By The Fire Edpisode 141: Challenge 5: Horror Romance poems

Hey Horror addicts, we just had our fourth challenge in the horroraddicts.net Next Great Horror Writer Challenge. The challenge for this episode was to write a 650 to 700-word horror poem. The poem could be rhyming or free form. Writers needed to know how to convey a romantic situation and will be judged on sexiness, style and creating a horror romance theme.

Combining romance and horror in a poem can be even harder than writing on one topic or the other, but if you think about it romance and horror are topics that go hand in hand. For instance, if someone loves someone and that person doesn’t love them back it could be considered horror. Also, the idea of losing someone you love to death is a topic that scares everyone. One good example of a horror romance poem that I can think of is a song by Alice Cooper called This House Is Haunted. This song reads like a poem and it’s about a man living in a house haunted by his dead lover. Though if you look at the lyrics they could be interpreted as something different in someone else’s eyes and that’s what makes poetry complicated.

The Next Great  Writer Challenge is really putting the participants to the test. The whole point of this competition is to get writers to flex their literary muscles and this challenge does just that. In my opinion writing, poetry can be harder than writing a short story or even a novel. Poems are all about emotion and expressing emotion isn’t always easy. I think it’s hard to get your message across in a poem and then there is a whole other aspect to it which is getting your audience to understand what you’re trying to say.

A reader can interpret a poem that you wrote in lots of different ways. You may have written it but the reader might not get your message and instead get a completely different idea from what your work. You have to have a certain mindset to write poetry and a certain mindset to understand it. I have to admit that I usually have a hard time understanding poetry but there are some out there that I enjoy.

My favorite poem is Death by Emily Dickenson. This is a short poem but there is so much meaning here and so much is being said that to me it comes across as brilliant. I always thought the main idea she was trying to get across was her fear of death and how she wishes she was immortal. Though if you could talk to her about it, she might say that she had something completely different in mind. Emily Dickenson may not have been considered a horror poet but to me, that one is pretty scary.

When most people think of horror poets they think of Edgar Allen Poe or Lord Byron, but there is a lot more out there if you are willing to look. Do you have a favorite horror romance poem or just a favorite poem in general? Have you written some poetry that you want to share? Let us know in the comments and while you’re at it, let us know what you thought of the poems in episode 141.

David’s Haunted Library: The End Is All We See

The End Is All We See  contains two horrific stories from M.F Wahl and A.J. Brown. The book begins with intros from each author saying that when they met they wanted to try an experiment together. This book became that experiment. Both authors felt that their writing style complimented each other nicely and they both had story ideas which happen after an apocalypse.

The first story is Purple Haze by M.F. Wahl. It follows a band of survivors who left Earth in a spaceship in order to find another Earth-like planet to live on. The ship crash lands on a beautiful looking planet but there are only three survivors. The crew realizes their situation is bleak and things get worse as they explore outside the ship and discover something in the air is making them want to harm themselves and each other. Purple Haze becomes a blood bath with a shocking ending. M.F. Wahl uses vivid imagery to describe her characters situation and the planet they are exploring. What happens to the explorers is described so well that it’s enough to make you thankful for the air you breathe.

The next story is Run For The Flame by A.J. Brown. It starts simply enough with a bunch of teenagers behind a protective wall, about to race up a snow covered hill. There is more here than meets the eye though, they are living through an ice age and the wall they live behind is breaking down, their only hope is a tower on top of the hill.  The teenagers have a short period of time to retrieve a flame in the tower before they freeze to death. The problem is nobody has ever survived the run and without the flame, the community will die. This was an excellent story, the ending was a little confusing but I love all the characters. They are in a race against time, facing an impossible task but each one has a different emotional reaction to the situation. You feel for all of them and watching them go through what they do is excruciating.

What both of these stories have in common is a fresh spin on an old idea, they both take place after a catastrophic event and what transpires next is something that I haven’t seen in Science fiction or horror. Both authors tell an excellent story and the length of each one can be described as perfect. They’re short but pack a punch that you might not recover from.  To say their experiment worked is an understatement and I hope this isn’t the last collaboration between these authors.

 

Horror Artist Profile: J.E. Richards

One of the benefits of being on the HorrorAddicts.net Staff is you get to talk to some talented creative people that have a love of horror. Here is an interview I recently did with artist J.E. Richards. J.E. is someone who was inspired to draw by the comics and magazines he grew up with and when he got older he used that passion for art as a way to express his feelings about the area he grew up in:

Where are you originally from?

I was born in Milwaukee and grew up there until I was 11. Our family then bought a 7-acre farmstead in Fon du Lac Co., just north of Auburn Lake and east of Campbellsport. We stayed there until I was 17, then moved back closer to the Milwaukee metro area living in Menomonee Falls, which is where I graduated HS in 1985.

When did you start drawing?

I started drawing about the age of 3 or 4 if I remember right, about normal for children I would guess. I just never gave up! My brother and dad were collectors of the magazines at the time, early to mid ’70’s, there was always a lot of Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella and the Savage Sword of Conan laying about and of course, I read them mainly for the artwork. I collected a lot of Spiderman, Conan the Barbarian, John Carter Warlord of Mars and various other titles and spent countless hours at the kitchen table with loose leaf paper and pencils. The magazine Starlog and then later Fangoria were influential as well, along with Star Trek, Quark, Space 1999 and of course Star Wars. Pretty much a very fertile ground for imagination. Halloween and vintage black and white horror movies were a mainstay, and I spent hours building Aurora monster models besides the PMC line of Pirates of the Carribean series (these things had rubber bands you could attach to the arms of the skeleton pirates, they called it Zap! Action, it was great because they could swing a cutlass or pop out of a treasure chest.) In HS I took several classes on basic art and drawing and learned how perspective, shadowing, shading and composition worked

What inspired you to draw?

I was inspired to draw because I really liked and respected the way an illustration could augment a paperback story or tell a tale in sequential art. Comic artists are among the most talented yet underrated individuals because they have to command anatomy, facial features, landscapes, vehicle, buildings, equipment and everything else in between and be able to organize those images in a way that would flow and make sense even without the script and writing. I have always loved concept art and rough storyboarding as well (Starlog always had good features on those), and the ink drawings that Frank Frazetta accomplished were inspiring. Somewhere along this timeframe, I decided I liked black and white ink work.

What do you use to draw with?

When I draw I start with a basic #2 pencil on white paper, do a thumbnail, and once it’s good I’ll move onto 11 x 14 or 11x 17 Strathmore Bristol and take it from there with either Micron markers or even Sharpies. I tried the Kohinoor Rapidograph pens for a while, but though they are an excellent product, I ended up taking too much time cleaning the tips out, replenishing ink, cleaning up spilled ink and so on, so I’ve streamlined it a bit now.

How long does it take for you to do your art?

On the average, it will take me about 3 to 4 hours to complete a piece. The images that are on the Deviant Art website were all about that time span once I knew how it was going to look. That’s the most time-consuming aspect, meaning I can have a nebulous idea that I want to make a reality but I’ve learned that if I force it, it will turn into a labor and will look wrong. However, if someone approaches me with a rough idea that they have I can create a few options fairly quickly.

Can you tell us about your book The Last Breath?

The first book, A Last Breath, was conceived one August night back in 2011 when I was feeling that slight chill in the air as autumn was beginning to surface and it reminded me of the years spent on that farm in Wisconsin and all of the memories associated with it. I sat down at my dedicated drawing table ( no more working from a chipped formica and brass legged kitchen table for me) and started to do rough sketches of how those years made me feel : the fields at dusk, the smell of hay in the barn, the shadows between the silos and the splintery wreckage of barbed wire, fence posts and rusted tools, and above all the magic I always felt in a pumpkin patch or rows of endless corn stalks as the daylight faded and I knew there were things that moved about in the dark places while the world slept.

Knife Jack was the first character, soon followed by Chop Block, which kind of gave me the creeps because I had never created something like him, and in the months that followed I kept up the momentum to address every memory and imaginative musing I had out there on the edges of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Unseen things, noises in the night that you were sure was no opossum, deer or raccoon, but at the same time not alarmed because I didn’t pose a threat and so they passed me by.

However, I started to develop the idea of folklorish characters specifically created to balance the scales and make the bad guys afraid of what lives out there, and so the one-page flash fiction began for each of the 13 new entities. (I wasn’t trying to be trendy and cool by having 13 characters, my original intent was to do a set of 20 images because I like even numbers, but after Crone, my creative visualization literally shut off. This was now in Feb 2012, so I had been putting pen to paper for months trying to capture what was trying to be expressed, and it finally ran its course).

So I wrote. I wrote the words and quick vignettes I have always wanted to read but could never find. They were of cause and effect, action and consequences of a sort. If a question is asked or guidance sought, there may be a price to pay or if an individuals’ actions caused harm to others through malicious intent, well, they just might have to face something they only heard about in whispered campfire tales. Thus A Last Breath was born.

The photo on the cover is our house on the hill where I lived for those formative years, right off of Hwy D or DD, I don’t know what it’s called now, I just know I can still find it on Google Earth and it looks pretty much the same, not far from New Prospect and Mauthe Lake.

The stories were fine tuned a bit and I looked for self-publishing options which led me to Amazon and Create Space. This proved to be a good decision and since then we have established our business front of Last Breath Studios. In the last few years, we have participated in local venues, Halloween vendor shows and the fall festivals in Apple Hill, CA.

The second compilation of art and writing has been published under the title of “Cailleach Teine”, translated as Witch Fire in the Gaelic language, and is more traditional with longer stories and less artwork but still retains the feel of the first book with references to the original. In this work, I established the foundation for a third book, now a novel, The Moths Of Autumn.

How long did it take to bring it all together?

To bring all of this together takes a bit of time and effort, but depending on the project size the Last Breath Team can make ideas a reality in record time. The original artwork took 3 months from beginning to end, the flash fiction stories another month. In Cailleach Teine, the process was reversed in that I wrote the stories first and completed artwork later, but there is always a bit of crossover and flexibility.

What are you currently working on?

Currently, I am working on a project dealing with the Undead in Railroad era late 1800’s
Western America.

A new stylized theme of retro-modern Halloween characters is also on the drawing board and pencil concepts are in progress as of this writing.

In addition, there is a great amount of work being done on a joint venture with Travis Jensen and Jed Lean, co-creators of the newest children’s Halloween tradition, Harvest Jack: 13 Nights of Hallow.

Where can people find you on the internet?

The internet presence is:

 

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: Stephanie Ellis

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is Stephanie Ellis who took some time to tell us about the book and her writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

My story, Hands of Time, takes place in the subterranean world of Wonderland, in the dark dungeons and cellars no one ever really thinks about. Their existence, never referred to, must be real, after all the Queen of Hearts was always arresting her subjects and demanding their beheading. So, where did these miscreants go and who despatched them? This is where the Executioner comes in, a hooded figure shrouded in secrecy … like the world he inhabits. And like all people with a trade, he has his apprentices. These are his hands, one of whom will become chosen as his successor. Together with the TimeKeeper, who is in charge of the Queen’s clocks, he selects Rab as the one to follow his trade. But how is this choice made and what happens to the other hands … well, you’ll just have to read the story.

What inspired the idea?

“Off with their heads!” The line that everyone remembers. But whether you read the book or watch the film, you never see much of the Executioner. I wanted to know more about him and his world. I also played around with the different meanings for the word ‘hands’ – hands on a clock, work hands, actual flesh and blood hands (although not for long!!) and linked them all together. And suddenly an idea was born.

When did you start writing?

Several years ago, mostly privately and just ‘scribbling’, I didn’t think about doing anything more serious. Then about four years ago I saw a submission call for a horror anthology, thought it looked like fun, so had a go. It wasn’t successful as it didn’t quite fit but the feedback was positive so I tried again and this time got in. The then editor, Theresa Derwin (now of Quantum Corsets), was extremely supportive, and took other stories of mine for other anthologies. This encouraged me to try the wider market and here I am. Slow but sure.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

The darkness of the soul! Whatever I write, it always ends up dark. Some stories feature a bit of blood and gore but it’s not by any means all ‘slice and dice’ and only a few have standard horror tropes, ie tend to avoid vampires and werewolves. I prefer to hint at darkness, build up a sense of horror in setting and atmosphere, twist what might seem innocent at first.

What are some of your influences?

It goes without saying that Stephen King is one of them, he is amazing at creating such a real sense of place and time. He also shows that horror can be written in many different ways and he is certainly never repetitive. Ray Bradbury, particularly for Something Wicked This Way Comes, again the atmosphere, the characters, and its gothic feel. Then there’s Shirley Jackson, Edgard Allan Poe. But it’s not only these more famous authors. There are other writers I’ve met online, particularly a small Flash Fiction community called the FlashDogs and they have pushed me to raise my own standards. We compete against each other weekly in flash competitions and there are some amazingly dark people amongst them, particularly David Shakes, Mark A. King, Tamara Rogers to name but a few. The latter two have also recently published their first novels.

Another influence isn’t a book or a writer but a place. I grew up in an isolated rural area in a country pub, The Cider House in Shropshire . And something that’s always stayed with me is the atmosphere of that area and the feelings it generated: getting off the school bus and then facing the long walk home along narrow country lanes in gathering dusk; of the stillness before storms when birds stopped singing, branches stopped rustling and everything seemed to be waiting; of fog shrouding the fields and woods around the pub and walking through those mists and becoming totally disoriented. It always made me feel there was ‘something else’ at work around us and that’s an element I try to include in my writing.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

The evil man can do, how it could even be considered. I just can’t comprehend how some people can commit the atrocities you hear of in the world today. What is it that drives them? Is it this idea of the Devil, is it a disturbed mental state? Who actually pulls the strings to create the nightmares? Perhaps there is more ‘out there’, a supernatural realm. Horror allows you to explore this darkness, consider the ‘What Ifs’. It makes you think and shakes you up but always delivers you safely on the other side … it keeps the monsters between the pages.

What are some of the works you have available?

I have had a number of short stories published in horror anthologies, all available over at amazon but I would like to mention the following in particular:

The Infernal Clock, co-edited by myself and David Shakes which has a story for every hour of the day. It features two of my stories, The Graveyard Shift-a new take on the Sandman legend-and Whispers which centers on a dysfunctional family in a haunted house.

Weird Ales Volume 1 (edited by the wonderful Theresa Derwin) which includes my story The Yowling, cider-making taken to a whole new level!

Masks edited by Dean M. Drinkel (again, another very supportive editor) which contains my story The Face Collector, a gothic story in which the Devil always collects.

What are you currently working on?

I have just finished my novel Black Switch, a near-future, industrial-type horror I suppose you would call it. What happens when humans run out of fuel, out of electricity but then discover a way of turning the lights back on; a way which could only be described as immoral. If you discovered someone had the ‘capacity’ to become a human battery, would you plug them into a Generator just so someone else could have a hot bath? Would you, could you trade another person just to save a member of your own family knowing what that trade would lead to?
The book is now out with a small group to beta-read before I take any further steps with it. To get over the nerves whilst I await their response I’ve started to mull over ideas for a new novel and since my Hands of Time story featured an Executioner, the whole idea of what ‘makes’ an executioner has stuck in my mind.

Where can we find you online?

I’m @el_Stevie on Twitter and can also be found at http://stephellis.weebly.com/ where my blog is usually only randomly updated. I’m hoping to improve on that slightly this year though.

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: K.L. Wallis

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is K.L. Wallis who took some time to tell us about the book and her writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

My story is called ‘Half Past’. It is about a woman who follows a mysterious man though the subway and somehow travels back in time to the late 1800s where she finds the world turned on its head; instead of the patriarchal norms of the past Alyssa finds herself in a world where women are the superior sex and the moral boundaries of the 21st century no longer exist.

What inspired the idea?

I’m not quite sure. I experiment with my writing, and I think that is what ‘Half Past’ is. Hearing about the theme of this anthology pushed me to see if I could meet the challenge.

When did you start writing?

I wrote down the initial idea about a year ago, but due to having limited time to work on my own writing, I only really started to pull it together a few weeks before I submitted it to Horror Addicts.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I write a lot of Gothic fiction, but to different degrees depending on the story. I find a lot of my work crosses a couple of genres. I find most often I end up writing mythology and legend or fairytale inspired stories.

What are some of your influences?

I am quite heavily influenced by music, things I have seen on television shows, things I have read in other literature, or real life history or mythology. I like to explore in my writing why people do the things they do, quite often writing from the point of view of the villain.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

Horror ties in well with my Gothic focus, so I guess it’s a natural theme for me to write about. Horror is interesting as it shows the darker side of humanity, and in the manner of fairytale, is often cautionary. As I am currently researching in my honours thesis, horror ‘figures’ – such as the Grim Reaper, vampires, zombies etc. – are often the physical manifestation on the page (or screen) of deeper human fears.

What are some of the works you have available?

My short story Briar was published as a part of last year’s Horror Addicts Anthology – Once Upon a Scream. Three other of my short stories – A Woman Scorned, Burnt and In Limbo – were published online in the July, August and September issues of The Australia Times – Fiction.

What are you currently working on?

My honours thesis is currently absorbing all of my spare time, unfortunately, leaving me little time to write creatively. I have however, several incomplete stories I hope to return to very soon – a retelling of a Greek myth, a vampire novel and a chic lit I started forever ago.

Where can we find you online?

My online presence is minimal at the moment – another thing I am hoping to work on later in the year. My business website can be found at: https://restrictedquill.wordpress.com/.

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: Emerian Rich

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. The editor and one of the authors in this anthology is Emerian Rich who took some time to tell us about the book and her writing:

What inspired you to put this anthology together?

I’ve always enjoyed the thought of Alice. Is she really travelling in a strange world? Is she dreaming? Is she mental? I’ve also always enjoyed clocks, watches, time in general fascinates me because I never have enough of it. Is someone robbing me of the time? Is my life clock wound extra fast? I always feel like my time is short.

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

“Midnight Dance” revolves around the clock tower in the center of Wonderland and how it has somehow changed the residents in to zombies. The Hatter is the only one who knows and he spends a never-ending Groundhog Day-like series of evenings trying to fix the problem.

What inspired the idea?

I’ve always been fascinated with time and the thought of a second chance, or third, or fourth. What would you do differently if you had the chance and would it change the outcome? Or are we trapped in our destiny that will find us no matter how we try to change it?

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing all my life. First in journals, and then about 6th grade I wrote my first “novel” but still, I didn’t really know I wanted to be a writer till in my 20’s. I always just thought they were silly little stories I wrote for myself only. I recently had a blog about my first story here:
https://emzbox.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/my-first-story-emerian-rich/

What are your favorite topics to write about?

Subjects vary wildly with me. I like vampires, ghosts, spooky things…but I also enjoy a good love story. If it’s a horror love story, all the better.
What are some of your influences?

The question should be, “What doesn’t influence me?” I am influenced by so much, from a chance conversation in the grocery store to today’s headlines, to an art opening, to my favorite authors like Anne Rice, Andrew Neiderman, and Jane Austen.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

There is a feeling of comfort and homecoming about reading or watching a really good classic horror tale. It’s something you either feel or don’t. Those of us who get it, adore it. I don’t think it’s something I can really explain if you don’t feel it.

What are some of the works you have available?

Gothic and Fantasy Adult Coloring Book

Costumes, creatures, celebrations, and story characters set the stage for a coloring experience like no other. How far will your imagination take you? Enter the world of Emerian Rich, a place where reality steps aside allowing fantasy to take hold. Where each picture tells a story and the stories are only hampered by your imagination. 48 DESIGNS TO COLOR.

Artistic License

Leslie Marietta is the last known heiress of a palatial estate just south of Los Angeles. When she takes possession of her birthright, sudden creative inspiration allows her to paint alive anything she imagines. Enchantment and wonder transform her life into a fairytale, but as with all fairy tales, there is a dark presence. Phantom servants sneak through the house, horrifying shadow creatures threaten to destroy her, and a band of Edwardian house guests are trapped in the walls.
Lord Ashton Northing is a man of property and situation, with a duty to his people that could tear him from his new love, Leslie. Can Ashton convince Leslie she is worthy of her legacy in time to save them from the evil that dwells in her house?
Night’s Knights

Vampires on a quest for knowledge attempt to create the perfect offspring, but from the shadows, an even more demonic evil threatens their immortality. Markham is a simple Irish immigrant striving for the American dream in 1860 when coach robbers cause his untimely death. Severina is an exotic beauty from the jungles of Brazil whose family is brutally murdered by the same man she later calls her lover. Julien is a knight who serves as a guardian angel to his family but has no clue about his predestined fate. Will a powerful mortal named Jespa be the one to save them all?

What are you currently working on?

My vampire sequel, Dusk’s Warriors. It will be coming out this summer and I am very excited about it! My poor Biters have been waiting since 2009 for the next book.

Where can we find you online?

http://www.emzbox.com

 

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: N McGuire

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is N McGuire who took some time to tell us about the book and her writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

The story that I wrote for Clockwork Wonderland is Riddle. The Mad Hatter’s tea party gets a little more twisted.

What inspired the idea?

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I can remember, but maybe even before that – making up fantastic stories about the lives of my toys.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I don’t think that I have a favorite. Generally I write whatever funny idea ping-pongs around in my head long enough that it get’s written.

What are some of your influences?

Christoper Pike, R.L Stine, Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Ernest Hemmingway, Margaret Atwood, Lynn Townsend, Charlaine Harris, Jen Lancaster, Janet Evanovich, J.K. Rowling – if I keep going this list is going to get pretty darn long…

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

Killing without the mess or arrest

What are some of the works you have available?

Riddle is the first publication I have under the pseudonym N. McGuire. My other publications are more adult (sex, sex, sex) in nature.

What are you currently working on?

World domination.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me on most social media as @oopswrongcookie or at www.oopswrongcookie.com