Book Review: Barnabas, Quentin, and the Sea Ghost by Marilyn Ross

Dark Shadows is a classic for Horror Addicts everywhere, so when I saw a row of 1970 paperbacks based on the Dark Shadows theme at a thrift store, I couldn’t pass them up. My only regret is that I didn’t buy all of them.

Barnabas, Quentin, and the Sea Ghost by Marilyn Ross were a combination of everything we love. A vampire, a werewolf, and what seems like a pirate ghost, Jenny Swift.

Nora and her father have come to Collinwood to head a salvage project deep under the sea. They’ve been told of the curses of the Jenny Swift including the death of the wife of the last salvage expert. But those warnings fall on deaf ears as Nora and her father are skeptics. As soon as Nora arrives, she encounters a midnight visitor and then shortly after meets Barnabas Collins who she falls in love with.

Despite the rumors of the curse of the Jenny Swift, the salvage operation goes forward. But when accidents start to arise and Nora finds seaweed in her bed, she thinks there might be something to it. On a scary night in the fog, she sees the apparition of Jenny Swift, the beautiful side of her face calling her to the ship and the horrid, mutilated side of her face scaring Nora to the bone. But when Nora is attacked in the cemetery—only to be saved by Barnabas—the Collinwood family wonders if there’s more going on. Could the mysterious Quentin Collins be the one attacking villagers and Nora? Adding a fortune hunter claiming to have rights to the treasure and you’ve got quite a story.

I really enjoyed the story and the descriptions especially of the cemetery and of the apparition Jenny Swift. Some leniency can be given to the quality of writing because of the time and because of the writing style being very script-like. If you can get your hands on this book, I say buy! And if you see any others, buy them up! Or, call me so I can go get them! For lovers of Dark Shadows, these are must-reads and for us regular Addicts it’s a pretty damn good waste of an evening.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Press Release : Twice Upon An Apocalypse from Crystal Lake Publishing

Twice Upon An Apocalypse

Edited by Rachel Kenley & Scott T. Coudsward

These aren’t your mother’s fairy tales.Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we’re pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.

The stories in Twice Upon an Apocalypse will scare and delight “Children” of all ages!

Twice Upon an Apocalypse is one of the most refreshingly inventive, entertaining, thoughtful (and thought-provoking), not to mention unnerving anthologies I’ve read in years.”Gary A. Braunbeck

Watch the latest episode of Beneath the Lake videocast, with host Todd Keisling interviewing TWICE UPON AN APOCALYPSE contributors, Armand Rosamilia and Bracken MacLeod: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzrPckuRO2A&feature=youtu.be

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/…/35238942-twice-upon-an-apocalyp…

Shirt: http://crystallakepub.storenvy.com/products/19917797-clp-twice-upon-an-apocalypse-t-shirt

Interview with Armand Rosamilia: http://www.crystallakepub.com/2017/05/28/the-deep-end-interview-with-armand-rosamilia/

Guest Blog: The Infernal Clock Anthology Stephanie Ellis

Time ticks for everybody and has become the instrument with which humans torture themselves, marking as it does the countdown to each person’s eventual end. Not a precious minute can be wasted in each of our allotted lifespans … whether it be used for good or evil.

 

The Infernal Clock is an anthology tracking one day in time, each of its 24 hours filled with horrors and torments. Between the covers, lie a collection of diverse styles ranging from dark fantasy to the literary to the classical—here is horror in its many forms. The anthology is available on Amazon but to celebrate its recent launch we are offering the chance to win a print copy of the book. Check out our 500 word flash horror competition over at The Infernal Clock blog. And if that’s not enough, here’s a taster from the book:

The Graveyard Shift

by Stephanie Ellis

“Are any awake?” asked Nurse Maddison. Joseph cast his eye over the bank of monitors in front of him. Each showed a sleeping patient, unmoving. “Dead to the world,” he said. “If only,” said the nurse as she walked away. They both laughed at the joke, tired though it was. The graveyard shift was almost over. She just had to wait until the clock struck three. And the big hand was almost there, moving slowly towards the end of its hourly journey, second … by second … by second.

Click.

He watched her grab her freedom, striding out of the facility’s gates, waving up at his camera as she disappeared into the night.

He sighed. It was alright for her, he still had another hour to go; another hour of mind-numbing boredom. He could pass the time like others by watching TV or flicking through trashy magazines but he had more of a conscience than that, ever since … well, what was past was past but from then on he had always done everything by the book—almost always anyway. Needless to say it did not help his popularity and he frequently found himself walking the corridors or watching the monitors at this unearthly hour, his colleagues having bagged the more attractive shifts as payback.

A slight movement in Patient One’s cell caught his eye; Nurse Maddison’s replacement—Nurse Ole Lukøje, a male medic this time. The Dane had been there a week and Joseph still hadn’t met him. It was almost as if he lost time when Ole was on duty. Joseph had a worrying suspicion he sometimes dozed off on the job despite all his good intentions. But nothing had happened and nobody had caught him. Hell, it wasn’t a sleep clinic for nothing; he could afford to cut himself a little slack, all those years of tedious conscientiousness had built him a balance of credit he felt could do with spending. And his time here was nearly up after all. Tonight though, his curiosity was piqued. It was definitely about time he met the guy. He rubbed his eyes and returned his gaze to the monitor. Ole Lukøje, he pondered the name, a Danish synonym for the Sandman, very apt.

He continued to watch Patient One. What dreams are you giving your patients, Nurse Lukøje, he wondered. The nurse had left but the man was no longer sleeping peacefully. His body had begun to twitch uncontrollably, his legs jerking as if running from something, his hands swinging out wildly against an unseen attacker. Joseph cast his eye over the patient’s notes left with him in case of ‘emergencies’. Patient One was prone to night terrors—well that was something new—and apparently only a recent development as it had been added by Nurse Lukøje. There had been no such observations from any of the other nurses who worked that shift. An extra note had been squashed into the space at the bottom of the page. It merely stated that normal sleep patterns resumed at 4 a.m. Joseph frowned. Usually the nurse would stay longer, wait until the patient had settled down, adjust the meds if any were being administered. But he wasn’t there. He wasn’t anywhere. And Patient One was becoming more agitated by the minute.

To read more and find out what other horrors can happen in 24 hours, check out The Infernal Clock

Press Release : Twice Upon An Apocalypse from Crystal Lake Publishing

Twice Upon An Apocalypse

Edited by Rachel Kenley & Scott T. Coudsward

These aren’t your mother’s fairy tales. Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we’re pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.

The stories in Twice Upon an Apocalypse will scare and delight “Children” of all ages!

Twice Upon an Apocalypse is one of the most refreshingly inventive, entertaining, thoughtful (and thought-provoking), not to mention unnerving anthologies I’ve read in years.”Gary A. Braunbeck

Watch the latest episode of Beneath the Lake videocast, with host Todd Keisling interviewing TWICE UPON AN APOCALYPSE contributors, Armand Rosamilia and Bracken MacLeod: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzrPckuRO2A&feature=youtu.be

Introduction by Gary A. Braunbeck
“The Pied Piper of Providence” by
William Meikle
“The Three Billy Goats Sothoth” by
Peter N. Dudar
“Little Maiden of the Sea” by
David Bernard
“The Great Old One and the Beanstalk” by
Armand Rosamilia
“In the Shade of the Juniper Tree” by J .P. Hutsell
“The Horror at Hatchet Point” by
Zach Shephard
“The Most Incredible Thing” by
Bracken MacLeod
“Let Me Come In!” by
Simon Yee
“The Fishman and His Wife” by
Inanna Arthen
“Little Match Mi-Go” by
Michael Kamp
“Follow the Yellow Glyph Road” by
Scott T. Goudsward
“Gumdrop Apocalypse” by Pete Rawlik
“Curiosity” by
Winifred Burniston
“The Ice Queen” by
Mae Empson
“Once Upon a Dream” by
Matthew Baugh
“Cinderella and Her Outer Godfather” by
C.T. Phipps
“Donkeyskin” by
KH Vaughan
“Sweet Dreams in the Witch-House” by
Sean Logan
“Fee Fi Old One” by
Thom Brannan
“The King on the Golden Mountain” by
Morgan Sylvia
“The Legend of Creepy Hollow” by Don D’Ammassa

Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2s8wknN

Official Launch Page (includes a sample): http://www.crystallakepub.com/apocalypse/

Thunderclap: http://bit.ly/2qBHfrR

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/…/35238942-twice-upon-an-apocalyp…

Shirt: http://crystallakepub.storenvy.com/products/19917797-clp-twice-upon-an-apocalypse-t-shirt

Interview with Armand Rosamilia: http://www.crystallakepub.com/2017/05/28/the-deep-end-interview-with-armand-rosamilia/

Horror Artist Profile: J.E. Richards

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

Where are you originally from?

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

When did you start drawing?

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

What inspired you to draw?

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

What do you use to draw with?

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

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

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

Can you tell us about your book The Last Breath?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How long did it take to bring it all together?

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

What are you currently working on?

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

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

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

Where can people find you on the internet?

The internet presence is:

 

Guest Blog: Breaking Conventions with Jane Lisa Lane

Breaking Conventions with Jane Lisa Lane

I didn’t set out to write anything extreme, but the story had different ideas. Jane’s nasty past was determined to haunt her in terrible ways no matter how hard I worked to keep the work subtle. Her world was forged in loss and betrayal, the circumstance leading her into the arms of a monster. It became dark—really dark. I realized, though, that this balance between supernatural drama and extreme horror could say a lot collectively about Jane’s character.

Tragedy and horror spawn both villains and heroes. An antagonist isn’t usually born the antagonist. The bad guy feels justified in his or her crimes, no matter how heinous, because other terrible events have often led the person to that point. However, the same events might lead a person of greater character down a more altruistic road. Jane is that person of greater character. Instead of inflicting the kind of pain she’s suffered, she goes out of her way to extend kindness. She’s a tortured soul in the truest sense, but she sees it as her mission to do right by all living things—which includes, in good hippie fashion, refraining from using animal products of all kinds.

Still, I have to admit that even I was surprised by how graphic Jane’s flashback was in Hair… and then Flower Power was a creature all its own. I knew the vampire that turned Jane had been a sadistic psychopath, but I fell down a disturbing road when I decided to answer the question: How horrific might the torture get if the subject were very, very difficult to kill, and the thing inflicting it happened to be exceptionally evil?

Jane really is a character of unexpected extremes. Despite her desire to do only good, she does sometimes kill people in violent ways. She gets to a point, after a couple weeks without any fresh blood, when she loses all sense of what she’s doing and simply sees prey. The peace-lover she is, she tries her best at playing vigilante to get by, but good people do sometimes end up going down in her wake. She ends up putting herself in an endless cycle in her quest for redemption: she has deluded herself into believing she might eventually reverse her curse if she performs enough good deeds—but by merely staying alive, she puts those around her regularly at risk. As guilty as she feels about it, she does often downplay the significance of the deaths that result when she “goes red.”

Her most recent adventure, Dazed and Confused, exemplifies that downplaying, while also going back to the milder, somewhat less graphic roots of Love Beads and Flashbacks. The balance of darkness is still there but on a much subtle level. Take Jane’s “hangover.” Then, by placing her in a horror survival situation, the episode’s antagonist being the undead of a wholly different kind, the coin is able to flip, revealing the humanity Jane does still possess—as well as her vulnerabilities.

Because of all Jane encompasses, I’m overjoyed that the Vampire Tours of San Francisco invited me to join them on their 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love tour. The tour will include a hippie vampire costume contest, and I’ve been told there will be prizes. For more information on the Vampire Tours of San Francisco, go to http://www.sfvampiretour.com.

In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, Jane the Hippie Vampire is going old school. For the first time ever, Love Beads, Flashbacks, Hair, and Dazed and Confused are available individually in trade paperback.

Love Beads https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521217467

Flashbacks https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521219796

Hair https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521219869

Dazed and Confused https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521219931

For more info and updates, go to my blog: http://www.cerebralwriter.com/blog.