Chilling Chat: Episode # 216 – R.A. Goli

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R.A. Goli R.A. Goliis an Australian writer of horror, fantasy, and speculative short stories. In addition to writing, her interests include reading, gaming, the occasional cemetery walk, and annoying her chihuahua, two cats, and husband.

Check out her numerous publications including her collection of short stories, Unfettered on her website, where you can sign up to her newsletter for free short stories and updates, or stalk her on Facebook.

NTK: When did you first discover horror? How old were you?

RG: One of the first horror movies I remember watching was the original Evil Dead. My older brother rented a lot of horror movies and let me watch them. Evil Dead was released on video when I was nine years old, and I remember loving it, but freaking out when having to run through the darkened hallway to my bedroom after the movie had finished. I was sure there would be a possessed woman at the end about to sing how she was going to get me.

NTK: What is your favorite horror movie?

RG: I absolutely love An American Werewolf in London. So much so, that when I was around 10 years old, I would watch it every day after school for what felt like the whole year. I knew it by heart and still quote from it, semi-regularly. I’m not sure exactly what made me fall in love with this movie. It might have been because I had imaginary werewolf cubs who lived under my bed when I was a kid, perhaps that weird crush on Jack Goodman (initial death, but pre-decomposition – I’m not a weirdo), maybe because it was both hilarious and terrifying. The awesome special effects, particularly for the early ’80s. Actually, all of those reasons and more.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?

RG: What a cruel question. Why not ask me which pet I love best! There are a few favorites, that I’ve reread over the years, sometimes it changes a bit, but if I had to pick one, I’d say, The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty.

NTK: What is your favorite horror TV show?

RG: Another tricky question. I suppose because series start off well, then either go off the rails or just disappoint in some way. I really liked the first season of American Horror Story, but the following seasons – not so much.

True Blood started off really well, then got a bit ‘fluffy’ for me.

The first season of Haunting of Hill House was good. What We Do in the Shadows is hilarious, but not really horror.

Maybe I go back to the classics like Creepshow and Twilight Zone.

NTK: What inspires your writing?

RG: Most of the time it’s the call for submission that inspires me. I churn the theme around in my head and hopefully come up with something good. Occasionally I get an idea after listening to a podcast or having a random conversation.

NTK: What inspired you to write, “Lighthouse Lamentation?”

RG: I was listening to the Lore podcast and they told a story about two lighthouse keepers who fought. I can’t remember that story at all, but it got me thinking about how isolated and spooky lighthouses are and that’s how “Lighthouse Lamentation” came about.

NTK: Do your characters have free will? Or do you control their every move?

RG: I control their every move like an omniscient godling. Only once did a character do something I wasn’t expecting. It was amazing and magical and sadly, hasn’t happened since.

NTK: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what kind? What song or group inspires you most?

RG: I actually don’t listen to music. I think I would find it too distracting and want to sing along. I have developed the ability to completely ignore whatever crap my husband is watching on TV though.

NTK: Do you have any advice for the new writer?

RG: Read a lot, write as much as you can, and start small. Try short stories rather than the epic fantasy series you want to write. This is my personal experience. I’ve had over a hundred short stories published, but my fantasy novel is still unfinished.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

RG: Horror Addicts can expect a lot more horror from me, I’ll never stop loving it, and maybe one day I’ll even finish that fantasy novel.

Author Interview : Isaac Thorne

What is your name and what are you known for? 

 Isaac Thorne. I started out trying to make myself known as an author of short tales of dark comic horror in the vein of stuff like Tales From the Crypt and Creepshow. After writing my debut novel, The Gordon Place, my attention shifted away from that and toward horror with a social commentary edge.

Tell us about one of your works and why we should read it.

Hell Spring is my new novel (released Sept. 21, 2022). It’s not a direct follow-up to The Gordon Place, but it is set in the same fictional small town of Lost Hollow. Eight people in 1955 get trapped in their local general store by a thunderstorm and flash flooding. One of the eight is a supernatural predator in the guise of a famous sex symbol of the time. She’s a demon who feeds on the toxic guilt and shame of those with whom she is trapped. 

The commentary component of Hell Spring is a bit less overt than the antiracist message of The Gordon Place, but it does address some stuff we all deal with throughout our lives.

What places or things inspire your writing?

I’m not sure I believe in inspiration as far as my work is concerned. My ideas are prompted mainly by the news, though. I’ve always been a bit of a news junkie. The nightly catastrophes and disappointments there are fuel for the more esoteric components of my work, the stuff that people reading at the surface level might not get right away. More than that, my lifetime of horror fandom, the area I live in, and the interesting, unique people around me typically swirl around in my head while I’m working.

What music do you listen to while creating?

That totally depends. Sometimes I need absolute quiet, especially if I’m working on a particularly challenging scene that has little basis in reality. For Hell Spring, I spent much of my writing time listening to oldies, shit from the late 1940s and early 1950s. I tried to put myself in the mindset of the era by listening to the types of music the residents of my little town might’ve heard when they switched on the radio on any given day.

What is your favorite horror aesthetic? 

This depends on my mood. For movies, I’ve lately been drawn to early 1970s Giallo as well as the old Hammer films. The bright colors, the melodrama, and their uninhibitedness appeals to me. That said, I also love a good 80s slasher from time to time. Regarding books, I’ll read just about any type of horror. I’m most drawn to realistically depicted, character-driven stuff, though.

Who is your favorite horror icon?

Edgar Allan Poe. As much as I’d like to provide a more modern answer to that, I’ve probably read and reread Poe more than anyone else. Sure, he was the father of the modern detective story, but his gothic horror stuff always deserves another look.

What was the scariest thing you’ve witnessed?

Shit, man. Everything’s scary. Life is scary. On a more personal note, that would be a car versus motorcycle accident I witnessed one summer day. The dude on the bike was struck by the car at an intersection. He flew off, lost his helmet, and tumbled through the air like a stick thrown by a child. He survived, fortunately. But I’ll never forget seeing that burly man’s body spinning through the air like that.

8. If invited to dinner with your favorite (living or dead) horror creator, who would it be and what would you bring?

Dead: Edgar Allan Poe and a bottle of Stonehaus Davenport.

Living: Stephen King and a cherry cheesecake.

What’s a horror gem you think most horror addicts don’t know about? (book, movie, musician?)

Tennessee Gothic, a movie based on the horror-comedy short story “American Gothic” by Ray Russell. I had the good fortune to review that movie for TNHorror.com a few years ago. It ended up winning the Hubbie Award at Joe Bob’s first Drive-In Jamboree.

Have you ever been haunted or seen a ghost?

I don’t think so. When I was a small child, I saw some weird shit in the first house I remember living in (like a pair of jeans walking around the bedroom on their own). I’ve always had a lot of trouble sleeping, though. It could’ve been exhaustion or sleep paralysis.

11. What are some books that you feel should be in the library of every horror addict?

You need to have one or more Richard Matheson books. Preferably a novel and a collection of short stories. Peter Straub’s Ghost Story should be there as well. And Stephen King’s Cujo.

What are you working on now? 

The next Lost Hollow novel. Nope, I’m not done with that little town yet.

Where can readers find your work? (URL #1 place for them to go.)

https://www.isaacthorne.com

Book Review: Black Flames & Gleaming Shadows by Frank Coffman

Review by Stephanie Ellis 

4 stars

Black Flames & Gleaming Shadows by Frank Coffman, pub. Independent, 28 Feb. 2020

Synopsis:

This is Frank Coffman’s second large collection of speculative poetry. As before, the verses herein cross the spectrum of Weird Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure and include examples from sub-genres of these modes of the high imagination. Following his chapbook, This Ae Nighte, Every Nighte and Alle (2018) and his acclaimed magnum opus, The Coven’s Hornbook & Other Poems (2019), this collection of 93 poems (six sequences of poems: sonnet sequences, a “megasonnet” sequence, a sequence in an Old Irish metric, etc) continues in the same tradition. A formalist whose rhymed and metered verses follow in the tradition of the exemplary work of the great early Weird Tales poets such as Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, Donald Wandrei, and Leah Bodine Drake, he is also a great experimenter with a broad variety of exotic and cross-cultural forms and an innovative creator of several new ones. His poetry has been published in several magazines, including Spectral Realms, Weirdbook, The Audient Void, Abyss & Apex, Gathering Storm, Phatasmagoria and Lovedraftiana; and in anthologies such as Quoth the Raven, Caravan’s Awry, and Sounds of the Night.

Review:

Black Flames and Gleaming Shadows by Frank Coffman is very much verse in the traditional sense, by which I refer to his employment of recognised forms, for example, the sonnet, or his adaptation of them to create his own variant. Having read, and written much, in recent years in blank or free verse, it took a while to settle back into reading poetry of this style, but settle I did.

During my degree studies, I spent some time on Victorian poetry which led me to the likes of Tennyson and Browning, the latter remaining a favourite, especially with his “Porphyria’s Lover” and “The Laboratory”. Coffman’s poetry took me right back to that place, that sense of enjoyment of a tale told well, in poetic form. One word of advice: this collection is one very much to dip in and out of as I find my brain has a tendency to try and overlay the pattern and rhythm of one poem onto the next – which does the subsequent poem a disservice until you pause, reset and re-read. You might find the same.

From the King in Yellow to King Arthur, Coffman covers a wide variety of subjects, each fitting neatly into the convenient sections: Weird Tales & Cosmic Horror, Vampiricon, Samhain Halloween, Poems of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Myth, Legend, and Metapoetry, Homages & Some Traditional Verse. All are written in traditional form and there is a very useful Glossary of Forms explaining those he uses.

Yet tradition does not mean dry mimicry, instead, he adopts an element of playful homage at times as in “The Spooky Path Not Taken” (a wonderful ghostly take on Robert Frost’s classic) and “It WAS a Dark and Stormy Night” (which is most definitely not the opening line).

Whilst the writing is in this ‘older’ style, the subject matter is often very modern and pertinent to the concerns of today. “The Cyborg Dilemma” questions our advance into a brave new world where biomechanics bring the human and machine into ever closer contact, a synthesis of worrying implications. “Leaving Earth Behind” finishes with a poignant couplet effectively asking – shouldn’t we look after our own planet first before trying to ‘terraform’ others. Strong emotion with the lightest touch can be found in “Fib-on-ac-ci-dent?”, such wistfulness in so few words.

Other poems are akin to the epic narrative verse of yore. The gothic “The Vampire Ball” is surely something that should become a must for reading aloud at a small gathering, by a roaring fire, on a dark and stormy night …

Frank Coffman has taken tradition and made it his own, indeed amongst some of his poems are pleas not to discard the old, simply because it is just that. “Post” starts ‘This age of ours – it seems to me – is flawed/Things and Ideas “Old” must be replaced …  That traditions are deemed anathema is scary.”

With Coffman’s journey not yet done, I’ll finish with his own words from “Verse’s Vagabond”. ‘No rest! So many roads I’ve never gone!/Though I set off at dusk … ‘twill soon enough be dawn.’

Let us all accompany him on his adventure, vagabond readers traveling with him.

Book Review – Ashthorne by April Yates

By staff writer and book blogger Renata Pavrey

 

Title – Ashthorne

Author – April Yates

Genre – Historical fiction, Gothic horror

Publisher – Ghost Orchid Press

In the aftermath of WWI, Adelaide Frost seeks employment as a nurse at Ashthorne – a manor house that has been designated as a convalescence center for soldiers of war. She is sternly informed not to make contact with the house owners, Mr. Ashthorne, and his daughter Evelyn. Her job requires her to work for the injured soldiers without asking any questions. A resident doctor operates in his treatment room, that no one has access to besides the doctor and the patients.

Something is amiss at Ashthorne. Initially dismissed as the after-effects and trauma of fighting and being rendered disabled by war, Adelaide learns there’s more to the soldiers’ wanting to kill themselves and not coming out alive from the doctor’s treatment room. Evelyn has her own suspicions about the evil lurking within her father’s home, but her investigations haven’t revealed much so far. Now, with Adelaide’s help, the two women seek to uncover the truth behind Ashthorne. What happened to Evelyn’s mother, why does her father blindly believe the doctor, who is the priest with much say in the town’s proceedings, can the nurses be trusted, why is the land on which Ashthorne stands so important?

In a short, compact, and concise novella, April Yates packs a punch of a story that covers so much in so few words. I was introduced to Yates’ writing in the short story First Harvest from Blood and Bone, edited by A.R. Ward. I loved that anthology and found every story so outstanding that I looked forward to her debut book. And Yates doesn’t disappoint. With Ashthorne, she creates a world that brings together historical fiction with gothic horror, thriller, and romance. And there’s another world within this world that addresses post-traumatic stress disorder, rehabilitation, homosexuality, religion and medicine, and the role of women in society.

The characters are multi-layered and well-developed. The storyline involves several tangents, but they all fall together nicely. The plot is to the point and quick-paced. Sometimes, novels are so long drawn out, that one wonders why the author had to drag a story that could have been said in a few words. With Ashthorne, you hope for the opposite. The novella is so well written, that one hopes it could have been a longer novel. I would have liked to learn more about the caves and the history of Ashthorne that makes the grounds significant. I love books that blur the lines between thriller and horror, and Ashthorne keeps you wanting to read more.

A haunted house story that incorporates witchcraft, demons, mysterious mirrors, and basements to beware of. As a historical fiction sapphic horror story, Ashthorne is splendidly written and deserves to be read. April Yates is an author to look out for. And kudos to the cover designer!

My rating – 5/5

Book Review: From Daylight to Madness by Jennifer Anne Gordon

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Reviewed by Emerian Rich

For: Readers who enjoy Gothic Literature like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

Content warning: baby death, mental illness, harm to animals, gaslighting

From Daylight to Madness by Jennifer Anne Gordon is an emotional trek through one lady’s experience with losing her child at birth and how she is mistreated by her husband, mother-in-law, and eventually a hotel they ship her off to.

From Daylight Cover full gold - Jennifer GordonIsabelle is a young wife in the 1870s who has suffered a terrible tragedy. She’s given birth to a son who dies just after he is born. Her controlling husband and mother-in-law do not allow her to see him or even say goodbye. They take the body God knows where and force her to clean up the blood after the tragedy. They don’t allow a grave marker or any sort of service for him. He was not alive, he did not have a name. They keep her drugged up on laudanum and complain that she doesn’t “mourn properly.” 

Finding she can no longer bear children and won’t pop out of her sadness, they send her on a “holiday” at an institution masquerading as a seaside hotel. At the hotel, things go from bad to worse when she meets a cast of characters with real mental problems. One gal, in particular, is deeply twisted.

All things are not horrible at the hotel, however. Isabelle is able to get out from under her husband and mother-in-law’s thumb and experience a little freedom–something she’s never had in her entire life. She also meets another hotel guest who shows her kindness and a little romance blooms in their shared misery.

First, a warning. For readers who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or baby death, this book may be too much for you. The author does a really great job of getting inside Isabelle’s head and making the reader feel the impact of her baby’s death. She is basically haunted–not by a real ghost, but by her grief. She hears her baby’s cry in her head and reminisces frequently about not being able to hold him or say goodbye. She even carries a hatbox with her that she imagines holds him in it, so he is by her side always. 

Passages like… 

“…death had kissed her insides and left her rotting…”

“…Isabelle felt like a fancy dress…poorly made…different parts of her…separating and being held together by straight pins…” 

“…birth leaving her womb nothing more than a tattered old book of gruesome tales better left untold…”

…weave such deep and expressive imagery it’s hard not to put yourself in her place.

The exquisite writing in this book takes place inside Isabelle’s head as she compares the cups of tea and laudanum scattered about the house to little tombstones of her grief, the only sign that her baby ever existed because he did not get a tombstone. 

As a modern woman reading her story it’s difficult because the way others gaslight her is just agonizing. I was infuriated with how her husband and mother-in-law paint a narrative that is unfair and harmful to her. They pass that narrative off to the hotel employees who then drill in the narrative, causing her to constantly question them and herself.

*She had a stillborn, but no…he lived! She heard him crying. 

*She isn’t mourning, but yes she is if anyone was paying attention. 

*She was abandoned by her parents and now has been abandoned again, but no…her parents died, they didn’t mean to leave her. 

People don’t allow her to speak her truth and it made me want to travel to that hotel and make things right. But in the same instance, I know entering the hotel I would just be another casualty hushed up, drugged, and put on the porch to sleep with the other patients, I mean…vacationers.

Although meant for wellness, the island hotel seems a spooky place where spiked tea and her own mental state cause her to lose time and survive in a dream-like state where she isn’t sure what is real or not. She finds a little graveyard of babies there, the truth of that place never fully understood. The hotel is a character itself, akin to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…sunny and bright one moment but hiding dark, dirty secrets the next.

I have to say, I like this book because of how much it jarred me. I went into it hoping to see some ghosts in a haunted hotel but came out of it bloodied by the emotional trip I took with Isabelle. It made me uncomfortable and scarred. If you can handle the harrowing journey, it will be a book you remember for a long time. Just make sure your mental state is strong enough to handle it, tea+laudanum on standby.

Chilling Chat: Episode #214 – Dana Hammer

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Dana Hammer has written several short stories, novels, novellas, and screenplays. She is the author of the short story, “Mow-bot,” featured in the anthology, Kill Switch. She also co-wrote the novella, The Retreat, with Joanna Ramos. Their screenplay of this novella won the 2020 13Horror.com Film and Screenplay Contest. 

Dana Hammer

NTK: How old were you when you first discovered horror?

DH: So young I can’t remember the age. I used to stay up late watching Tales from the Darkside and Tales from the Crypt. My family and I used to tell stories about Betsy the Child-Killing Doll. I was like, five at the time. It’s always been a pretty big part of my life, which is a good thing.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?

DH: That’s a hard one! It, The Hole, The Stand, Hannibal.

NTK: Favorite horror movie?

DH: Again, so hard to pick! The Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, Get Out, The Bad Seed.

NTK: Favorite horror television show?

Tales from the Crypt!

NTK: What inspired you to write your story, “Mow-Bot?”

DH: My husband is very into automation. I am not. He purchased a robot vacuum cleaner, and it was bad news. It kept trying to get my feet with its little flippers. Sometimes it ate electrical cords. Sometimes it didn’t obey me at all. It had an “accident” and now it is gone from my life forever, thank god.

A robotic lawn mower is the logical extension of these kinds of terrifying home automation appliances.

NTK: You’re not only a writer, you’re a screenwriter. What is the process of screenwriting like?

DH: It’s like writing a novel, but faster, and neater. In many ways it’s easier because you don’t have to get bogged down with descriptions and interiority – you just tell the story in a series of scenes. It’s actually more suitable for a writer like me, who dislikes flowery language, descriptions of the sky, etc. I’m best at writing dialogue, so performance pieces come more naturally to me.

Except when they don’t. Because sometimes I really WANT to get into someone’s head and write their thoughts. Especially if a character is super compelling or interesting. A novel or a short story allows me to take my time and really explore my character’s perspective.

Screenwriting is more collaborative than other types of writing, and you aren’t necessarily the final authority on the script, because you have to rewrite it over and over to fit the budget, please the director and producers, work in new actors, etc. Novel and short story writing are more solitary, and you are the master of what you write.

NTK: What makes a good screenplay? 

DH: Like a novel or story, it should be a compelling read. It should not contain lazy dialogue. It shouldn’t be overly proscriptive–it needs to allow for creativity on the part of the director, actors, etc. It should at no point contain a scene that cuts away to children acting shocked when they see adults kiss.

NTK: How do you feel about directors?

DH: I LOVE directors. Seriously, I haven’t met one I didn’t like. I’m sure there are terrible directors out there, but in my experience, they are all smart, competent, interesting people.

NTK: Could you tell us about your new book, The Cannibal’s Guide to Fasting?

DH: Of course! It’s about a reformed cannibal named Igor. In this world, viral cannibalism has spread throughout the world, and the infected are sent to rehab centers, where they are trained to avoid human meat. They are then sent to live in government-regulated containment centers, where social workers check in on them, to make sure they’re staying on the straight and narrow.

Igor is a disgraced scientist who is also a gigantic bodybuilder with a tattoo on his face. He wants more than anything to find a cure for viral cannibalism, but there’s not much he can do about that, since he is unemployable, due to his condition and history.

When he discovers that his brother is running a cannibal rights cult that is doing some seriously evil stuff, he knows he has to intervene.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

DH: Right now I’m working on many projects!

I’m in the process of trying to get my middle-grade fantasy novel published. It’s called My Best Friend Athena, and it’s about an eleven-year-old girl who finds out that her best friend is the reincarnated goddess Athena. It’s a light comedy. I’m in the process of writing a sequel to that book, as well, where her brother, Dionysus, tries to enter an extreme eating competition.

I’m also working on a dystopian screenplay where the world is overpopulated and depleted of natural resources, and so the government drafts a certain number of people each year to go into “hibernation”, a state where they use no resources, and are kept in pods for a year. My main character is drafted for this, and is not happy about it.

I also just wrote an outline for a novel called Blister Girl, but I haven’t started it yet. We will see.

I have a short story coming out in an anthology called Literally Dead, which will be published in October of this year. My story is called “A Halloween Visit” which is a stupid title, but a good story! I hate coming up with titles.

My short play “A Helping Hand” will be performed in Hollywood, by Force of Nature Productions. It’s part of a series called “Tales from the Future: Origins” and it features futuristic origin stories for several classic monsters. My piece is about mummies. September 9-11 and 16-18th at The Brickhouse Theater.

My full-length play, The Devil’s Buddy, will be given a reading on October 26th, 8pm, by Skyline Productions, at Oh My Ribs! It’s about a young homeless man whose fortunes change when he becomes the Devil’s errand boy.

My one act, “Spotless” will be given a staged reading on August 27th at Newport Theater Arts center, as part of the OCPA Discoveries even. It’s a serious play about two families who must decide whether or not to wipe a teenage girl’s memory, after an attack.

My short story, “Meteorite” was just published in an anthology called Blood Fiction: An Anthology of Challenging Fiction. Available now on Amazon!

My screenplay, Red Wings, has been optioned by EMA Films, and will hopefully begin filming this year. It’s a hyper-feminist revenge story about a woman whose tampons turn into murdering bats. It’s amazing, though I do say so myself.

Jesus. I’m busy.

THE BIGFOOT FILES/Chapter Forty-Seven: Six Short Bigfoot Campfire Stories

The aptly titled Six Short Bigfoot Campfire Stories is a sampler of collected tales by prolific Bigfoot author and fly-fishing guide Rusty Wilson. According to Amazon, Wilson has written 24 books from 2010 to 2021, mostly about the “Big Guy.”

Released in 2011, Six Short Bigfoot Campfire Stories is a logical place to start on Wilson’s catalog, which features tales of Bigfoot encounters told by a half-dozen of his fly-fishing clients. 

Each entry includes an informal introduction about the storyteller. Their first-person narratives are plainspoken and sometimes folksy. For example, one storyteller says, “Oh sweet holy Scooby Doo” when seeing Bigfoot tracks. 

The opener titled “The Wild Cave” is told by a man named Jeremy, who found himself lost and injured inside a Colorado cave with a red-eyed, rock-throwing, smelly beast. 

Like “The Wild Cave,” most of the stories highlight the fear engendered by a possible Bigfoot encounter. 

In “Lunch Guests,” a land surveyor in Montana shares his experience as a pair of curious, whistling Bigfoot interrupt the crew’s work. 

“Peddling with Disaster” is the most traumatic of the stories as a woman’s friend goes missing on a mountain bike ride in Colorado.

In “Black Hand at Box Canyon,” a woman is lost and falls off a cliff. While clinging to a life-saving bush, she sees “a pair of green eyes staring at me from a massive black body.” 

My favorite tale is “Do the Monster Twist” because it attributes Bigfoot for saving a couple’s lives during a tornado in Nebraska. 

The last story, “Devil’s Playground,” details a sighting of more than two dozen Bigfoot near a lake in northern California. 

“The Bigfoot children swam and played just like human kids would, and the adults seemed to be visiting, just like humans,” the storyteller says. 

Of course, these are campfire stories, and even Wilson is not sure which ones are authentic or farfetched. 

“It’s listener beware,” Wilson writes. 

Whether real or imagined, Six Short Bigfoot Campfire Stories does provide insight into how humans view Bigfoot. There’s a mixture of awe and curiosity but mostly fear and some sympathy. Either way, if you like the storytelling approach to Bigfoot in this collection, there are more than a dozen books of Wilson’s Campfire Stories to check out. Click HERE to visit Wilson’s Amazon page.

NEXT UP: Chapter Forty-Eight: Bigfoot Country. I review the 2017 film directed by Jason Mills.


RELATED LINKS

THE BIGFOOT FILES

Book Review: Falling by Drew Turney

Review by Veronica McCollum

Drew Turney’s book was quite an unexpected treasure. I kept thinking it was almost over and then it would go on with more thrills and chills. The book lives up to its title. The story revolves around the main character Dale and his friends and support system. The story centers around the Sydney Harbor Bridge. The picture you see in the beginning is kind of scary on its own.  Turney does a great job of giving details and making you feel like you are there with the characters. Falling has a lot of the main horror thrills: the paranormal, monsters, gore, and some violence. I liked the book as the author had a good foundation for his story and had some futuristic ideas that were very interesting.

I really liked the arc of the story. I was hooked from the beginning to the end wondering what would happen next. I am not normally afraid of bridges, but it sure made me not ever want to be stuck on them. I felt transported by the book and what was happening to the characters. I don’t want to give away any of the story but the monsters and scientific ideas were exciting and great to read. I always considered falling to be one of my greatest fears, and this book reinforces that! 

The story premise I thought was amazing. I didn’t have any complaints about the book except, that it does have a subject that not all readers will like. The author explains why he kept this in the story and it makes sense to keep the story moving along. The book was very engaging and well thought out. The horror worked well and it had sci-fi horror as well .

Chilling Chat: Episode #213 – Jonathan Fortin

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Jonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (Crystal Lake Publishing), “Requiem in Frost” (Horroraddicts.net), and “Nightmarescape” (Mocha Memoirs Press). An unashamed lover of spookyJonathan Fortin AUTHORPHOTO-2020 Gothic stories, Jonathan was named the Next Great Horror Writer in 2017 by HorrorAddicts.net. He attended the Clarion Writing Program in 2012, one year after graduating summa cum laude from San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing program. When not writing, Jonathan enjoys voice acting, dressing like a Victorian gentleman, and indulging in all things odd and macabre in the San Francisco Bay Area.

NTK:  How old were you when you first discovered horror?

JF: I remember getting into horror as early as first grade when I started reading the Goosebumps books. Then in middle school, I became obsessed with Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow and wrote a trilogy of short vampire novels. However, I was an anxious, easily-terrified child, so I didn’t fully embrace horror until later in life. Now, I’d always been drawn into darkly magical worlds, even in the video games I adored (American McGee’s Alice, Planescape: Torment, Vampire the Masquerade, etc.) But because I was so sensitive, it was rare for me to watch horror movies in my youth. That changed when I went to college, and began trying to face my fears and challenge my limits. I realized then that I’d been a horror fan all along–I had just been too scared to accept it.

NTK: Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

JF: My favorite author is Neil Gaiman. Not always horror, but certainly dark. Other authors who have influenced me include China Mieville, Alan Moore, H.P. Lovecraft, Holly Black, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Carlton Mellick III, Dan Simmons, Clive Barker, Patrick Rothfuss, Haruki Murakami, and Junji Ito. Lately, I’ve been digging the work of Joe Hill and N.K. Jemisin.

NTK: What inspired you to write “Requiem in Frost?”

JF: I wrote “Requiem in Frost” during the Next Great Horror Writer Competition, where we were tasked with writing a music-themed horror story. I’d had the idea in my head for a couple years: a little girl who moves into a house haunted by the ghost of a murdered black metal musician and ends up solving his murder.

I’m a huge metalhead, and it irks me that even in horror, metalheads are almost always exclusively villains. We’ve since gotten Eddie Munson in Stranger Things, which was terrific, and I think the fact that so many people loved his character goes to show how badly we needed better metalhead representation. So that was a big factor in what I wanted to do with the story. I was inspired by spite. (Laughs.) 

NTK: What has your experience been as a neurodivergent author? 

JF: As an autistic person, one of the reasons I was first drawn to writing when I was young was because it was a solitary process. I didn’t need to compromise my creative vision based on budget or social considerations like I would if I was making movies or games, and imagined that it would be a good career for me because of that. I thought I could just write my books, get them published, and not have to interact with too many people unless I wanted to. There was great appeal in that idea, because then I could be left alone and nobody had to find out how weird and socially awkward I was.

As an adult, I learned that making it as a writer means being a part of a community. You need to network at conventions. You need to have writer friends willing to blurb you or trade beta reads. You need to constantly be posting on social media to build your following. And you need to make sure people actually like you while you’re doing all this.

This is challenging when you’ve got a disability that makes you awkward, or unaware of how you’re coming across, or prone to accidentally offending people without realizing it. And being fully aware that you have those tendencies tends to make you rather shy, and reluctant to put yourself out there as much as you need to if you’re going to make it in the writing world.

Networking is challenging for autistic people at the best of times, because we hate being fake, and are often very, very bad at it. Actively trying to make people like us usually results in people being repulsed instead. And unfortunately, your reputation follows you your entire life.

All of this honestly puts neurodivergent authors at a huge disadvantage in the current writing world. Many of the things you’re expected to do as a writer–things that have nothing to do with the writing itself–are things that many autistic people struggle with. A lot of people don’t realize how difficult it can be, and just how much an invisible disability of this nature can impact your chances of success in this career.

NTK: What do you wish potential readers knew about neurodivergent authors and their works?

JF: This is complicated, but I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to the notion that neurodivergent authors are expected to write for neurotypical readers first and foremost, even if this isn’t something that comes naturally to them.

I certainly can’t speak for all neurodivergent authors, because there’s great diversity among us. But I recently had a conversation with a neurodiverse friend who stated that they struggled to find books they enjoyed. They explained how many “literary” books expect the reader to read between the lines and make the correct assumption based on what’s unsaid, something that many autistic people struggle to do. It got me thinking about how many times I’ve been totally unimpressed by works that a great number of my peers absolutely loved, and why that might be the case.

I’m currently wondering if neurodivergent people may not always have the same tastes or artistic values as neurotypical people. We may not always connect with the same characters, or obsess over the same ideas, or want the same things left unsaid. It’s different for all of us, to be sure, but it’s something I’ve been having a lot of conversations about with other neurodivergent friends.

Unfortunately, there are still many people who have a tendency to view certain tastes as “superior,” simply because they’re subtler, or leave much unsaid–factors that will leave some neurodiverse people (though of course not all) feeling “left out” because the conclusions we come to may not be the same as those of most neurotypical people. This is especially troubling when you’re a writer, because you are expected to write primarily for neurotypical readers.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

JF: Right now, I’m trying to get an agent for my second novel, so I’ve been sending out query letters left and right. I’m also working on edits for the second draft of a third novel, shopping around a few short stories, and plotting out the sequels for the book I’m currently shopping. I do still intend to write at least two more LILITU books, but not just yet. My author ADD is in full force at the moment. (Laughs.)

Addicts, you can follow Jonathan on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Review: “Twenty Years Dead” by Richard Farren Barber

twenty years deadHello Addicts,

What if we lived in a world where the dead remain in their grave for a limited amount of time before coming back? That is the basis of many zombie and reanimated dead stories. Usually, there is no reason given or really needed in most cases. It just happens. In those stories, the way to return them to eternal rest is by injuring the body in some fashion. Richard Farren Barber looks at the reanimated dead, and how they behave, differently in “Twenty Years Dead”.

The dead behave differently in David Chadwick’s world. They get buried after they die, but, rather than stay in their grave for eternity, their spirit is returns to the body exactly twenty years after their final breath. The corpses are in a panic, a little crazy, and quick to lash out after emerging from the ground. While they are not driven by a need for blood and brains, they need a reminder of who they were and to be calmed so their spirit can move on. This process can be dangerous to someone who doesn’t know what they are doing or unprepared, so a new profession is born — Family Directors. They take care of the dead on behalf of the families for a fee, and most are good at what they do.

David, however, falls into a different category. He is one who feels they can take care of the crossing over by themselves. They watch YouTube videos, read all that they can about the procedure, and purchase all the recommended tools. They choose to do it themselves more out of cost and feeling an obligation to take care of their own, even in death.

For David, there is a more personal reason for being at his father’s gravesite when he rises. He was only five when his dad died, and his mother has done everything possible since to erase him from their home and their lives. The more she tells him to leave it alone, however, the more he thinks she is hiding something. He knows he only gets one opportunity to ask his father what happened to him, so he settles in to wait for the rising.

His girlfriend, Helen, joins him despite thinking he should let the professionals handle the rising. During the night, they assist a Family Director with a rising, which is admittedly more chaotic than either expected. They have second thoughts about what they are doing after one of the risen kills a lesser experienced Director. David is ill prepared when his father finally rises, and memories that rise with the dead man.

This was a well-done story that offered a different take on the reanimated dead. Rather than being mindless zombies guided by their base desires of eating and spreading their disease, there is a more practical and spiritual approach to the story. I enjoyed the slow build and how David changed from being so sure of what he was doing because he saw it online, to uncertainty, and finally realizing how over his head he really was. The ending was more of a surprise than I expected and felt appropriate. I recommend curling up with this book on an overcast night with a cup of hot tea handy.

You can find “Twenty Years Dead” at Crystal Lake Publishing, Amazon, Bookshop, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, or through your local bookstore. 

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J.

Chilling Chat: Episode #212 – Daniel R. Robichaud

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Daniel R. Robichaud lives and writes in east Texas. His work can be found in Hookman and Friends, The Other Side, and Sick Cruising anthologies. His short fiction has been collected in Hauntings & Happenstances, They Shot Zombies, Didn’tDaniel Robichaud They? and Gathered Flowers, Stones, and Bones.

His story, “With Red Eyes Gleaming,” appears in Haunts & Hellions: A Gothic Romance Anthology.                                                                         

NTK: How did you discover the horror genre and how old were you?

DR: I came to the horror genre at around six or seven thanks to my Mom. She was a fan of scary movies and books, and I have fond memories of watching the Thriller Double Feature with her on Saturday Afternoons while growing up in the Detroit area. The offerings were moody, weird, and often cut for television. She’d point out the zippers in the costumes in the egregiously cheap flicks, to help me see it was all fake and ultimately fun.

The books and magazines and comics came around the same time. The 1980s were a treasure trove of scary entertainment, so scary stuff was everywhere. I recall reading my first Poe stories as Troll Books aimed for elementary school kids. My first encounter with modern masters was through a big anthology called Great Tales of Horror and the Supernatural … Family night Saturdays would involve watching Monsters or Tales From the Darkside series. And John Carpenter’s The Thing played on network television in a cut format that still frightened me senselessly … that would’ve been around 1983/1984. Fright was certainly in the air back then!

NTK: How did you become interested in Gothic Literature?

DR: From a young age. I got exposure to the stories of Edgar Allan Poe and other gothic works thanks to parents who enjoyed the stuff.

NTK: What is your favorite Gothic horror story?

DR: There are so many to choose from! Right now, I think I’ll have to answer The Witch of Ravensworth, an 1808 gothic horror novel from George Brewer, which I bought on a lark and was truly taken with. It introduced me to the Valancourt Books publisher, as well, and I’ve enjoyed reading their works ever since.

NTK: Do you have a favorite Gothic horror movie? What attracted you to this film?

DR: The Whip and the Body from Mario Bava is a terrific film that blends ghostly chills with sexuality in strange ways. A delirious thing that is gorgeously shot (also with a great performance by Christopher Lee).

I found this movie back in the days of DVD when I was just discovering Mario Bava’s films. It’s beautiful, disturbing, and achingly romantic.

NTK: Are your characters based on real people?

DR: My characters are originals, though that means they are inspired by the films, fiction, and authentic folks I have known and read about.

NTK: Do you use an outline to write? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?

DR: For this story, I had a single scene of a woman descending into a strange subterranean location. From that, I wrote into the dark without any outline. This is not always the case, but it is the way I work on a majority of my stories.

NTK: Do your characters have free will? Or do you decide their fate?

DR: They always have free will. For short fiction, however, their options are far more limited than they might be in a novel.

NTK: What inspired you to write, “With Red Eyes Gleaming?”

DR: I’ve been a fan of Japanese folklore since I was young and reading old Usagi Yojimbo comic books from famed comic creator Stan Sakai. One of the stories that stuck with me back then was a tragic tale involving a kappa or river goblin.

Several decades later, I wound up taking two different vacations to Japan and visiting not only the mainland but some of the smaller islands where locals vacationed. Iriomote and Ishigaki are scenic locales with plenty of beaches and hiking opportunities. So when it came time to write a gothic story, these two different experiences came together and I got to wondering about strange family legacies and goblins that came from saltier waters. “With Red Eyes Gleaming” resulted.

NTK: What are you most afraid of?

DR: I am afraid of loss of my mind, my sense of self.

NTK: Who is your favorite horror author?

DR: I have great respect for Gary A. Braunbeck, who blends lyrical prose, emotional honesty, and disturbing storylines. As well, Suzuki Koji and Murakami Ryu have left some lasting impressions on me—I wish more Asian horror material was available in translation. Poppy Z. Brite was vital during my college years, particularly with accepting my bisexuality and finding the strength to come out. A new Ramsey Campbell book is always a cause for celebration in my house.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What books, short stories, or works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

DR: I am always working on fiction of fright. I have stories appearing in the forthcoming Wishing Well and Camp Slasher Lake anthologies.

I’m particularly proud of a string of stories I create off-the-cuff whenever my daughter asks, “Will you tell me a story?” She’s five now, so the scary material tends to focus more on mood and the unexpected (with some humor) instead of gore or violence, of course. Several of these I’ve gone on to develop into fiction sales for magazines like Spaceports & Spider Silk or parABnormal as well as anthologies like Rockets and Robots and Beware the Bugs! I hope to assemble those stories into a collection, next.

Addicts, you can find Daniel on Amazon and Twitter.

 

Book Review: The Crows of After by Exsanguine Hart

Synopsis:

Don’t leave the dolls alone…

Set in a classic style haunted house inhabited by dolls, fear and other strange things, this poetry collection accompanied by full-colour art explores the self and a series of childhood horrors in an entwining of lyricism, dark fantasy and disturbing imagery.

Review:

Exsanguine Hart is a new poet to me, but having devoured The Crows of After, they are one I will definitely look out for in the future. In this collection, they have created a banquet to feed both the eye and the mind. The world they have constructed on these pages conjured up memories of Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan when the reader is introduced to the castle of Gormenghast – not in the type of building, but in the strange and fantastical atmosphere and landscape within. Interwoven on this canvas are strawmen and automatons, bizarre dreams, and nightmare visions with steampunk edging. The poems imprison you in cages, taunt you with creatures from the ‘crawlspace’, the demons at the door.

The sheer joy of wordplay is evident throughout; ‘Fable’ ends ‘one with the chat/one with death/un with Nine/IX/9.’ The imagery is fantastical and original: ‘They tuck letters of disappointment into/the corners of their lips,’ (‘Accumulated’). And the weird abounds: ‘Her metal arm pulls up the splint. It chafes my/scratches, my fluids pooling in the weave,’ (‘The Waiting Game’).

The crows of the title fly in and out of the poems, dark shadows to disturb, ‘they’re only out to mangle the truth and children,’ (‘Smell of Pies’); ‘A storm approaching, four crows are at the bayonet,’ (‘Falling Apart’). The crows and maggots, scarecrows, and dolls thread the theme of horror throughout the collection to bind it in a lyrical darkness achieved via extraordinary word choice and well-judged alliterative phrasing and slant rhyme.

Dark poetry is having a moment. Recent years have seen some amazing collections appear and this one is no exception.

Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 – In case you missed it!

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2

We’ve had a great few months talking about our book and horror with you all. Just in case you missed some of the awesome content, here is a recap of all the #HorrorAddictsGuide goings on! 

Read tons of interviews and inspirations at HorrorAddicts.net
Interviews with editor, Emerian Rich:

with M.D. Neu
with Sumiko Saulson
with Loren Rhoads
with Chantal Boudreau
with Lionel Ray Green

Interviews with:

Loren Rhoadsby Priscilla Bettis
R.L. Merrillby Selah Janel
Kristin Battestellaby Renata Pavrey
Selah Janelby R.L. Merrill
A.D. Vickby A.D. Vick

Excerpts by:

Angela Yuriko Smithangelaysmith.com
Chantal Boudreauchantellyb.wordpress.com
Michael Fassbendermichaeltfassbender.com
M.D. Neumdneu.com
Selah Janelselahjanel.com
Tabitha Thompsonsumikosaulson.com
Dan Shauretteangelaysmith.com
Naching T. Kassanachingkassa.wordpress.com
Sumiko Saulsonsumikosaulson.com
Daphne Strasertchantellyb.wordpress.com
Kieran Judgehttp://jaqdhawkins.com
Kristin Battestellaselahjanel.com
Emerian Richemzbox.wordpress.com
DJ Pitsiladispriscillabettisauthor.com
Geneve Flynnnachingkassa.wordpress.com
Mark Orremmyzmadrigal.wordpress.com
J. Malcolm Stewartmdneu.com
Jonathan Fortinjonathanfortin.com
R.L. Merrillrlmerrillauthor.com

Available now at: Amazon.com

Odd Playthings – An Anthology of Horror About Toys Edited By Patrick Winters

Review by staff writer and book blogger Renata Pavrey

Title – Odd Playthings

Author(s) – Multiple

Editor – Patrick Winters

Genre – Horror, anthology

Publisher – Black Ink Fiction

A unique collection of horror stories that pays homage to the playfulness and innocence of childhood hobbies, while instilling fear in adult readers and collectors. Odd Playthings is a tribute to toys of all kinds – stuffed animals, action figures, wooden handicrafts and terracotta figurines. From toys believed to be prophets, to curses carried through generations, toys that will protect their owners at any cost, to ones that go out of their way to destroy, quirky puzzles boxes and haunted bobble dolls, dolls that solve murder mysteries and dolls that commit murder – the reader is transported into a land of endearing childhood activities, with a horrific twist that makes us ponder on what would happen if our beloved toys turned rogue. Odd Playthings turns back time with sixteen stories from twelve writers who offer a glimpse into the joys of our past, transformed into horrifying scenarios.

A challenge for the editor is not only collecting well-written horror stories adhering to his offbeat theme but also finding writers who share his love for toys and present an eerie array of tales for the reader. Carnival prizes, alien toys, wood and clay toy makers, footballs that curse their players, superheroes fighting plastic dinosaurs, serial killers who collect toys and toys who are serial killers – we read about a range of odd playthings from different cultures and customs around the world. The stories are so different from each other and yet come together beautifully in this distinctive collection from a variety of international writers.

“Toys became tools to tell stories, toys made it possible to go places I never could, and means to reach the furthest ends of my imagination,” writes Dave Wheeler in the foreword that introduces us to this splendid assortment of terror tales. Some of my favorite stories were Strange Customs by Patrick Winters (about a serial killer’s toy collection), To Fight Another Day by Dawn DeBraal (about action figures whose action wreaks havoc), Giuseppe the Toy Maker by Lynne Phillips (an ode to the old-world charm of handcrafted wooden toys), Giselle by Lynne Phillips (a doll sets out to avenge its murdered owner), and Star Man the Invincible by Scott McGregor (about a toy from outer space). But I loved every story from this anthology – it’s so well curated.

Some quotes:

-You should always kill with care the things you once loved. To do any less insults their memory.

-A child is usually the one to see what isn’t there, to see through the lies of the world and view the truth of their surroundings.

-The shoelace tip-tapped like a metronome as the leg swung.

The stories are a mixed bunch, but they’re all entertaining in the way each of us interprets horror – as children, teenagers, and adults. The cute and creepy cover with splotches of paint aptly describes what to expect within the pages of this anthology. There’s sci-fi, crime, historical fiction, horrors of the real world and paranormal – something for every reader to enjoy the coming-together of an exceptional bunch of writers. Kudos to editor Patrick Winters for accomplishing this task.

My rating – 5/5

Book Review: Eater of the Gods by Dan Franklin

 

Book Review by Daphne Strasert

Content Warnings:

Violence, Gore, Grief, Major Character Death

Norman, an Egyptologist, leads a team of researchers to the tomb of Kiya, a mysterious, lost queen of Egypt. For years, locals have refused to reveal the location of her final resting place, fearing it to be cursed. Norman and his companions don’t believe in any such curse… until they find themselves trapped inside with no way out. And they aren’t alone.

The Eater of Gods is straightforward. It gives the reader exactly what they want from a mummy story. Not that its simplicity makes it any less compelling. The plot is well-paced and balances action with suspense and surprisingly touching moments of emotion. There is nothing particularly twisty or tricky about the novel, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

Franklin’s characterization is the star of the show. He creates a small, but diverse cast of characters. Each has a distinct personality conveyed through clever use of dialogue and action. From the lecherous professor (who gets what he deserves) to an over-eager graduate student, to Norman himself, a grieving and broken man fulfilling his wife’s dying wish. It is a fairly large list of characters for such a short and small-scale story, but Franklin manages to craft connections to each of them so that we care about their well-being.

Taking place almost entirely within Kiya’s tomb, The Eater of Gods feels at once both claustrophobic and expansive. The tomb is a maze of tunnels designed not to keep grave robbers out, but to keep something else in. Behind every corner is another trap waiting to spring… Or have they been in this room before?

While The Eater of Gods is a straightforward mummy horror story, the novel is infused with grief. As Norman works through his own emotions regarding the death of his wife and her unfulfilled desire to study the tomb of Kiya, readers also feel the weight of his issues. The Eater of Gods is a sort of love story in that way. While the terror of the tomb is the forefront of the novel, the anguish, and hopelessness that run throughout give it heart.

If you’re looking for a quick, easy read that delivers exactly what’s promised, check out Dan Franklin’s The Eater of Gods.

Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 Digital eBook Available Now!

Calling All Horror Fans!
HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents: 

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Now in eBook!
Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2

Do you love the horror genre? Do you look at horror as a lifestyle? Do the “norms” not understand your love of the macabre? Despair no longer, my friend, for within your grasp is a book written by those who look at horror as a way of life, just like you. This is your guide to living a horror addict’s life.

Our month-by-month almanac with important dates, movie lists, puzzles, crafts, articles, and recipes will guarantee your whole year is occupied with delightful horror activities. Don’t miss our monster guide with articles about vampires, zombies, ghosts, and some creatures that just can’t be categorized. Enjoy interviews with creators of horror content and hear perspectives from different cultures and backgrounds. Read stories of real hauntings, nightmares, and vile vacations.

Allow us to curate your horror lifestyle.

With articles by: A. Craig Newman, A.D. Vick, Alyson Faye, Angela Yuriko Smith, Brian McKinley, CM Lucas, Camellia Rains, Carrie Sessarego, Chantal Boudreau, Courtney Mroch, Crystal Connor, D.J. Pitsiladis, Dan Shaurette, Daphne Strasert, Dee Blake, Emerian Rich, Geneve Flynn, H.E. Roulo, H.R. Boldwood, J. Malcolm Stewart, James Goodridge, Jaq D Hawkins, Jeff Carroll, Jonathan Fortin, Kate Nox, Kay Tracy, Kerry Alan Denney, Kieran Judge, Kristin Battestella, Ksenia Murray, Lee Murray, Lionel Ray Green, Loren Rhoads, M.D. Neu, Mark Orr, Martha J. Allard, Michael Fassbender, Mimielle, Naching T. Kassa, Pamela K. Kinney, Priscilla Bettis, R.J. Joseph, R.L. Merrill, Rena Mason, Renata Pavrey, Rhonda R. Carpenter, Russell Holbrook, Selah Janel, Steven P. Unger, Sumiko Saulson, Tabitha Thompson, Theresa Braun, Trinity Adler, Valjeanne Jeffers.

Available now at: Amazon.com

 

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Russell Holbrook

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

IMG_20180401_084532I don’t think anything, in particular, inspired the pieces that appear in this book. I really enjoyed working with the themes that were given to us and I just took it from there. I love being a Horror Addict and being part of the family and community. That’s a huge inspiration for me. I’m grateful that I’m able to contribute and that is a strong motivator for me. Another strong motivator to keep writing is that if I don’t write my inner life spirals into turmoil which makes my outer life quickly follow suit. I can’t explain it but writing about awful, horrific things and people and events makes me feel happy, balanced, peaceful, and sane. Besides that, I totally love it and have since I was a child. Who knows why; maybe I was just born this way? Whatever the reason is, I’m thankful to be who I am.  😊

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Steven P. Unger

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

novamp10What is your name and what is your horror area of interest? 

I’m Steven P. Unger. As a nonfiction horror writer, I’m interested in the process of creation employed by other classic horror writers I admire, especially Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker. Fortunately, there already has been a lot of research into the lives of both Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley, since their books are so universally familiar. In fact, Dracula is the second most widely-read book in the world, after the Bible!

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

“A Vampire’s Guide To Transylvania” is an updated description from a previously published work of only one of the sites recommended in Transylvania: the city of Bistriţa and the Borgo Pass that leads to the Castle of Count Dracula. 

Completed in 1983, before the overthrow of Nicolae Ceauşescu, whose brutal, cult-of-personality brand of Communist rule lasted from 1965 to 1989, the Hotel Castel Dracula is situated at the top of the Borgo Pass, exactly where the Count’s castle is located in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Although the Hotel Castel Dracula is a modern hotel with all the expected conveniences (including hot cocoa in its restaurant, which I really, really needed after my walk in the freezing altitude of the Borgo Pass), its brickwork and architecture is evocative of the crumbling medieval fortress depicted in the novel.

“A Vampire’s Guide to New Orleans” is a collection of New Orleans’ vampire lore that reaches back to the earliest days of the city. Ask any member of the Old Families who the first vampires to come to New Orleans were, and they’ll tell you the same: It was the Casket Girls. Much of the population that found their way to New Orleans in the early 1700s were unwelcome anywhere else: deported galley slaves and felons, trappers, gold-hunters, and petty criminals. People who wouldn’t be noticed if they went missing.

“People who wouldn’t be noticed” have continued to disappear through the centuries in New Orleans, the numbers rising precipitously whenever the immortal Compte de St. Germain is spotted around town.

There is no one who has done more to bring the vampire into the New Age than Anne Rice, who died on 12/11/21 (a backwards and forwards date) at the age of eighty. Born and bred in New Orleans, her novel Interview with the Vampire and the films and books that followed were filled with New Orleans locations and references. Those who profited mightily from the popularity of True Blood and Twilight owe her a great debt.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
I never get tired of pre-Code horror comics (the best of which you still can read on this great New Zealand Web site—http://thehorrorsofitall.blogspot.co.nz/. They were the precursors of the graphic novels of today, with comparably inspiring artwork drawn on a tight monthly schedule. The only drawback? Every statement in the story ends with an exclamation point! Sometimes three!!!

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?

As a travel writer, I’d like to see more location filming in both scripted media and documentaries, so that people will be motivated to go to places where horrific events maybe happened, and to places where their favorite horror movies were filmed or where their favorite horror novels take place.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

The best place to find whichever of my books is in print is https://www.amazon.com/Steven-P.-Unger/e/B007MAM64E

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Book Review: Queen of Teeth by Hailey Piper

Content Warnings: Body horror, medical rape, gore

In the near future, Alpha Beta Pharmaceuticals accidentally unleashes the 00 virus. The virus has varied effects, but in some cases, it causes multiple children to be conceived. Then one zygote consumes the others before birth. These are Chimeras. And one half of their genetic code is the property of ABP. ABP monitors them closely, waiting for the time when one part of the genetic code violently attacks the other, tearing the Chimera apart.

Yaya is one such Chimera, but rather than her body destroying itself, it grows a new consciousness. And teeth. The vagina dentata transforms Yaya’s body and forces her to go on the run to avoid becoming an ABP lab rat. Meanwhile, Magenta, her new ‘self’ is becoming hungry.

Queen of Teeth is engaging throughout, balancing tension-filled action with tender moments of reflection and interpersonal growth. Artfully concealed plot pieces dropped at the beginning return again in a satisfying manner, like a camouflaged Chekov’s Gun. Piper seamlessly blends elements of science fiction, horror, and romance, creating a multifaceted story that never lets up.

Piper’s writing is a solid foundation for a fantastic story. She doesn’t fall into too much exposition, despite a complex world. Her dialogue is light and snappy. There are moments of poetic description. But her best writing is really saved for the scenes of action and body horror. Be warned, the descriptions are graphic and disturbing, so if you are squeamish, you may want to steer clear.

Overall, Queen of Teeth is a fantastic book, an incredible debut novel from Hailey Piper, and well-deserving of its Bram Stoker award (Superior Achievement in a First Novel). If you like body horror, tragic romance, and political commentary in your reads, this is the book for you.

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Chantal Boudreau

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Chantal BoudreauWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
My name is Chantal Boudreau and I have a thing for zombies and what I like to call “real-life horror” – stories that don’t involve any supernatural elements and could happen under ordinary circumstances.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
My work, “Zomedy: Dark Humor of the Undead” is about all things zombie/comedy – books, movies and tv shows that delve into the humorous aspect of the zombie apocalypse.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
As I mentioned I have a thing for zombies – my first horror movie experience was watching the original Dawn of the Dead on our very first VCR.  I was 13 and it made a great impression on me.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

Jordan Peele’s “Nope”, for one, and “The Black Phone”.  I’d also like to see the Korean zomedy, “A Good Son” that came out earlier in 2022.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

You can find links and information about my work at my WordPress site: https://chantellyb.wordpress.com/

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Naching T. Kassa

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Nachingwriterpic2019I have always been interested in the lives of other people. Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve watched interviews on television to learn more about them. One of my favorite interview shows was Inside the Actor’s Studio with James Lipton. Lipton always had interesting questions for his subjects, always brought something fascinating out about their acting process and their work. He also used a questionnaire at the end of the show which had been created by the French journalist and interviewer Bernard Pivot. This questionnaire included such queries as, “What is your favorite curse word?” and “If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you enter the pearly gates?” I’ve always enjoyed this questionnaire because it gives deeper insight into the subject’s personality. It inspires me to do the same with my interviews.

As a lover of horror, it’s been my pleasure to interview authors, musicians, and other horror personalities. These people have so much to share and such interesting minds. I love to hear about whether they plot or pants, whether they’ve given characters their own lives to live, what music they like best and what they have planned for the future. 

Some of my favorite subjects have been poets and prolifics. Poets seem to think differently than others. They love words and use them as an artist uses paint on a canvas. Each word is a different hue, a different texture. Prolifics, such as Josh Malerman, also have fascinating minds. Malerman is not only a writer, he’s also a musician. He’s always creating. I interviewed him shortly before Bird Box burst upon the scene, and he had a terrific answer to one of my questions. I asked him how his background in music affected his writing, and he said, “Every time I write, I do so with an invisible drummer in the room. I’m at the desk, hammering away, always playing to the beat of this unseen musician just out of sight. Like the Wendigo, if the Wendigo played drums. I realize how bonkers this sounds, but I really can’t seem to get away from him and I wouldn’t want to. Whether I have a record playing in the room, or a soundtrack going on YouTube or the radio…the drummer is the one giving me the beat for every story. And, I can’t help but think that, since I play a lot of rhythm guitar in the band, there’s gotta be a link there between the band and the books.” It’s awesome answers like this that inspire me as an interviewer. It’s what I search for and what I love.

So that is the inspiration behind my interviews. I really care about my subjects and I hope, that when you read them in HAGL2, you’ll care about them too.

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Chilling Chat: Episode #210 – Garth von Buchholz

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Garth von Buchholz is an author of dark poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, and drama. His poetry books include Mad Shadows and his fiction has been published in various anthologies. Garth is also the founder ofGarth von Buchholz the International Edgar Allan Poe Society. He lives in Canada on Vancouver Island. 

NTK: Hello, Garth! Welcome back to Chilling Chat! What did you do during the pandemic?

GVB: During the pandemic, I was working from home instead of in my office, as many of my colleagues were as well. The pandemic was one of those shared social experiences of a disaster, similar to a flood or other natural disaster, where your immediate instincts are survival and you really don’t do a lot of reflection until you’re past that. I remember the first weeks of the pandemic when people were afraid to touch surfaces that might have Covid, and I was washing down my groceries after buying them from the store. The fear was palpable because no one knew how easily the virus could be spread or what it would do to you. It reminded me of Poe’s Masque of the Red Death. Another eerie experience was seeing wild animals walking in the streets when people were staying in their homes. Once I saw a stag trotting down the centre of a main road because there were no cars anywhere. It felt as though the human race could be nearing its end.

NTK: How old were you when you first discovered horror?

GVB: Probably about six years old. I had a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, some of which were pretty disturbing for a young mind. But they were so profound and compelling because they spoke the truth about good and evil and death and tragedy, so I loved them. Later I was enamored with some of the classic horror films I saw on TV as well as reruns of old horror shows such as The Twilight Zone.

NTK: What author has influenced you most?

GVB: Edgar Allan Poe is my muse. I’ve written scholarly articles about Poe’s work, was interviewed about Poe for the Washington Post and was the founder of the International Edgar All Poe Society in 2009, the 200th anniversary of his birthday. But back in college, I realized that I couldn’t just mimic him, I didn’t want to try to write like a 19th-century author—I needed to find my own 20th-century voice.

NTK: What is your favorite Edgar Allan Poe story?

That’s so difficult to choose because I am a Poe aficionado, so I feel as though I have to choose one of his more obscure stories that fewer people have read. However, I love the revenge themes in stories such as “The Cask of Amontillado” and “Hop Frog,” which I think were cathartic for Poe to write because he probably fantasized revenge on the many enemies he had made in his lifetime. However, my favorite story may be “The Oval Portrait,” because it’s about an artist trying so hard to portray his beloved perfectly in his art that he neglects her, and she dies. I’ve been guilty of that, in a way, because writing is such a solitary craft, and it can isolate you from the people you love.

NTK: What inspired you to write your piece, “HAÜS?”

GVB: “HAÜS” is about the coldness and ruthlessness of technology. I’ve been working in digital media since the 1990s. A relative of mine owns a wireless security camera company, and after we talked about his work installing security systems in homes and businesses, I wondered if there would ever be a home security system so diabolically deadly that not even a group of skilled home invaders could penetrate it.

NTK: How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

GVB: I’m like God—my characters can do what they want while they’re still alive, but ultimately, I know when they will die and how.

NTK: Where do you find inspiration? 

GVB: Many times, my inspiration is from some news story I’ve read. Fact often converts into fiction very seamlessly.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?

GVB: How can I decide on one? Legion by William Peter Blatty or The Stand by Stephen King.

NTK: Favorite horror movie?

GVB: The Exorcist III (based on the novel Legion)

NTK: What do you like most about The Exorcist III?

GVB: The 1990 film The Exorcist III, based on William Peter Blatty’s novel Legion (1983) is my fave horror film for several reasons. First, it’s written by Blatty, one of my favorite horror novelists. It stars SIX of my all-time favorite male actors, George C. Scott, Ed Flanders (who committed suicide years ago!), Jason Miller, Scott Wilson, Brad Dourif and Nicol Williamson. And I love the weird, Blatty-ian blend of dark humor and supernatural horror with underlying religious themes. I can almost recite the dialogue between Scott and Flanders where they talk about the carp in Detective Kinderman’s bathtub. And the startling and grotesque image of the old lady creeping along the ceiling like a spider still haunts me.

NTK: Favorite horror television show?

GVB: The Stand (miniseries, 1994.)

NTK: What did you think of The Stand miniseries with Whoopi Goldberg?

GVB: Overall, I thought The Stand 2020 miniseries was quite an accomplishment because it did justice to most of the characters, expanded the pandemic world that we had only seen fully in Stephen King’s novel, and brought the story to a more satisfying finale. The casting was unusual for some characters but seemed to be successful. For example, a black Larry Underwood made more sense than a white one in many ways because of the kind of singer he was. But Amber Heard as Nadine? Omg, that was so jarring and disappointing. They didn’t even have her dye her hair black so we could watch her transition from black hair to gray and then white. Her acting was abysmal, and she was neither sympathetic nor mysterious. As for Whoopi Goldberg, I was glad to see that she took the role seriously rather than trying to re-interpret Mother Abagail. We forget that she’s actually a fine actress when she does dramatic roles.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

GVB: Well, I do hope to actually give HorrorAddicts.net something to look forward to because it has been supportive of my work over the years. I have a horror novel on the backburner and now that I’m apparently not going to die of Covid, I will start working on it again. Here’s a preview. It’s tentatively titled Thy Fearful Symmetry and it’s about a young girl who tries to commit suicide on a mountain, survives her attempt, then has an encounter with a two-headed mountain lion (or cougar as we usually call them in Canada). She takes this as a sign from the universe and starts blogging about it, which creates a huge sensation on the Internet about the two-headed beast. Is it real? Or was it something she imagined or fabricated? I have the entire outline of the novel written as well as the first few chapters.

Addicts, you can find Garth on his Blog.

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Trinity Adler

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

What is your name and what is your horror area of interest? 

Trinity Adler, Fiction author. I am a fan of ghost stories and exploring the connections between the seen and unseen worlds of the supernatural.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
It’s an account of a real-life ghost encounter I experienced in the 1980’s on Ocracoke Island off the coast of North Carolina.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
Ghost stories. I’m fascinated with ghosts and why they haunt humans. Are they trapped between worlds? Do they seek revenge? Are they trying to tell the stories of a tragic forgotten life? It all becomes solid material for chilling stories.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
I’m looking forward to the new films based on Anne Rice’s novels. To me she was the queen of modern classic horror fiction. Her work has the same effect on me that Bram Stoker’s Vampire novel, “Dracula”, had when I first read it. Rice’s stories are original, seductive, and horrifying. Her characters make a deep emotional bond with each other and the reader. I love seeing them onscreen.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

My website www.TrinityAdler.com has links to my pieces in anthologies.

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Kristin Battestella

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

kristin77What is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
It’s your friendly neighborhood Kbatz Kristin Battestella! I’ve dabbled in horror fiction, mainly vampires in the past but currently enjoy reviewing scary movies and sewing gothic looks or crafting morose décor for that Halloween 365 elan.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
I was fortunate enough to be featured both with my Frightening Flix film reviews and classic horror opinions as well as several Kbatz Kraft exercises in macabre inspiration!

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
I’m probably still a vampire girl at heart and focus on more old-school or classic horror. I’ve always been interested in the light versus dark and good versus evil aspects of why something is scary to us. Sophistication, though, not sparkles! Why do we wish to continually invoke these flight or fight fears? I’m very intrigued by the mirror to nature horror and its monsters provide. Or just, you know, Dark Shadows.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
Recently, mainstream Hollywood slashers don’t excite me, but I have enjoyed more foreign and independent horror films. You can tell when a film is making its own statements versus bending to fit into an October box office appeal. I’m gravitating more to diverse and feminine horror like Possessor or In Fabric. It’s tough, however, to know when you are going to get to see a new festival darling or unique horror piece. I’ve waited months, even years!

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

I’m most active on Twitter with my I Think, Therefore I Review handle for horror as well as classic film discussion and I share Kbatz Krafts project photos on Instagram.

https://twitter.com/thereforereview

https://www.instagram.com/kbatzkrafts/

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Renata Pavrey

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Renata Pavrey

I have been reading all my life and was introduced to the Goosebumps series by RL Stine when I was eight. I then moved on to his Fear Street books in my teens and followed it up with Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe, and Shirley Jackson. I read across genres and languages, and have a fondness for dark fiction. A random search for horror writers is filled with male writers, with the exception of Shirley Jackson and Mary Shelley. I realized most of the horror books from contemporary women writers come my way through recommendations from other writers; or I read an anthology, enjoy a writer’s short story, and then get hold of her novels. This drove me to research specifically about women writers in horror, find out all the books they have written, and analyze why they are hard to come by. When I started writing my piece, I listed all the books I had read so far, and those on my to-read list, and realized I had much more than thirty-one. (I was aiming for a listicle of a book a day) So, I then decided to list the women themselves – 31 women writers, editors, and publishers who have contributed richly to the horror genre around the world in multiple languages. My reading and writing journey got intertwined two years ago, when I started sending out work for publication. The feedback, response, encouragement, and support I received from the writing community was phenomenal, and I loved how these ladies backed each other. My piece is an ode to all these creators of horror literature.

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Martha Allard

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marthaWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
My name is Martha J Allard. My favorite horror writers include Loren Rhoads and Clive Barker.

What is your work in HAGL2 about? 

I’ve always felt that I write on the fringes. My piece is about just that. How do you conquer that uncomfortable feeling of not belonging? 

What is your favorite horror subject and why? 

I love stories about misunderstood monsters.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?

It am totally looking forward to Netflix’s Sandman, and the new Hellraiser show as well. Call me an optimist, they both could be great.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

Martha J Allard/amazon

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with J. Malcolm Stewart

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

J. Malcolm StewartWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest? 

Jason Malcolm Stewart: Fiction Author, Journalist, Interviewer, Horror Film Fan, Horror Fan Culture Enthusiast, etc.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

I have three pieces in the collection: You Might be a Monster Lover If…, Black Zombie: Hollywood and the 80s Voodoo Revival and Sounds of Horror in Black American Music.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
Wow, I’m a big horror head like we all are, so I tend to order from the buffet line. If pushed, I am an aficionado of classic monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, werewolf lore… Anything that Universal would have made a movie about in the 30s.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
Oooof, haven’t heard of anything immediate upcoming in 2022 that has sparked the horror flame. But that just means something is unexpectedly coming down the pike that will be awesome that I don’t know about yet!

Where can readers/listeners find your work?
My YouTube page is the archive for all my horror-themed interviews and reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0p5JP75jl349RUi7oB39Zg

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Submission Call! Manor of Frights

Our 2023 Anthology announcement:

Manor of Frights

nathan-mcdine-Sz2UlMzTv4I-unsplashImagine a Victorian house where every room is cursed with a frightful existence. Are monsters in the halls? Ghosts left to fester in the library? Or are the rooms themselves enchanted with malevolent energy? What was summoned long ago and what doorways were left open? Manor of Frights will be a collection of tales all set in different rooms of the same house.

 

Stories MUST follow these guidelines: 

  1. MUST be in 3rd person. No 1st person stories will be considered.
  2. The Manor of Frights was built in 1880. So, stories can take place between 1880-1980. Keep this in mind when writing. Is the house new in your era? Run down? Or refurbished? Has there been a fire? A flood? Are you writing about the homeowner? A guest staying at a BnB? Or maybe… You are writing about the architect renovating the place?
  3. Choose a room and write a horror story that takes place in it. 13 rooms will be picked from the submissions. Choose wisely. Be unique. You can write about the normal rooms in a house like bedrooms, bathrooms, or the kitchen, but some other ideas for rooms are: attic, conservatory, library, basement, study, billiard room, cellar, hall, parlor, boudoir, dining room, den, foyer, living room, nursery, dinette, hearth room, scullery, kit room, linen closet, landing, rotunda, nook, covered porch, widow’s walk, or maybe you have an idea of your own.  
  4. The story must have an overwhelming sense of menace and dread. The KIND of horror is open to you. Is there a monster inside? Does it connect to a demon world? Has it been cursed? Is it haunted? Do vampires reside in the home? Scare us. Entertain us.

LBGTQ and POC stories/writers are encouraged to enter. Sensual or passionate stories are acceptable but we don’t want erotica or sexually-based stories. No rape. The editor likes HORROR. Be careful of sci-fi creatures or anything that sways sci-fi or fantasy. She’s not a fan of superheroes or hunters.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

We are doing blind submissions. Wow us with your story.

Enter up to two short stories only. Make sure they fit the theme

Manuscript Format:

*Font: 12 pt Courier, Times New Roman, or Garamond.

*Double spaced.

*Your manuscript must be in either DOC, DOCx, or RTF format.

*DO NOT place your name in the manuscript.**

*No header on the manuscript. JUST THE TITLE.

**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

TO SUBMIT YOUR STORY, CLICK HERE:

https://forms.gle/3igMYXjnbCrcnoP49

Deadline: October 31st, 2022, 11:59pm PST

Length: 2,000-3,500 words MAX. No exceptions.

Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy

Accepted stories will be published in these formats: PRINT, eBook, and audio. The audio will be produced for both Season 18 of HorrorAddicts.net (2023), and be placed on an audiobook platform for sale.

Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/22). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: ha.netpress@gmail.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Priscilla Bettis

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

priscillaWhen I was a kid in elementary school, I dutifully read my English assignments, but they bored me. By age ten, I had grown tired of sappy characters and too pointed moral lessons. Then I snuck The Exorcist from my parents’ den.

The Exorcist scared the crap out of me even though I didn’t understand parts of it. But the visceral feelings I got were the same as when real life horrors occurred in the grownup world around me. I felt understood by the genre. In turn, I grasped how powerful dark literature could be.

I’ve been a horror addict ever since. Dark fantasy, dark poetry, Gothic, literary, creature-feature, I love them all.

Nowadays, I enjoy writing horror as well as reading it. It gives me a sense of control in an out-of-control world. After all, I can’t stop evil from running amok, but I can always close a book or put down a pen.

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Selah Janel

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

selah author shot dlWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

My name is Selah Janel and I have a few areas of interest. I write horror fiction, I review horror books (with a soft spot for horror comics and manga), and for years I helped design and build costumes for amusement park haunted events.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
My work is about the weird things I’ve created that have a horror vibe, whether they were costumes in my professional work or my own experimentation. I talk about what led me down that road and my processes behind several pieces I’ve made, as well as the trials and errors those involved.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

I have a big soft spot for vampires, the paranormal, and cosmic horror. I also lean into haunted events in entertainment, the ‘look’ of horror in terms of production design because of my past work.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

Every day it seems like I’m discovering more and more, whether it’s new projects or old. I’ve gotten back into reading horror comics and have discovered some amazing titles, and there have been some incredible (and unusual books released in the past few years). At the moment I’m just excited about seeing which directions the genre is going to go in the next few years.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

People can find me at www.selahjanel.com, on Facebook as SJauthor, on Twitter @SelahJanel, and on Instragram  as selahjanel99

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Loren Rhoads

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

lorenWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
I’m Loren Rhoads. I’m an author, editor, and cemetery expert.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
I’ve got 3 pieces in HAGL2. One has all my author tricks for writing when the words won’t come. One is about working with horror authors when I was editing Morbid Curiosity magazine. The third one is about Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s considered the most haunted cemetery in the world.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
Wow, that’s hard! I guess I should say cemeteries, since I wrote 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die. For as much time as I’ve spent in cemeteries, I haven’t had too many spooky experiences in them. I have smelled death, found an enormous snakeskin in the grass, and worried that I was being stalked by a mountain lion at one point, so I’ve been thoroughly scared in them.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

I’m really excited about the new Interview with the Vampire series. I fell in love with that book when I was in high school. If they do the series right, it should have several cemeteries in it!

Where can readers/listeners find your work?

https://lorenrhoads.com/

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Geneve Flynn

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Geneve Flynn-Author-EditorI became a horror addict when I read Stephen King’s It as a teenager. That book reached into my brain and turned all the dials up to ten. I couldn’t get enough horror after that. 

I wrote my article, “What’s Your Lens?,” in response to the call-out for content for the Asian Horror Month on the HorrorAddicts site. As an editor, you have to be aware of your own perspectives and preferences, and how that might shape your response to a manuscript. One way to become aware of the lens you view the world through is to read widely.

What encourages me to keep creating? I love having written. I love the alchemy of writing. You might overhear a snatch of strange conversation, read a weird fact, meet an intriguing person, have a bizarre and frightening dream, discover an odd object, and all of that makes its way into a story. All those ingredients come together in your brain cauldron and out comes something magical that’s more than the sum of its parts. That’s the best feeling.

I also write to see myself in stories. Publishing hasn’t been that diverse historically. It’s a sweet thrill to read a story where you don’t have to perform mental calisthenics to be the main character. 

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Book Review: Happiness and Other Diseases by Sumiko Saulson

Content Warnings: Explicit sexual content, dubious consent, gore, death, suicidal ideation, self-harm, torture, mental illness

Happiness and Other Diseases

Flynn has had a rough run of it. His life was never great, but lately, his nightmares have been so bad that he’s on the brink of collapse. With few options, he checks into a psychiatric hospital. There he meets Charlotte who tells him that his dreams are oh so very real… and she wants to be a part of them.

Charlotte is a somnali… well, technically, a demi-somnali. She can traverse the dreamworld and mold the dreams of mortals. Her father—a godlike being named Brash—wants her to give him a grandchild, which would allow him and the other somnali to cross into the world of the living. To do that, she needs Flynn.

Together they explore their fantasies, cope with reality, juggle friends and otherworldly relatives, and find what it means to be happy—even if it’s not what people consider “normal”.

Saulson weaves a deep and fascinating world, blending Greek mythology into the modern Bay area. The complicated history of the somnali is made accessible to the average reader. Their characters are multifaceted. No one is entirely good or evil, or even stable. This realism in Saulson’s writing was appreciated, especially with regard to thier treatment of mental health.

While the story showcases healthy communication—both in relationships and in BDSM—sometimes these interactions seem stilted. The story features some seriously disturbing scenes (things I’m not even sure how to tag), but if you go in with an open mind, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how touching this tale of doomed love really is.

If you’re interested in Greek mythology, dreams, BDSM, or just the crazy ups and downs of new love, Happiness, and Other Diseases is a good pick for you.

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Carrie Sessarego

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

carrieWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

My name is Carrie Sessarego, and I am fascinated with horror from two directions – the intersection of horror and historical social movements and issues, that I explore by analyzing classic Regency and Victorian horror, and also horror as a means of liberation for contemporary female authors as well as female filmmakers.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

My essay shares some fun facts about Shirley Jackson, an author who distilled female rage so beautifully. I’m especially drawn to her dry humor, her matter-of-fact voice even when describing terrible things, and the detail with which she depicts lives of women who are constrained by their gender.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

I like gothic horror and Lovecraftian horror, but I’d say my favorite horror stories are ones in which women and other marginalized groups take over the narrative by subverting genre expectations (and by beating the bad guy!). I also like horror comedy and am currently enjoying What We Do in the Shadows.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

I’m so excited about the upcoming movie Renfield and by the upcoming movie Nope!

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

My own blog is resting right now, but you can always find me at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books:

https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Chilling Chat: Episode #209 – Adam Breckenridge

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Adam Breckenridge is a Traveling Collegiate Faculty member of the University of Maryland Global Campus, where he travels the world teaching US military stationed overseas and is currently based in South Korea. He has eighteen shortAdam Breckenridge story publications and, in addition to Horror Bites, has appeared in Clockwork, Curses and Coal from Worldweaver Press and Mystery Weekly.

NTK: Welcome, Adam! What have you been up to since we last chatted?

AB: I’ve been in a bit of a stasis since Deathly Fog came out.  COVID combined with living in a small, isolated country has given me nothing to do but focus on work and writing, and so I’ve been busy turning out a mess of short stories and a couple of novels that I hope will see the light of day at some point.  I’ve had a handful of short stories come out since then in Wyldblood, Lucent Dreaming, and Intrinsick as well.

NTK: How old were you when you discovered horror?

AB: I think it was the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books that first put me on to horror. Those books were an obsession of my childhood and even inspired me to try writing some scary stories of my own, one of which I distinctly remember causing my dad to double over in laughter.  I’ve gotten a bit better at the genre since then.

NTK: What is your favorite horror movie?

AB: A couple of years ago a friend asked me for a top twenty-five list and, after a considerable amount of hemming and hawing I finally set The Shining at the number one spot, though it’s not a designation I would take too seriously.

NTK: What is your favorite horror television show?

AB: I think Stranger Things has stood out the most strongly for me. Tales From the Crypt was another formidable childhood experience, though I recently went back and revisited the show, and time has not been kind to it.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?

AB: In a pinch, I’d probably say The Turn of the Screw. I remember hating it the first time I read it, but I was forced to read it again for a class on gothic literature I took in college, and it really clicked for me the second time. It’s one I continue to revisit periodically with great fascination and served as a key inspiration for “Deathly Fog.”

NTK: What inspires your writing? How do you come up with your ideas?

AB: I think I have as many answers to that question as I have stories I’ve written, but the most common sources of inspiration are other works I’ve read, either because their ideas inspired ideas of my own or I got pissed off at the wasted potential of a story. Dreams, my experiences with traveling and living abroad, and just idle pondering have all borne creative fruit for me as well.

NTK: Do your characters have free will? Or do you direct their every movement?

AB: I’m always a little suspicious of writers who claim they can’t control their characters. They’re your creation and they’re entirely yours to do with as you please but being able to do that does require you to understand the nature of the characters you created.

NTK: What are you most afraid of?

AB: My phobia is heights. My greatest fear is probably a slow, painful death.

NTK: Have you ever written a horror story about your own experiences?

AB: Not really about my own experiences, no, but I have based a couple of horror stories off of dreams I’ve had. I wrote one based on an anxiety dream I had when I was in my grad program that was so dark and disturbing that I was never able to get it published. The moral of the story is don’t go to grad school.

NTK: Who is your favorite horror author?

AB: I recently discovered the works of Thomas Ligotti and he was a revelation to me. I don’t think I’ve encountered a contemporary horror author who’s done more to redefine what horror can be than he has, though Brian Evenson comes close.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

AB: Publication-wise, I’m thrilled to be having a story coming out in Beneath Ceaseless Skies later this summer and I have a couple of other forthcoming publications but I don’t know when precisely they will be coming forth at this moment.  Personal-wise, I’m also gearing up to move back to Tokyo after a couple of years in Korea and hoping to take my first proper vacation in two and a half years not long after.  Either way, exciting things are afoot.

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Rena Mason

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renaThe need for more mainstream, diverse horror in all mediums is what inspires me to continue creating the most. I’d also like to see more BIPOC and LGBTQ horror with women at the helm either writing or directing or both. Over the years, I’ve learned that they’re out there, it’s just that sometimes I’d have to seek them out or “stumble” upon them. A few I’ve discovered from their films and follow are: Madhuri Shekar Evil Eye, Karyn Kusama—The Invitation, Issa López—Tigers are Not Afraid, Mattie Do—Chanthaly and Dearest Sister, and Karen Lam—Evangeline. There are too many horror/dark fiction authors and poets to list, and I know that with my recent undertaking of co-editing an anthology of diverse fiction and voices, I’ve found many more. Ellen Datlow, who I’ve been reading since she was an editor for OMNI magazine, has an amazing talent for discovering and publishing new and diverse voices with excellent stories to tell. You can read those stories in her anthologies and at Tor.com, a publisher with a history of producing great work by authors from a multitude of backgrounds. 

In my opinion, diverse horror from diverse authors has improved and become somewhat more mainstream in the last decade, but I’ll always want more. I’d love the names of the writers behind those stories to be more known and their work discussed to a greater extent. 

Although the majority of my stories have Asian main characters, the evolution of my delving deeper into my own heritage was brought about after discussions borne from the promotion for Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women edited by Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn. In the virtual “green room” before panels, we would all discuss our works in progress, and future ideas, and how our stories inspired one another to venture into other aspects of our varied cultures. It has been an amazing experience and journey, and I love that it continues to grow with more work and the inclusion of more authors. We’ve always raised each other up, and now we’ve become a chorus. Our voices continue to rise, and we will not be kept silent.

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#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with James Goodridge

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jamesgoodridge headshotWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
My name is James Goodridge. I’m a writer of speculative fiction in the sub-genre of occult detective. An ongoing student of the Carnacki method of ghost finding.
What is your work in HAGL2 about?
A series of essays on horror from a person of color’s view.
What is your favorite horror subject and why?
Cosmic horror/occult detective. Cosmic horror because it shows how unimportant we are in the universe.
What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
I have a collection of occult detective short stories coming out in 2023 featuring Madison Cavendish (vampire) and Susan SunMountain Cavendish (werewolf)
Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

http://www.facebook.com/jamesgoodridge3 

www.amazon.com/author/jamesgoodridge

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13 BOOKS ABOUT HAUNTED HOUSES by Renata Pavrey

By book blogger and staff writer Renata Pavrey

What is it about hauntings that seem to beckon rather than repel? Buildings possessed by the dead who either want to drive away the living or make them one among themselves. Lodgings that come with a gamut of warnings and rumors that refuse to die, only to have an occupant promptly settle in and find oneself in trouble. Whom does a haunted house belong to – the owner who buys the property, or the ghost that refuses to let go? Horror fiction is replete with books about haunted places – homes, buildings, stores, hospitals. Then there are stories that blur the lines between thriller and horror – the things people are capable of that ghosts would never do, hauntings of the mind that far surpass a spirit’s capabilities. Here are thirteen books that take the haunted house trope and give it a life of its own, from the classic to the contemporary.

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

A gothic novella that was first published in a series format. The 19th-century classic raises the question of supernatural entities versus imagination, where the reader and protagonist both try to discern what’s real.

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

Is a house haunted because of its invisible inhabitants, or does believing it’s haunted make it so, or is it people doing the haunting while the ghosts suffer in silence? Blending terror and horror, another gothic story that blurs what’s inside one’s head versus what’s outside, and what one chooses to believe.

The Shining – Stephen King

Ghosts don’t always possess homes; sometimes they linger in hotels too. An isolated location with just three characters for the most part. Where would you go if there was nowhere to go to? Claustrophobia, solitude, loneliness. How would you know if it’s the hotel taking control, or your mind giving it up?

You Should Have Left – Daniel Kehlmann

Originally written in German and translated into English by Ross Benjamin, the novella follows seven days in the life of a screenplay writer in a rented Airbnb, which refuses to let go of its newest resident.

Apartment 16 – Adam Nevill

Sometimes supernatural influences are not happy with single houses; they need to possess entire buildings. An atmospheric novel that blends thriller with horror.

The Graveyard Apartment – Mariko Koike

A Japanese translation that mixes detective fiction with horror writing. If secluded haunted houses were bad enough, what happens when a building stands right next to a graveyard? Psychological horror can be more terrifying than out-and-out gore.

Beloved – Toni Morrison

Ghosts were once people, too. They might have known us. Maybe they loved us, or disliked us tremendously. How do you deal with malevolent spirits of people you knew and loved, but they don’t feel the same? Morrison’s seminal work explores the mother-daughter relationship, and the psychological effects of slavery.

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Hauntings need not always be physical entities. Memories can be powerful shapeshifters; taking over one’s mind and body with greater strength than any external force. Another hybrid novel that blends thriller with psychological horror.

The Sanatorium – Sarah Pearse

A former sanatorium, redeveloped into a luxury hotel. Will the ghosts of the past stay buried down, or will the evils of the present beckon them to the surface? A spine-tingling gothic mystery, just like its cold, isolated landscape.

Home Before Dark – Riley Sager

Another novel that shifts between thriller and horror, making the reader question its supernatural occurrences. When the author of a haunted house book is faced with a haunted house, is it just another story?

Horrorstör – Grady Hendrix

Horror need not always be dark, as reflected in this horror-comedy set in an IKEA store. When furniture comes to life, is there more to the products you sit and sleep on?

Seeing – Patrick Winters

How do haunted houses gain their reputation? A tightly-packed novella about a formerly luxurious mansion that has now gained a reputation of being haunted. Atmospheric and eerie writing that subtly creeps up on the reader, rather than in-your-face jump scares.

The Elementals – Michael McDowell

How do ghosts decide whom and what to possess? In a locality of three houses, two are without hauntings, while the third is filled with horror. If you live in either one of the three, would the spirits make your acquaintance?

Where would your next book take you? Step into a room, apartment, palace or hospital, and share space with its ghostly inhabitants as you dive into a story.

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with M.D. Neu

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MDNeuWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
Hello, I’m M.D. Neu. I’m a Paranormal and Urban Fantasy author. I grew up on Stephen King’s books and I fell in love. There is nothing better then a creepy story, told right. I also, enjoy Alfred Hitchcock movies; The Birds and Psycho are my two favorites, but Rear Window is up there as well. As a writer I want my of body work to stand up to these masters of horror and psychological thrillers, maybe someday.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
I provided an article for Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 titled, When Did you know? It’s a personal piece about my coming out as a gay man. We all have different stories and lives to share and I wanted to offer up mine for folks to learn from and hopefully appreciate. We live in a wonderfully diverse world, and I think the more we understand about each other the better we become as a species.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
My favorite horror subject is vampires and ghosts, I think they are wonderful. In my mind they are both misunderstood and extremely powerful. As an author you get to play with these types of monsters, and are only limited by your imagination. For example; how would vampires exist in our technological world? How do they keep themselves from being found out on social media? This is the same with ghosts, we’ve all seen the videos and heard the stories, and yes, some of it might be fancy editing and special effects, but what if it’s not? What if they are lost souls who need help? Or worse, what if they are angry souls, demons, and spirits out to cause harm and pain.

You get to play around a lot with these types of characters. I not only enjoy writing them, but I enjoy reading what others have done with them. Even some of the older horror movies with ghosts and vampires are epic and fun to watch.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
I’m hoping to see a transition back to the ‘good old days’ before they showed everything on screen. I believe that no images we put on screen or down in words is nearly as powerful as our minds. King and Hitchcock both understand this in their storytelling. They never show you everything, they leave a lot up to your imagination, which is more terrifying then anything we can watch. So, I want to see more of this in movies, TV, and books. Story Tellers need to give us the basics and let our mind paint the rest of the gruesome picture.

Where can readers/listeners find your work?
People can find me at www.mdneu.com. That is where you’ll find everything you’d want to know about me and my writing world. Come on by and check it out, you’ll have a killer time. 

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#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Sumiko Saulson

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Most of my pieces in Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 are works that were written for the HorrorAddicts.net blog during February for the Black History Month series over several years. They are inspired by my personal connection as an African American to various subjects regarding the African Diaspora and horror writing. Coming up as a nascent horror writer, when I was younger, I often ran into people that did not associate horror writing or the genre with being African American. People actually had specific attitudes where they didn’t really think that black people wrote or enjoyed horror. Which is a trip, because there are lots and lots of different types of black horror films and a huge audience for them, which includes lots of people who are members of the black community. Writing these articles gave me a chance to show my love for the black community, my love for black horror, and to make sure that other people were aware of a lot of really wonderful things that are out there, such as in horror literature, the works of LA Banks, and works by Toni Morrison that are specifically horror writing. And there are all of these wonderful films by people like Tony Todd that I have really loved growing up, and all of my life. I hope that I can share that love of black horror writers, black characters in horror writing and film, and more, with other people through these articles.

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THE BIGFOOT FILES/Chapter Forty-Two: Return to Dyatlov Pass

The 2018 horror novella Return to Dyatlov Pass is a cut above the typical creature feature. The 150-page story by J.H. Moncrieff is a sincere fictional attempt to investigate the mysterious – and true – 1959 deaths of nine Russian skiers whose bodies were discovered in the Ural Mountains.

Dedicated to the memory of the actual deceased skiers, Return to Dyatlov Pass is about a team of adventurers, led by Nat McPherson, that go back to the frigid scene of the unexplained fatalities. Nat is the host of Nat’s Mysterious World, the most popular podcast in the U.S. on the topic of unsolved and supernatural mysteries. 

Nat is a strong female protagonist with a lot of pride – maybe a tad too much. She lets an internet troll goad her into probing the Dyatlov Pass Incident and making the grueling trip to Russia. Her producer, the loyal Andrew, assembles a team of outdoor survivalists to accompany the podcast duo.

The opening scene perfectly – and horrifically – sets the mood as Moncrieff transports us back to March 1959 in the Ural Mountains where we witness the final minutes of the last survivor of the original Dyatlov party, a young woman named Lyudmila. 

“The moment before she died, Lyudmila wondered how it had gone so terribly wrong. Concealed within a makeshift snow cave for warmth and protection, she huddled close to Nicolai, though her friend’s body had long grown cold and stiff.” 

And that’s just the first paragraph.

Neary sixty years later, Nat and her team travel the same path, hoping to discover the truth of what really happened. Moncrieff creates a fully formed character with Nat, an inquisitive woman full of doubts and a powerful but untapped survival instinct. The author keeps the rest of the group from devolving into stereotypes with snappy dialogue and intense interactions, giving the minor characters a sense of personality. The crew is a mixed bag, each with individual experience but lacking the cohesion of a seasoned team that works together regularly. As the expedition progresses, the foreboding tone of John Carpenter’s The Thing and The X-Files’ “Ice” episode infiltrates the group’s dynamic, especially when people start dying. 

Actual investigations of the Dyatlov Pass Incident have attributed the deaths to an avalanche and hypothermia, but some of the bodies had traumatic injuries like skull damage and eyeballs missing. Other theories include military testing and alien encounters since the skiers’ clothes reportedly contained high levels of radiation.

Another theory? Yetis – aka abominable snowmen – killed the party of experienced skiers because a note reportedly found at the real campsite read, “From now on we know that snowmen exist.”

A gripping and heartfelt tale of terror in the mountains, Return to Dyatlov Pass parallels much of what the original 1959 victims “might” have experienced on their trip and offers an interesting take on the yeti theory. Plus, I learned what a “Mansi” is. Return to Dyatlov Pass is a must-read for fans of cryptid fiction.

NEXT UP: Chapter Forty-Three: Shadow of the Sasquatch. I review the 2021 novella by J.H. Moncrieff. 


RELATED LINK

THE BIGFOOT FILES

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with R.L. Merrill

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Merrill_RL-HeadshotWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

I’m R.L. Merrill—you can call me Ro—and I write romance and horror. I’m also a rabid music fan and seeker of haunted spaces. I have a bachelor’s degree in history and I’m drawn to cemeteries, old hotels, and bars for inspiration. I collect horror-themed artwork, especially skulls of all varieties, and I’m a horror movie fanatic.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

My piece about my favorite Dark Love Songs is included in the collection as well as my interview with Naching T. Kassa, who has a brilliant mind.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

Just one? Probably ghost stories because I frequently wonder about what happens after we die. I’m fascinated by the stories folks share about their encounters and I think about the history we can learn from actual spirits or even the tales of forgotten times and places. The human experience is a never-ending source of inspiration for me. I’m also a fan of monsters and the misunderstood. You can’t make me pick just one.


What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
I’m obsessed with Mike Flanagan’s works and I can’t wait for his take on my favorite Poe story, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” My story in Haunts and Hellions from Horror Addicts Press was inspired by this story and I love the Vincent Price movie version as well. I’m also anxious to see what my current favorite horror-themed band Ice Nine Kills will come up with next. Welcome to Horrorwood, their most recent album, was truly stunning, and seeing them in concert was phenomenal.

Where can readers/listeners find your work?

https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com I’ll have a historical horror out this summer and a queer vampire tale out in September called Sundowners.

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#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Michael Fassbender

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M. FassbenderWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

My name is Michael Fassbender, and I’m a writer of horror fiction. I also love to read horror fiction, watch horror movies and listen to music with horrific themes.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

One of my articles explores the strains of horror in the Metal, Punk and Goth musical scenes, and considers what our musical preferences may say about our approaches to the horror field. The other draws parallels between the explosive introduction of Negan in The Walking Dead and the origins of the pharaohs in Egyptian prehistory. The intersection of horror and history has always appealed to me.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

I have a clear preference for supernatural horror, but that covers a wide range of flavors, from ghost stories to Lovecraftian monstrosities to tales of demonic possession. There needs to be some kind of otherworldly element.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?

Mike Flanagan’s next series is supposed to revolve around the works of Poe, so I’m doubly looking forward to that. Also, I think I remember correctly that they’re going ahead with new installments in the Insidious and The Conjuring franchises.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

Most of my published work is spread out in anthologies, but you can find out information about each at my website, michaeltfassbender.com.

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#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Mark Orr

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markorrIt would have been difficult to NOT become a horror addict when I was growing up. I was born just after the beginning of the horror renaissance of the late 1950s, and by the time I was culturally aware, that renewal was in full swing. Monsters were everywhere by the mid-1960s, and with fewer entertainment options, their presence was much more concentrated and therefore ubiquitous than today. The entertainment choices we now enjoy that are spread across hundreds of local and cable television channels and as many more streaming services were in those days distilled down to, in most places, three or four networks – NBC, CBS, ABC and sometimes PBS – and maybe one or two independent UHF channels per market, if you were lucky. Everyone knew who Herman Munster was, or Barnabas Collins, or Morticia Addams, or Samantha Stevens. Everyone who had access to a television set had seen at least one episode of The Twilight Zone. Programming at the local and national levels was filled out with regular movie presentations – morning, afternoon, prime time, week day, weekend, late night. Old movies, recent theatrical releases, made-for-television-films – there was no other way to watch movies outside of theaters until the widespread availability of cable TV and home video in the late 1970s to mid-1980s. And many of the movies shown were the Universal horror pictures of the 1930s and 1940s, or the Godzilla films from Japan, or the “in unliving color” blood-and-bodice terrors from Hammer Films in England. Monsters were depicted on the covers of mainstream national magazines – Life, Look, Time, TV Guide. Toys, games, model kits, wallets, comic books, bubble-gum cards, lunchboxes, everything that appealed to children of the time had monsters plastered all over them. Magazines about movie monsters and paperback books full of pulp magazine reprints about – you guessed it – monsters crowded the newsstands in every drug store within walking distance of my home. America was glutting itself on monsters, and I wallowed in that cultural cesspool of delicious terrors.

How could I possibly avoid being caught up in it?

Why would I want to?

So, eventually I grew up, got married, went to college and got my BA in history, then started producing offspring and being obliged to make a living and all that other adulting stuff attendant thereto. Now that my kids are grown and I’m left with this massive accumulation of horror books and magazines and comics, and scary movies, radio shows and TV programs, and creepy toys and games and cards and all manner of other cool stuff, what else is there to do with it all but write about it for the enlightenment, entertainment and edification of younger generations of horror addicts?

And so, that’s why I do what I do. That is why I am, and shall for the foreseeable future remain, your Friendly Neighborhood Historian of Horror.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Tabitha Thompson

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20180209_121722_2[1]What inspired me to become a Horror Addict was at the tender age of 5 I was exposed to a movie called Maniac Cop by my mother. As horrified as I was of that movie (and the sequel), it unexpectedly had given me a love of horror, and given that I started writing stories at that age, it was only a matter of time before those two worlds would collide and I would become the person that I am today.  What has encouraged me to keep creating is my never-ending love for storytelling. Aside from books, I observe peoples’ actions and energy and find ways to incorporate them into various stories. I love having a ‘what if’ mentality with different situations that have either happened in my life or other people’s lives and finding new macabre ways to put it onto paper. With the understanding that everybody has a story to tell; I find that inspiration is pretty much everywhere and it helps to make some fascinating stories. Another encouraging factor that has kept me creating is my family; I want to not just provide a great life but inspire my nieces and future children with the idea that taking a leap and chance on yourself is definitely hard, but can be worth it.

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#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Geneve Flynn

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Geneve Flynn-Author-EditorWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest? 

Geneve Flynn. I’m a freelance fiction editor, and horror short story author and poet.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

“What’s Your Lens” encourages writers, readers, and editors to consider that we all view the world through a certain lens. It’s impossible to escape because we don’t exist in a void. Reading diverse works can expand our understanding of broader perspectives, which opens the way for greater possibilities in publishing.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

My favorite horror subject is the psychology of horror. We read to understand others. We’re social creatures and our survival relies on being part of a group, so being able to understand how others think and predicting how they might act is pretty important. That’s why character is so key in a good story.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

Books, books, and more books! There are so many interesting, talented folks creating fantastic dark fiction. I’ll probably die buried under my TBR pile, but I will be forever excited for new books. At the time of writing, I’m about two weeks out from heading to StokerCon live for the first time. I’m ridiculously excited about that.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

You can find me here: http://www.geneveflynn.com.au

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#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Jonathan Fortin

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Jonathan Fortin AUTHORPHOTO-2020My article 25 Of The Most Metal Films (That Aren’t About Metal) exists for two reasons: one, to promote my metal-themed short story Requiem In Frost; and two, out of spite that every list of “Metal movies” on the Internet. 

I completed the first draft of Requiem In Frost for a challenge in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest, wherein we were tasked to write a music-themed horror story. I’d had a fitting idea in my head for a while: a girl moving into a house haunted by the ghost of a murdered black metal musician, who she would befriend and eventually avenge by finding his killer. While I didn’t win that particular challenge, I did win the competition, and was invited to publish the work as a standalone ebook. (I recently recorded some parts for the audiobook, which should be out later this year.) 

I wrote 25 Films… as a blogpost to promote the story’s original launch, back in 2019. While researching similar lists online, I found an irritating tendency: nearly every list of the most “metal” films focused only on movies that were specifically about metal, rather than ones that felt metal. And I hate to say it, but despite my great love for the genre, I feel that a lot of the frequently-cited metal-themed films honestly aren’t that good. Most are extremely low-budget, to boot. In my mind, very few capture the epic, bombastic essence of metal. 

With that in mind, I decided to list only movies that weren’t specifically about metal, even though Requiem In Frost very much is. I instead focused on movies that had aesthetics, atmosphere, and/or subject matter that seemed appropriate for a metal album. I tried to include as much variety of metal as possible, from fantasy appropriate for symphonic power metal (The Lord of the Rings, Legend) to horror appropriate for goregrind (Martyrs, which you probably shouldn’t watch unless you have a very strong stomach). I also included a few stinkers out of necessity—Heavy Metal is tough to recommend in 2022, and I’ve personally never been a big fan of Conan the Barbarian—but the list wouldn’t feel complete without them. If I were to revise it for the years that have passed since 2019, then 2021’s The Spine of Night and 2022’s The Northman would both be shoe-ins for inclusion.

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#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Mark Orr

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markorrWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

My name is Mark Orr, and I am the Historian of Horror. I have been intensely curious about nearly everything there is to be interested in for all sixty-three years of my life, including horror as expressed in every aspect of human endeavor – art, music, film and spooky storytelling in all its myriad forms, as well as the customs and traditions that arise out of the horrors that inform the human experience. I am also interested in the intersection of horror with other genres, especially mystery, which is itself another passion of mine.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

It’s about the broad range of horrific expression in every genre, every medium, every cultural practice known to humanity. Creepy comics, frightening films, monstrous music, scary stories, terrifying television, all of these are examined in my various articles.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

How cultural expressions of horror reflect the terrors of the time and place in which they are created – the angst of their age, if you will.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?

Historians have a tendency to look backwards more than forwards, but there’s always the delicious anticipation of coming across some forgotten artifact or unexpected scholarly work that will illuminate a previously unexamined facet of horror.

Where can readers/listeners find your work?

https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Orr/e/B00JFMY8AM

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#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Priscilla Bettis

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priscillaWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
Priscilla Bettis. I enjoy literary horror, and I also enjoy nonfiction, personal accounts of the curious and dark.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
“Demon Pigs and Other Childhood Fears” is a nonfiction piece that describes the freaky things I feared as a child. Seriously, it’s so much easier being an adult. Grownups can contextualize disturbing events rather than having them turn into terrifying creatures that dwell under the bed.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
This question is no fair! It’s one of those who’s-your-favorite-child questions!

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
Fiction-wise, Andy Davidson’s third novel, The Hollow Kind, comes out October 11th. I loved his first two books, so this is an auto-buy for me!

Nonfiction-wise, I’ve been following the author interviews and reading snippets from Loren Rhoads’ Death’s Garden Revisited, an anthology of cemetery essays. Like Davidson’s book, Death’s Garden Revisited is also due out this October, and it’s going to be GREAT!

Where can readers/listeners find your work?

priscillabettisauthor.com

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Book Review: The Man in the Field

The Man in the Field by James Cooper, pub. Cemetery Dance Publications 10.6.2022 is available on amazon.

Synopsis:

The village: a remote, God-fearing place, governed by ancient rituals that provide eternal balance to the land. Here, people have faith in working the soil, the good Lord above, and their own peaceful community. This is how they have lived for centuries, the Council providing spiritual oversight and the charismatic Father Lynch lighting the way.

As he does every year, according to an age-old custom, the man in the field arrives amid much rejoicing and apprehension. To sanctify the newly planted crops and ensure a productive harvest, the village must make a personal sacrifice in his name. This is the tradition that must be honored. For every blessing, there is a debt to be paid . . .

Mother Tanner, an older member of the village, has seen all this before. She has been born and raised in the shadow of these harsh solemnities and feels increasingly disturbed by them. Celebrating the Turning of the Wheel and exalting in God’s bounty is only half the story; there is much here that she is starting to distrust. Not least of which is Father Lynch himself and his beloved Council. And the enigmatic man in the field, who gazes not at the village, but at the distant horizon, thinking only of the overdue debt and the stroke of midnight when it will be time to collect . .

Review:

The Man in the Field by James Cooper drew me to it with its promise of rural isolation and strange doings. With its ritual nature, it sounded very much like a folk horror, which is a genre I love. It sort of is, but with a layer of dystopia washing over it.

My first impression, as the villagers respond to the sudden—although expected—appearance of the man in the field, is of an isolated community set some time in the past. It reminded me of the setup of the film The Village, being similarly bordered by forbidden woods. As these villagers respond to the man’s presence—the precursor to horrific events portrayed as a ‘blessing’ by the males of the community and by the council in particular—little bits of modern living are dropped in: the references to the city, the discovery of someone watching a video on their mobile phone, the journey taken at the end away from the village. All of this is neatly done, adding to the sense of dislocation and difference of the village and its inhabitants.

At the heart of the story is the relationship between Mother Tanner and Father Lynch. The latter is effectively the leader of the council, whilst the former is someone Lynch considers a challenge to himself, disrupting his authority within the community. When Mother Tanner discovers some of his secrets following the awful outcome of The Offering, she comes under increasingly close scrutiny and is in a position of some danger—from the men, from some of the women, and from some of the strangers in the woods. I still can’t quite believe that the women allow the offering to go ahead if they are the subjugated, but there is little they can do.

The sinister presence of the man in the field is something I would like to have known more about. With his sudden appearance and his continual unmoving position, with his back to the people of the village so they never see his face, he gives an almost supernatural feel to the tale. Apart from his presence denoting the start of the sacrificial ritual and the resultant offering, nothing more is explained.

Throughout the pages, the events are a backdrop to this ongoing ‘duel’ between Mother Tanner and Father Lynch, told with an excellent building of tension and pace. If this is a standalone novella, then I would say that the ending is somewhat unsatisfying. If there is to be a sequel, then it is the perfect place to stop. I also have the suspicion that any follow-up will play more to the dystopian nature of the story than the folk aspect, but that is my own opinion! Regardless of this, I would still highly recommend this atmospheric and weird little tale.