Sunday, August 28, 2016

Episode 29: Selections from HWA's Poetry Showcase Volume III

It is an honor and a pleasure to present the latest episode of our humble podcast, which is guaranteed to entertain, even as it terrifies and provokes. The usual bill of fare for The Bare Knuckle Podcast, you say? Well, yes and no. If you're a regular visitor, you know that your host, Pete Mesling, does his level best to keep you on the edge of your seat by reading the scariest fiction he can drum up, both his own and that of other writers. This time around, the goals are the same, but the fodder is verse instead of fiction.

In fact, all selections for episode 29 have been culled from the Horror Writers Association's Poetry Showcase Volume III, which is edited by David E. Cowen and available now as an ebook and as a paperback from

But far be it for us to stand between you and the enjoyment that awaits you for a single moment more than is necessary, so behold the following list of poems read in this episode, given in the order in which they are narrated ...

“Another Match," by Rob E. Boley
“Death Waits", by Angela Yuriko Smith
"The Trappings of Poetry," by Michael A. Arnzen
“Alice After," by Lisa Lepovetsky
"The Straw Man," by Lisa Morton
"The Lady in White," by K. A. Opperman
"Enough," by Bruce Boston
“Self-Portrait as Bad 1950’s Science Fiction Movie,” by Jeannine Hall Gailey
“Wolf Waltz," by Lucy A. Snyder
“Night among the Dead: 1867," by Marge Simon
“The Shed," by Annie Neugebauer
“The Ghost Subway,” by Alessandro Manzetti
“Xiana’s Skull,” by Nancy Etchemendy
“Vigil,” by Rose Blackthorn
“Gratitude," by Pete Mesling

We hope you enjoy this unique foray into the realm of dark poetry, fellow passengers to the grave, and may it tide you over until our paths cross again.

Pleasant journeys.

UPDATE: You can now read Mesling's "Gratitude" for free at his None So Deaf blog!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

New Work from Our Very Own Pete Mesling!

Bare Knuckle narrator Pete Mesling has back-to-back poems out this month. Click on the images below for purchasing options. And stay tuned for a special poetry episode of the podcast. Coming soon!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Episode 28: McCallum Swain, Mesling - SPAWN OF THE RIPPER

We are back with a fully functioning episode, ladies and gentlemen, and you are welcome to partake. Considering the interval between this and the last full episode, we understand if your patience for preamble is at a minimum, and so we oblige by sticking to the basics with this brief post.

The readings in episode 28 are of John McCallum Swain's "The Wolf Who Never Was" and Pete Mesling's "The Private Ambitions of Arthur Hemming," both from the recent Spawn of the Ripper anthology from April Moon Books. You'll learn more about both stories through Mesling's observations in the actual episode, but for the uninformed, Spawn of the Ripper is a tribute to the Hammer and Amicus horror films of yesteryear. And let's just say that fans of Oliver Reed are in for an especially unique treat with McCallum Swain's excellent tale.

One other thing worth pointing out here is that editor Neil Baker has done something unique with the illustrations for this anthology. He has personally produced images for each story that emulate the look and feel of movie posters from the good old days of British horror cinema. So, between that and all the compelling Gothic fiction between its covers, you really owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Spawn of the Ripper.

Before we let you run free through the auditory landscape of episode 28, here's a bit of detail about John McCallum Swain:

He has lived in Canada, Germany, Scotland, and the United States, where he now shares his home with a small herd of cats. He began writing stories as a kid, progressing from longhand to typewriters to laptops while writing tales ranging from graphic horror to alternate history. Swain's stories have appeared in 4POCALYPSE, 4RCHETYPES, WEIRD MENACE VOLUME 2, SPAWN OF THE RIPPER, PEELING BACK THE SKIN, BLOOD SWEAT & FEARS, and many other anthologies. His own titles include the horror and speculative fiction collections MY VILE BOUNTY and CALIFHORRORNIA, the novellas SMILE and THE UNICORN MAN, and the novel MADE IN THE U.S.A.

Pete Mesling, on the other hand, remains largely a mystery, even to himself. (Oh, all right, click here to learn more about him.)

That's it, folks. Now dig in!

UPDATE: You can now read Mesling's "The Private Ambitions of Arthur Hemming" for free at his None So Deaf blog!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Episode 27: Mesling - StokerCon 2016

This must be the shortest Bare Knuckle episode to date, but there's a reason for that. It's meant to tide all of you rabid Knuckleheads over until the long-overdue, full-scale fiction episode we have planned. One of the biggest reasons for such a lengthy delay in bringing that episode to you has been that your narrator, Pete Mesling, had to get his ducks in a row for the recent StokerCon event in Las Vegas. It was a big deal, and you might want to set your palate by clicking here and giving his brief pictorial blog post about it a quick look.

But the current episode is no mere filler. In addition to giving you a run-down of StokerCon 2016, Mesling reads one of the short stories from his current collection, None So Deaf. It's called "Barbicide," and we suspect you'll dig it.

So put your feet up, but only if you're sitting down. This one will go down fast, but it will stick to your ribs. The path to our next episode is short and direct and will feature fiction from the new anthology from April Moon Books, Spawn of the Ripper.

Until then, happy reading!

UPDATE: You can now read Mesling's "Barbicide" for free at his None So Deaf blog!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Episode 26: French, Mesling, Rapino - Black Ink Horror 7

Welcome back, everyone. This is a special episode of The Bare Knuckle Podcast in some ways. It's not for everyone. The three stories presented here originally appeared in Black Ink Horror #7. If you're familiar with the Black Ink series of fiction digests from Sideshow Press, you know that they were marked by some pretty extreme subject matter as well a generous number of detailed pen-and-ink illustrations. Episode 26 celebrates the spirit of those volumes and editor Tom Moran's oversight of the whole shebang.

This is also the first episode since the release of your woe-inspiring narrator's debut short story collection, None So Deaf. It's the first of two volumes from Books of the Dead Press and is currently available as an ebook, with print editions to follow soon. Please visit for more about this first installment of terrifying tales, and be on the lookout for the follow-up volume, None So Blind. Coming soon, as they say!

Now, back to the business at hand. First up in episode 26 is Aaron J. French's delightfully disturbing tale, "The Painting." The story speaks for itself, but here's some background on the author, for the uninitiated among you ...

Aaron J. French is a book editor for JournalStone Publishing and the Editor-in-Chief for Dark Discoveries magazine. He has edited several anthologies, including Songs of the Satyrs, Monk Punk & Shadow of the Unknown Omnibus, and The Gods of H.P. Lovecraft from JournalStone Publishing which includes new Mythos work from the biggest names in horror fiction, including Adam Nevill, Laird Barron, Bentley Little, Christopher Golden, Jonathan Maberry, Joe Lansdale, and Seanan McGuire. 2014 saw the publication of The Chapman Books, a supernatural thriller collection from Uncanny Books featuring Aaron's novella The Stain. His single-author collection, Aberrations of Reality, was published by Crowded Quarantine Publications and it is the first book to collect Aaron's fiction focusing on the occult, metaphysics, and the weird. His zombie collection Up From Soil Fresh was published by Hazardous Press in 2013; also in 2013 The Order, an occult thriller novella about a Lovecraftian secret society, was published in the Dreaming in Darkness collection. Look for Aaron's brand new hard-boiled Lovecraftian novella The Dream Beings from Samhain Publishing!

After French's "The Painting," you will hear narrator Pete Mesling's own story from Black Ink Horror #7, "Voices in the Crawlspace." Again, these stories are meant to shock and surprise, so we don't want to get into spoiler territory here, but we hope you enjoy this product of Mesling's deranged mind.

We end with what is probably the most appalling tale of the program: "Loosely Enforced Rules," by Anthony J. Rapino. I'm not sure that I'd know how to preface this one even if I was inclined to do so. It's just as well that you delve into it unarmed, as long as you're not squeamish about your sex and violence.

Anthony, by the way, is a horror writer and sculptor who resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, somewhere between the concrete of the city and the trees of the forest. On occasion, you'll find him moderating the feverish battles between the creatures of these two arenas. Whose side he's on is anyone's guess. His first novel, Soundtrack to the End of the World, is currently available, as are a number of audio books, ebooks, and sculptures. Be sure to check out his Candy Corn Apocalypse shop, and brave his YouTube channel ... if you dare.

And that's it, folks. What are you waiting for? Dive into another alarming episode of The Bare Knuckle Podcast, and good luck clawing your way back out. You'll need it, for there is no one to take your hand at the lip of this abyss, and no one to hear you scream when you fall.
UPDATE: You can now read Mesling's "Voices in the Crawlspace" for free at his None So Deaf blog!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

News: Pete Mesling's Debut Collection of Short Fiction Available Now!

Pete Mesling - None So Deaf
I know, I know. We've kept you loyal Knuckleheads waiting an untenable length of time for a new fix of the podcast. That's just the kind of sadistic dealers we are. We like to let that addiction build to a fever pitch before we assuage it.

Kidding, of course. We have a hell of an installment planned for you, and you'll get all the details very soon. But first, please take a moment to celebrate the fact that our narrator, Pete Mesling, has a new book of terrifying fiction out from Books of the Dead Press! Also please considering buying it! It will encourage him more than you know, and it comes with karma points for you. It's what all the cool kids are calling a win/win.

Thank you, and we'll be back before you know it.