monkey bars, and the smell of buttered popcorn drifted through the air like the promise of a great summer to come.

Being so young, I really had no idea what the movie was we were there to see. Movies hadn’t penetrated my fledgling mind yet, nor had any books my parents read to me or shows on the television. I was a tabula rasa, just waiting for the right thing to come and spark my juvenile imagination. My joy at being at the drive-in came mostly from the play area. What little boy doesn’t love sand boxes and seesaws? But, when the sun went down, it was back to the family car to watch whatever film we’d come to see. So long as I had a small bag of popcorn and a coke, I didn’t really care what it was. But, when the projector burst to life like some sort of Asgardian artifact and that famous Twentieth-Century Fox fanfare poured forth from Angelic horns, my life was forever, irrevocably changed.

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I couldn’t read the words that floated down the whitewashed movie screen ahead of us, but sitting on the roof of my parents’ car it didn’t matter. I knew they were important by the music and the way they marched with steady purpose through a field of stars that looked so much like the stars twinkling over my head at that very moment. And then when the camera panned down to reveal a spaceship racing away as lights flashed against it, only then to watch as the vessel that followed it thundered above me like a metallic monster that grew larger and larger and larger with every moment, a leviathan hounding after a goldfish. It was amazing, and the lights reflected like stars in my little eyes.

Nothing, though, could have prepared me for the introduction of Darth Vader, a figure that haunts me to this day, mostly in various plastic forms around my office. After all the whiteness of the small ship’s corridors and the Stormtroopers that quickly poured into it, Vader’s immense blackness sent chills through me. Sitting on the roof of that car, I felt true fear for the first time. Later, when Luke and Han were doing their fumbling best to save the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen in my young life, I felt joy, and love, and excitement. When the end credits finally rolled, there really aren’t words to describe how I felt. To be honest, I don’t know if even I – after all these years – truly understand just how I felt. But I do know this – I was changed. The boy that crawled back into his parents’ car and went home to dream of heroes in white and villainous evil in black, was not the same boy who played in the sand just hours before.

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Before I move on, I need to say one final thing about the memory I just shared with you in the interest of full disclosure: I don’t know if it’s actually true. That, right there, is me being honest. I think it’s true. It certainly feels true. When I cast my mind back nearly four decades, those are the things I honestly remember happening. My mother could come along and say, “Oh, son, that didn’t happen. We saw it…” and she would probably be right. But, that doesn’t matter. Not to me. I know my truth. Real or not, those memories are what I recall when I think about Star Wars. We all have mythologies about ourselves that we create using as much truth as we can and then filling in the rest with “that’s how it should have happened” bits. For me, those shared memories are my Star Wars origin story. That is where my heroic journey began. Now on with the show…

Over the years since May of ’77 the level of my fanaticism waxed and waned. I played with all the toys when I was kid, turned my bedroom into Hoth and Endor, held X-Wings and ran through the yard with them held high as they soared after Tie-Fighters. But with each year that passed after RETURN OF THE JEDI’s end credits faded, so did my passion. I read the Marvel comic every once and awhile, and if I stumbled across some toy or item I’d never seen before I’d do my best to get it, but aside from the occasional book there just wasn’t much to keep the Star Wars fire burning. Such is the way of things.

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That doesn’t mean my love of science fiction and fantasy diminished, however. No no, my brother, not even a little. Because of Star Wars I launched into the fandom of all things nerdy with a greedy abandon. Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons, Dune, the Dragonlance novels, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek, and on and on it went. When everyone else wanted to play sports, I wanted to keep my face in a book, or play a game, or rewatch CLASH OF THE TITANS. While my friends wanted to play Rambo out in the woods, I wanted to play as a Jedi or an X-Wing pilot. It was just the way I rolled.

As I’m sure you can imagine, all this led to me to being a pretty geeky kid. And yeah, sure, there were rough moments from time to time holding that freak flag aloft. If I had a dime for every book slapped out of my hands or every “you’re such a nerd” spat in my face I could have bought LucasFilm instead of Disney. It never got me down though, because it wasn’t as if I could be any other way. Geekdom is woven into my very DNA.

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Luckily for the Star Wars fan inside me, the fires returned when it was announced that new Star Wars books would soon be hitting bookstore shelves, starting with a new trilogy to cap off the movies! OMG! Just as I’m entering college, Star Wars is returning to my life, and in a way I adore – books. From there suddenly there were new games, new toys, even new music (Shadows of the Empire rocked!). And then came the Special Editions! And more books! And then…holy frijole…EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Say what you want now, but back then the idea of new movies shook the world. I have plenty of issues with the prequels, believe me, but I never make myself come down and hate them. As bad as some of it is, there’s good too, like Vader himself proved possible. Star Wars was once again a cultural phenomenon. I couldn’t have been happier.

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Star Wars has been a gift to me, and somehow it never ceases to give. Of all the things it’s led me to, however, none is more important to me than my writing. The books I’ve written that sit on someone’s bookcase wouldn’t exist were it not for Star Wars. My mind was blown open at a very impressionable age, and in the decades since I’ve absorbed as much science fiction and fantasy as possible across as broad a range of stories and characters as you can imagine. And all of that, once filtered through my mind, comes out in the novels and short stories I’ve written and will go on to write. I cannot thank George Lucas enough for what he created, and when I say that I mean both Star Wars and myself. He was practically a third parent, tending to my brain while mom and dad took care of the rest.

Does that sound odd, or perhaps excessive? Maybe. But, I do think Star Wars has led to me being a good person. Because of my travels across space and time I’ve met so many different types of people, both real and imagined, and through that I became a very accepting person. I don’t judge people because of what they look like, or who they love, or who they worship. We’re all children of the same long ago stars. I try to be empathetic, forgoing fear for love, like a Jedi should. Some of this I gained directly from Star Wars, and some came through the universes Star Wars led me to. When I say I am who I am because of Star Wars, I honestly mean it. And I think it’s a good thing.

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And perhaps that’s really it. I love who I am. I love that my mind is filled with alien worlds and ancient kingdoms. I love that my shelves are crowded with Stephen King books, Marvel movie box sets, and action figures that cover the gamut of science fiction and fantasy. When someone says, “Where do we go?” in my mind I follow it up with a mentally sung, “From here…” (That’s a Buffy reference, y’all). If a person asks me who my doctor is, I immediately want to answer with, “David Tennant.” And of course when anyone says, “I’ll try,” you know I want to tell them, “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” My nerd runs deep, and it runs rough.

Some might say that all this makes it impossible for me to be unbiased when it comes to the Star Wars universe, and more specifically the movies. To them I answer, you’re right. I can’t. But that’s not because I lack the objectiveness needed to see the flaws and failings of the movies; rather, it’s because they aren’t just movies to me. They’re friends. Hell, they’re more than that – the Star Wars movies are my family. They’ve been with me practically my whole life, through good times and bad, giving me advice when I needed it, hope when I felt hopeless. I know the films aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t make me love them any less. I acknowledge all the problems with Star Wars, can understand why some might not like them, but I can do  all that without lessening my affection one iota. I don’t let the rough patches make me stumble, or get lost in plot imperfections. I accept the movies as they are and love them unconditionally just as a father loves his children, or as a brother loves his siblings. Is Jar Jar an idiot? Yeah, but he’s my idiot. Are Ewoks cool? Nope, but who cares, they’re still cute and still kill Stormtroopers. Could I have possibly written better dialogue than, “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth,”? Probably. But a cheesy line has never made me love my younger brother any less, so why would it with Star Wars? For me it’s all the same.

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So there you have it. That is what Star Wars means to me. To most people it means a lot less, and that’s cool. I don’t expect them to love it as much as I do. Wish, yes, but not expect. And I understand that most people haven’t grown up with it in their lives the way I did. We can’t change how we grew up. For me Star Wars goes beyond fandom to family. I know it has its problems, but I’ll always love it, and it will continue to be unconditional.

Until next time…

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A BROKEN MAGIC free audiobook codes!

One of the nice things that ACX does when you produce an audiobook through their services is to give the author a number of free download codes they can give to whomever they like. I was proud of the audiobook for A MINOR MAGIC, and I’m even more proud of this one, both of which are narrated by the amazing Veronica Giguere. If you would like one of these free codes, send me a message and I’ll reply back with the code. The only thing I ask in return is that you post an honest review of the audiobook on Amazon and/or Audible.com. These codes are first-come-first-served, so contact me soon! I’ll update this post once all of the codes are gone.

Thanks for coming by, and I hope you have a great Halloween weekend!

STILL WATER cover reveal!

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Coal is the hard, black heart of the mountain town of Stillwater, West Virginia. But, far beneath it lies something much darker, an evil beyond time, waiting to rise and bathe the world in blood and fire once more. When unwitting miners dig into its tomb, only Kyle – Stillwater’s prodigal son – and paranormal investigator Maya stand between humanity and Hell. Time is short and evil runs deep in… STILL WATER.

April 22nd, 2014, is the official publishing date of my upcoming horror novel, STILL WATER. It will be available in print ($9.99) and ebook ($3.99), with the audiobook coming out sometime in late summer. I hope that all of you are anticipating this release, as I think it marks a change in my writing career. I love science fiction, and I love urban fantasy, but horror is where my heart really seems to lie, and STILL WATER is only the first of what I’m hoping will be many scary books to come. So now mark your calendar for April 22, and stick around for more news as it develops. Thanks for your interest!

“In STILL WATER, Justin R, Macumber brings all the vivid Americana of Stephen King and all the creeping evil menace of Lovecraft, to a cloausterphobic tale of horror lurking in the deep parts of the world. The plush prose pulls you in and carries you along at a mounting pace until a confrontation so bloody, you can feel the claws raking you.”
Kane Gilmour, bestselling author of RAGNAROK and THE CRYPT OF DRACULA

“You’ll want to leave the light on long after you’ve turned the final page of this dark thriller.”
Jeremy Bishop, author of REFUGE

“Justin Macumber excels in the dark. STILL WATER will trap you and never let go.”
Edwarn Lorn, author of CRUELTY

“Macumber’s STILL WATER marries Lovecraftian-dread with a character driven thrill-ride that will leave you shivering with fear.”
Paul E. Cooley, author of GARAAGA’S CHILDREN

I’m in a new anthology – DIRTY MAGICK: LOS ANGELES

Hi, everyone! I know, I know, it’s been awhile, but I hate to spam just to fill in content. I want to make sure when I post that it’s something worth reading. This most certainly applies. I hope you’re as excited as I am.

DIRTY MAGICK: LOS ANGELES is an anthology from Lucky Mojo Press. The synopsis for it reads: “Dirty Magick: Los Angeles” is an urban fantasy anthology exploring the crossroads between magic and crime. Set in the city that invented noir, these stories comb the back streets and side alleys where the shadows are so sharp they can shave you clean.”

My story for it is entitled THAT OLD HELL MAGIC, and it’s about a police detective on the hunt for a demon that has stolen souls in a night club on the Sunset Strip. Right now it’s available in ebook form for the Kindle and Nook, and soon it’ll also be available on the iBookstore and in print. When it is I’ll update this post. I’m really proud of the story, and I’m proud that it’s featured in this anthology. Please click on the links below and purchase your copy today. It’s at a great price point.

Thanks, and I’ll be back soon with even more great news!

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Purchase for the Kindle

Purchase for the Nook

A MINOR MAGIC is now available!

Yep, that’s right, my post-apocalyptic urban fantasy novel A MINOR MAGIC has been published by Crescent Moon Press and is available for purchase in print and in ebook. My website page for it is HERE. I’m so proud of this book, and I hope that all of you gets a copy and enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here is a picture of the cover, along with link on where to purchase a copy of it. Thanks for stopping by and helping to support me.

A MINOR MAGIC – Over the course of a single night, mystical fires tore through the sky and reduced most of Earth to ash. Ten years later magical fire burns again, but this time it’s in the hands of a young girl named Skylar. Exiled from her adoptive home, Skylar must now struggle through ruined lands and religious zealots who believe she’s an agent of the Devil. An even greater threat exists in the form of shadowy sorcerers from another world who covet her blood. Along her journey, she meets a motley band of outcasts who not only know the secret of what happened to Earth, but also of Skylar’s true origin. Will Skylar be able to accept this fantastical truth? But more importantly, can her powers and raging heart be tamed in time to stop those who once burned the world and now seek total domination?

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And here is the full cover. Click on it for a larger view.

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Join the Pilgrimage!

My friend Matthew Wayne Selznick recently began a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of his next novel, “Pilgrimage – A New Novel Of The Sovereign Era.” I’m here today to ask you to help me make sure his campaign gets fully funded. I’m not asking because he’s my friend, though he is. I’m also not asking because he’s a really nice and giving person, which he also is. I’m asking because Matt is someone who has given a lot to me, the podcasting community, and the independent writer movement. He’s also a damn talented guy. I greatly enjoyed his first Sovereign Era book, “Brave Men Run,” and I desperately want to read more. But, that won’t happen if we can’t help Matt reach his funding goal of $5000. As of this posting, he’s only a touch under $500 away from it! There are five days left to go, and I know we can do it. So please, in the interest of satiating my need for his work, not to mention restoring my faith in humanity, click on the LINK and send some money his way. There are great incentives on offer, so you can’t lose!

Speaking of which, to put my money (or, rather, my efforts) where my mouth is, I’m also contributing to the incentive package that Matt’s put together. I was inspired by Scott Roche, who offered up some goodies of his own. So, if you help Matt reach his goal, I’m offering up the following:

If you pledge $5 I will send you a zip file containing my ebook short story “Pirates of the Crimson Sand.” Philippa Ballantine, author of “Geist” and “Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel,” said of this story, “With PIRATES OF THE CRIMSON SAND you better learn to hold onto the rigging, as Justin Macumber catapults you into action and adventure. You can practically taste the sand in your mouth and feel the adrenalin in your blood.” It will come in MOBI and EPUB formats so you can read them on whatever device you prefer.

If you pledge $10, not only will you get “Pirates,” but you’ll also get my ebook short story “Dark Running,” which won First Prize at the FenCon V Short Story Contest. It will also come in MOBI and EPUB formats.

Lastly, if you pledge $15 you will get both of those short stories AND you also get my four part short story series “The Ties That Bind: A Tale of the Breaking Dawn” in ebook format. Jeremy Robinson, author of “Pulse” and “SecondWorld” said about this collection, “The Ties That Bind is some of the best sci-fi I’ve read all year and the crew of the Breaking Dawn will have you rooting for their success on every page. Exciting, smart and well written, this is a story that is seriously worth reading.” MOBI and EPUBs for this one as well.

All of the stories are in DRM-free files, so no need to worry on that count, and these incentives are available to everyone who has pledged, not just new pledges. To get these stories, please forward the email receipt Amazon will send you upon the funding of the campaign to justin@justinmacumber.com. I’ll respond with the zip file containing your incentive(s) attached. Easy!

And there you have it. I hope that this gives some of you the extra incentive you might have needed to help Matt achieve his goal and write the next Sovereign Era novel. I wouldn’t stand behind him and offer my work if I didn’t believe in him. You should believe in him too. Head over, pledge, and then get ready for some great fiction to come your way.

I edited an anthology!

Yep, I sure did! If you like stories about discovery, or you just want to support me in what I do, here are the details.

EXPLORERS: BEYOND THE HORIZON

EXPLORERS is now available! Yep, after nearly two years it’s finally released into the world. Terry, Eli, and myself are incredibly proud of the collection that we’ve put together, and I hope you will buy a copy and enjoy it along with us. We want to thank the authors for submitting their fine work to us, thank John McCarthy for putting together an amazing print version of the book, and thank Scott Macumber for doing the cover artwork. So many people were involved in the creation of EXPLORERS, and it is because of all those talented people that we’re able to bring this book to you. It was our honor and our privilege.

You can purchase EXPLORERS via the following links:

CreateSpace Trade Paperback

Amazon.com Trade Paperback

Amazon.com Kindle eBook

Barnes & Noble Nook

Smashwords

The Smashwords page has the ebook available in .mobi, Epub, PDF, RTF, LRF, Palm Doc, and Plain Text formats, as well as online reading. Also, please know that the ebooks are DRM free. As soon as the iBookstore version is available I will pass that URL along.

But wait! There’s more! If you buy the print book, you can email the receipt to the Dead Robots’ email address, and we will then send you — FOR FREE — the ebook as well. Now you don’t have to make the heart wrenching and wallet bursting choice of going with one or the other. Buy the print book and get both!

The Dead Robots’ Society Podcast is proud to present EXPLORERS: BEYOND THE HORIZON, a short story anthology featuring characters forever changed by their discovery of lands and worlds beyond their own. Whether it’s by charting new stars, trekking across fantastical realms, sailing new oceans, or traversing the wild and unknown spaces between dimensions, readers will find the unimaginable in the pages of EXPLORERS. Authors contributing work to the anthology are:

J. Daniel Sawyer
Jeff Brackett
Lauren M. Roy
Colum Paget
Vincent Morgan
Ira Nayman
Jocelyn Adams
Court Ellyn
Jesse J. Summerson
Andrew Hawnt
Mark Mellon
Laura Givens
James Ebersole
Kurt H. Hyatt
Daniel Latham

Book Review – The Wind Through The Keyhole

I am a massive Dark Tower fan, and when I heard King was coming out with a story that would bridge the gap between books 4 and 5 I was overjoyed since there’s a bit of tonal disconnect between them, as well as some missing story. Sadly, while the actual writing in “The Wind Through The Keyhole” is fantastic, it really doesn’t add much to the Dark Tower story. Or, more specifically, to the story of Roland and his ka-tet. “The Wind Through The Keyhole” is almost entirely a flashback to Roland’s youth, a recounting of a mission his father sent him on, and in the middle of that is another tale, this one of another character new to the books. So really, “The Wind Through The Keyhole” is a story within a story, neither of which really adding to the Dark Tower saga other than to layer on a little more flesh to the world. I could also see additional trouble if this was read in the proper order since book 4, “Wizard & Glass,” is itself mostly a flashback to Roland’s youth. To read two such books back to back would probably be a bit maddening.

Ultimately I came away glad that I read it (as I am whenever I read a Stephen King novel), but disappointed in how little it brought to the Dark Tower overall story.

Three stars out of five.