Interview with Best in Blood Winner, Mark Taylor

1)      How do you feel about having the title Best in Blood?

It was amazing – and hearing my reaction back, I can say I was stunned. It is such an honor to hold the award!

2)      How did you start writing? What inspires you to write?

I was always interested in writing from a young age, but I had other interests that – at the time – became priority. I ended up on the slippery slope to being a rock star! *coughs* Well, I was the lead in a metal and for several years, and after that I concentrated on my career. Flash forward to me, mid-thirties. I took up writing again some years back, and found that I loved it.  I find that different writings can help me along with how I’m feeling. Bad day at the office? Someone’s getting murdered on the page. Perhaps skinned first. Who knows? Nice relaxing day? Time for a little humor.

3)      What are you currently working on?

At the moment I’m finishing up book two of the Witches series, Blood of the Covenant. I’m also (still) editing Vampire Blue – the first in a series of novels that is all noir detective Bogart, with vampires. More detective, less biting.

4)      When you are not writing, what hobbies do you enjoy?

Moooooooovies! Ha. I love cinema. I run a movie site, and just adore film and television. I’m a massive supporter of Indie film, and short film. And, of course, I’m all about the horror. I’m also okay in the kitchen, and I pretty much watch all the decent cookery shows. And even some Guy Fieri.

5)      When did you start writing? How did you know you were going to be a writer?

As I said before, I started seriously writing again in my thirties. It started at first not only about the writing, but also the close community. Back in the days of forums *shows age*. But I had some short story successes, which led to me taking on longer works, and now I rarely write short stories. I love putting the tale together. It’s part of the thrill for me, and one of the reasons I can’t see me stopping.

6)      Who are your favorite authors?

Well, I have an obvious list – King, Barker, etc – but there is some really hot talent out there at the moment. I’m currently reading Craig Saunders The Dead Boy – and man, does he know how to weave. I totally dig Chuck Wendig – particularly his Miriam Black books.

7)      Have you seen the new IT movie? What was your thoughts on it?

I’ve not seen it yet, but I can’t wait for the home release – in January here, I believe. I’ve heard good things about it. I love the TV miniseries, but I’m hoping this will one up it!

8)      Have you had writer’s block? How did you unblock?

Sadly the block gets us all sometimes. I can’t offer any great advice on beating it, but I have found that writing anything helps. Writing for my movie site is particularly good – my film reviews and features are just me expounding on my feelings, so it’s pretty easy to do. I think it’s just about flow, more than anything else, so starting the flow of words helps.

9)      Do you do something special for Halloween? Did you dress up? If so, what were you?

I’m not really a get out and party guy – and the area I live in has a lot of activities for younger people (Old man shakes fist at cloud).  But I do have a kick-ass Jedi Costumes that comes out on occasion. Being 6’4 and bearded makes for difficult costuming, but I think, given the opportunity, I might put together a Michael Myers costume. I could pull that off.

10)   What is your favorite monster?

Ack! So many to choose from! But honestly I’ve always been a Freddy fan. And Kong, of course. Maybe Gremlins, too. But not forgetting Dracula. And Frankenstein’s monster. Wolfman (He’s got nards, you know).

11)   How can we find your works?

The easiest place to find me is on my website, my Amazon page, or Facebook:


An Interview with Horror Artist Rhaega Ailani

Yasou Rhaega! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us at HORROR ADDICTS.

I wanted to ask you a few questions regarding your artwork and illustrations because you have such a large span ranging from fantasy art to science fiction.

Gia sou Lisa! Pos iste. It will be an absolute pleasure to me to answer

What made you choose that direction for your craft?

I think I took the route of Fantasy even before knowing that my path in this life it would be closely linked to art. Yet one of the first memories I keep from my childhood was my first book of Greek Mythology, full of illustrations and amazing stories that inspired me and push me to imagine so much. Mythology always has been defining my way.

I guess I am an addictive Dreamer: I see the world around me through the prism of the fantasy and the imagination, maybe because I know reality too well, and yet I think the world of Fantasy and Dreams, is always full of possibilities.

I see you are in London now, but you spent a lot of time in the Mediterranean. Do you feel living there, with it rich culture and mythology, it had a strong impact on your creative muse?

I moved to London few years ago. My partner is a londoner, and even If I have been always moving around and living for a while in different countries such as Germany, France, Greece, etc. (As I never liked to be in the same place for a long time). I always come back to here, to the little Mediterranean city near I was born, Tarragona. Maybe because some part of me always has the incredible need to come back to where I belong to.

Over there, you just need to sit down on the soft sand, let the soft tamed breeze guide your thoughts and look at the sea in silence. Sometimes it amazes me how simple moments like can take your mind to places that you couldn´t even dream off, pushing in every step to bring each time the best of you in each piece. At least, that´s my purpose in life.

You took a long break of silence for awhile. What was it like for you during that time? Did you feel an itch to break out of it early? Or was it a welcome vacation from things?

About the break I took. I really needed it. There was in a concrete moment where my personal life was taking over a bit, and I felt I needed to take a break, breath deep and analyze.

Sometimes at some stages life decides to open new doors for us so we can walk into them, because we have to do it, so we can develop as human beings and it will help us to grow stronger, even if at the beginning we don´t understand why.

This personal break was more like a cunning step into a new stage in life for me, spiritually and in my way to develop my creations of course.

What’s it like being an artist for a living? Do you sometimes feel it’s harder, or would do you feel you made the right choice? What are some of the challenges you face being an artist for hire?

It is something completely hard, challenging I would say. (And being a woman inside this industry, much more!) But as Truman Capote use to say, “When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip”. And the truth is there´s no prize in this life, without any struggle. This is the path I chose. I love art (and in concrete, illustration), so much that I knew since I was a child that this would be the path I would follow. And I don´t regret it. The fruits of your work sometimes they take time to mature, but it´s an immense pleasure when you receive them. I think I find many challenges on a daily basis, like any other artist, but the biggest one (at least for me), is the one of getting to please myself first with the job I’ve done. I am my biggest and hardest critic, I´m not an easy woman with compliments, and to me it is very important to show the real vision of what I had in my mind to others, through my work. I can repeat the same image as many times as I want, and I will not stop sketching until I have what I really want, what my heart really wants to show. I don´t care about the effort, I don´t care how long it takes me. It´s my work, and before presenting it, I have to be completely satisfied with it, if not I will not do it.

Some of your work has a strong spiritual influence. As a creative myself, I understand this draw but tell our audience what this is like-or what it means-for you.

Spirituality is a very important part of us, it´s an essential path that sooner or later someone should take to understand your own soul. Is not a fashion, it’s not about reading some books and thinking you are invested of some kind of “divine” touch to do as you want. Spirituality is not a degree you can learn anywhere. It’s a silent and hard path that´s not the same for everyone. It´s a lesson we all learn. You can call it however you want. There´s no time limits, no other goals than the ones that you decide. Spirituality is most of all daring to look inside yourself, take into your arms you “inner child” and learn to listen to him/her again, working in yourself. Spirituality to me I could summarize it in three simple concepts: Listen, Accept & Love yourself.

And yes, I do feel a very important connection to it. Because I would be so simple-minded (or maybe too arrogant) to think that the only thing that exists and matters is the material world that surround us. Not at all, this is just like a “mirage”. I always say,” I don´t like to meet people, I like to feel people”. And that´s how it is.


What kind of art, besides the spiritual, do you feel the strongest connection to, and why?

I must admit I feel some kind of “weakness” for some styles like for example the Renaissance, or almost all the “Pre-Raphaelism”: And with this we go back to the point of my personal “addiction” for Mythology and Fantasy. Because these styles, they represent perfectly an atmosphere of dreams and fantasies, with a very powerful allure that I find too appealing to me personally. I love the classics, it´s hard for me to get into the concept of modern art now in our days, but I must admit also I admire many artists, especially in comics and illustration like Hergé, Arkás, René & Gosciny, Luis Royo, Ciruelo Cabral, or Victoria Francés, which I think they are amazing with all the work they do.

Us writers sometimes experience writers block. Do you ever feel “creative block” when you’re working? If so, how do you move past that?

I don´t think I ever experienced that.  But maybe what I experienced is a “physical block”, in times when health didn´t allowed me the strength I needed to can continue creating. Then it´s a real nightmare, when you have so much into your head to get out, but your health is not really letting you push forward for it and can accomplish it.

Tell us a story behind one of your favorite pieces. I know people often ask where you get your ideas, but I love hearing stories behind the ideas.

I can tell you for example three of them. One of my recent ones called “Nimué”, and isbased on the mythic young maiden that used to serve the Lady of the Lake (some say that is the Lady of The Lake herself, in one of her multiple faces), in the old Arthurian Myths. I always found this character (being another interpretation of the mythic “Lady” or not), very fascinating that in fact, I felt I had to paint her soon or later. But as always, I didn´t want to do it until I had the right image in my mind to create her. And there it was, one morning I suddenly woke up, and I started to paint.

And the strokes came on its own, with no effort, easy. That´s how I truly imagine her. Like a kind of silent nayad, sitting on the bottom of the dark lake, holding always Excalibur in her hand, strong and confident. Maybe waiting for the rightful King to release it again.

Do you have a ritual when you sit down to begin a piece? If so, tell us a little about how it works for you. If the ritual is somehow interrupted, does it affect you or your work?

My personal ritual? I always try to do a little of meditation before I start to work. (To me it´s also a way to thank to the universe for what I am, and what I have, and to relax of course), burning an incense stick, always the best to clear the atmosphere, and get me into the perfect scenery and frame of mind so can get started with the job …I truly think  you don´t need much to create a new piece, once you  truly feel it in your heart, and you have the inspiration and the right vibration to do so.

I usually don´t get very interrupted, because I try to find the right time to start my work: I love to be alone in my studio, loneliness to me is the perfect haven to start to engage what are the ideas with the result.

When we look at an artist’s work, we can always see a “signature” in their style which sets them apart from other artists. What do you feel your signature is?

My signature is to me, like a wild scratch that fights to get out from the paper, out of the canvas and into the surface, for the darkness into light. Out of the art piece itself to become a little haven to the mind and senses for a while to the public that watches it . Maybe my signature itself is a reflection of my wild side: the inner “fight” that exists inside every creative soul to make it work the way that it has to be. I think that this is to me more than a simple signature. It´s a “print” of my own soul.

Do you feel like where you are, for example geographically, has an influence on your work?

Oh yes, definitely the place where I am creating it becomes a strong influence in my work. As I said before, I love to travel and to visit different places. I “visualize” life itself as a “long journey” from which we have the chance to learn all what we came to learn in here. Every place where I have been living, even for a lil´while brought me some sort of happiness and knowledge, that now I consider it as completely priceless. And part of what I learned it always its own mirror in my artwork.

Some artists find it harder to work in certain places, geographically which has been your most challenging, and your least?

My most challenging I guess is my own country. My least challenging is Greece, definitely. I adore the meaning that Greeks give to art, to their random lives, and the incredible support they give to artists, to the ones that are Greeks themselves, as to the ones that come from another country. When I worked there with other artists, I felt like home. It was like a constant exchange of ideas and experiences. I have the highest respect to them. They are people that make you “grow” completely.

We’d love to see more of your work! What’s up and coming from you?

By now completing some illustrations for the role book game called “Aureus” (“Aureo”), based in the Ancient Greek Mythology, the compilation of my last Mythology exhibition called “Mythica”, and another exhibition (completely different this time), where I will develop much more what I call “Spiritual Painting” A much more transcendental and close view of art. It’s a graphic representation of the feelings and the depths of the soul to me.

If we wanted to own a piece from you, where would go to purchase?

If you or anyone would like a piece of my artwork, it’s something so simple as writing me a mail. I love when I get a message of someone asking me if they could commission an artwork from me. It makes me happy to make someone else happy.

It has been really great getting to know you! I hope you’ll let us check in with you again soon. Before we let you go back to your colorful world, will you leave us some breadcrumbs to find you again?

Yes of course, here you have the links!!:

Thank you so much for allowing us into your world for a brief moment. All the best to you from us at Horror Addicts!

Kidnapped! That Time a Movie Scared the Crap Out of Me by D.W. Gillespie

That Time a Movie Scared the Crap Out of Me

Now that my first novel, Still Dark is out in the wild, it’s fun to look back on some of the things that helped make me the writer I am, including some of my favorite movie moments.

Let me paint the picture for you.

It was October 2000, and yes, I had to look that date up. My wife and I, still together after all these years, were just dating at the time. I was 20 at the time, and though I would consider myself a solid fan of horror at the time, there were some woeful gaps in my knowledge. I was a child of the 80’s, and I’d seen more slasher films than I could count, but older, classic horror films had mostly dwelled in the background, looming and waiting for me to seek them out. None loomed larger than The Exorcist.

Up to that point, probably the scariest film I’d seen in theaters was The Blair Witch Project. Some of you will laugh, and I understand why. Those of you who were there, in the wild west days of the internet when you could actually trick an audience into thinking they were about to see the last days of three film students, well, it wasn’t really funny. I knew it wasn’t true by the time I went into the theater, but dammit if it didn’t feel true. By the time I made it home, parking among the dark trees without a streetlight in sight… let’s just say I walked very fast up to my front door.

A year later, my girlfriend in tow, The Exorcist rereleased in theaters, this version with never before seen footage. This was it. The big boy. The grandpappy. I think we were laughing about it when we sat down in the back row. About a half hour later, that shit wasn’t funny.

I can still remember, vividly, the moment where the movie had me. The moment where I knew it wasn’t all just hype built by a simpler time, by a movie going populace that just wasn’t as tough as I was.

The mom comes home, stops in the kitchen, and for a brief moment, a face lingers in the dark. Just for a second, so quick, I wasn’t even sure it was ever there. Then, outside her daughter’s room, another quick flash, a different face filling the entire door. She checks on little Reagan, and all seems well. Then, as she leaves… is that a shadow growing on the wall. A shape of a statue from earlier in the film. Now, she’s downstairs. Talking. Just the sound of voices is enough to put you at ease after all that unbroken silence. The scene is over, the tension is gone, and then…

A scream. The mother turns. Her daughter walks, BACKWARDS, down the stairs, straight into the camera, where she vomits up blood.

Holy shit.

That was just the beginning. The atrocities continued, piled up, multiplied, and by the time I walked out of the theater, I was in a daze. I didn’t run up to my porch that night, but something much more disturbing happened. The second I laid down in my bed, I saw that face, that pale, white, toothy face. Every night for about a week, I saw that face.

My son’s a budding horror fan now, and even though he’s probably too young, we’ve torn through a ton of the 80’s slashers (the AMC, toned down versions). He knows what The Exorcist is, mainly because he’s always wanting to know what scares me. For the past year or two, he’s asked if he’s ready for it.

“No buddy,” I tell him. “You got a ways to go.”



D.W. Gillespie

When a thunderous explosion rocks an idyllic cabin resort in the Great Smoky Mountains, animals and humans alike begin to act strange. Jim, along with his wife Laura and son, Sam, are cut off from the outside world, but they soon realize the true nightmare is just beginning…

Deep in the snow-covered woods, something is waiting. The creature calls itself Apex, and it’s a traveler. Reading the minds of those around it, Apex brings the terrifying fears hidden in the human psyche to life with a singular purpose: to kill any that stand in its way.

Locked in a fight for their lives, Jim, and his family must uncover the truth behind Apex, and stop the creature from wreaking a horrifying fate upon the rest of the world!

Still Dark on Amazon

Interview with the Next Great Horror Writer Winner: Jonathan Fortin

JonathanFortinAuthorPhotoKenzie: Congrats on being the next great Horror Writer! I can’t believe it’s all over. It seems just like yesterday when all of you contestants completed the first competition. I’m so proud of you and your hard work. I loved all of your submissions and I’m so happy that you won it all! How does it feel to be the first Next great Horror Writer? Still riding that high?

Jonathan: It’s pretty insane! I’m excited, overwhelmed, and thankful all at once. Winning this contest and this novel contract is the realization of a dream I’ve had pretty much my whole life. I spent many years working on Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus, so it’s kind of incredible to realize that it’s actually going to become a book people can buy and read.

Kenzie: Winning a contest of this magnitude is completely overwhelming,  something that only a few get to experience. How long have you been working on your novel and what is it about?

Jonathan: Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus is the story of Maraina Blackwood, a woman in Victorian England who becomes a succubus when demons take over Europe. Her life forever changed, Maraina ends up battling both a demonic new monarchy and her own repressed upbringing. It’s an epic Gothic saga, but also an exploration of Victorian gender roles and repression.

Writing Lilitu took many years. It was a challenging book to write because the Victorian setting had to feel authentic, but it also gets warped fairly early on. I needed to do all the research required for a historical novel, but also all the world-building of a fantasy novel. Naturally, this also impacted the characters–especially Maraina, who changes dramatically over the course of the book. Her character arc needed a lot of time to get right.


Kenzie: Holy cow Lilitu sounds amazing! Definitely, something I would read. Ever since I watched the Canadian show Lost Girl, I’ve been obsessed with any and all things succubus. I can’t wait for it to drop, it’s on my must read list! I love books that have a supernatural and horror element but doesn’t have to be 100% horror. I’ve never read a historical horror novel before, but I know it’ll be great.

Speaking of hard to write, what challenge was the hardest for you this season?


Jonathan: Thank you for your kind words. I love succubi too, not just because they’re seductive, but also because they challenge what society has traditionally told women how they must be. I’ve also always loved the sense of mystique to them–entering dreams, flying with demonic wings…these were things I wanted to capture when writing this book. I didn’t want my succubi to only be sex objects, or lack the magical qualities that make the folklore behind them so interesting. Putting them in Victorian England made sense to me because of the Gothic aesthetics of the time period (and the corsets!), and also because the sexual repression makes them clash dramatically with its values. Regardless, I hope you enjoy the book when it comes out.

For me, the hardest NGHW challenge was, ironically, the interview! Haha. I had a tough time coming up with questions and wasn’t sure what readers would be interested in knowing about me, or about what I think.

Kenzie: I love your interpretation of succubi. It gives them more depth than just sexual objects, especially in the Victorian era where women were supposed to be prim, proper, and dainty.

Haha, I actually remember your interview! I also loved your tongue in cheek way of interviewing yourself. What is one thing being apart of the first batch of next great Horror writers has taught you about yourself?

Jonathan: It reinforced my long-held belief that I am much better about getting my writing done when I have a deadline.

Kenzie: I can understand that! Working under pressure sometimes brings out the best work.

What are your plans going forward after winning this unique competition?

Jonathan: My plans are to push forward with Lilitu and it’s publication, as well as to move forward with my other writing projects. I’ve been named The Next Great Horror Writer–I had best live up to that!

Kenzie: Very True! I look forward to your future writing endeavors! Did you make any friends while doing this competition?

Jonathan: Yes! One thing I loved about this competition was that the participants were all very friendly to one another. I already knew Sumiko because we are both local to the bay area, but the other contestants were all total strangers at the start, so it was a pleasant surprise how nice they’ve all been. I hope to retain friendships with them. There’s even been talk of forming a critique group so that we can all help each other grow as authors.

Kenzie: Wow that’s honestly amazing. In other competitions, the contestants are at each others throats and here you guys are helping each other. You just can’t beat being in a competition where the contestants are nice to each other.

Is there anything else you’d like to let HorrorAddicts and your fans know?

Jonathan: I just want to thank you, Emerian, Heather, and the rest of the HorrorAddicts crew as well as Joe Mynhardt for this incredible opportunity. I hope I can live up to the title you’ve bestowed upon me!

Kenzie: Congrats once again on being The Next Great Horror Writer! We’re all so proud of you and wish nothing but the best for your future work. Good luck and keep it scary.

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: On Location Bleedingham


Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is the Chief Imagineer working for the Department of Sleep Prevention’s Nightmare Division. A Washington State native she loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains.  Not ‘those’ kind her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.

She is also the founder of CrystalCon, a symposium that brings both Science Fiction & Fantasy writers and STEM professions together to mix and mingle with fans, educators, and inventors in attempts to answer a new take on an age-old question … which came first, the science or the fiction?

When she’s not terrorizing her fans and racking up frequent flyers miles by gallivanting all over the country attending fan conventions and writer’s conferences she reviews indie horror and science fiction films for both her personal blog and

She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen.

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! from and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!”