Chilling Chat Episode 155 Courtney Mroch

C. Le Mroch is the horror nom de plume for Courtney Lynn Mroch. Courtney is the C. Le MrochAmbassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism for Haunt Jaunts, a website for restless spirits.

 As C. Le Mroch, she’s published The Shadow Stalker and edited the anthology, Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they?

When it comes to horror, Courtney has great taste. We discussed several things, including: horror/comedy, writing, and her unconventional anthology.

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Courtney! Thank you for chatting with me.

CM: Thank you so much for having me!

NTK: “Haunt Jaunts” used to be a paranormal travel site and radio show but has recently changed. Tell us about “Haunted Headlines” and what those entail.

CM: Haunted Headlines is a new weekly series of posts and videos I started doing in April of this year. In the posts, I share all sorts of Haunted Headlines I’ve come across for the week. Then, I highlight the best—which to me usually means the funniest or most outrageous—in a video. I post these to HJ’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

NTK: What got you interested in “Haunted Headlines?” Have you always enjoyed humor and horror?

CM: Oh, yes! Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE straight horror, the kind that terrifies and lingers long after it’s been consumed, but I also love humor. The Haunted Headlines were sort of a whim. Around April Fool’s Day, I made all sorts of prank headlines. And, I’m always sharing paranormal, horror, and Halloween related links on my social media. The light just sort of clicked to get a green screen and combine it with pictures and funny commentary about the stories I come across each week. Well, to me, it’s funny. Not sure if others share my same humor.

NTK: When did you become involved in horror? How old were you and what drew you to the genre?

CM: I think I was three when I got my first taste of horror. It’s actually one of my first memories. I couldn’t sleep or something. That part, I don’t remember. All I remember is being up late, wandering out in the living room, turning on the TV, and finding an old horror movie on. I have no idea which one it was. I turned it on during a scene with a dungeon and stone spiral steps and scary music. I’m not sure if one of the characters screamed or if I did, but my dad came racing out to find me up watching it and was livid. I think because that whole incident terrified, yet intrigued me, horror was like this forbidden no-no. And I was always the kid who had to touch the stove to find out for myself if it was hot so…I’ve sought out horror ever since. Part of me thinks I’m on a quest to discover that old movie. I’ve watched A LOT of horror movies but I never have figured out what that movie was…yet.

NTK: I hope you find that movie. What’s your favorite horror/comedy?

CM: Horror/Comedy…that’s a tough one. Shaun of the Dead always comes to mind and so does Zombieland. But, after streaming Tucker and Dale vs. Evil a couple years ago, I think that’s now my fave. I wasn’t expecting to like it and found myself laughing out loud and cracking up.

NTK: Are these films among your favorite movies?

CM: Actually, those are not among my favorite horror movies. My faves are: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dawn of the Dead (2005), Night of the Comet, and The Night of the Hunter with Robert Mitchum (which isn’t technically horror but it scared me.)

NTK: I love the “Night” theme there. What are your favorite horror books?

CM: As far as books, it took me forever to read because Stephen King’s IT because it creeped me out so bad. It’s always a sentimental fave. Dean Koontz’s Phantoms also ranks up there high on my list.

NTK: I have to ask. Do you prefer King or Koontz?

CM: It’s such a tough choice between King and Koontz. I like them both for different reasons. Depends on the mood.

NTK: What about TV? What shows do you like?

CM: I think we now have access to some of the best horror TV shows in the history of the Boob Tube. There are so many great modern shows. Loved the first few American Horror Stories. Haven’t been as crazy about the rest, but I’ve watched. All except Hotel. Couldn’t make it through that one. Gaga for Netflix’s Stranger Things and Dark. Loved The Kettering Incident and Black Spot on Amazon Prime. The French version of The Returned was also stellar. I liked the psychological aspect. I also like Tagged and Scream.

NTK: Do these movies, books, and TV shows inspire you when you write? What inspires you?

CM: I’m not always inspired by other books or TV shows/movies when I write. Life usually provides fodder. Or friends will make some random comment that sparks something. Although, I do have to say a Twilight Zone episode (“The After Hours”) inspired my forthcoming book, Reaper Pines, about an abandoned town where mannequins were once manufactured.

NTK: What’s your writing process like? Are you a planner or a pantser?

CM: PANTSER!!! Unequivocally! (Laughs.)

NTK: So, you just sit down and go from there? No outline?

CM: I usually have some nugget that sparks me and I run from there and let it do the driving. I just do the typing.

Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories...or are they? by [Carl Barker, Black, Alice J., Charman, Barry, Dicken, Evan, Ealy, Sean, Karabin, Keith, Lin, S. Mickey, Rich, Emerian, Teutsch, Ken]NTK: Let’s talk about your anthology, Shadow People and Cursed Objects: 13 Tales of Terror Based on True Stories…or are they? What inspired you to create this anthology?

CM: The idea for the anthology came about after I learned [the film] The Fourth Kind was not actually based on true events and the true filmed events supposedly included in the film were just other actors too. I thought it’d be neat to have something where readers could try and figure out if stories were based on true ones or not. So, I guess that IS an instance where a movie inspired me. (Laughs.)

NTK: Your story, “The Gypsy’s Curse,” is included in the anthology. What made you write the story?

CM: I honestly don’t remember what inspired me to write “The Gypsy’s Curse.” All I really remember about writing it is I did it shortly after we moved from Phoenix, Arizona to Jacksonville, Florida. I think I was going through a gypsy phase, or maybe a curse phase, or maybe both. (Laughs.) But, that story was one that just wrote itself as soon as it hit.

NTK: Speaking of curses, Season 13 of HorrorAddicts.net is CURSED! Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?

CM: Oh, that’s a great question! There are so many intriguing alleged curses, right? This is a bit of a spoiler alert but, there is another story in Shadow People. It’s in cursed up Jack’s about the Busby Chair. I had never heard of that person until I read that author’s story, which is titled, “The Busby Chair.” It’s by Alice J. Black.

The Kennedy Family Curse also intrigues me. They’ve certainly had their fair share of sorrow!

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What do we, as readers, have to look forward to?

CM: Well, I’ll have Reaper Pines coming out soon. That’s a horror novel about a couple stranded in a ghost town with possibly haunted mannequins and an escaped mental patient. Hopefully, that’ll be available in mid-September. I also have a couple of Haunt Jaunts guides in the works: Schooled by Ghosts: What Ghosts Can Teach You and Macabre Museums.

NTK: Courtney, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you for sitting down with me.

CM: Naching, THANK YOU SO MUCH for this wonderful chat.

Addicts, check out Haunt Jaunts on Facebook and Twitter. And, join us for the next episode of Chilling Chat in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Jolene: A Ghost Story

Jolene: A Ghost Story by Casey Wickstrom

Review by Ariel DaWintre

Jolene: A Ghost Story is a great story! It starts with four guys, Jacob, Joshua, Billy, and Clyde, moving out together. The story is told in first person with Clyde narrating the story. The four characters are very likable and they are clearly very close. The roommates are all different and you get a true sense of their personalities in the writing. You can relate to the characters because they are young, on their own for the first time, and having fun. They all work and when they aren’t working, they are having lots of fun partying at home.

The roommates start having weird things happen at the house, but they don’t really think much about it and are not sure if they imagined it. Later, when they have people come over, they make light of it and give the ghost a name.  As the story goes on, they start to realize they are all having the same dream and of the same person. She is identifying herself by the name they gave her. The ghost’s intentions seem very innocent at first and she comes off as disarming. Although Clyde starts to have his doubts, and slowly the other roommates do too, all except one. They try to do the basic research and questions about where she came from but don’t really get answers.

As the story takes on a dark twist, the free-spirited guys start to become alarmed, but it’s too late. Jolene starts to divide and conquer. The house and the guys will never be the same.

Don’t expect a happy ending, but for horror lovers, the story keeps your interest and is engaging all the way to the end.

Although we get a little backstory on the ghost, I would have liked even more, even if it wasn’t really needed for the story. I would love to see a part two or a continuation because the author leaves you with wanting more.

Crescendo of Darkness Tour: 3DX Party tonight!

CRAIGMAN, aka A. Craig Newman,
invites you to come celebrate the release of “Crescendo of Darkness”,
a music-themed horror anthology,
which includes Craig’s original story,
“Circe’s Music Shop”!

June 14 from 6 PM to 11 PM @ The Pyramids

Come on out to dance or swim or whatever else makes you happy.
Win Door prizes and a chance to get a signed copy of the book!

http://3dxforum.com/index.php?/topic/6915-“crescendo-of-darkness”-book-launch-party-june-14-the-pyramids/#entry283322

Crescendo of Darkness Tour: 3DX Party, June 14th

CRAIGMAN, aka A. Craig Newman,
invites you to come celebrate the release of “Crescendo of Darkness”,
a music-themed horror anthology,
which includes Craig’s original story,
“Circe’s Music Shop”!

June 14 from 6 PM to 11 PM @ The Pyramids

Come on out to dance or swim or whatever else makes you happy.
Win Door prizes and a chance to get a signed copy of the book!

http://3dxforum.com/index.php?/topic/6915-“crescendo-of-darkness”-book-launch-party-june-14-the-pyramids/#entry283322

Book Review: Bad Man by Dathan Auerbach

Book Review: Bad Man by Dathan Auerbach

Ben has been searching for his missing brother, Eric, for five years. The three-year-old boy couldn’t have just vanished into thin air in the middle of a grocery store. Eric has to be somewhere. But Ben has run out of rocks to look under and life doesn’t seem to stop no matter what he does. To help support his family, he takes a job at the very store where Eric disappeared.

The night shift plays tricks on Ben’s brain, turning his days into a blur, like the Missing Person posters of Eric that have been copied so many times that the image warped into something that doesn’t even resemble him anymore. Things seem to move when no one is around. Items go missing. Others appear as if from nowhere. The building seems as if it’s trying to tell Ben something if only he could figure out what it is.

The strange occurrences renew Ben’s search, but someone doesn’t want him to find out what really happened to Eric. In small towns, someone always knows more than they say. In this case, everyone has something to hide. Even Ben.

Dathan Auerbach spins a wonderful web of intrigue and suspicion. I sat on edge through the whole book, unsure if I was going to encounter the paranormal or the darkest depths of humanity in each turn of the page.

Bad Man approaches a difficult setting, addressing poverty, abuse, mental illness, and grief in a powerful way. Auerbach doesn’t pull any punches with his descriptions and gives an unflinching account of real-life horror. The characters feel like real people. From Ben’s tenuous grasp on reality to the quiet, sinister nature of the store’s owner, there is depth to every character you meet. No one is safe from the dreadful suspicion in the book. Auerbach masterfully leads readers to conclusion after conclusion, never knowing if they are on the right track.

Bad Man leaves you feeling the way you do in a Walmart at two am. Everything feels overexposed, too brightly lit, too empty, too quiet. It isn’t the darkness that is frightening in Bad Man, it’s the blinding light that reveals that there is nothing there to see.

Auerbach’s prose is a delight to read. He includes masterful descriptions and insights throughout with lingering quotes that you’ll want to remember for yourself. The novel is artfully crafted from cover to cover, each word carefully chosen to draw you in at every turn.

Bad Man may not linger in your nightmares, but the effect is much deeper than that. It deals a slow sort of agony as you face the uncertainty of what happened to Eric and inevitable feeling that there is no happy ending for Ben. Even if Ben gets what he wants, will there ever really be an ending to his torture? The suspense lasts until the last page. It leaves a tingling feeling of dread that claws its way out of your bones and refuses to let you put it down.

Bad Man is a fantastic novel. If you are looking for a dark, atmospheric, gripping book, then make sure to pick up a copy.

Chilling Chat Episode 154 Crescendo of Darkness with Emerian Rich

Emerian Rich is the author of the Night’s Knights Vampire Series. She’s been included in many short story anthologies and also writes romance under Emmy Z. Madrigal. She is the horror hostess of HorrorAddicts.net and Editorial Director for the San Francisco Bay Area magazine, SEARCH. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. Find out more about Emerian at: http://www.emzbox.com

Our lovely horror hostess is a real scream. She took time out of her busy schedule to chat with me about Crescendo of Darkness, editing and publishing, and the new HorrorAddicts.net submission call.

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Emz. Thank you for chatting with me.

ER: I am so excited to be on here. I never get to chat with you except about HorrorAddicts.net business.

NTK: Crescendo of Darkness is the eighth book in the HorrorAddicts.net series of anthologies. How did it come about?emz1small

ER: I had been thinking about doing a music-themed horror anthology for a while. I had read A. Craig Newman’s “Circe’s Music Shop” back in the 90s—Yes! The 90s!—as part of a crit group I was part of online. The story stuck with me. I just loved it. So when Jeremiah Donaldson E-mailed me to say he wanted to do a music anthology, I said, “Yes! Under one condition…We have to have this guy’s story in the book.”

NTK: So, “Circe’s Music Shop” set the bar for the anthology?

ER: Yes, in a way. However, Jeremiah has a much different view of music than I do. He knows more about guitar/rock and you will see that a lot of the stories go down that road. For me, music is more melodic and dramatic. My favorite stories in the anthology are the ones that put off a spookier piano-y vibe. I think we got a really nice mix because we were both reviewing them.

NTK: Did you look for stories to surround “Circe’s Music shop?” What was your criteria for the stories you chose?

ER: We did not look for stories that fit with A. Craig’s. He might have put the idea in my head but, when we were reading, we just graded them by how much they moved, scared, or touched us. We were open to all interpretations. HorrorAddicts.net Press has a system for populating our anthologies. We have a team of four readers. The Editor, me, and two others from staff. We all read and grade. Whichever stories get the top grades, we publish. The Editor has veto power and can fight for one if it’s not in the top of the list but, mostly, the highest graded ones (meaning the ones that all of us enjoyed) are the ones that ultimately get into the book. Except yours, which won an award when graded by pros. Congratulations, by the way.

NTK: Thank you! “Audition” was a fun story to write for the Next Great Horror Writer Contest and I’m so honored to be included in Crescendo. We have another NGHW finalist included in the anthology. What attracted you to Daphne Strasert’s story?

ER: Well, as you know, we were only allowed to publish one story from the competition, that being yours, which we felt was the best out of the group. However, we allowed the other contestants to submit something else. When Daphne’s new one came in, I was happy to see it, because she is also a great writer. We graded hers just as all the others and she rang in to the top grades as well. I can’t speak for the others on the submission team, but for me, not only was Daphne’s so different from the others—starring a music box, not an instrument—but it’s also a really creepy story. Daphne’s voice is so fresh and contemporary. I could see this story being made into a movie like The Ring.

NTK: There are fourteen authors included in the anthology and you have a wonderful variety of stories. Can you give us a quick run-down of what the reader can expect to see within these pages?

ER: First, we have a good number of guitar-based stories. Your story, “Audition,” “Circe’s Music Shop” by A. Craig Newman, “Loved to Death,” by Sam Morgan Phillips, “While My Guitar Gently Bleeds,” by Benjamin Langley, “Six String Bullets,” by Cara Fox, and “A Whisper in the Air,” by Jeremiah Donaldson really reflect the cover. Then, we have piano themes in “Solomon’s Piano,” by Jeremy Megargee and “They Don’t Make Music Like That Anymore,” by Kahramanah. There are cursed objects like Daphne Strasert’s, “The Music Box,” and Sarah Gribble’s, “The Legend of Crimson Ivory.” “Lighthouse Lamentation,” by R.A. Goli involves a haunted lighthouse, while Calvin Demmer’s, “Keep the Beat,” is about a cursed village. H.E. Roulo’s, “Become the Music,” is about a child who is allergic to music and my story, “Last Lullaby,” is a re-imagining of the Phantom of the Opera tale.

NTK: Emz, as I mentioned before, this is HorrorAddicts.net’s eighth anthology. What made you become an editor and publisher?

ER: I’m not sure when I fell into all this. When I was in my 20s, I had a local ‘zine called Dark Lives. I would publish horror/goth authors and artists. In the early 2000s, I decided I better stop and get to work on my own novels. When I started HorrorAddicts.net as a podcast, I never even dreamed it would be what it is today. As you know, we are populated by fans and the staff that come to help spread the horror goodness. We became a blog and a site and a lifestyle for so many craving horror that publishing just seemed like a natural progression. Also, I love reading horror and I read so much by authors that haven’t been published before that I’m like…THIS is the stuff I want to read. But if no one is publishing it, then it can’t be enjoyed by other horror enthusiasts like me. I’m really interested in publishing things I like that may not fit the mainstream publishing system. Cool things I haven’t heard before. New ideas that aren’t the same rehashed formula we get in industry anthologies.

NTK: So, what is your favorite kind of horror? What movies, novels, and TV shows do you enjoy?

ER: I like classic horror. By classic, I don’t mean I always have to crouch by the light of the black and white set, straining my eyes to make out the grays of the darkly lit forest, I mean what we think of as classically spooky. The shutters banging, the ghost in the tower, the creaking doors, and melodramatic music. The Woman in Black, The Others, and Ghost Ship are some of my favorites. For TV, I am more into humorous horror themes like Reaper and Dead Like Me. But, I’m also a fan of shows like Ghost Whisperer, The Others (TV show from the 90s), and Midnight Texas. Reading is a whole different story. I really like Anne Rice and Andre Neiderman. My favorites of those two are Anne’s Pandora and Andrew’s Bloodchild. But, it’s been so long since I’ve been able to just sit and read for fun, it’s hard to pin any new author’s down. I am either reading shorts for anthologies reviewing a book for the show, or working on my own stuff. Oh, for the days of laying in bed or on the porch swing and reading! I want all those bored hours from my childhood back!

NTK: Do you write classic horror? Do your books and stories fit in that category?

ER: Now, that is something I haven’t been called on! Wow. I never thought about that. I have written a book like that, Artistic License. A woman inherits a house where anything she paints on the walls comes alive. My vampire work would probably be considered more like dark urban fantasy. Gritty, street kids, and Hell kind of stuff. However, now that you mention it. I think my love of classic horror is really coming out in my work in progress. I am re-imagining Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey in modern times. The heroine is now a goth girl who adores horror media. So, I’ve been injecting lines from movies, excerpts from classic books like The Grey Lady by Elizabeth Gaskell, and Witch House by Evangeline Walton, and even creating a little myself when seeing through the character’s eyes. Jane Austen is thought of as a romance writer but, this book (while it does have romance in it) is more like a love letter to all my favorite horror creators.

NTK: As you know, Emz, Season 13 is CURSED! We’ve talked about your favorite horror, what is your favorite curse?

ER: This is so tough! Omg…so many to choose from! Well, I can’t give you just one. I really like studying the curses surrounding the Titanic. I think it’s fascinating and just can’t get enough of the conspiracy theories there. I really like the Egyptian and mummy lore and the scarab devouring thing creeps me the hell out. But the coolest curses, I think, are the book curses. The ones we’ll be talking about later in the season about the books that have curses written inside them…“Those who lay their eyes upon this manuscript and have not pure intentions, shall be struck down by their maker,” kind of stuff. I had something happen to me in real life where I witnessed someone unable to read or decipher a book. It was a magick book that had an inscription in it about if the person didn’t believe or wasn’t pure of heart, they would not be able to read it. I could read every word as plain as day but, she was like…“What does it say? Is it some sort of code?” Really made an impact on how I consider book curses today. If that could work, why wouldn’t a curse in a book work?

NTK: What awesome curses! And, speaking of books, HorrorAddicts.net has a new submission call coming up. Could you tell us a little about Kill Switch and what you’re looking for?

ER: Yes, Kill Switch is Dan Shaurette’s brainchild. I will be looking for interesting, new, Black Mirror-like stories. I think Dan will have a more sci-fi accepting view, but they all must be horror, so I’m looking forward to reading some really great things. Tech horror is so interesting because we are living in an age where things like implanted chips and bionics are so close to us. Tech is going so fast and it’s not even the future anymore. It’s NEAR future. How will your tech terrorize the world?

Something new we are trying is a blind submission process. We will be grading stories before we know who wrote them. I’m interested to see how that turns out.

NTK: What does the future hold for you, Emz? What do we have to look forward to?

ER: Wow…you do ask the hard questions huh?

My goal is to keep writing and publishing unique and exciting horror with new ideas that we can all geek out on. Also, I plan to continue to support new horror writers and get their voices heard.

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Emz! It’s nice to talk to the lady behind the scenes of our favorite podcast and blog.

ER: Thank you for the interview! It’s rare that I get to be on the other side of the couch!

Crescendo of Darkness is available for purchase now. The submission call for Kill Switch ends on October 31, 2018.

Author Interviews at the Mount Holly Book Fair Part 2

 

Witches, Time Travel, and Shapeshifters!

 

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz was on the windy scene April 29, 2018 at the Mount Holly Book Fair to interview several Local Horror Authors…

 

Author JL Brown talks about her book The Burning Arbor, witches, tarot, and magic on and off the page. For more visit https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJLBrown/

 

 

Author Gary Frank talks about his book Forever will you Suffer, short fiction versus novels, time travel, the business of writing, and horror. For more visit http://authorgaryfrank.com/

 

 

Native American Storyteller Laura Kaign chats about her Earth Child series, science fiction, natural versus supernatural, dreams, YA, and storytelling. For more visit http://ladyhawkestorytelling.com

 

 

Special Thanks to the Mill Race Arts & Preservation for hosting The Mount Holly Book Fair.

 

Stayed tuned to HorrorAddicts.net for more Author Interviews and let us know what kind of video/media content you would like to see!