Chilling Chat: Episode #183 – Jonathan Fortin

chillingchat

Jonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (Crystal Lake Publishing), “Requiem in Frost” (Horroraddicts.net), and “Nightmarescape” (Mocha Jonathan Fortin AUTHORPHOTO-2020Memoirs Press). An unashamed lover of spooky 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.

Jonathan is a true gentleman with a terrific sense of humor. We spoke of writing, The Victorian Age, and Lilitu: Memoirs of a Succubus.

NTK: Welcome, to Chilling Chat, Jonathan! Tell us, how did you become interested in the Victorian Age?

 JF: I think it was in middle school when I first became fascinated with the Victorian Gothic aesthetic, thanks to a healthy obsession with Tim Burton movies, American McGee’s Alice, and a number of other dark influences. The Victorian Era had many facets, but it was horror that pulled me to the period. I adored the dark elegance of their wardrobes and architecture, and was intrigued by their stuffy way of behaving. It seemed as though they were navigating a world full of macabre terrors that were best left unspoken–basing their etiquette around their profound fear of the world they themselves had created.

NTK: Do you have a favorite Victorian novel?

 JF: Novels by Victorian authors: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Dracula by Bram Stoker both come to mind. Basic, I know, but critically influential nonetheless.

Modern novels set in Victorian England: The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox, Drood by Dan Simmons, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and (if I may be permitted to include a very wordy graphic novel) From Hell by Alan Moore.

NTK: Do you have a favorite Victorian movie?

 JF: Crimson Peak, The Prestige, and Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. If we’re including 19th-century America, then also Sleepy Hollow and Gangs of New York. And if we’re including TV, I adore Penny Dreadful.

NTK: What inspired you to write Lilitu?

JF: I’ve long been fascinated by succubi and incubi. When I was in college, I went looking for novels focused on them, but there were only a few, and they didn’t quite give me what I wanted. So, naturally, I decided to write one myself. However, I initially wasn’t sure how to manage it. I was toying with an alternate world setting that just never really gelled, and ended up changing the plot and rewriting it over and over again–never certain where to take the story. I knew that I wanted a reluctant succubus lead struggling with her demonic nature, but the details were a constant state of flux.

Then one day, when I was in a bookstore, a certain cover caught my eye, showing a man in a top hat staring into the London fog. The image was laden with foreboding, and compelled me to pull the book off the shelf and read the opening sentence: “After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper.” This novel was The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox, a tale of revenge set in Victorian England. I was hooked. I devoured the novel, enjoying every word, and realized rather abruptly that Victorian England was the perfect setting for my own novel. Suddenly, everything came together: this was a tale of demons in the Victorian era, focused on a succubus brought up in that rigid world and struggling to reconcile her upbringing with the needs of her new form–and in the process questioning all the toxic ideas she was forced to internalize growing up. And so Maraina Blackwood was born.

NTK: What is your creative process like? How do you go from inspiration to final draft?

 JF: It’s all over the place. I’ll usually plot out the entire novel, then change everything as I actually write it. When I eventually get a working draft that I’m passably happy with, I’ll ask writer friends to read and critique it. Then I’ll edit, and edit, and edit some more, until I think it’s finally ready enough for publication. If it gets picked up, that means more edits because the publisher’s editor will need to give it a good look. If it doesn’t get picked up, it means the book isn’t good enough yet, so it needs more edits anyway. Lilitu took more years than I care to admit.

NTK: What do you like most about the Victorian age?

 JF: The psychological complexity. The aesthetics. Their elegant manner of speaking. I also like how deeply hypocritical they were, because it’s ever so much fun to satirize.

NTK: What do you dislike most?

 JF: When you get down to it, the Victorian Era was quite horrible to actually live in. Severely rigid gender roles, miserable science/medicine, incredible poverty, child labor…I’ll often meet other Victorian enthusiasts, and many say that they wish they lived in the Victorian era instead of today. While that’s valid, I always like to remind them that they almost certainly would have been impoverished, and never able to afford those pretty, fancy dresses that they are so keen on wearing. People honestly romanticize the Victorians and are quick to forget that the elegant ladies and wealthy gentlemen they’re so enamored with made up a tiny, tiny slice of the population. That’s beside the fact that things were abysmal for women, even wealthy and noblewomen, as they were not allowed agency over their own lives. It was just a nasty, cruel period, and many are far too quick to forget that.

NTK: Have you written other stories in the Lilitu universe? If so, what?

JF: We have a FREE short story in the Lilitu universe out now, called Lilith in Repose.

It’s a twisted, erotic Dark Fantasy tale about a nun whose church has been taken over by demons…and now they are asking her to join their ranks.

I am also in the early stages of the second Lilitu novel. I’m planning it as a trilogy right now, but that may change as I actually write it. We’ll just have to see.

NTK: What’s your favorite curse word?

JF: Bollocks!

NTK: What’s your favorite curse?

 JF: I can’t think of one, so I’ll improvise. “MAY YOU BE REBORN A DINGLEBERRY HANGING FROM THE CRACK OF SATAN’S ARSEHOLE!” Hmm…when you consider the smell, that would actually be a truly dreadful fate.

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

 JF: I’m currently in the editing stages of an epic Lovecraftian biopunk novel. I’m also almost done with the first draft of a new horror novel centered around an autistic protagonist (I am on the spectrum, so it comes from a real place). Then there’s of course the second Lilitu book, wherein readers will learn of some surprising–and horrible–consequences of Maraina’s actions in book 1.

NTK: Jonathan, thank you so much for chatting with us. 

JF: You’re welcome.

Addicts, you can find Jonathan on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Lilitu: Memoirs of a Succubus by Jonathan Fortin

Review by Daphne Strassert

Content Warnings: depicts graphic violence and sex

In 2017, HorrorAddicts.net ran the Next Great Horror Writer Contest. Over the course of the season, the writers (myself included) submitted horror writing of various types and competed for the top spot and the final prize of a book contract with Crystal Lake Publishing. The winner was Jonathan Fortin and the book was Lilitu: Memoirs of a Succubus.

I have waited literal years for this book to come out. Jonathan Fortin embodies the heart and soul of what it means to be a horror writer and I’m absolutely privileged to have competed against him. Lilitu shows the countless hours of hard work that he put into crafting his story.

HorrorAddicts.net helped to find a truly gifted author and bring a wonderful work of horror out into the world.

In 1876, Unbeknownst to the masses of Victorian England, humanity is about to change forever. The immortal denizens of the Earth—the vampires, the lilitu, and the necromancers—are tired of hiding in the shadows of the night. They’ve hatched a plot to take the world for themselves.

Maraina never felt as if she belonged with her aristocratic family. She never felt pretty enough or charming enough. She was stifled by a future that held no hope for her. That changes with The Nightfall. When the demons rise to take England, Maraina faces a choice: renounce her humanity and become a succubus, or remain human and die a slave.

She is introduced to the world of demons by Salem, a powerful incubus who is fascinated by Maraina’s strength of mind. But the new society brought about by the immortals is just as cruel and evil as the one that they overthrew. Maraina may have forsaken her own humanity, but she won’t turn her back on it entirely.

Soon she finds herself at odds with Salem, as both he and the world spiral further into darkness. Maraina must find a way to save everyone from evil on all sides, in a way that only a demon can.

Though Lilitu is a long book, it never feels that while reading it. Scenes flow together seamlessly, each action leading to the next in a manner that pulls the reader along. Fortin lays the groundwork for plot twists early without giving too many clues that would reveal them. The result is a gripping story that keeps the reader engaged throughout.

The heart of the story lies with Maraina Blackwood. Maraina is a feminist icon trapped in the Victorian era. Plagued by the restrictive values and burdensome expectations of her time, Maraina is often her own worst enemy. Watching her grow to discover her potential is satisfying. She explores what true humanity means outside of mortality and damnation. Though her understanding of the world is turned on its head, she finds the core of who she really is.

Salem is a fantastic antagonist. At first, he’s sexy and alluring, his dark nature luring Maraina in. As the book progresses, the very things that made Salem appealing begin to lose their shine. Salem changes throughout the book, but it is not a fall from grace, rather a reveal as the scales fall from Maraina’s eyes. Salem becomes more purely himself in all his sinister glory. He becomes a more powerful enemy as Maraina herself comes into her own power.

In Lilitu, Fortin has created a wholly unique and fantastical world. The elements of the Nightfall perfectly highlight the injustices faced in Victorian England (and today). It’s clear that Fortin did his research. The details of Victorian society are seamless, creating the perfect backdrop for the horror elements that are introduced. The mythos of the immortal characters is thorough. Fortin hints at a much deeper world than the one that’s presented in Lilitu, making the reader hope that there will be more to come.

Fortin’s writing is deliciously gruesome. He strikes the perfect balance in his descriptions between the beautiful and horrifying. The emotions of the characters come through clearly and the horror to come creeps up slowly, giving the reader a sense of dread that can’t quite be explained.

The story is a delight to read but provides more substance than a shock-and-awe horror thriller would. Lilitu explores the nature of sexuality, war, and morality. Fortin lays bare themes about prejudice and justice that are just as timely now as they are for the characters.

In Lilitu, Jonathan Fortin has created a horror masterpiece that defies many genre expectations. He weaves together elements of social commentary, coming of age triumphs, and Lovecraftian horror with ease, packaging them neatly in a story that leaves no room to put the book down.

 

From the Vault : #NGHW Editor’s Pick: New Publication and Blog Tour

 

The following is an Anniversary re-post of an article presented on March 2018

HorrorAddicts.net continues our Horror Bites series with a bundle of new fiction by our Next Great Horror Writer Contestants.

Featuring work by:

Jonathan Fortin
Naching T. Kassa
Daphne Strasert
Jess Landry
Harry Husbands
Sumiko Saulson
Adele Marie Park
Feind Gottes
JC Martínez
Cat Voleur
Abi Kirk-Thomas
Timothy G. Huguenin
Riley Pierce
Quentin Norris

With an introduction by Emerian Rich.

 

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present our top 14 contestants in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest. The included stories, scripts, and poems are the result of the hard work and dedication these fine writers put forth to win a book contract. Some learned they loved writing and want to pursue it as a career for the rest of their lives. Some discovered they should change careers either to a different genre of writing or to a new career entirely. Whatever lessons came along the way, they each learned something about themselves and grew as writers. We hope you enjoy the writing as much as we did.

Just 99 cents at Amazon.com

 HorrorAddicts.net

for Horror Addicts, by Horror Addicts

Listen to the HorrorAddicts.net podcast for the latest in horror news, reviews, music, and fiction.

HorrorAddicts.net Press

www.horroraddicts.net

Decade in review : A look back at 10 Years of HorrorAddicts.net

The Decade In Review

by Kate Nox

As we end our month of 10iversary celebration we offer a review of some of the content you have enjoyed and may want to take another look at.

Being a relatively new editor here at HorrorAddicts.net I find myself amazed at the scope of our horror blog. As a reader, you are part of a horror community from 192 countries around the world. From the United States to Togo, The United Kingdom to Antigua, Finland to Brazil,  readers are tuning in to check out what HorrorAddicts.net has to offer. On a regular basis, our staff reviews both blog statistics and your communications to make sure we are giving you what interests you most.  

At HorrorAddicts.net. We do our best to research and promote diverse and innovative voices. Among the most viewed entries of our past is an article entitled,  African American Horror Writers by David Watson. 5,123 of you enjoyed this feature.

We also try to bring you innovative content such as when we gave you the Next Great Horror Writer Contest and encouraged writers to advance their craft. You tuned in to read the author’s new material. Jonathan Fortin of El Cerrito, California was the contest winner and was awarded prizes including a  book contract from Crystal Lake Publishing. You were treated to all sorts of new reading experiences through the episodes of the contest.

One feature you have told us you really like are listicles. I’m with you on this. Give me a list comparing anything and I gotta read it! Among these, you enjoyed: Slasher Horror Books, and 1920’s Horror Books also written by David Watson.  

We are here to give authors for authors as well as readers. We are happy to share reviews and help authors get the word out about their books. You can always count on HorrorAddicts.net to give you book reviews such as those written by Chantal Boudreau on Arithmophobia by Ruschelle Dillon and by Stephanie Ellis on Ghost of Manor House by Matt Powers.

We often hear from our readers that one of the best things about our blog is finding and reading new authors. Sapphire Neal and Naching T. Kasa have done a great job of connecting us  with writers and personalities through their interview columns such as 13 Questions with Julie Hoverson and Chilling Chat: Episode 171 | Loren Rhoads

When you looked for the best in horror Movies you were directed to great film watching by Kristin Battestella and her Frightening Flix in Dracula 2000 and The Phantom of the Opera (2014).

For Indie Films you tuned into Crystal Connor and her Live Action Reviews such as the ones she did on  Welp and Never Tear Us Apart,

We gave you Extreme Transgressive Theatre like Salo (or The 120 Days of Sodom)  and The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

You enjoyed our coverage of the music scene in MUSIC REVIEW – Live show: Freakangel + Neonsol + Advance with Jeffery Kohld Kelly and with our new music feature like Merrill’s Musical Musings: Zwaremachine Review with R.L. Merrill.

We’ve had several writers who entertained you with Fiction Series.  Jesse Razorr gave you the frightening fairytale,   My Darling Dead. Russell Holbrook’s  Logbook of Terror travels kept you running in fear. Lionel Green continues to take us around the world through his investigations in THE BIGFOOT FILES and Kieran Judge always thrills with his inquiries into Odds and Dead Ends. 

Kenzie Kordic unnerved you in Kenzie’s Konspiracies  and D.J Pitsiladis kept you awake at night with his Nightmare Fuel

We also entertained in the Non-Media Areas of your life

We brought you cooking with Dan Shaurette in Morbid Meals We brought you Fashion advice from Mimielle who gave you My Melancholy Life. Kbatz gives you lots of haunting ideas for Krafts in her fun Kbatz Krafts Daphne Strasert brings you lots of spooky fun with her Ghastly Games

A few others I’d like to point out for their contributions to our decade of blogging are Christopher Fink writing as the Horror Seeker who gives us a variety of tales and information.  A.D. Vick has shared important information in articles such as The Passing of Sir Christopher Lee, and Cortney Mroch entertains us with Haunt Jaunts.

To take a look at any of the above, just click the link and enjoy. And, as always, please use the comment section to let us know what you like and to make suggestions for future blogging.

10iversary Chilling Chat with H.E. Roulo

10IVERSARY

H.E. Roulo’s short stories have appeared in several dozen publications, including Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue. She is the author of the Plague Master series. Fractured Horizon, her science-fiction podcast novel, was a Parsec HE ROULO 1Award Finalist. H.E. is a staple on HorrorAddicts.net. She has appeared in episodes 26, 31, 49, 56, 115, 173, and all of Season 12. She won the first Wicked Women Writers contest, won Best in Blood for Season 10, co-hosted #NGHW, and provided many voices–including those for Gothmazing Race.

1.) How old were you when you first became interested in horror?

I was always an avid reader. By the fifth grade, so around age 11, my father bought boxes of paperbacks at garage sales and I’d start at one end and read my way through. Horror was always an element in those boxes and, of course, the most popular authors were the ones I saw most frequently. I recall reading Dean R Koontz’s Watchers and being blown away. I was also impressed by what Stephen King was able to accomplish with The Long Walk.

2.) What is your favorite kind of horror? (i.e. Classic, Splatterpunk, Slasher, Gothic, etc.)

I love an element of science-fiction to my horror, also anything post-apocalyptic, like The Road, and World War Z, or dystopian like The Handmaid’s Tale. Time travel is also a favorite, like Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter.

3.) What is your favorite horror novel?

My likes change over time, and I think that’s good. For now, I’ll say that my favorite horror novel is The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

4.) What is your favorite horror TV show?

Dark is an excellent series. I love anything with time travel and puzzling events out.

5.) What is your favorite horror movie?

Right now, the new trailer for the next A Quiet Place movie is on my mind. I thought the original one was clever—who knew you could be anxious and enthralled sitting in theater so quiet you regretted the crunch of popcorn between your teeth? I love the new and untried. Anyway, I’m hoping the next one will be good as well.

6.) How did you first become involved with HorrorAddicts.net?

I’d released my dystopian novel Fractured Horizon and started a podcast interview show that allowed me to meet new writers. From there, I joined a Wicked Women Writers group and won their first writing contest. Since then, I’ve been on the blog many times, usually reading excerpts or a short story, but sometimes also as cohost or judge.

7.) What is your most favorite memory of the HorrorAddicts.net Blog? (i.e. favorite blog post written by you or someone else, favorite funny memory, etc.)

The season I assisted with the Next Great Horror Writer Contest was a lot of fun for me. I was supposed to be temporary, but each week I was called back to review and make observations on these amazing writers. It was a privilege to see what they came up with each week—the problem was in finding anything critical to say.

8.) What is your favorite part of the blog? (i.e. Book Reviews, Movie Reviews, Interviews, Game Reviews, Free Fiction, Crafting, etc.)

Naturally, I like the fiction.

9.) Why is this part your favorite?

We should always be pushing creativity and celebrating new authors and ideas. Horror Addicts gives writers another avenue for discovery and can open a dialogue with readers. I really enjoy being on the show.

10.) What would you like to see on the HorrorAddicts.net Blog in the future?

I’m certain HorrorAddicts.net will continue to evolve with the times. It’s great to have a place for music, fiction, and news, but I also like it when they change things up. I’m all about the publishing side of things. I didn’t submit to Dark Divinations—just too busy—but I’m inspired by the new anthology call for Haunts & Hellions.

Horror Addicts, you can find Heather on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

 

10iversary Chilling Chat with H.E. Roulo

10IVERSARY

H.E. Roulo’s short stories have appeared in several dozen publications, including Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue. She is the author of the Plague Master series. Fractured Horizon, her science-fiction podcast novel, was a Parsec HE ROULO 1Award Finalist. H.E. is a staple on HorrorAddicts.net. She has appeared in episodes 26, 31, 49, 56, 115, 173, and all of Season 12. She won the first Wicked Women Writers contest, won Best in Blood for Season 10, co-hosted #NGHW, and provided many voices–including those for Gothmazing Race.

1.) How old were you when you first became interested in horror?

I was always an avid reader. By the fifth grade, so around age 11, my father bought boxes of paperbacks at garage sales and I’d start at one end and read my way through. Horror was always an element in those boxes and, of course, the most popular authors were the ones I saw most frequently. I recall reading Dean R Koontz’s Watchers and being blown away. I was also impressed by what Stephen King was able to accomplish with The Long Walk.

2.) What is your favorite kind of horror? (i.e. Classic, Splatterpunk, Slasher, Gothic, etc.)

I love an element of science-fiction to my horror, also anything post-apocalyptic, like The Road, and World War Z, or dystopian like The Handmaid’s Tale. Time travel is also a favorite, like Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter.

3.) What is your favorite horror novel?

My likes change over time, and I think that’s good. For now, I’ll say that my favorite horror novel is The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

4.) What is your favorite horror TV show?

Dark is an excellent series. I love anything with time travel and puzzling events out.

5.) What is your favorite horror movie?

Right now, the new trailer for the next A Quiet Place movie is on my mind. I thought the original one was clever—who knew you could be anxious and enthralled sitting in theater so quiet you regretted the crunch of popcorn between your teeth? I love the new and untried. Anyway, I’m hoping the next one will be good as well.

6.) How did you first become involved with HorrorAddicts.net?

I’d released my dystopian novel Fractured Horizon and started a podcast interview show that allowed me to meet new writers. From there, I joined a Wicked Women Writers group and won their first writing contest. Since then, I’ve been on the blog many times, usually reading excerpts or a short story, but sometimes also as cohost or judge.

7.) What is your most favorite memory of the HorrorAddicts.net Blog? (i.e. favorite blog post written by you or someone else, favorite funny memory, etc.)

The season I assisted with the Next Great Horror Writer Contest was a lot of fun for me. I was supposed to be temporary, but each week I was called back to review and make observations on these amazing writers. It was a privilege to see what they came up with each week—the problem was in finding anything critical to say.

8.) What is your favorite part of the blog? (i.e. Book Reviews, Movie Reviews, Interviews, Game Reviews, Free Fiction, Crafting, etc.)

Naturally, I like the fiction.

9.) Why is this part your favorite?

We should always be pushing creativity and celebrating new authors and ideas. Horror Addicts gives writers another avenue for discovery and can open a dialogue with readers. I really enjoy being on the show.

10.) What would you like to see on the HorrorAddicts.net Blog in the future?

I’m certain HorrorAddicts.net will continue to evolve with the times. It’s great to have a place for music, fiction, and news, but I also like it when they change things up. I’m all about the publishing side of things. I didn’t submit to Dark Divinations—just too busy—but I’m inspired by the new anthology call for Haunts & Hellions.

Horror Addicts, you can find Heather on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

 

Nightmare November : Night Terrors by Daphne Strasert – Part 3

Night Terrors by Daphne Strasert

I don’t go to work anymore. I didn’t even call in. They might have fired me. That’s probably why my phone was ringing so much yesterday. It doesn’t matter; I threw it in the garbage disposal.

I can’t sleep. Not even if she isn’t in the house. I still hear it. Scuttling. Scurrying. Like rats on the ceiling. I turn to look at it and it’s gone. I don’t close my eyes. Not if I can help it.

Miela wants me to go to the hospital, see someone in the psych ward. She’s worried about me. As if I’m the one that wakes screaming, hoarse in the middle of the nig ht. As if I’m the one with bruises in the shape of handprints all over my arms. She thinks I’m the crazy one.

“Next Tuesday,” I assure her. “I’ll go next Tuesday if you’re still worried.”

“You said that, but it is Tuesday.”

It’s because I don’t sleep, she tells me. Because I’m not even trying. She begs me, she pleads. Go to a friend’s house, go to a hotel. She can go if I want. What would be the use? The shadows are following me.

It is following me.

When I thought it was a delusion, I was sure that the sleeping pills would work. But they didn’t. I couldn’t relax. Now I realize. My body knows what my analytical mind refuses to accept. There is something in the room. And if I go to sleep, I am at its mercy.

I pretend to fall asleep at night. Miela watches me, not sure what to do. When she finally drifts off, I sit up again and wait. It’s coming. It comes every night. For her. For me. I can’t be sure in the pitch darkness of the room, but the shadows move. They change places.

And then… it touches me. I can’t see it, but I can feel it. It’s not warm, but not cold either. It’s lukewarm, the same temperature as the room. All I feel is the pressure of its body as it passes over me and crawls to her. My heart pounds, first in panic for my own safety, but then in alarm for hers.  It moves over me as if I am unaware, as if I were the nightstand or the lamp.

She shudders and jerks away as it crosses from my body to hers. The air seems to thicken around her and she wakes in earnest, fighting against it. My shock chases out repulsion and for a staggering moment, I am clear of the haze of my insomnia. I grab at her wrists, feel the creature’s body slide through my hands as I try to pull it off. It’s like sinking my hands in mashed potatoes. Everywhere I think I gain purchase, it remolds around me. I am doing no good in this fight. She screams and struggles until it coils around her neck. She fights for air, dragging a hissing breath through her closing throat. I still try to pry the creature, the barely visible, insubstantial assailant, from her body. I do no good. It is unhindered as if I didn’t even try.

And then it leaves, pulling from her body and retreating again into the shadows, into wherever it first appeared. She gulps down air by my side and slips back into sleep.

The creature grows more clear each night that I see it. The shadows no longer hide its form from me.

It advances to the bed, its body white like sun-bleached bones. Each movement is a shaky jerk forward. It seems to be made of interconnected spores, like a cross between moss and cottage cheese. It has no face, at least none that I can discern. It sticks to the wall as if helped by millions of tiny suckers, like an octopus that’s escaped onto land. It does not try to hide or slink from my gaze. I am nothing for it to fear. It crawls across me, passing over my body in its path to her. I don’t breathe as it passes, and it doesn’t acknowledge my presence.

The affect its touch has on Miela is immediate. At the first brush of its tentacles, she grimaces. The skin around where the creature touches grows pale. Her mouth twists and her eyes squeeze more tightly shut. She moves her arms, as if brushing away an insect, but the action is ineffectual. The creature clings to the hand she would have wiped it away with.

She writhes in its grasp, flailing against its innumerable limbs. They bind tighter around her, creeping like vines, like mold growing over her like the steady march of decay.

As the creature reaches her chest, she jerks awake, screaming, and claws at her skin. Each scrape of her nails is ineffectual against its hold. It grips more tightly around her and she descends into panic, her eyes bulging out of her face. The creature slithers in through her open mouth and she gags as it forces its way down her throat. Tears stream down her face as she fails to scream. Her eyes fall to me and, for the first time, I know that she can see me. Really see me. We are sharing this nightmare together. Her gaze pleads for rescue. The creature brightens as she grows pale. The life is sucked from her. She gags against the body filling her throat, but is losing the strength to protest.

As I watch, a glimmer of hope brightens in my chest. Perhaps it will kill her. I don’t try to stop it this time. I’m so weak, anyway. All my fight would be ineffectual. Maybe, this will be the end of it. No more screaming, no more midnight waking. Just peaceful, uninterrupted sleep, uninterrupted by the faceless creature that comes at night. Perhaps this will be the last time.

She falls limp, now supported only by the creature tangled around her. It pulses – once, twice – then grows dim. It relaxes its grip on her, sliding from around her. She takes a great shuddering breath as it retreats. Her head lolls to the side and she falls limp against the mattress. It slithers away, each erratic movement of its body mocking me with the knowledge that it will be back. It will always be back.

It won’t kill her. It will just keep coming back. It will come back night after night as it has always done. And she will keep screaming. A vision of my life stretches before me, an unending series of nights, all blurring into each other without the punctuation of sleep. Just unending terror that will be mine alone to bear.

As the white tendrils of the creature slide away from her, I replace them with my own fingers. Each lovingly strokes over her skin, tracing the scratches where she had tried to free herself. Gently, I place my hands over the bruises on her throat. I feel her throat under my palms, so fragile, the unprotected circuitry of the body. The life force flowing through a single, undefended point. I squeeze. Her throat convulses under my palms. How little effort it takes… just a small application of pressure. She chokes, unable to get air, but all the fight has left her. Her eyes open and she stares at me, the whites wide and terrified.

There will be no more fear, no more struggle. She won’t scream anymore. As the last spasm leaves her body, I collapse, my eyelids drooping as my body falls forward onto the pillow, a smile crossing my face as I slide into sleep.

Nightmare November : Night Terrors by Daphne Strasert – Part 2

Night Terrors by Daphne Strasert

I think there might be a problem with the lights in the house. I never see them flicker, but the light isn’t constant the way that it should be. It’s worse at night, though I can’t figure out why. All the lights are off, there’s nothing that should be coming in. No streetlamps through the curtains, nothing through the living room pane doors. Why do I keep seeing shadows shifting across the room?

No, not shadows. The shadows just react to it. Something else is there, something that pushes the shadows aside like a gauzy, black veil. Miela shifts beside me, not a terror, just a normal repositioning in her sleep. I sit up in bed – I don’t try to sleep anymore – and stare at the wall of the bedroom, watching the darkness ripple like lake water when something massive passes beneath. How am I supposed to sleep when the lights keep moving where there is no source? The longer I watch, the more I see. My eyes adjust to the darkness and forms take shape. Not forms, not really. They only seem to be in the corner of my eye. When I focus on them, they sink back under the shadows.

But there are sounds. Sounds that don’t belong in a house. Rasping, like sandpaper on the stairs. Or a rattle, like dice on a table. I slide from under the covers, pursuing the sound. If there are mice in this house, I swear to God…

As I get closer to where the sound emanated, it seems to shift position, coming from somewhere else, coming from everywhere in the room at once. I twist to follow it, but can’t get a bearing.

Miela jerks in the bed, jack-knifing in the covers. The shrieking starts, muffled by the pillows. I watch, bile rising in my throat. I won’t go to her this time. I don’t care if she does bruise her hand on the headboard.

In medical school, I studied hallucinations and delusions. I read studies and attended lectures on the effect that sleep deprivation could have on the mind. By all accounts, that must be what’s happening to me. It can’t be real, the form that slinks around the room at night, always just outside my line of sight. But it’s there. I can feel it, hear it, smell it. Like baby powder… or dried paste. Too sweet to be healthy. A toxic sort of sweet.

Perhaps it’s better that I can’t see it. Who knows what horror my mind would conjure if I did? Maybe I don’t want to see the thing that rattles in the room, that vanishes when I fix my attention on it.

It can’t be real. I can’t see anything in the inky darkness of the bedroom, so I shouldn’t be able to see the subtle shift of the shadows against the wall, like the branches of a tree dancing through their reflection in the window. But there are no trees in our yard and no light comes from outside the window. And yet the shadows move.

They are real. They are moving. Miela says she can’t see them. But I can. I always can. The scratching and rasping of something moving along the wall. The way reality seems to bend around a monstrous something that comes out from the wall.

I had one of the doctors in the ER prescribe me sleeping pills. I’ve taken three. I should be out like a light. I should sleep through the next week. But I can’t close my eyes. Whenever I think that I will be able to, Miela moves. Or the shadows move. What is it that moves them?

Nightmare November : Night Terrors by Daphne Strasert – Part 1

Editor’s note: Daphne Strasert is a writer of horror, science fiction and fantasy who works out of Huston, Texas.  In 2017, she placed third overall in the Horror Addicts’ Next Great Horror Writer Contest. She offered the following tale of horror for our November Nightmares feature and we thought it so suspenseful that we decided to give it to you in three weekly episodes for your reading pleasure! Enjoy!

My wife doesn’t remember the night terrors.

After all, Miela’s not even awake, not really. Her eyes are open, but unseeing. They aren’t focused on me, but on something that closes in on her from all sides. She shrieks until she chokes on her own bile, terrified tears streaming down her face. She throws punches and kicks at an invisible assailant until she tangles in the sheets, unable to do more than thrash against the bonds.

As a doctor, I’ve treated parasomnia before, but only in toddlers. Miela is decades older than any of my other patients. Medically, I know that the terrors are nothing to worry about. They’re just changes in her brain chemistry as she switches from one deep stage of sleep to another. It triggers the release of adrenaline and a fright response. They’re scary for me, but they don’t hurt her. But when she wakes with a shriek at three in the morning, that’s impossible to believe. Her few minutes of panic are agony for me as I try and fail to console her. The helplessness is the worst of all, holding her hands to keep her from clawing at her neck as if something is wrapped around it. And as abruptly as they start, she falls asleep again. When she wakes in the morning, she doesn’t remember them.

But I do.

Miela warned me, I suppose, before we got married. I was so busy finishing residency, we never had time to move in together. I could hardly ever stay the night. She told me about her troubles keeping a roommate, rounds of medications she’d tried to ease them. Maybe I thought she was exaggerating. Maybe I thought the sleepless nights at the ER had prepared me, that I could sleep through them somehow. I’m a doctor, for Christ’s sake – I’ve had more sleepless nights than I can count. I thought I’d seen sleep deprivation. I thought it couldn’t faze me. Holy hell, was I wrong.

I haven’t slept for weeks, not since our wedding night. I catch a few minutes or so, but each shift of her body jolts me awake. The creak of the house as it settles seems to be the precursor to a scream. Every sigh, every murmur heralds the coming fright. My body refuses to rest, too closely tuned to every movement of hers. Waiting. Waiting for the terrors to start.

And they always do. I can see them coming now. She doesn’t frighten all at once. It begins as a low moan, twitches of protest. She pulls away from something. Then she wakes. Or she seems to. She jolts upright, hands tearing at her clothes and hair. She rakes her nails against her skin hard enough to draw blood. And she screams. Long, unearthly sounds, nothing like what they record for horror movies. It’s worse than that, like something in the clutches of death itself.

Weeks of this. Weeks. She’s tried everything: pills, therapy, hypnosis, acupuncture. Nothing has worked.

I hold her against my body, stilling her as she shakes in my arms. Her screams rebound off the bedroom walls and rejoin to create a maniacal chorus. She struggles against me and pushes me away far enough to punch me in the nose. I let go, clutching my hands to my face. She scrambles across the bed on all fours like a wild creature and I retreat to the far corner of the room, watching her through the pain that throbs in my face. After a few minutes, she stops screaming and falls into an exhausted sleep, a peace I can’t reach.

I take deep breaths, my adrenaline coursing in response to her. The pain in my nose dulls. It’s not broken, but it will be bruised. As I go back to bed, something moves against the headboard. I think it’s my shadow, at first, but it shouldn’t cast that way. Light shifts along the paint, like the reflections of a car’s headlights against the wall, except there is no window there. I squint a little harder, but the effect is gone. All that’s left are the shadows, waiting where they should be.

 

Chilling Chat: Four Quick Questions with Jonathan Fortin

chillingchat

Jonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (coming December 2019 from Crystal Lake Publishing) and Nightmarescape (Mocha Memoirs Press). An 71171863_429719314325456_72316297098035200_nunashamed lover of spooky 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. You can follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Fortin.

1.) You’ve written several stories featuring female protagonists. What do you like best about writing characters who are women?

It honestly depends on the character in question. I enjoyed writing Ingrid in Requiem in Frost because she’s so feisty and snarky. I enjoyed writing Maraina in Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus because she’s dynamic and conflicted, often struggling to reconcile her desires and goals with what the world demands of her. Though both are women narrating their stories, they’re completely different characters, and I can’t really lump them together just based on their sex.

That being said, I’m most engaged by characters who are struggling against difficult odds. Women are marginalized, which means they’re up against a lot in general, and that makes me want to root for them to succeed. In Lilitu’s case, I had some axes to grind about rigid gender expectations, and having a woman as my protagonist was the only way to say what I wanted to say. With Requiem, on the other hand, I just thought it would be more interesting to have its young metalhead protagonist be a girl because it’s viewed as such a masculine genre. Metal girls don’t usually get their stories told.

2.) What’s your writing process like? Do you outline? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?

For short stories, I tend to pants it, shotgunning out the first draft very quickly. Sometimes I’ll outline, but usually, when I outline short stories I’ll never end up writing them. For novels, though, I always outline. Oftentimes my outlines are very detailed and ever-evolving, changing as I go through the book.

71298608_466444053949251_268881514123493376_n3.) Who or what is your favorite monster?

I love demons. They can take so many different forms, and I enjoy their aesthetic and folkloric qualities. I also have a soft spot for vampires. Shocking, I know. I also love tentacly, madness-inducing Lovecraftian beasties.

4.) What does the future hold for you? What works do Horroraddicts have to look forward to?

Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus launches in December. I’m working on a sequel for it now, and I also have a few other books in the works, including one with a solid first draft. You’ll learn more about those soon!

 

 

Guest Blog: 25 of the Most Metal Films (That Aren’t About Metal)

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The world’s first heavy metal band, Black Sabbath, took their name from Mario Bava’s classic 1963 horror film. In the years since, horror and metal have continued to have an ongoing conversation, from horror-themed metal bands (such as Cradle of Filth, The Great Old Ones, or Carach Angren) to metal-themed horror films.

My short story Requiem in Frost continues this tradition, telling the story of a Norwegian girl who moves into a house haunted by the ghost of a black metal musician.

To coincide with its release, I’ve decided to make a list of movies that, to me, feel “metal.” However, I’m not going to limit this list to horror, and I’m going to avoid films that are specifically about metal. This is because every other list of “Most Metal films of all time” take it literally, all of them focusing exclusively on the same 10 or so movies to have explicit references to the genre. The internet can only withstand so many posts containing Deathgasm, The Gate, The Devil’s Candy, and Lords of Chaos. So instead, I’m going to focus on movies that feel like they capture the essence of metal.

Here’s my criteria: do the images in the movie feel like they could be metal album covers? Could you put metal on the soundtrack and have it feel right? Does the story feel like it could also be that of a metal concept album? Does it feel powerful and meticulously constructed in the way that good metal does?

Obviously, everyone will have their own view on what does and doesn’t belong on this list. These are my choices, and I’m sure that your own are perfectly valid. That’s why these are 25 of the most metal films that aren’t about metal—not the 25 most.

Black SabbathHere we go. Organized by year:

  1. BLACK SABBATH (1963): Let’s just get this shoo-in out of the way. It honestly doesn’t feel that metal to me, but the fact that it inspired what many consider to be the first metal band ever makes it retroactively metal.
  2. WIZARDS (1977): Ralph Bakshi’s animated feature establishes a world in which, following a nuclear apocalypse, humans have all died or become mutants, and fantasy races have taken over in the meantime. An evil wizard uses Nazi propaganda footage to inspire his troops; a robot finds redemption, and fairy tits jiggle. It’s a strange, over-ambitious film, but the subject matter and imagery would feel right at home in a strange, over-ambitious metal concept album. Bakshi’s Fire and Ice might also be a suitable pick, but I haven’t seen it so I can’t put it here.
  3. HEAVY METAL (1981): A token inclusion, this adult animated anthology feature contains aliens on drugs, women with big swords, and copious amounts of sex and violence. It’s rather dated, particularly in the treatment of its female characters, but there’s no denying it is as metal as its name.
  4. CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982): Look, the poster for Conan the Barbarian looks just like a Manowar album. It opens with the forging of a sword. It’s full of Vikings. It has to be on this list.
  5. LEGEND (1985): When you get down to it, a lot of metal is quite geeky, full of fantasy tropes and looming apocalypses—much like Legend. Plus, Tim Curry’s Darkness is such a perfectly iconic heavy metal demon that it would be sinful not to include it.
  6. HELLRAISER (1987): Clive Barker’s squirmfest is undeniably metal, if only for the aesthetic of the cenobites and for the film’s obsession with pain, pleasure, and Hell. Hellraiser was also a huge influence on the band Cradle of Filth, with Pinhead’s actor Doug Bradley making regular appearances on their albums.
  7. EVIL DEAD 2 (1987): The Necronomicon. Ash’s chainsaw hand. The bleeding walls. The soul-swallowing, flesh-possessing demons. Evil Dead 2 is as metal as it gets.
  8. THE CROW (1994): While it’s arguably more of a goth film than a metal film, The Crow is nonetheless filled with such metal-appropriate themes as coming back from the dead to avenge your frigid lover. It’s also one of the rare movies where both the protagonist and antagonist have longer-than-average hair. Kaw, kaw.
  9. DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE (1994): Also known as Cemetery Man, this underrated dark comedy stars Rupert Everett as the keeper of a cemetery where the dead come back to life after burial. It features a romance with a severed head, a zombie on a motorbike, and Death himself, as well as amusingly cynical quotes like “I’d give my life to be dead” and “At a certain point in life, you realize you know more dead people than living.”
  10. VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST (2000): One of the most beautiful animated films of all time, and also one of the darkest. There’s vampires, giant flying manta rays, strange monsters, dark magic, zombies, and more. The first Vampire Hunter D film is good, but Bloodlust just gives the audience one incredibly metal scene after another, and it’s filled with shots that look like they could be metal album covers.
  11. LORD OF THE RINGS (2001 – 2003): Just look at this meme. I think that demonstrates pretty clearly just how metal these films are.
  12. HELLBOY (2004) & HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY (2008): Guillermo del Toro’s fantastic Hellboy films follow a demon who fights Nazis, tentacled Eldritch abominations, faeries, and more. The fact that we have a demon as the hero of the story is pretty significant, but the films’ hellishly lush imagery also demand their inclusion. Particularly metal is the Angel of Death we meet in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
  13. 300 (2006): I’m including Zach Snyder’s divisive “300” here because the whole movie just feels like a mosh pit to me, with its fetishization of big men with big swords fighting in big groups. It has stunning, brutal, beautiful violence, and plenty of images that feel like metal album covers. Lest you think metal can only be from Scandinavia, check out the amazing Greek metal bands Rotting Christ or Septicflesh, and the Mesopotamian metal band Melecesh. All three bands would feel right at home on the 300 soundtrack.
  14. PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006): Another beautiful Guillermo del Toro picture, Pan’s Labyrinth is both a grisly fairy tale and a story of rebellion. The Faun and the Pale Man, both played by the incomparable Doug Jones, are stunningly dark creations, and this list would be incomplete without them.
  15. SILENT HILL (2006): Pyramid Head’s scenes. ‘Nuff said.
  16. MARTYRS (2008): Extreme metal is like extreme horror: enjoyment often requires a process of conditioning and desensitization. Just as you can recommend some extreme metal only to people with the ear for it, you can only really recommend Martyrs to people with the stomach for it. Somewhere out there, a goregrind band is writing lyrics about a woman’s skin being removed in honor of this grueling film.
  17. VALHALLA RISING (2009): Nicolas Refn’s surreal Viking picture stars Mads Mikkelsen as One Eye, a man who resembles Odin and goes on a transcendent journey. It’s bloody, somber, drenched in pagan spirituality and black metal as Hell.
  18. HELLDRIVER (2010): This bonkers Japanese splatterfest contains a car made out of body parts, an eight-armed zombie holding eight assault rifles, a plane made out of zombies, and…look, it’s just nuts, okay? I might have also included similar Japanese bonkers films like Tokyo Gore Police, The Machine Girl, or Robogeisha, but I feel like Helldriver belongs here the most.
  19. DRIVE ANGRY 3D (2011): Nicholas Cage escapes from Hell to take revenge on someMandy evil cultists by driving…angrily…in 3D. While being pursued by a demon accountant…who is also, yes, in 3D. There’s also a sex scene gunfight…which is, you guessed it, also in 3D.
  20. BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC (2012 – 2013): While it isn’t nearly as good as the manga it’s based on, this anime film trilogy is nonetheless quite metal. Set in a medieval fantasy world, Berserk has big swords, big battles, and big demons, culminating with the infamously hellish “Eclipse” sequence. But really, read the manga instead.
  21. KUNG FURY (2015): This 30-minute long Swedish crowd-funded film manages to pack more metal stuff in it than most films can manage in a feature-length. In Kung Fury, a Kung-Fu Cop must fight Hitler, but accidentally goes too far back in time and ends up in the Viking Age, where Viking women ride dinosaurs and fight laser raptors. In other words, it’s amazing. You can watch it for free on YouTube.
  22. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015): This movie contains a man playing a fire-spewing guitar on top of a stage that’s on a moving big rig, and if that’s not metal, then I don’t know what is.
  23. THE WITCH (2015): The Witch kicks off with the ritualistic sacrifice of an infant, and from there only continues to bombard us with Satanic imagery. Of particular note is Black Philip, the sinister goat who apparently terrorized the actors as much as he does the characters in the film.
  24. MANDY (2018): Nicolas Cage makes a bat’leth and fights a shitty cult in this surreal film that’s destined to be a cult favorite. Like some great metal albums, I can think of, Mandy starts off slow and atmospheric, lulling you with hypnotic beauty before exploding into an orgy of batshit violence. Also, like many great metal albums I can think of, it feels like it was conceived while on drugs.
  25. AQUAMAN (2018): Okay, hear me out. James Wan’s Aquaman makes Jason Mamoa’s Aquaman look as metal as possible, and he makes the rest of the film as metal as possible too. The scene where Aquaman bursts from the ground while riding a giant crab? Metal. The Lovecraft references? Metal. The Trench sequence with its creepy fishmen? Metal. Amber Heard’s jellyfish dress? Metal. The fact that Aquaman fights a giant tentacle monster that’s voiced by Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews? Oh, so metal. There’s even a cute scene with the cuddly metalheads at a bar. This movie is a treasure.

 

JonathanFortinAuthorPhoto_SepiaJonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (coming December 2019 from Crystal Lake Publishing) and Nightmarescape (Mocha Memoirs Press). An unashamed lover of spooky 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. You can follow him online at www.jonathanfortin.com or on Twitter @Jonathan_Fortin.

 

THE CROW Twitter Watch Party – Tonight

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Horror Addicts, in honor of the new book release, Requiem in Frost, HorrorAddicts.net and Jonathan Fortin would like to invite you to a Twitter Watch Party! We’ll be watching the dark and brooding beauty of 1994’s The Crow, beginning at 8 pm PST tonight.  So, pop your popcorn, take a seat, and get your tweet on.

WHO: Jonathan Fortin and HorrorAddicts.net

WHAT: THE CROW Twitter Watch Party

WHERE: Twitter

WHEN: Tonight at 8:00 PST

Stay Spooky!

THE CROW Twitter Watch Party

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Horror Addicts, in honor of the new book release, Requiem in Frost, HorrorAddicts.net and Jonathan Fortin would like to invite you to a Twitter Watch Party! We’ll be watching the dark and brooding beauty of 1994’s The Crow, beginning at 8 pm PST on Tuesday, October 1st.  So, pop your popcorn, take a seat, and get your tweet on.

WHO: Jonathan Fortin and HorrorAddicts.net

WHAT: THE CROW Twitter Watch Party

WHERE: Twitter

WHEN: Tuesday, October 1, 8:00 PST

Stay Spooky!

LIVE Twitter Q & A with Jonathan Fortin – Today

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Horror Addicts are in for a treat. Jonathan Fortin, author of Nightmarescape and Requiem in Frost, will be answering your questions LIVE this Thursday, September 26th, at 12:00pm-12:30pm on TWITTER!

WHO: Jonathan Fortin

WHAT: LIVE Q & A

WHEN: Today

TIME: 12:00pm – 12:30pm.

WHERE: Twitter

Be there and Be Spooky!

#Requiem in Frost Blog Tour and Events

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HorrorAddicts.net Press is proud to present Jonathan Fortin’s latest work. Join us as we tour the web and hold live events.

REQUIEM IN FROST

We’re all about Black Metal and Zombies! Enjoy the blog posts, excerpts, and celebrations as we launch our newest Horror Bites e-book.

 

September
23 Press Release horroraddicts.net
23 Twitter LIVE Q&A with Jonathan Fortin Announcement horroraddicts.net
24 BLOG TOUR Announcement horroraddicts.net
25 Tales of Horror 3 @ San Mateo Library – LIVE READING Announcement horroraddicts.net
26 Twitter LIVE Q&A with Jonathan Fortin Reminder horroraddicts.net
26 Twitter LIVE Q&A with Jonathan Fortin https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Fortin
27 Twitter Watch Party: The Crow Announcement horroraddicts.net
October
1st TWITTER WATCH PARTY: The Crow Reminder horroraddicts.net
1st TWITTER WATCH PARTY: The Crow https://twitter.com/Jonathan_Fortin
1st How Metal Changed My Life http://www.ellderet.com/blog
2nd Tales of Horror 3 @ San Mateo Library – Live Reading of Req. Reminder horroraddicts.net
2nd Tales of Horror 3 @ San Mateo Library – Live Reading of Req. Live Event
5th 1st Excerpt from #Requiem in Frost https://nachingkassa.wordpress.com/
6th 25 Of The Most Metal Films (That Aren’t About Metal) horroraddicts.net
7th The Evolution of Requiem in Frost https://horrortree.com/guest-post-the-evolution-of-requiem-in-frost/
7th Chilling Chat Episode #176 Jonathan Fortin horroraddicts.net
10th Five Questions with Loren Rhoads lorenrhoads.com/blog
11th Requiem in Frost: Unofficial Soundtrack https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com
13th 2nd Excerpt from #Requiem in Frost emzbox.com
19th Finale – LIVE interview with Jonathan Fortin horroraddicts.net

LIVE Twitter Q & A with Jonathan Fortin

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Horror Addicts are in for a treat. Jonathan Fortin, author of Nightmarescape and Requiem in Frost, will be answering your questions LIVE this Thursday, September 26th, at 12:00pm-12:30pm on TWITTER!

WHO: Jonathan Fortin

WHAT: LIVE Q & A

WHEN: Thursday, September 26th

TIME: 12:00pm – 12:30pm.

WHERE: Twitter

Be there and Be Spooky!

#NGHW Editor’s Pick Blog Tour Recap

Thank you for joining us for our Horror Bites: #NGHW Editor’s Pick blog tour. Just in case you’ve missed any of the sneak peeks or interviews, checkout this list.

Title Date Blog address
#NGHW Editor’s Pick/Blog Tour Mar 22 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Interview with Jonathan Fortin Mar 23 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Sneak Peek “A Vampire and a Zombie” Mar 23 https://lorenrhoads.com/blog/
Sneak Peek “Intervention” Mar 23 https://frightenme.weebly.com/frighten-me-blog
Interview with Naching T. Kassa,
Daphne Starsert & Jess Landry
Mar 24 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Interview with Sumiko Saulson Mar 25 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Introduction by Emerian Rich Mar 25 https://nextgreathorrorwriter.wordpress.com/
Interview with Adele Marie Park Mar 26 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Interview with Feind Gottes Mar 27 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Sneak Peek “Consumption” Mar 27 afstewartblog.blogspot.com
Sneak Peek “Cherry Blossoms and Yokai” Mar 27 https://firefly465.wordpress.com/
Interview with Abi Kirk-Thomas Mar 28 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Sneak Peek “Under the Water” Mar 28 www.SumikoSaulson.com
Interview with JC Martinez Mar 29 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Sneak Peek “Audio Addict” Mar 29 https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com/rocknromanceblog
Interview with Cat Voleur Mar 30 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Sneak Peek “Siren’s Song” Mar 30 https://www.hauntjaunts.net/blog/
Interview with Timothy G. Huguenin Mar 31 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Interview with Riley Pierce Apr 1 https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/
Sneak Peek “Is The a Cure?” Apr 2 https://www.feindsfiends.com/

HorrorAddicts.net continues our Horror Bites series with a bundle of new fiction by our Next Great Horror Writer Contestants.

Featuring work by:

Jonathan Fortin
Naching T. Kassa
Daphne Strasert
Jess Landry
Harry Husbands
Sumiko Saulson
Adele Marie Park
Feind Gottes
JC Martínez
Cat Voleur
Abi Kirk-Thomas
Timothy G. Huguenin
Riley Pierce
Quentin Norris

With introduction by Emerian Rich.

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present our top 14 contestants in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest. The included stories, scripts, and poems are the result of the hard work and dedication these fine writers put forth to win a book contract. Some learned they loved writing and want to pursue it as a career for the rest of their lives. Some discovered they should change careers either to a different genre of writing or to a new career entirely. Whatever lessons came along the way, they each learned something about themselves and grew as writers. We hope you enjoy the writing as much as we did.

Just 99 cents at Amazon.com

HorrorAddicts.net

for Horror Addicts, by Horror Addicts

Listen to the HorrorAddicts.net podcast for the latest in horror news, reviews, music, and fiction.

HorrorAddicts.net Press

www.horroraddicts.net

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Riley Pierce

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Riley J. Pierce lives in Wisconsin with her family, and her growing collection of books. Always fascinated by horror and science fiction, she finds inspiration for the macabre DSCN4277everywhere. When she’s not writing, she can be found binge-watching the latest horror film alone in the dark.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

In second grade, in our school library, we were each assigned a section to keep clean and organized. I was assigned the horror section. I spent hours in that section reading all about the paranormal, haunted civil war battlefields around me, and spooky folklore.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

I’ve always loved to read, so I truly believe that my love of writing came from discovering the writing of Alvin Schwartz.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

I love nautical folklore. I loved that sirens and mermaids were beautifully lethal in some legends, and I wanted to take that, but look at it a bit differently.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Yes and no. I’m a meticulous planner in my everyday life, so when it comes to a character, I tend to let them have free will only when it suits their chosen path. I would call it more of an implied free will.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

Being challenged to write in so many different formats with various word limits and themes taught me to step out of the puzzlebox (hi, Hellraiser fans) a little bit more than I would have on my own.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I would most definitely do it again. I believe next time around I would allow myself the time and space to brainstorm more before choosing the first or second idea.

7) What is your favorite horror novel?

Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

                                                                      8) Favorite horror movie?

NGHWEdPSmThis is a tough one! I would probably say Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but that’s on a masterpiece classic level. For my favorite villain, Nightmare on Elm Street. For something that’s a fun watch, I’d choose Hereditary, Drag Me to Hell, or Hellraiser.

9) Favorite horror television show?

Masters of Horror.

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I’m still working on a few projects, but to share my love of writing with others, I’ve been leading workshops at my local library on creative writing, novel outlining, and blogging.

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Timothy G. Huguenin

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Timothy G. Huguenin lives in the dark Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. He is the author of the Appalachian horror novels When the Watcher Shakes and Little One. His tghugueninshort fiction has appeared in various places including Hinnom Magazine, Beneath the Waves: Tales From the Deep, and Horror Tales Podcast. Timothy is an active member of the Horror Writers Association.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was in middle school, I think, when my parents bought me a collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories for Christmas. I loved it! I still go back to Poe often. I get the feeling that he is more often talked about than actually read. His work is still unique and effective today.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

If you judge this based on the most books I’ve read by any one horror writer, I suppose you would say Stephen King wins. I’m constantly amazed at his ability to make characters that I absolutely buy into. Even the ones who are mostly just exaggerated stereotypes are somehow still so lifelike and believable. This talent allows him to take the whackiest idea and turn it into a compelling story. However, over the last couple years, I’ve been turning more toward the weirder side of horror. Authors like Robert Aickman and Thomas Ligotti have been very influential on my recent writing. Lastly, I want to mention Michael Wehunt. I think his work is fabulous, and more people need to read Greener Pastures.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

It happened and kinda freaked me out. My wife explained to me what was really going on, but it was a very strange experience when I didn’t understand it.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Generally speaking, I have a basic framework for how a character will react to things, and their personality and actions grow out of that as I write and continue to develop/get to know them. I try not to be too forceful. I am mostly a “pantser.” There is something about it, especially when the story is going smoothly and quickly, that feels as if the characters have their own will, even though I am the one creating them. I suppose it depends on how you define “free will.” Everyone’s will is limited to some degree by something. So “free” must always be relative, whether you are talking in terms of writing fiction or in terms of philosophy.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

The contest forced me to try some things I normally wouldn’t do and write a few more things that I might not have written otherwise. One of the short stories I wrote for the contest was my first conscious attempt at pure cosmic horror (not a requirement for the prompt, btw, just how it turned out). It did not score well with the judges, but I consider it one of my best pieces. Agree to disagree, right?

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I probably could not do it again, at least in the foreseeable future. I just don’t have the time or the mental space for it. I have enough writing projects I need to focus on, as well as other things I need to work on in life, like work, school, and my marriage. I am not a good multitasker.

7) What is your favorite horror novel?

That is a tough one. Just off the top of my head, I’m going to say Revival by Stephen King. But Dracula really made a great impression on me. It often depends on the mood I am when I read something, and the environment. These things greatly shape our feelings toward a book, more than we probably realize. I read a great deal of Dracula in a small tent during a violent thunderstorm in the Cherokee National Forest. I’m not sure if I will feel the same way about it next time I read it. One of my favorite books of all time, which I have read many times and always loved, is 1984 by George Orwell. Few people would consider it a horror novel (especially those outside our little camp), but it captures that creeping sense of dread that I look for better than almost any other book that claims to be horror.

8) Favorite horror movie?

I’m not sure if it is my favorite or not, but I finally got around to watching Carnival of Souls and really loved it. Though I’m not sure it totally made sense.

9) Favorite horror television show?

NGHWEdPSmOK, maybe I’ll disappoint some people with this because there’s a lot of really better polished and very popular horror TV shows that have been made since then, but I really love The X Files, which wasn’t always horror but did have plenty of monsters.

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

You’ll probably see some more of my short fiction being published this year. I have a novel manuscript that I’m trying to find a good fit for. As far as works in progress, I am about 5,000 words into a new novel, but most of the writing I’ve done this year has been on a short story that turned into a novelette and may even keep growing to novella length. Not sure what’s going to happen with it. We’ll see.

 

You can find Timothy on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

 

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Cat Voleur

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Cat Voleur is a horror blogger and writer of dark speculative fiction. She is following up her traditional education with studies in linguistics and parapsychology. When she is notMe at work or school, she’s enjoying a nice book or stressful video game in the company of her many feline friends.

1)  How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was about 8 when I acknowledged that horror was a genre, but I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawn to it. I grew up loving scary stories and some of my first favorite movies were the black and white horror classics.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

My favorite author would be Joe Hill. He consistently amazes me with his work, and has written some of my favorite novels and short stories. I’d say Stephen King is one of my strongest influences, for better and worse, because reading him taught me to include a lot of detail – much of which has to be edited out later. Some of my more recent influences would be Clive Barker and Max Lobdell.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

The piece I have included in the collection is actually nonfiction. When I read that prompt, it was just the event that I was taken back to and I tried to write it as faithfully as I could remember.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I think a lot of that depends on the project. The longer a piece is the more the characters control me, but I feel like I have a certain level of authority when writing something a little more structured, like flash fiction.

I remember recently I was trying to explain my writing process to a friend, and I described myself as a sort of “Jigsaw” in regards to my less polished ideas. I set up these really dark scenarios based off of my assumption that I know the characters who will be experiencing them, but sometimes they surprise me with their will to survive or think outside the box.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

I learned a lot of things about myself participating in the contest, a lot of personal things regarding my limits as a creator and my writing process.

The most important thing that I learned about writing horror though, would be how connected it is to other genres. I think one of the hardest aspects for me was that it required the contestants to write in many different tones for many different mediums that I would never have expected from a horror contest. The challenge I found most difficult was the comedy commercial script. Some of my favorite horror films are the self-referential slashers that rely very heavily on dark comedy, but I had never considered writing comedy as something I should try to improve on until this contest.

It was difficult, but learning about all the things that tie into horror made me a  better writer.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I would absolutely do it again.

The one thing I’d do differently is I’d stick it out to the end. At the time I was participating in the contest, there were just so many personal things going on in my life that felt out of my control. I ended up switching jobs, moving across the country, there was a lot of my drama with my extended family, and I was struggling with a relationship that I didn’t realize was very unhealthy and actually harmful to me. When I also fell ill, it felt like one thing too many, and I just wasn’t turning out the quality of work I wanted to be submitting, so I dropped out.

That might have been the right thing at the time because I got worse before I got better, but I’ve learned a lot since then. I have more control over my life than I realized, so if I got another opportunity to compete in something I feel this passionately about, I’d feel confident in prioritizing it higher than I did last time around.

7)What is your favorite horror novel?

My favorite horror novel is The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker.

Aside from being an intimately disturbing read, I’ve never found a horror novel that reads quite so poetically. It’s some of the most beautiful body horror ever written.

8) Favorite horror movie?

My favorite horror movie is Cabin in the Woods because it’s got a little bit of everything. It’s funny, it’s scary, it’s emotional, and it’s so intelligently written. It pokes fun at the genre while simultaneously expressing a deep love for it, explaining tropes along the way. You can enjoy it as a casual fan, or watch it over and over to pick up every last horror movie reference they squeezed in. It’s been my favorite movie since I saw it in theater, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

9) Favorite horror television show?

NGHWEdPSmThe Haunting of Hill House, hands down.

I’ve been a Mike Flanagan fan for years now, but he handled the source material so brilliantly that I don’t even have to worry about being biased; the show’s just good. It’s scary, it’s gorgeous, and there are always new things to discover if you are in the mood to watch it again.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

Now that I’ve had plenty of time to recover and get my life back on track, I feel confident in saying that the future holds more horror writing for me.

I have a few very dark, experimental short stories under consideration right now and am about to start querying for my first two longer projects. Of course, I’m still blogging about the genre whenever I can find the time.

You can find Cat on Twitter and please, check out her Portfolio Site.

 

 

 

 

 

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with JC Martinez

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JC Martinez writes fantasy, science fiction and, of course, horror.  An author still living his dream of telling stories as best as he can, JC Martínez will try his hardest to make your skinIMG_0346 crawl, give you delightful nightmares, and take your breath away.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

Honestly, too young to remember how old I was. This past December, while I was cleanin’ out my closet, I found some short stories I wrote when I was less than ten years old, and even though they don’t scare me right now, they were a way to express that feeling of nervousness that horror had created in me. Sometimes, I think I’ve always had a fascination with the unknown, with the things that lurk in the dark. I like that uneasy feeling that makes your spine tingle. It tickles pleasantly.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

Ray Bradbury. He, of course, has been an influence, and all the other authors and artists that I like have been essential for my development as a writer. It’s impossible for me to build a list of every single person that has made me the man I am today, so let’s just say I am grateful I can experience the works of the countless masters that have shaped my taste in art.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

My feelings. I have a certain disaffinity to tongues and saliva in general. They make me feel uncomfortable, the traces of a viscous liquid left by a damp limb as they slowly enter your body through your pores. Yeesh. Most of my writings stem from what I find unagreeable, but taken to a dreadful extreme.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I can’t help but think that this one is a trick question. On the one hand, my characters only exist because I create them. On the other, most of the times, I don’t know what they’ll do until I make them do it. For me, that counts as free will, but not for the characters. That makes it sound as if I had a god complex, but I really don’t. It’s just that my brain, even when I don’t actively acknowledge it, will always continue the process of creating worlds and giving the characters the most appropriate actions under any given circumstance. The only thing they can do is fall to command.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

Many things. Mostly, how to deal with emotions and that the only thing a writer can do is to make the best they can with the ideas they find interesting.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

Sure. Probably. If I got in again with a good 100-word story. I don’t know what I’d do differently. Speculation has never been my strong suit outside fiction. They say humans are like rivers, in that they change through time. Under a different perspective, and amidst other circumstances, I really don’t know how I’d behave.

7) What is your favorite horror novel?

I don’t have one. The Martian Chronicles is hands down my favorite book, and while it has some scary bits, it’s not a horror novel. I’m fond of way too many stories, styles and ideas to have just one favorite. I like John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In, and Bram Stoker’s portrayal of a genuinely monstrous Dracula. I like Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend and the transgressive fiction that is Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted. I’m fond of the funnies that are David Wong’s John Dies at the End and Joe R. Landsdale’s Bubba Ho-Tep.

NGHWEdPSm8) Favorite horror movie?

I don’t have one either. There are just too many sub genres that it’s impossible to pick a single movie. Alien, The Omen, The Exorcist, Halloween, Fright Night, 28 Days LaterConstantine.

9.) Favorite horror television show?

Hannibal.

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

All I can say is that from now and until I leave this mortal coil, I’ll continue to deliver the best stories I can come up with.

 

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Abi Kirk-Thomas

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Abi Kirk-Thomas lives in the UK and studied as a theoretical archaeologist in Wales. She lives with her husband and 2-year old chocolate Lab called Adam. She’s currently studying AEKirkmassage therapy. She loves reading horror and dabbles from time to time in poetry.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was 18 when I discovered horror.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

Andy McDermott is my favourite author, he’s more sci-fi/action but I’ve always had some action in my horror stories to keep up the pace.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

I hardly write poems but I always thought that if there was a zombie apocalypse and there was a vampire left in the world what would happen to them. It was pure chance I came up with the poem, I wanted to mix in comedy with romance and sadness.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters?

All my characters have free will, but I do find if I’m writing something that is shocking for readers, I do cackle like a witch.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

I learned that, sadly, writing isn’t for me. It’s a hobby but it’s fun. I would not participate in any further contests.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I do write but it’s only for fun. I would not participate in the contest. I found I like free reign on what I write. Contests take the fun out of writing what you want.

7) What is your favorite horror novel?

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill.

NGHWEdPSm8.) Favorite horror movie?

Battle Royale.

9) Favorite horror television show?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer but it wasn’t scary.

10)  What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

As I’m not writing, I’m starting up my massage business. But, I wish all those the best of luck publishing their works.

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Feind Gottes

 

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Feind Gottes [Fee-nd Gotz] is a horror nut, metal lover, and an award-winning horror author. He resides near Omaha, NE with his girlfriend and one crazy cat.  Feind has Feind Gottes author photostories appearing in seven anthologies with several more to be published in 2019, and is currently editing his debut novel.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

For me, I was probably about 4 years old. The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz absolutely terrified me. I got over it, of course, only to have my older sister torment me with The Amityville Horror (1979) until I forced myself to watch it. Once I did I was hooked. I think I was about 9 or 10 years old at the time.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

My favorite author without question is Clive Barker. I’ve never read anyone else whose prose affects me the way his does. As for influences I have many since I was an avid reader for about thirty years before I began writing myself. A few of the major ones would be Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, Frank L Baum, John Grisham and, of course, the absolute master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

I like to think I write horror for fans of horror which means I write with the expectation that my readers already have some horror background. My essay was the first time I have written anything that was expected to be humorous so I tried to throw in a few references for horror fans like Ash (Bruce Campbell) from The Evil Dead, Dr. West (Jeffrey Combs) from Re-animator, and Dr. Satan from House of a 1,000 Corpses. Some may not get these references and that’s ok. I did that simply as a wink and a nod to horror fans who do know.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I think I try to balance the two. I control the actions of my characters but as I write and develop a character how they enact those actions or react to them may differ from my initial plan. That is part of the fun of the process in bringing a character to life. Sometimes you have to change your plan on the fly which is why I don’t make a rigid plot outline before I begin a new work.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

The biggest thing I learned from the NGHW contest was writing in styles completely out of my comfort zone. I had never even attempted anything humorous, I hadn’t written a serious poem in years and I had never attempted writing an advertisement script. Whether I write any of those specific styles again matters little, doing it forced me to grow as a writer. Having to meet all the deadlines didn’t hurt either.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I would absolutely do it again if I had the time. I’d do nothing differently though, everything I write is the best thing I can write in that moment. The contacts and friendships formed from participating in this contest are absolutely invaluable. I didn’t look at the other participants as my competition but simply as fellow writers struggling to have their voices heard. Writing is not a competitive sport despite this being a contest. I don’t think anyone who participated lost anything. We all gained knowledge which is more important than anything else.

7) What is your favorite horror novel?

I have to say It by Stephen King since the category is “horror novel” but my favorite novel is Imajica by Clive Barker. Both are absolute masterpieces.

8) Favorite horror movie?

Tough one for me as I’ve seen literally hundreds, if not thousands from the Universal Monsters to Cannibal Holocaust. I usually give one of two answers to this one so either High Tension (2003 – Alexander Aja’s 1st film) or Phantasm (1979).

9) Favorite horror television show?

Hands down it’s Ash vs Evil Dead. Bruce Campbell is simply the best!

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

nghwedpsmThe truth is VERY MUCH! In fact, people may get sick of seeing my name this year. As of today, I’ve had one anthology released, 100 Word Horrors: Part 2, (I get to share pages with some truly great authors in this one) and I have 9 more anthologies scheduled for release this year (including NGHW: Editor’s Picks!) with another half dozen pending. Also if I can kick my butt in gear my debut novel, Piece It All Back Together, will be unleashed by Stitched Smile Publications before the end of the year. I’m not looking for any pats on the back, these publications are the result of a few years of writing my butt off non-stop. If you want to be successful you have to work hard, plain and simple.

I’ve also been contributing some horror movie reviews to a friend’s website, Machine Mean, and recently launched my own website, Feind’s Fiends, to try keeping everyone (including myself) updated on what I have in the works. All while now working 45 hours/week at the day job, gotta pay those dang bills! Regardless of what success I achieve, or do not, I will be writing terrible things until I have faded into the void. I’ve adopted the motto… Stay Positive & Make Good Art!

You can find Feind on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter

 

 

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Adele Marie Park

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Growing up on an Orcadian island, surrounded by folk tales and the sea helped Adele Marie Park become a writer.  She believes horror is paranormal. It is as solid as your Adele picheartbeat when you’re home alone and the floorboards creak upstairs.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

My family had a farm on the Orkney island of Rousay. Around five years old I can remember the authentic folklore of Orkney being explained to me as very much alive. There was a field next to the house that had a knowe, that’s Norse for mound, and it was not only a trow, (troll) house but also where they had burned a witch. So, whether true or not that’s when I got my first taste of horror.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

I have several favourites, but Stephen King has influenced me and so has Poppy Z Brite and of course I cannot leave out Anne Rice. Those three have influenced me greatly.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

Japanese culture and music, especially Visual Kei, is a favorite and as the piece prompt was about horrific musical instruments, what better than to combine Japanese Yokai with music.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Most of my characters tell me what they are doing. However, if it goes against the plot then I can reign them in.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

It was a sharp learning curve which brought my writing under criticism, the harshest critic being myself. I plunged down into darkness and rose again to the light. I found my writing voice and that is priceless.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

If my workload was less than it is now, then yes, I would do it again and this time around, I know my style has improved. Also, I would have an assistant to read the questions for me as having dyspraxia meant for at least two of the challenges I scored low because I didn’t understand the questions and thought I did.

nghwedpsm7) What is your favourite horror novel?

Just one? Okay, Christine by Stephen King

8) Favourite horror movie?

The Conjuring directed by the master, James Wan.

9) Favourite horror television show?

Supernatural just keeps on giving.

10)What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I have just been signed by Black Wolf publishing for my horror novel Wolfe Manor and will also have a horror short story in the next publication of Dan Alatorre’s award-winning anthology. The 2nd book of my fantasy series, Wisp, will be published this year and I plan to work on an illustrated companion book to go with the trilogy. I can’t stop writing, there are too many stories in my head. Wait a moment, that’s a great idea for a horror story.

You can find Adele on Facebook.

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Sumiko Saulson

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Sumiko Saulson is a cartoonist, horror writer, editor of Black Magic Women – on the 2019 Stoker’s Recommended Reads List – and 100 Black Women in Horror Fiction. Author of MauskaveliSolitude, Warmth, Moon Cried Blood, Happiness and Other Diseases. Comics Mauskaveli, Dooky, Dreamworlds, and Agrippa. She writes for SEARCH Magazine.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

My parents were both big horror fans, and I was watching horror movies in the theater when I was 4 or 5 years old. My mom told me dad took her to see Rosemary’s Baby when she was pregnant with me, but of course, I don’t remember that. I do remember watching Dark Shadows with Mom, Outer Limits and Twilight Zone with Dad, and going to see It’s Alive, the first horror movie I actually remember, when I was about 5 years old. It was about a horrible monster baby who ate people. I loved it! The first horror novel I read was Peter Straub’s Ghost Story when I was 11. I was also reading a lot of horror shorts among the sci-fi shorts in Asimov’s Science Fiction.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

My favorite writer changes a lot and at the moment it is Toni Morrison, who isn’t even a horror writer but is one of my most-read writers nonetheless. My influences are all pretty mainstream. I picked up The Talisman when I was 12 and added Stephen King to my favorite writer’s list along with Edgar Allen Poe. Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, Christopher Rice, Susan Cooper, Frank Herbert. I have ingested so many books by a few favorites that I am sure my writing style has been affected. I am also a huge fan of anthologies and sci-fi, horror, and fantasy magazines where you can gain exposure to lots of different writers in small tastes, and see who you like. I read a lot of Weird Sisters and other horror tale magazines as a teen. Those affected me. Mythologies have affected me a lot. I read a lot of Greek, Roman and Norse mythology as a kid, and as an adult, I casually read both historical mythologies and created mythologies. I should have listed CS Lewis because the created mythology in Chronicles of Narnia impacted me heavily as an adolescent.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

The song’s title “Under the Water” is from the song of that name by the artist Jewel from the movie The Craft. The story I wrote is about a ship that is being seduced by a giant cephalopod (squid or octopus) type sea monster such as a Kracken who wants her to become a ghost ship. Both the ship and the monster are female. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was definitely an inspiration, as were Greek and Roman myths about sea monsters such as the Kraken and the Charybdis – a monster whose mouth created whirlpools to drag ships to the bottom of the ocean. The ship would have to sacrifice her human cargo to the monster, so they would become part of a ghost ship. As the ship is dragged deeper into the depths by the cephalopod, she begins to doubt the sincerity of the sea creature because she sees lots of dead seamen from the past and torn up ships. Then, the monster starts talking to her like Armand in The Theater of Vampires did to the woman he drained on stage, about how even if she’s being lied to it would be a glorious noble death so she wins either way. That part of the story was inspired by my former fiance’s battle with drugs, which ultimately ended his life, not long after. I had written a lot of sea stories the year prior about the drowning man sort of feeling being dragged down into the depths of addiction gives one. So this is sort of an allegory. Drugs are seductive and so is the sea creature.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Some of my characters have more free will than others. It depends on whether the story is world-driven or character-driven. The vast majority of my stories are character-driven, which means that about a third of the way into the story, the world is built, the scene is set, and the characters sort of begin to write themselves. The more free will the characters have, the less technical and more moving the writing is.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

I do my best work short story when I have more time than was allotted during the contest. I have great story ideas, but my ability to follow through and edit them on such tight deadlines is severely inhibited. I’m good at taking, absorbing, and responding to criticism but I dislike it. I am very absent-minded, probably due to having post-traumatic stress disorder. Greg – my ex-fiance – overdosed May 26, 2017, and I could have pulled out of the contest, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to. I am a very determined person. I found out I am tougher than I think I am. I found out I CAN work on those tight deadlines, even if it isn’t my forte. And sixth place out of hundreds who applied and I think 15 or so who competed is not too bad. I also learned that it is really important to have clever story titles. And that I need someone else to proofread my work before I send it in.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I don’t regret doing it so I absolutely would. I regret not asking for help after Greg died. I literally sent in the wrong manuscript, and I lost 10 points for not reaching the right word count and dropped from 4th place to 9th place overnight because I made a mistake and sent in the wrong file. It makes me want to cry when I think about it to this day. I had a version of the story that was completed, and I could have sent it in and I definitely would have placed higher – maybe 4th place, if I hadn’t slipped up. I can’t prevent people from dying, but I can ask for support when I need it from my family and friends. On the bright side, I did get the story accepted for Loren Rhoads’ charity anthology, Tales from the Campfire. She said it was her favorite one in the whole anthology! Of course, I edited it twice – once for an anthology Dan Shaurette was working on called Not Today  – he rejected it – and then for a Mary Shelley work honoring anthology of some kind that rejected it. Getting rejected and doing re-writes seems to be a part of the business. And I finally took the judges’ advice and changed the damned story title! It was called Experiment IV, it is now called Unheard Music from the Dank Underground. The advice about avoiding dull story titles was some of the most memorable from the contest. I would say it was an educational experience and that I notice the people who were in the top five are all popping up all over the place and quickly moving ahead in their careers so I think it’s educational, and good experience and people should go for it!

nghwedpsm7) What is your favorite horror novel?

         The Vines by Christopher Rice

8) Favorite horror movie?

        Candyman

9) Favorite horror television show?

        Supernatural

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

As you may know, I am the only black author who completed the contest, and even though I made it in sixth, not first place, that alone makes me a winner just because I decided to stick it out and to represent. I totally hate it when I am watching Face/Off or some other horror related contest and the black guy gets voted off in the first or third episode, so I was very determined to stick it out.

I got a lot of interest from black anthologies and people who are interested in horror authors of African heritage. I got three stories in Scierogenous II which is edited by Valjeanne Jeffers and Quinton Neal. I also edited Black Magic Women, a horror anthology on Mocha Memoirs Press. It ended up being on the Bram Stoker’s Recommended Reads list in 2018 and did quite well critically and in terms of sales. I edited Crystal Connor’s YA horror story My 1st Nightmare. I am editing my second anthology, Wickedly Abled, a collection of stories horror, dark fantasy and dark sci-fi by and about disabled people. I am working on Akmani, the fourth book in the Happiness and Other Diseases series and Disillusionment, the second in the Solitude series. I am starting to appear at conventions nationally and not just locally. I’m still churning out short stories and getting into more and more anthologies.

Chilling Chat: 4 Quick Questions with Naching T. Kassa, Daphne Strasert, and Jess Landry

chillingchat

Naching T. Kassa is a wife, mother, and horror writer. She also serves as Head of Publishing for HorrorAddicts.net and as an intern for Crystal Lake Publishing. She lives in Eastern Washington with Dan Kassa, her husband and biggest supporter. Naching is a member of the Horror Writers Association.

Daphne Strasert is a horror, dark fantasy, and speculative fiction writer from Houston, Texas. She has been published in several anthologies including Crescendo of Darkness and Postcards from the Void. 

Jess Landry’s fiction has appeared in several anthologies, including Fantastic Tales of Terror, Monsters of Any Kind, Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road, and the forthcoming Twice-Told: A Collection of Doubles, among others.

1) What did you learn from participating in the contest?IMG_1979

NTK: I learned so much from the contest. Most of which is detailed in my little op-ed in the book. But, if I had to pick one thing it would be learning how to submit a novel for a publisher’s consideration.

DS: The Next Great Horror Writer Contest was my first time making short stories. I learned about keeping my writing tight and making sure that my stories had no extra fluff that they didn’t need–especially for a short story that really needs to keep the tension high.  I learned how to proof my writing (especially on a deadline) and make sure that I was submitting my absolute best work.

JL: As cheesy as it sounds, I learned that if I put my mind into something, I can do it. It was daunting at first—we basically had 1-2 weeks per assignment to whip out a smorgasbord of different stories…albeit not all at once, but still. My brain can pretty much only concentrate on one idea at a time, so the struggle was real, y’all.

2) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

NTK: I wish I could. I loved the challenges and I miss them. Receiving an assignment from Emz was like the prelude to a writing adventure. Unfortunately, I won’t participate in another #NGHW contest. As a staff member of HorrorAddicts.net, I’d have to recuse myself from it. But, even if I weren’t part of HA, I couldn’t do it. I had my chance. It’s time to step aside and let others step up. I’d love to be a judge though.

As to what I’d do differently, researching more comes to mind. Some of my work suffered because I didn’t know what to write. I’d never written a full blog piece before. If I’d been smart, I’d have gone to the HorrorAddicts.net website and studied the pieces they’d accepted in the past. This is a big mistake we writers make. We submit to magazines, anthologies, and publishers without studying what they produce.

Daphne StrasertDS: I would do the contest again in a heartbeat, if HorrorAddicts.net would let me (though I’m sure they’d rather have a whole new batch of newbies!). Maybe if the contest runs again, I could act as a judge or a writing mentor.

For what I would do differently, I would spend more time prepping my novel through the duration of the contest. When I was lucky enough to present to Crystal Lake, I wished that I’d had more time. Even if I hadn’t been in the top three, the work on the novel never would have gone to waste.

JL: Heck yes. It was a great all-around experience, and – most importantly – it got me writing. A lot of the work I created during the contest has gone on to find wonderful homes, so I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out.

3) What inspired your piece?

NTK: Like most of my ideas, it came out of the blue while I washed dishes. Dishes are boring. So boring, I have to distract myself with stories to get through them.

I think I was washing a big pot with spaghetti noodles stuck to the bottom when Father Lopez’s character came to me. But, I could be wrong. It might’ve been macaroni.

DS: “Audio Addict” was inspired, in part, by the Crescendo of Darkness prompt itself Jess Landrywhere it mentioned “the lack of music”. That inspired the idea of a world in which there was no music, or at least, not pervasive the way it is in our world. Once I hit on the idea of music as an illicit commodity, the structure of “Audio Addict” was almost fully formed.

JL: Wesley Snipes. In particular an interview with Patton Oswalt where he said that during the filming of Blade: Trinity, that Mr. Snipes stayed in character the whole time, even signing notes he had for the director of the film as ‘Blade.’ I thought, hell, if he’s that in character, does he keep his teeth in when he goes to sleep? Or when he goes out to get gelato? Wouldn’t he want something with a little…sparkle? From that train of thought, FangBlingz was born.

4) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

NTK: I’m editing an anthology called, Dark Divinations, for HorrorAddicts.net. We’re accepting submissions until Halloween. Each story must be set in the Victorian age (1837-1901) and involve some element of divination.

I have a few stories coming out too. My story, “War Beads,” will appear in the Dead Light Publishing anthology, Not Just a Pretty Face. “Phantom Caller” will appear in Kill Switch. And, “Second Strike,” will be published in the anthology Dark Transitions by Thirteen O’clock Press.

nghwedpsmDS: I have a few stories slated to come out in 2019, including one for the HorrorAddicts.net anthology Kill Switch. I will also be completing a mystery novel and submitting to publishers.

JL: The future is full of deadlines, glorious deadlines. I have several new stories scheduled for some awesome anthologies coming out later this year (my lips are sealed on the specific details!), and one of my short stories, “Mutter” (from Crystal Lake Publishing’s Fantastic Tales of Terror), has been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award in the Short Fiction category, which is exciting (beyond exciting, really. I’m just trying to contain myself).

You can find Naching on Facebook and Twitter.

Jess can be found on Facebook.

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Jonathan Fortin

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Jonathan Fortin was named the Next Great Horror Writer by HorrorAddicts.net and is a graduate of the Clarion Writing Program. His novel Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus is a JonathanFortinAuthorPhoto_Sepiaforthcoming release from Crystal Lake Publishing.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

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.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

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.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

“Consumption” is about the anxiety of losing your identity in a homogenized office culture. For my day job, I work in a call center. Environments like that make it difficult for people to be authentically themselves, as you can easily be judged by coworkers if they learn that you’re different from them in some way. For work to run smoothly, you must conform to a larger whole–losing your identity in the process. I’ve always been highly individualistic, and struggle to conform to social expectations, so I’ve never liked the idea of being consumed into something larger than myself. I didn’t get to explore this theme as deeply as I wanted because of the length requirements, but that was the fear that drove me to write this story.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Generally, I develop characters so that their behavior will naturally drive them into the stories that I want to tell, but I love it when they surprise me by doing things I don’t expect or react to each other in ways I never planned. In the past I’ve tried to force characters to act in ways that didn’t feel authentic to me, but as any writer will tell you, that just doesn’t work. So in my experience, characters NEED free will if you want the story to feel real. That doesn’t mean I won’t carefully manipulate the world around them, though.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

You never know whether you’re really all that into a story idea until you try to write the damn thing.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

Since I won, I don’t really see the point in doing it again. I’m too busy trying to live up to the title, haha. But if I were to do it again, I would try harder to strengthen my nonfiction submissions (articles, interviews, etc.).

nghwedpsm7) What is your favorite horror novel?

Hard to choose, but a few that have stuck with me are Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Caitlin R. Kiernan’s Silk, and Dan Simmons’ Drood. If I could include graphic novels, Black Hole by Charles Burns and Providence by Alan Moore would also be serious contenders.

8) Favorite horror movie?

Crimson Peak, Oldboy, The Thing (1982), and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, among many others.

9) Favorite horror television show?

There seems to be a pattern of four here, so I’ll say Carnivale, Hannibal, Penny Dreadful, and Stranger Things.

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

At some point, my novel Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus will be released from Crystal Lake Publishing. HorrorAddicts is also putting out my short story Requiem in Frost, from the contest’s musical challenge. I’m working on a few other novel projects right now, and have a completed (if rough) first draft of one that I’m very excited about. My hope is to complete a polished, publishable draft of my second novel and then find an agent for it.

You can follow Jonathan on Facebook and Twitter.

Chilling Chat with Naching T. Kassa

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Naching T. Kassa is a wife, mother, and horror writer. She’s created short stories, novellas, poems, and co-created three children. She lives in Eastern Washington State with DanImage result for naching t kassa Kassa, her husband, and biggest supporter.

Naching is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a Writer/Interviewer for HorrorAddicts.net. Her latest short story, “Audition,” can be found in the anthology, Crescendo of Darkness.

Naching is a strange and busy lady. Today, she hands the interview reins to the person who knows her best, Nani K.

Nani K: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Naching! Thank you for joining me today. It’s been a while.

NTK: Yes, the last time we spoke was during the Next Great Horror Writer Contest. You grilled me.

Nani K: (Laughs.) I did. But, I still have questions for you.

NTK: Ask away!

Nani K: How old were you when you discovered horror?

NTK: About three. My father introduced me to King Kong when it appeared on TV. I also had weird dreams. One of these involved a demonic sandwich.

Nani K: What? A demonic sandwich?

NTK: I slept in a bunk bed and my older sister slept above me. I thought the corner of her blanket was a sandwich with wings and vampire teeth. I have a rather vivid imagination.

Nani K: I guess! Is that why you wrote “The Face” the way you did? It’s frightening but, it’s also funny.

NTK: I wanted to write something different, something kids could enjoy as well as adults. Campfire Tales are usually told by children and I think funny and scary go hand-in-hand. Look at Scooby Doo or Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein. The two most memorable things in the world are things that frighten us and things that make us laugh.

Nani K: Did you write this story with a certain person in mind?

NTK: I actually wrote it for my 12-year-old grandniece. (Hi, Mylie!)

Nani K: Do you often write for a certain reader?

NTK: Yes. I write for my husband. If he reads the story while watching football, and doesn’t look up at the screen, I know it’s a good story.

Nani K: What do you think makes a good story?

NTK: As a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I’d have to say characters. It’s their decisions which shape and drive the narrative. Sherlock Holmes has so many quirks. He can solve mysteries using minutiae, disguises himself (even his roommate can’t recognize him,) and has a code of ethics that sometimes goes beyond the law. When Doyle killed him off, people mourned him. (They even wore black armbands!) They treated him as though he were a real person. The best stories have believable characters. And, a moderate amount of description.

Nani K: You don’t like description?

NTK: Too much description bores me and I skim through it. As a reader, I like using my imagination. Give me an idea of how things look. Don’t describe every little crack in the wall or fiber in the carpet.

Nani K: What is your writing process like?

NTK: Usually, I start with one scene and allow the characters to work toward it. The germ of one story began with a vampire sitting in a lawn chair outside the window of a house. Another, involved a small girl handing a woman a river rock.

Nani K: Why do you write horror?

NTK: I enjoy scaring people. When I was little, and it was dark, I’d hide in the doorway of my bedroom. When people passed by on their way to the bathroom, I’d jump out and yell “Boo!” They didn’t like it at the time, but they laughed later. I think people enjoy that little rush of adrenaline, that feeling when your heart speeds up and your skin tingles. That’s why they love horror books, podcasts, and films.

Nani K: Speaking of horror films, what’s your favorite?

NTK: My favorite horror film is The Exorcist III starring George C. Scott and Brad Dourif. It was released in 1990 and it’s terrific. Very subtle, not as “in your face” as the first. William Peter Blatty wrote the original novel it was based on and the screenplay. He also directed the film. There are some serious scares in it. One has to do with a nurse on her rounds in a hospital. Brrr!

Nani K: Do you have a favorite horror TV show?

NTK: I love The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Thriller (Watch “Pigeons from Hell” it has a silly title but it’s terrifying,) but two of my favorites are Kolchak: The Nightstalker and Supernatural. Love my monster hunters. You can’t get much better than Carl Kolchak and Sam and Dean Winchester.

Nani K: Do you watch The Walking Dead?

NTK: Sorry, not a zombie person. I like monsters who have brains, not those who eat them.

Nani K: Do you have a favorite horror novel?

NTK: I have two. They’re the only books which actually frightened me. The first is Psycho, by Robert Bloch. The second is Watchers by Dean Koontz. Highly recommended.

Nani K: What is your favorite campfire tale?

NTK: My most favorite is, “The Man with the Golden Arm.” It’s about a man with a golden arm and the thief who steals it after he dies. The ghost haunts the thief in a rather surprising way.

Nani K: Naching, what does the future hold for you? What works do the Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

NTK: Well, aside from “The Face,” I have a few things coming out for HorrorAddicts.net, a story in an upcoming anthology, and I’m working as a temporary intern for Crystal Lake Publishing. Oh, and my poem, “Call Me Mary,” just came out in the Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase Vol. V.

Nani K: Thank you for chatting with me again, Naching.

NTK: Always a strange and surreal pleasure, Nani K.

Addicts, you can follow Naching on Twitter and through her website.

 

Chilling Chat with Harry Husbands

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Harry Husbands spends the majority of his day in an office. In the evening, he writes furiously all the disturbed imaginings dwelled upon while completing banal admin tasks.Harry Husbands He crafts tales with subtle terror that are dipped in humor and roasted slowly over an infectious passion for all things horror related. He also performs and records songs from his house in Peterborough, England.

Harry is an unassuming, gentleman of horror. We spoke of writing, inspirations, and influences. 

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

HH: No problem at all, Naching. Thanks for having me.

NTK: How old were you and what was the first thing that got you interested in horror?

HH: It’s hard to say exactly what age it was because I always remember being interested in horror. A very early memory is going to—what we would call—a fancy dress shop around Halloween time. I was so intrigued by the scary masks and props.

NTK: Did you like horror movies as a kid?

HH: I loved horror movies as a kid, even though they’d give me nightmares. I was scared of a lot of things, but I was equally fascinated. I watched The Exorcist when I was quite young after begging my parents. I couldn’t sleep for many nights afterward, but it was worth it.

NTK: Did this love of horror movies and horror lead to writing? Why did you start writing horror?

HH: Absolutely. I was massively into Goosebumps—as most other wee ones were at the time—and I thought the idea of being a writer was really cool which probably tells you a lot about the kind of kid I was. My Nan had an old typewriter and I got to work on my first novel. It was about being stranded at sea and surrounded by all kinds of monsters. I think it ended up being three pages long but I was hooked on the notion of being able to create my own scary stories. The fact that I could weave creepy tales from my own noggin was addictive.

NTK: You’re an accomplished musician and songwriter. How does this talent transfer to your writing?

HH: It’s all about manipulating the form to try and evoke an emotional reaction from the listener or reader. They’re completely different ways of doing it, but the basic idea is the same. In music, you can use a dissonant chord, or a slightly out of tune note; in writing, you can use a well-placed adjective or a short, punchy sentence. A lot of my songs tend to end up as stories, and two of the albums I’ve done have been concept albums. I guess storytelling is just a part of who I am.

NTK: Do you have a muse?

HH: I don’t have a muse—not in particular anyway. It sounds like a cop-out answer, but I’m inspired by so many things it’s hard to pin it on just one.

NTK: Where do your ideas come from? Do they just come to you out of the blue? Do you dream them? Or both?

HH: Everywhere and anywhere. We live in a fascinating world, in fascinating—and scary—times, so there’s plenty of places to pick ideas from. I’ll have a bunch go through my head and it’s about picking a good one then nurturing, feeding, and burping it; eventually, it will become something bigger and often completely different from the initial image or thought that entered my head.

NTK: How did your story,“Goose Meadows,” from Campfire Tales come about?

HH: Like most story ideas I’ve had, it came partly from a real-life situation and partly from the dark place in my brain where all the horror I’ve absorbed lurks and festers. Goose Meadows is a real place, not far from where I live, and I did drunkenly walk around it at night time after someone’s 18th birthday party. I didn’t come across anything eerie or supernatural, only a large amount of litter. Throw it in the dang trash, folks.

NTK: That’s amazing you came up with this story from such a mundane incident. Do you exert much control over your characters? Do they have free will?

HH: I’m definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer so I have little control. I don’t plan anything other than a very basic premise for the story; it’s up to them how it turns out.

NTK: You wrote “Goose Meadows” for the Next Great Horror Writer Contest. Did you enjoy the contest? What was your overall experience?

HH: There were elements of the contest I enjoyed very much, and other elements I didn’t enjoy so much. I had only just begun to take writing seriously when I entered so it was eye-opening, for sure. I started to realise just how many writers there were in the world all doing exactly the same thing as me, and that’s equally inspiring and kind of soul-crushing in a way. I suddenly didn’t feel like I was doing anything that was worth selling to a publisher. I have never had much confidence in myself and that made it difficult for me. After either not hearing anything about something I wrote on the podcast, or having negative comments, I started to try and tailor my later pieces so they would do well in the contest which was a big mistake. What’s so great about fiction is that every writer has something unique to bring to the table, based on their own lives, and I think I should have stuck to what makes me unique rather than trying to fit into what might get me some good feedback or better points.

NTK: What do you think makes a good Campfire Tale?

HH: It has to be scary. Simple as that. It’s the only reason people actually do the whole campfire tale thing—they want to be scared. Annoyingly, as a writer, that’s one of the hardest things to do.

NTK: What authors have influenced you?

HH: So many! As I mentioned the Goosebumps books earlier, I’d have to say R.L Stine. The obvious answer, Stephen King. There’s also Shirley Jackson, M.R James, Adam LG Nevill, and many, many more.

NTK: You have a very dry wit and sense of humor. Do you enjoy comedic horror?

HH: I do, very much so. They’re my two favourite genres combined. I love when I find comedic horror done right because I think it’s so hard to do. Being funny is tough, being scary is tough, being funny and scary is extremely difficult and rarely done right. It’s such a treat when it is, though.

NTK: Which horror/comedy movie is your favorite?

HH: It’s tough,campfiretalesfinal but I’d have to go with Shaun of the Dead.

NTK: Is that your favorite horror movie? What is your favorite?

HH: I’d say The Exorcist is my favourite. For me, it has yet to be beaten in terms of sheer terror.

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror TV show?

HH: I really loved the Masters of Horror series because I enjoyed seeing all of the director’s different styles.

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

HH: I really have no idea what the future holds for me. I’m just gonna carry on creating in whatever capacity feels good to me. At the moment, I’m mostly into writing and recording music and might have some new songs uploaded soon. I should have a story coming out in a new anthology, hopefully early next year, that’s admittedly more bizarre than horror. I dunno, we’ll see!

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me today, Harry. It was fun.

HH: No need to thank me, Naching. It’s been fun for me too.

Addicts, you can find Harry on Twitter.

Campfire Tales: How “The Face” was Born

The cool autumn night is filled with the pungent scent of smoke and singed hot dogs. A cheery blaze stands at the center of camp and friends gather around. They bring marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate, and the delicious thrill of fear.

It’s October. Time for campfire tales. Time to tell you how “The Face” was born.

“The Face” was my contribution to The Next Great Horror Writer Contest’s Campfire Tale Challenge. It’s the tale of Agatha Gray and her elderly mother, Dorothy. Dorothy’s mind has slowly deteriorated, but her psychic talent is as strong as ever. And, good thing it is, because a supernatural entity known only as “The Face” has come to kill them. Will they escape its gnashing teeth? Read Campfire Tales and see. For now, I’ll tell you how it came about.

I have always found disembodied heads frightening. Maybe, it stems from a game my little sister and I played as children. Or, maybe, it comes from something more sinister.

My sister and I played many games in my parents’ bedroom when we were children. It was a small, cheery room with wood paneling and long, light-blue curtains on the windows. The closet didn’t have a door. It had curtains too, ones which matched the windows. My mother had made them of a shiny, satin-like fabric.

The “scary game” began with my little sister standing in the closet. She would hide her body in the curtains, covering everything but her head. Then, she would open her eyes and mouth real wide and walk forward. It was creepy and scared the pants off me.

Ok…that is a bit lame. But, I frightened easily as a child. You’d be scared too, if you’d seen what I saw. This was years before my sister invented the game, but it happened in the same place.

I was three at the time and my mom had put me to sleep in her room. I’m not sure what woke me, but when my eyelids fluttered open, I found a head floating at the foot of the bed.

The face was green and glowed in the dark. It stared at me with wide eyes and a wide mouth. Then, it came toward me…

I screamed. Screamed for my mom. Screamed for my dad. Screamed for anybody.

No one came.

I can’t remember what came after that. Maybe, it was just a dream and I woke up. Maybe, my mom came in and it vanished. I guess I’ll never know—not consciously anyway.

I recently discovered that several of my stories involve disembodied or decapitated heads. Is my unconscious mind trying to tell me something? Perhaps, “The Face” has the answer.

Tell me if you find it.

Chilling Chat with Jess Landry

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Jess Landry is a graphic designer by day and a writer by night, though sometimes the two intertwine. You can find her work online with The Sirens Call and EGM Shorts. In print, herJess Landry stories have appeared in several anthologies, including Where Nightmares Come FromThe Anatomy of Monsters, Killing It Softly, and Ill-Considered Expeditions.

Jess has been working for JournalStone Publishing for several years. She is the Managing Editor and also runs JournalStone’s newest imprint, Trepidatio Publishing, where her goal is to publish diverse stories from diverse authors.

She currently resides in the icy wastelands of Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband, two lazy cats, and her young daughter, who she hopes one day will come to love the genre as much as her mother (if not, she may have to disown her).

Jess is a smart woman with a terrific sense of humor. We spoke of Women in Horror, writing, and what it’s like to be an editor.

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

JL: Thank you, Naching! This is going to be fun.

NTK: How old were you when you discovered horror?

JL: I think I was pretty young! I have very fond memories of watching shows like The Hilarious House of Frightenstein (Canadian public television at its best!) and raiding my aunties library for the latest Stephen King books. I’d always had a love for Halloween, so the progression into reading and writing horror seemed only natural.

NTK: Is King your favorite author?

JL: He definitely played a huge role in my love of the genre. The first book I read of his was The Drawing of the Three, and from that point, I was hooked. For a long time, I thought he was the only horror author around (my parents didn’t exactly run to the bookstore to buy me all the horror books). But after some time of just reading him, I realized there were so many more authors to read. It wasn’t until I read The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker that I had a “whoa” moment. Barker became my absolute favourite from page one of that book.

NTK: Does Barker influence your writing? What got you into writing?

JL: I admire Barker and his no-holds-barred style; his imagination blows me away (I mean, there’s a secret world inside a carpet? There’s a mosaic that you can travel through time in? Say wha?). When I write, I try not to limit my imagination, I try to think of all the crazy ideas he’s had that have translated perfectly on the page, but I feel the subject matter he writes about is something I could never tackle because there’s a raw honesty woven in his pages. As for what got me into writing, I really can’t recall. I’m an only child so I’ve always kind of lived in my head and did my own thing. I was a voracious reader and movie watcher when I was younger, and I still am. My dad kept a creative writing assignment from grade 1 where I wrote about a dog who goes trick or treating, so I guess it’s always been in my blood to get a little spooky.

NTK: You wrote, “When the Wind Leaves a Whisper” for the Next Great Horror Writer Campfire Tale challenge. Where did that idea come from?

JL: When we received the challenge last year, the first thing that popped into my brain was the show Are You Afraid of the Dark? and the midnight society gathering around the campfire. I loved that show as a kid so trying to think of a concept that someone might tell around the fire was a lot of fun—I even rewatched a few episodes for old time’s sake! I find the woods to be scary as hell (…I’m more of an indoor person!) so it felt only right that my story takes place in that environment.

NTK: What was it like being a NGHW contestant?

campfiretalesfinalJL: It was awesome being a NGHW contest. I had no idea what to expect coming into it—would it be challenging enough? Would I be able to make time to complete the tasks?—but it ended up being a great exercise in writing. I found myself writing things that I probably wouldn’t have considered in the first place, and also found myself in constant of awe of everyone else in the competition. Everyone worked so hard and kicked so much ass, and every time a show went live, it was always nerve-wracking to hear the feedback and to hear where you placed in that specific challenge. The best part for me was trying to keep up with the rest of you!

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

JL: I’d like to think I have some degree of control over the fate of my characters, but sometimes they surprise me. I’m writing a screenplay right now and had written up a super-detailed outline before I plunked the story into the proper formatting. Everything was going to plan, then all of a sudden, I found my story slowly drifting toward another ending. I tried to keep it on track with what I had already planned out, but no matter what I tried, the characters seemed to be working toward their own, new-and-improved ending. Sometimes, you just have to let your characters take the reins!

NTK: You’re the Managing Editor for Journalstone Publishing and Publisher for Trepidatio Publishing. What’s the best thing about being an editor?

JL: The best thing about being an editor is how damn hard it is, especially being a writer, too. The authors that we bring in to JournalStone and Trepidatio are ones that I admire, ones whose work I love. To be lucky enough to spend often months at a time tackling their stories, helping hone them, and getting to know the authors in the process is something I never thought I’d be able to do. I started at the bottom of the totem pole with JournalStone, reviewing books and movies for Hellnotes (JS owns the site). After a while of doing that (which I still do on the rare occasion), I asked if there was anything more I could do to help out, particularly on the publishing side. Chris Payne, JournalStone’s president, was kind enough to give me a shot, and it wasn’t long after that I was getting my hands dirty. Much like the NGHW contest, editing is tough. You’ve got to forget about your own style, your own nasty habits, and put yourself in the mind of the writer whose work you’re looking over. You’ve got to think of anything and everything, be it grammar-related issues to historical references. You have to immerse yourself into someone else’s world, and you have to put your own work aside. It’s bittersweet in that sense—I love being able to do what I do with JournalStone, but my own work has definitely suffered because of it.

NTK: What’s the worst thing about editing? Any pet peeves?

JL: The worst thing about editing—be it my own stuff or someone else’s—is when it feels like nothing’s coming together when nothing you do can fix what’s wrong the manuscript. That is the absolute worst. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it usually helps to take some time away from words and computers and anything that overworks your brain. Just let it sit. That’s my unofficial motto.

NTK:  You spoke of some television shows earlier, is the Hilarious House of Frankenstein still your favorite show? Or have you moved on?

JL: Oh man, I haven’t watched that in years! Actually, I did see a short segment on the national news a few days ago about someone in Toronto (I think) who created the Billy Van museum (he played all the characters in the show). I’ll have to go check it out next time I visit. But I love how this obscure Canadian show from the 1970s still affects so many people today. I’ve definitely moved on to bigger—but not necessarily better—things. For modern shows, I love Stranger Things, Black Mirror, The Walking Dead, and I used to love American Horror Story, but it’s kind of lost me now. For older shows, my go-to was (and always will be) Tales from the Crypt…the HBO live-action show and the cartoon! The best of both worlds. Plus, there was a short-lived Tales from the Crypt kids’ game show that I watched religiously. I was always jealous of the kids on there (and still am, frankly).

NTK: What is your favorite horror movie?

JL: I have two: An American Werewolf in London and John Carpenter’s The Thing. Hands down. No contest. I could watch those two movies on repeat for all of eternity and never get tired of them. I could probably also put on a one-woman show reenacting both of them, but I doubt anyone would want to see that (and how would I do the werewolf-morphing and head-growing-legs scenes?). I also need to give shout-outs to other favourites: Army of Darkness, Suicide Club, Suspiria, Trick ‘r Treat, Hellraiser, and many, many more. I love a good (and even bad) horror movie. If I had more time, I’d make it my goal to watch every single one on Netflix (but not Amazon Prime—the selection on there is…interesting).

NTK: You seem to enjoy horror/comedy. Does that element find its way into your work often? I remember, during the contest you wrote a piece called, “Fang Blingz” and that was great!

JL: I love a good horror/comedy. I grew up watching Ghostbusters and Army of Darkness and Dead Alive and all that good stuff, but I’ve never actually tried to pull it off (with the exception of Fang Blingz in the NGHW contest!) It’s definitely something that I would love to try and do in the future, though the thought of attempting to be funny (and having people legitimately laugh at what I wrote) is probably the scariest thing that I can think of!

NTK: Let’s go back to Trepidatio publishing. Could you tell the Horror Addicts a little about that Journalstone imprint?

JL: Yes! Trepidatio was originally the brain-child of Horror Writers Association VP (and all-around good guy) John Palisano, though he made the tough decision to part from it and then it fell into my lap. When it did, I was like, “What the hell am I supposed to do with an imprint?”, but it soon became clear that this was an amazing opportunity to publish authors that I knew were talented, that I knew were on the brink of big things, that I knew were under-represented. So I set out and made it my mission to publish diverse stories from diverse voices. As of right now, I’ve published eight books (four collections, four novels), and four of those are from female authors. I have five more novels and collections coming out between now and early next year, and all five are by women. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.

NTK: You’re a proponent of Women in Horror. Who are some women writers you think deserve more recognition?

JL: I’m a very big fan of SP Miskowski, and I’m lucky enough to be working with her right now on her latest novel. She’s someone who I admired long before I knew her, and I believe her work is some of the best there is. I also love Helen Oyeyemi, Tananarive Due, and Ania Ahlborn, among many others. There are so many women writers out there who deserve recognition, and I’m more than happy to try and help them obtain even a sliver of it.

NTK: Jess, what does the future hold for you? What works do Horror Addicts have to Fantastic Tales of Terror: History's Darkest Secrets by [Golden, Christopher, Anderson, Kevin J., Maberry, Jonathan, Yardley, Mercedes M., Gaiman, Neil, Massie, Elizabeth, Chizmar, Richard, Lansdale, Joe R., Waggoner, Tim , Bailey, Michael , Vincent, Bev , Wytovich, Stephanie M., Gonzalez, Michael Paul, Palisano, John , Morton, Lisa , Landry, Jess , Bunn, Cullen , Liaguno, Vince , Little, Bentley , Wellington, David , Baumgartner, Jessica Marie, Castle, Mort , Moore, Paul , Strand, Jeff ]look forward to?

JL: The future is busy…which I am grateful for! The anthology Lost Highways: Dark Fiction from the Road was just released in July, and it has a short story of mine called “The Heart Stops at the End of Laurel Lane” in it. I have two more anthologies coming up, including Monsters of Any Kind from Independent Legions Publishing, which has my story “Silt & Bone” in it—that’s out the last week of September. Fantastic Tales of Terror comes out late October from Crystal Lake Publishing, and my story “Mutter” is in there. And then a story I wrote for the NGHW contest called “Scordatura” will be in Twice-Told: A Collection of Doubles, out in February 2019. Plus there are a few great things coming out from HorrorAddicts.net, including this Campfire Tales anthology.

Phew!

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Jess! That was really fun!

JL: Thanks, Naching! Always lovely chatting with you!

Addicts, you can find Jess on Facebook.

 

Chilling Chat with Daphne Strasert

chillingchat

Daphne Strasert grew up in St. Louis, Missouri with her loving family and a menagerie of animals too long to list. She began writing in first grade and continued writing into herDaphne Strasert teenage years. She attended Rice University, where she taught a semester course titled Werewolves, Zombies, and Why We’re Afraid of the Dark: A Brief History of Monsters. She later graduated with degrees in Computer Science, Psychology, and Cognitive Science.

Daphne now lives in Houston with her husband. She writes novels, short fiction, and blog posts. In 2017, she placed third overall in the Horror Addicts’ Next Great Horror Writer Contest.

Daphne is an intelligent and erudite woman. We spoke of writing, psychology, and college courses on monsters.

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

DS: Of course. I’m glad to be here

NTK: How old were you when you discovered horror?

DS: I was probably 8 or so when I discovered horror existed. My parents were watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and there was a dark scene where a vampire jumped out and I remember finding that really frightening. I went into a sort of horror hibernation after that because I thought that horror was way too scary for me. So, while I found the premise of horror movies really compelling, I was too afraid to watch them. Instead, I gravitated toward the Disneyfied monsters that came out during the late Naughts like Twilight and a number of paranormal romance novels. It wasn’t until college or so that I reconnected with the genre through the classic Universal monster movies like Dracula.

NTK: Did this re-connection help you discover other films? What are your favorite horror movies?

DS: Absolutely. It acted as a springboard into the genre as a whole. I followed actors and directors that I enjoyed into darker films that pushed my limits until I realized that I wasn’t nearly as afraid as I thought I’d be. It came down to a matter of taste. Horror, like every genre, has different flavors. I discovered that my preferred “flavor” tended toward the paranormal or psychological rather than the slasher movies that I had always associated with the genre. And, once I’d stepped in, I could see how the themes related and how different movies learned from and played off one another. I enjoy looking at horror from a historical perspective and watching how it evolves. My favorite movies are the ones that turn expectations for the genre on their head. I rank Hush very highly for that reason. They took the very basic, generic slasher concept and retooled it. It stars a Scream Queen who literally can’t scream for help and the entire production takes place in a single location. They managed to up the tension and remain true to the tropes while creating a genuinely gripping movie.

Of course, I’m also a sucker for the classics, so Dracula is a must-see. And, gothic romance like Crimson Peak also ticks off all the right boxes.

NTK: Awesome! You’ve become quite the connoisseur of horror. Where do you find inspiration?

DS: Much of my inspiration comes from things that I personally find terrifying. I’m an easily frightened person. I get inside my own head a lot. For me, scariest situations are the ones where the villain/monster/etc. doesn’t necessarily think they are doing anything wrong. They’re acting in their own self-interest. So, starting with a fairly normal situation and twisting it until something terrifying comes out works pretty well. It’s a practice of continually asking myself, “What is the worst possible thing that could happen?”

NTK: Wow! How did this process lead to your story, “Cabin 12,” from Campfire Tales?

campfiretalesfinalDS: Well, I was a camp counselor for my first job! And honestly, nothing is quite as terrifying as being a camp counselor for all eternity (Laughs.) Patrolling at camp is routine, but everything that happens after that in the story takes things another step darker. Finding something forgotten, being trapped, being assaulted, with a dash of the unexpected—that pulls together a good tale. Add into this that the kids from Cabin Twelve aren’t bad, per se, just lonely, and the story is both frightening and somewhat realistic.

NTK:  You have a degree in psychology, does it help you create realistic characters?

DS: I suppose, in a way, it did. But really the degree and the realism of my characters come from the same desire: to understand people. I’ve always been interested in people and why they act the way they do. My characters are deeply rooted in my people-watching observations and I studied psychology for the same reason. My characters perhaps have a more scientific basis, but most of the feel of the writing is from my personal experience.

NTK: What kind of control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will? Or, being part of your personal experience, do you have complete control over their actions?

DS: I’ve always been flummoxed by writers who say their characters ran away with them. I don’t feel as if my characters have control over their own narratives. They certainly don’t always get what they want. But all of my characters are grown from a single kernel of inspiration. Everything else about them has been built around that to make them into a three-dimensional human being/vampire/werewolf/etc. So, while I don’t force them into anything, none of their actions ever come as a surprise. If they did, then something about the character didn’t add up. I didn’t understand them correctly. My characters are under my control in that I control their personality and inclinations. If they wouldn’t do what I wanted them to do, then I need to make a different character.

NTK: Fascinating. Are you a plotter, then? A pantser? Or both?

DS: I am an absolute plotter. I love my plans and outlines. I will start a story by collecting scenes that come to me as I live my life, but before any real work begins, I map out the plot, usually in an excel spreadsheet. I know the number of scenes—even the number of words—that need to happen between each major plot event. Humans love stories, but we love them to be told in a specific way, with rising action and turning points and a climax with resolution. People find stories compelling if they have the right structure. I stick with that structure in general. I might be more experimental as I gain experience but for now plotting works for me.

NTK:  You taught a class at Rice University for a semester. Could you tell the Addicts a little about that?

DS: I did! It was called “Werewolves, Zombies, and Why We’re Afraid of the Dark: A Brief History of Monsters.” That class really is a highlight in my life. Each week I looked at a different monster—werewolves, zombies, vampires, mummies, aliens, etc.—and examined the roots of the mythology. Monsters appear in many forms across different cultures, but the same ideas tend to pop up over and over again. I collected those to paint a picture of how our modern interpretations of that monster appear. The way pop culture portrayed each monster has changed over time, typically going through a cycle of scariness, sexualization, oversaturation, silliness, and obscurity. You can see this clearly with vampires, who went through the sexualization and oversaturation part of the cycle fairly recently. We also talked about the underlying fears that seemed to form the basis for each monster.

NTK: Do you think monsters are manifestations of the psyche (i.e. vampires are narcissists)? What monster is your favorite?

DS: Monsters show both what we fear and what we desire—and often what we’re afraid to say we desire. Vampires, specifically, seem to be a manifestation of the human desire for immortality and youth, while expressing the fears we have regarding death and the idea that maybe the dead won’t stay that way. It can depend on whether you fear what the monster will do to you or if you desire to BE the monster. My favorite monster is the Werewolf. Werewolves are portrayed in so many different ways, it’s difficult to pin down what exactly I like about them, but I think that they are overall such a tragic creature. More than other monsters, I think they embody the human struggle with our darker selves.

NTK: What author has influenced you most? What is your favorite book?

DS: Christine Feehan has written an incredible paranormal romance series about vampires that I’ve followed for more than a decade. Despite the romance tag, it was the closest that I came to horror for most of my life. She created an intricate world that was well researched and based on Bram Stoker’s mythology. In my own stories, there really is no escaping her influence, even if I don’t write erotica. She wrote incredible, deep characters and never skipped the flaws that made them real. My favorite book is usually whichever I most recently finished reading (Laughs.), but for staying power, Jane Eyre ranks at the top. I would categorize it as gothic romance, so it includes that whisper of ghosts and monsters that kept me engaged.

NTK: What TV shows keep you engaged?

DS: I have been watching a lot of documentary series lately. Netflix has a great selection. I focus on nature shows like Planet Earth or documentaries on cults, serial killers, and prisons. I will go through those like popcorn. My queue can’t keep up.

NTK: Let’s talk about the Next Great Horror Writer Contest. You won the PostcardsfromtheVoid.PNGCampfire Tales Challenge with “Cabin 12” as well as several other challenges. What was your overall experience?

DS: The Next Great Horror Writer Contest was such a whirlwind. That was the first public experience I had as a writer. So often, writers don’t get any feedback on their work aside from a lukewarm rejection letter here or there, so getting consistent, in-depth feedback was a wonderful thing. The deadlines forced me to produce more than I’d ever made before. I was fortunate to be able to pitch my novel to Crystal Lake Publishing as a finalist. Even though I didn’t win—Congratulations, Jonathan!—I was so grateful to be able to hear someone seriously consider it.

NTK: Daphne, what does the future hold for you? What do HorrorAddicts have to look forward to as far as publications?

DS: I’ve had several short stories published this year, including through HorrorAddicts.net. I also appeared in the Texas Emerging Authors anthology by Z Publishing. One of my pieces appeared in Postcards from the Void, an anthology by Dark Water Syndicate. It went on sale at the end of September.

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Daphne.

DS: Thanks, Naching!

 

PR: Nightmarescape by Jonathan Fortin

Now Available from Mocha Memoirs Press
Nightmarescape
by Next Great Horror Writer winner, Jonathan Fortin

Bliss is a city of nightmares, and all Grace wants is to get her daughter out.

Years ago, the residents of Bliss discovered that their nightmares were becoming real. Ever since, the city has steadily transformed into a surreal, twisted hellscape. Massive walls trap the residents in with bloodthirsty monsters and indescribable terrors. No one knows if it’s even possible to escape alive.

Grace, an African-American mother, spends her days searching for a way out of the city to give her daughter Sam a chance at a real future. But when Sam is kidnapped by a shadow from their past, mother and daughter alike are forced to face their greatest fears.

Chilling Chat Episode 154 Crescendo of Darkness with Emerian Rich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By The Fire: Episode 149: Challenge 13: This is the End

As I start to write this post the song that is playing in my head is The End by The Doors. Because that’s what this is, the end of the contest and what a trip it has been. The last challenge in The Next Great Horror Writer for episode 149 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast is the hardest one yet. This one was only open to the semi-finalists and they had to submit The first 3 chapters of their horror fiction novel including a cover letter, synopsis, and query. Wow!!! I have the highest respect for everyone in this contest because they had to work hard to be a part of it and everyone in it has shown how dedicated they are to their craft. The winner of this challenge and the grand prize for the contest is a book contract from Crystal Lake Publishing.

To sit and think on what everyone in this contest had to do to stay in it just boggles my mind. I can’t imagine doing it myself but this little group of writers really showed us what they were made of. The contest began with almost 120 entries and we eventually saw the field get narrowed down to just few. Along the way our writers had to produce an audio drama, a commercial, short stories, non fiction blog posts, create a monster, an intro to an original character and finally the beginning of a novel.

Through the course of this contest we’ve seen all of these writers grow and improve their skills and get tested like never before. I’ve really enjoyed the journey of these writers throughout this season of the podcast and it makes me sad to see just one winner. I think everyone in the contest should consider themselves a winner and be proud of what they have accomplished. Even if you get rid of all the other parts of the contest and just look at the fact that these writers have gotten to the point where they have submitted the first three chapters of their book is a big deal.

A lot of work goes into writing a novel, the planning, the outlining, the rewrites and finally the finished product. Some people spend years working on a novel and in my opinion its the most personal art form there is. Writers have to put their heart and soul into their novels and sending it to a publisher takes a lot of guts. It’s not easy becoming a published author, there is a lot of work involved in the process and when you do get published a whole new set of challenges await you. A writer’s work is never done and the ones that keep doing it are the ones that consider it their passion.

So Addicts, what did you think of the contest as a whole? Who did you think did the best job on this challenge? what do you thing the hardest part of doing a query and a cover letter are? Have you done one? What are the experiences you’ve had? Let us know in the comments.

 

#NGHW News: Episode 148

Hello, my Horror Fiends!

This week I’m filling in for your favorite news reporter Adelise since she will be gone for a few weeks. Nicole Kurtz is this week’s guest judge. She is the publisher of Mocha Memoirs Press.   The contest for our horror contestants this week was to write a horror story about an original monster of their creation. The stories this week were fantastic. With just a little tweaking, these stories could be perfect.

Nicole Kurtz is this week’s guest judge. She is from Mocha Memoirs Press. She has brought great personality to the judging of this contest and I can honestly agree with her choices this week.

Nicole’s top three favorites this week, in no particular order, were:

The Guardian – Naching T Kassa. The judges loved the originality of the story. The poem as well was just beautiful. They did think that the story ran a little long.

Whiskey Noir – Daphne Strasert. They loved the story, it was scary and gritty, noir done right. The judges did wish that the main character kicked butt without depending on the guy.

Nightmarescape – Jonathan Fortin. They thought the story was beautiful and poignant. It was very imaginative and a great adventure. The voice wasn’t as much loved because they didn’t like the person. But, to be fair, first person is great when done right.

Another top contender was Jess Landry – Nessling. They loved the main character and the tree monster. It didn’t quite make the top three, but it was amazing.

All of the contestants this week got a breakdown of their strengths with their writing from previous contests as well as their weaknesses.  They received advice on how to further their writing by digging deeper, taking these critiques, and pushing it out into their writing. It can be hard to take critiques but if you can learn to take them and mold them into something great.

The countdown has begun! This was the last challenge before the semi-finals. All nine contestants did such an amazing job this year. This boot camp was horrendously hard and I am so proud of each and every one of them. The top nine contestants are as follows:

Ninth Place – Jacee Martinez

Eighth Place – Fien Gots

Seventh Place – Adele Marie Park

Sixth Place – Sumiko Saulson

Fifth Place – Harry Husbands

Fourth Place – Jess Landry

DRUMROLL PLEASE: The top three contestants who will be moving on to the semi-finals to battle it out for a published novel through Crystal Lake Publishing are:

The top three, in no particular order, are: Naching T Casa, Jonathan Fortin, Daphne Strassert!

Great job writers. I have loved each and every submission you guys have worked on. It’s been a hard year and I can honestly say that this years contestants did phenomenal.

Until next time, stay scared!

  • Kenzie

 

 

By The Fire: Episode 147: Challenge 12: Write a 2500-3000 Word Story Featuring a Diverse Woman and an Original Monster of Your Making

Our contest is drawing to a close, we made it to episode 147 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast and the twelfth challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to Write a 2500-3000 word story featuring a diverse woman (of color/ethnic/minority) that also contains an original monster of the writer’s making. Our contestants created a monster way back in challenge 2 which they can use for this story, or they can create a new monster. The goal is to test their ability to write a story with a theme involved, they will be judged on creativity, overall story concept, and writing quality.

One thing I wonder about is would it be easier to create a monster or to create a good diverse female character and what would be the theme that would fit both? I think for all parts you are using a different part of your imagination. For a monster you want to try to think of something original but you also have to make it scary, being able to describe the monster and make it come alive is important. For the female character you would have to go into detail on her personality, what makes her tick and why should we care about her? When coming up with both of these creations probably the most important thing would be to make us feel some emotion for them and perhaps this is where the story’s theme would come out of. Whether its fear, compassion or even hatred, if we don’t feel anything and there is no theme, then we won’t want to finish the story.

So our contestants already know something about making a monster but how hard is it to come up with a good ethnic female character? Would it be harder to come up with a woman than a man? Or does that depend on if the writer is a woman or a man? Personally I think coming up with the monster would be much easier than coming up with your lead character because the lead character is the most important part of the story. So what do you think the hardest part of this challenge will be and who do you think did the best job with it? Let us know in the comments.

#NGHW News: Episode 147

 

Hello, my Horror Fiends!

This week I’m filling in for your favorite news reporter Adelise since she will be gone for a few weeks. This weeks contest was to create an audio-drama that was no shorter than five minutes but no longer than six minutes. This week’s contestants did a pretty good job. The judges loved the entries this week with a few hiccups. The main issue was that the contestants put visual cues in their audio-dramas. But, you can’t see anything in an audio-drama so it made no sense to add visual elements to this challenge. There were a few contestants that didn’t quite make it the five minutes and a few that ran over time. I actually fangirled this episode because I absolutely love audio-dramas and the cheesiness that goes along with the acting. With that being said, let’s get down to it!

This week’s guest judge was Frank H. Woodward, award winning writer, director, and producer. His top three favorite audio-dramas were:

#3: Fiend Gotts – “Soul bird” was great because the 2 strangers were talking and it felt intimate. He didn’t like how the story ended right as it was getting good.

#2: Harry Husbands – “Turn up & Die” loved the setting for local hangout for the actors who played victims in horror films as well as thought the satire was great. But he didn’t care for the ending because it was stereotypical and the strength would rely on visual gags but it is an audio-drama.

#1: Jonathan Fortin – “Consumption.” was a story in the audio realm with identifiable characters and classic radio in every way.

The top six contestants this week, in no particular order, were:

JONATHAN FORTIN
HARRY HUSBANDS
NACHING KASSA
JESS LANDRY
SUMIKO SAULSON
DAPHNE STRASERT

The top three were:

Harry Husbands – “Turn Up and Die”

Jonathan Fortin – “Consumption.”

Daphne Strasert – “Secondhand Heart.”

THE WINNER THIS WEEK IS Daphne Strasert – “Secondhand Heart.”

Congrats Daphne! Third major win this season. All of the contestants did an amazing job on this challenge. It was innovating, difficult, and yet very entertaining. One thing that Emz and Heather decided this week was to give a chance to the contestants who did not win this season to submit their short stories to the upcoming HorrorAddicts anthology series, “Crescendo of Darkness”. The stories are due no later than Halloween. I will also be submitting a story for this anthology, as well. I can’t wait to read the contestants’ stories!

There is only one more round and then grand finale! Here are the points ranked:

In the lead is Daphne Strassert with 782  points.

Trailing a tad behind her is Jonathan Fortis with 757 points.

Last but not least is Naching T Kassa with 743 points.

Will someone else be able to knock one of the top three out of the running next week? Are these contestants the ones who will be able to pitch their novel for the grand finale? Make sure you keep tuned in to know what happens! It’s getting really close to the finale and I know I’m excited to see which one of our talented contestants will come out on top.

Until next time Horror Addicts, stay scared.

Kenzie

#NGHW News Episode #146

Hello, my Horror Fiends!

This week I’m filling in for your favorite news reporter Adelise since she will be gone for a few weeks. NGHW Episode 146 was a particularly hard episode due to a number of participants who didn’t do exactly what the judges were looking for. Don’t get me wrong, interviewing yourself and answering the questions as yourself is very difficult and this challenge has proven to be the hardest one yet! They did pull through, shining brightly in this dark, decrepit tunnel, and showed us what they’re made of.

Episode #146 brought us six semi-finalists in no particular order:

#1: Harry Husbands

#2: Adele Marie Park

#3: Jess Landry

#4: Naching T Casa

#5: Jonathan Fortin

#6: Daphne Strasert

This week’s mini-prize was cool in the sense that they will actually feel a part of the HorrorAddicts family – getting their interview published to the blog! I remember how it felt for myself being welcomed to the team so I know that this prize is surely one of the better ones.

This week’s special guest judge was Stacy Rich, HorrorAddicts.net Blog Editor.

In order to be a good interviewer and interviewee, you need to have experience and build upon that baseline infrastructure of your skills. Not every writer is a good interviewee or interviewer, which is why this challenge really put our contestants to the test! They had to write their own interview and answer their own questions. Some of the contestants had a tongue-in-cheek way of completing this challenge by adding humor to it, others kept it completely personal to where we can see the real person behind the writer, and some had a good mixture of the two.

The judges, although impressed with how hard the contestants did try this round, were not so impressed with how none of the writers seemed to know how to write an interview. Writing an interview like you would see in a magazine is a skill that does need to be researched and learned, just like if you were writing a paper and needed to learn a specific format. But, other than that, I was truly impressed with how well this challenge went. I loved hearing the contestants interview themselves – it was comical but each contestant brought their own thing to the table.

The judges did have a few special words to say about the following contestants:

Harry Husbands: they thought that his introduction was cute. It brought a different flavor compared to the other entries. Personally, his was one of my favorites. He is classy and knows what he needs to bring to the table.

Adele Marie Park: her professionalism knows no bounds. It’s very streamlined. I love professional writers for the sole purpose that they can be creative and bring forth the most decrepit imagery from their minds, yet still, knows how to be classy.

Naching T Casa: I absolutely loved how she showcased herself as a person – not just a writer. It brought a depth to the interview that was really needed. I love when writers can break free of their characters and really hone in on themselves.

Fiend Gottes – let’s just say we never want to meet this guy in a back alleyway. His imagery is vast and we do need to stay far away from his dungeon. He is one of the scariest writers in this competition. I absolutely adore him.

All in all, everyone did pretty well and I was fangirling all over the place.

Last week, Daphne Strassert took home the prize for the past two competitions, which was a first for this season! What happened this week was that Naching T Casa won and ended the streak that Daphne Strassert had going. I adored Naching’s interview and I felt as though I personally knew her as a friend towards the end of it. My favorite line from her interview was:

“Imagine everyone has a door in their mind which separates their conscious from their unconscious. Most people keep the door closed. They don’t want to see the things which lurk on the other side. Horror writers want to see those things, want to explore them. We love that direct line to the dark side.”

Truly phenomenal, congratulations Naching!

As an update to whose in the lead, Daphne has taken over Jonathan by 24 points! She is leading the competition with 699 points in total. Right behind her is Jonathan, hot on her tail with 675 points. In third place so far is Naching, with 673. They are so close in points, it’s almost scary. I’m hot with anticipation to see who can come out on top. Rounding out the top 6 is Jess, Harry, and Sumiko. Will Naching be able to take over Jonathan in the next round? Will Jonathan be able to come out on top? There are still 2 competitions left before the finale, anything can happen!

Until next time, stay spooky!

  • Kenzie

By The Fire: Episode 145: Challenge 10: Write a 1200-1500 word, non-fiction interview of yourself

In episode 145 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 1200-1500 word, non-fiction interview of yourself. The idea is to come up with questions and ask them how a reporter might ask them and then answer them as a professional writer may answer them. The contestants will be judged on interest of questions, interest of answers, and style. Does this sound like an easy challenge? Not really.

Though they are not being judged for it, the hardest part of this challenge may be selling yourself and your writing. In an interview, the author is the star of the show and the point is to get the readers of the interview to want to buy the author’s work. A writer has to wear several different hats, they may be good at writing fiction but can they sell the reader on their work by describing themselves and their stories in an interview?

Being able to come up with good answers in an interview is important because the person reading it is trying to make a decision on if they like the writer or not and if they are willing to purchase their work. It doesn’t matter how great of a writer you are, if you can’t sell yourself in an interview, you may have trouble getting a reader interested in your work. Personally, for me I love reading interviews, it’s a great way to get to know an author and decide if you like them or not. I’ve often made the decision on whether to buy or not to buy someone’s work based on the answers to interview questions. So in other words, learning how to act in an interview is an important skill.

So how about you, Addicts? Have you bought someone’s book based on an interview they had? I know I have. Can you come up with any examples of a good interview or a bad one? What do you think our contestants will focus on in their interview? What is the most important thing for a writer to talk about in an interview? Let us know in the comments.

#NGHW Winner of the Self-Interview Challenge Naching T. Kassa

Winner Naching T. Kassa!

DIALOGUE WITH THE DARKER HALF
by Naching T. Kassa

Naching T. Kassa describes herself as a wife, mother, and horror writer. She resides in Valley, WA with her family and their dog, Dallas. Naching is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a contributor to The Demonic Visions book series. Recently, one of her poems was accepted into the HWA Poetry Showcase Volume 4.

But, what do we really know about this dark lady? Who is she and what makes her so darn scary? We asked Nani K, the person who knows her best, to shed a little light on the shadow.

Nani K: Good morning, Naching. Thank you for sitting down with me.

Naching: My pleasure.

Nani K: First off, I have to say this. You don’t look like a horror writer. You’re always smiling and you seem so sweet. Where do you get these ideas?

Naching: (laughs) You’d be surprised how many times I get this question. Usually, my ideas just come to me.

Nani K: Out of the blue?

Naching: In a manner of speaking, yes. Imagine everyone has a door in their mind which separates their conscious from their unconscious. Most people keep the door closed. They don’t want to see the things which lurk on the other side. Horror writers want to see those things, want to explore them. We love that direct line to the dark side.

Nani K: Your ideas come from the unconscious mind?

Naching: Yes, with certain exceptions. There are times when I reach outside the door. Reach for things beyond myself.

Nani K: What do you mean?

Naching: Well, take “The Laughing Man,” for instance.

Nani K: Your 300-word story in the Second Challenge of the Next Great Horror Writer Contest?

Naching: Exactly. In the story, Laughing Man has a very distinctive scent. He smells of almonds. Looking at this part during the editing process I thought, “This is stupid. How is it scary? He’s rotting and leprous. He wouldn’t smell nice.” So, I went online and I looked up the smell of gangrene. That was too gross. I didn’t want my character to puke when the monster entered. He’s supposed to lie still. I decided to look up the smell of infections instead. Now, I had never researched infections before, never seen this site. But, what I found there creeped me out. There was an infection which smelled like almonds. Needless to say, it stayed in the story.

Nani K: Is this what makes a great horror writer? Reaching beyond yourself?

Naching: It can. But, I think great horror writers have a different ability. I think they can touch the darkness which resides in us all. The great writers force us to open our doors and let our monsters out. If only for a little while.

Nani K: I can see that. No one would want the door open all the time.

Naching: As a reader or watcher of horror I wouldn’t want mine open that long. However, a writer is different. Judging by the way Stephen King writes, I’m pretty sure his door is always open.

Nani K: Speaking of King, is he your favorite horror writer?

Naching: Well…I like him very much.

Nani K: You have another favorite?

Naching: I had a dream a while back where Stephen King and Dean Koontz fought for my affection.

Nani K: Oh—

Naching: (laughs) Not that kind of affection. And, it wasn’t some duel with swords. Though, that would’ve been cool. No, King said I was his greatest fan and Koontz said I belonged to him. I met with King in my living room and then I met Koontz in the kitchen.

Nani K: Who won?

Naching: Koontz. I told him he was my favorite. He was ecstatic. (laughs) It was an awesome dream.

Nani K: Do you think Koontz’s door is open all the time?

Naching:  I’m not sure. It’d be frightening if it was.

Nani K: While we’re still on the subject of doors, let’s talk about opportunity knocking on yours. How did you get involved with the Demonic Visions series?

Naching: The editor, Chris Robertson, and I were in an erotic/horror anthology together. I befriended him on Facebook and he told me he was about to start a new series of anthologies. He invited me to write for the first one. There are six volumes now and I have stories in all of them.

Nani K: How many erotic/horror stories have you written?

Naching: I thought you’d pick up on that one. I’ve written two. One was about a demon. The other was vampire erotica. My stories are different from other writers. They tip toward the romantic side.

Nani K: Do you like writing romance?

Naching: I do. Though, I find some of the categories confusing. A few months ago, I received a rejection for a horror story with romantic elements. The editor said he couldn’t buy it because he considered the story a Paranormal Romance. Now, there were no shifters involved. There were no humans in love with supernatural beings. Makes me wonder what criteria he used to decide this.

Nani K: You’ve brought up a good point here. Let’s talk about rejection.

Naching: (groans) Oh, man.

Nani K: What advice would you give a first time writer regarding rejection?

Naching: Persevere. If you get rejected, fix the story and send it out again to another place. If it gets rejected ten times, take some classes and improve your skills. Don’t give up. Never give up.

Nani K: You’re passionate about this.

Naching: It’s not in my nature to give up my dreams. I’m not a just writer by profession. It’s who I am. Also, before both of my parents passed, I told them I’d be a writer. If I give up, it’s like lying to them. And, I’ll never do that.

Nani K: You’ve often credited your father with your introduction to horror. What did your mom think of your interest in it?

Naching: She supported me but I think it worried her. She wasn’t into horror. My dad, on the other hand, was a big fan. He showed me Universal Horror, Hammer films, Hitchcock, Roger Corman films, and all the big movies. We watched Joe Bob Briggs’s Monstervision on TNT. He also bought me horror novels. He bought me my first Dean Koontz. My husband bought most of the rest.

Nani K: You’ve called your husband “your biggest supporter.” How does he help you?

Naching: Dan is great. He’s the sole provider for our family, he watches the kids while I write, and he’s my first reader. He also likes to scare me. He loves to make me jump during horror films.

Nani K: Does he ever worry about your horror writing? Does he stay awake nights wondering whether you’ll come to bed with a knife?

Naching: So, that’s why all the knives disappeared! I wondered why we didn’t have any in the house. No, I’m just kidding. He doesn’t worry. He knows me too well.

Nani K: As a wife and mother, how do you find time to write?

Naching: I write when everyone’s asleep. It’s dark and quiet. Very conducive to horror. I often wind up spooking myself.

Nani K: Earlier, you spoke of skill improvement. What do you do to sharpen skills?

Naching: I take online courses and I read books on writing. There’s a great website called edX.org and it offers classes from distinguished universities. Most classes are free unless you’d like to earn a certificate. Then, you have to pay a fee. My favorite course was English Grammar and Style from Queensland University in Australia. It was terrific.

Nani K: What books do you recommend for the first time horror writer?

Naching: “On Writing” by Stephen King, that’s the horror writer’s bible. “Strunk and White’s Elements of Style” and “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Renni Browne and Dave King are also great books.

Nani K: What is the one thing a writer needs most?

Naching: Readers. We should take as many as we can get, no matter what the age group. For a long time, I wrote what I considered adult horror. The funny thing is, most of the readers who approached me and expressed their admiration for my writing were teenagers and young adults. If you think about it, this is our largest audience. And, if they discover us now, they’ll follow our work into adulthood. That’s why I want to be the female version of R.L. Stine. I want to encourage and inspire another generation of readers.

Nani K: Thank you, Naching.

Naching: Thank you, Nani K. It’s been fun.

To find out more about Naching, go to: http://frightenme.weebly.com


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

HorrorAddicts.net, 146 #NGHW Guest Judge: Stacy Rich

This week, we welcome guest judge, Stacy Rich. Stacy will be helping us judge the author interviews!

Stacy Rich

stacyBlog Editor, HorrorAddicts.net
From growing up in a sleepy 19th century town to discovering Poe before double digits, Stacy has a deep seeded interest in ghosts, true crime, horror, and macabre. When she isn’t reading HorrorAddicts.net content before it is published, (the best perk of her job bwahaha) she is spending the limited amount of time she has left of her sons’ childhood with them, going to awesome punk, noise and acoustic concerts or festivals, traveling, and listening to podcasts. She is a big time podcast junkie. What’s her favorite podcast? HorrorAddicts.net of course!

By The Fire: Episode 145: Challenge 9: Write a 1200-1500 word campfire tale in storyteller format

Hey HorrorAddicts, I hope you’re enjoying the contest so far because things are getting more exciting. In episode 145 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 1200-1500 word campfire tale in storyteller format, as if you are telling it to us around the campfire. Contestants will be judged on scare factor, originality and storytelling ability. The winner will have their story published by horroraddicts.net publishing as part of their “Horror Bites Series”.

Campfire tales are possibly the most fun form of horror storytelling there is. If a campfire tale isn’t simple enough it will lose its effect. They should be short, hopefully, have a monster, crazed killer or a ghost and a shock ending would be the icing on the cake. Campfire tales aren’t rocket science, the story doesn’t have to even be that good as long as it’s scary. The whole idea is to gather around the campfire and try to scare your friends with tales of the grotesque or a good urban legend. We’re all storytellers if you think about it and a campfire is a perfect place to perfect your craft.

So Addicts, have you ever told scary tales around the fire? I think most people have, it’s like a rite of passage. To quote A Nightmare Before Christmas: “life’s no fun without a good scare”. What were the stories you tried to scare your friends with? Was your audience scared? Did someone scare you with their story? Pretend this blog is a roaring fire and let us know what your favorite scary story is and leave your tall tale in the comments.

#NGHW News Episode #144

Hello, Addicts!
This week was way more brutal than I think we or the contestants thought it would be. Creating an original character can be tough, but having to write 900 words, mostly of clear character description and have some story to it … that, my horror-addicted friends, is super difficult.
But our writers still did it. They saw the challenge through, even though it lived up to its name – “challenge.”
Episode #144 brought us six semi-finalists.

  1. Silt and bone by Jess Landry
  2. Kerry Anne by Harry Husbands
  3. Changeling by Daphne Strasert
  4. Dr. Sonya Quillius by Jonathan Fortin
  5. Selkie by Adele Marie Park
  6. Cerebus by Sumiko Saulson

This week’s mini prize was pretty awesome. Using the description the author gave, an anime sketch will be drawn of the character they portrayed. This will be done by the amazing artist, Alyca, from Pixel Ghost Creations.

Creative jobs, although they may seem fanciful and relaxed, can be some of the toughest out there and artists often do not get the recognition they deserve. Artists have to create something out of nothing, giving life to where there was none before. Then they have to sit back and see if people like it or even see it at all. Wading through the sea of criticism and self-doubt searching for the buoys of validation can be exhausting and as much as we say we don’t need validation, sometimes it is a necessary evil. Artists have to eat too.

This can be doubly difficult when life happens to us. As it does to all of us. Whether this means your day job getting in the way, relationship issues, sickness, and all the other stray, flaming, Frisbees life likes to throw at us while our backs are turned, this can all inhibit creativity.

Which brings us to this week’s question! This time, I asked our Evil Eleven, “Do you have anything to help you stick with your writing? Even though it is something we love to do and can be therapeutic, when life happens it can be hard to make the time. How do you adult and be a writer?”

“I write on my phone using google docs while I’m on the train to work in the morning. Try to find the little moments in the day to get a little done.
Sometimes I write more if I think of everything else as “that thing I have to do,” rather than my writing. Maybe someday there’s an episode of a show I want to watch. I think of the show as “that thing I have to get done,” and then my writing becomes an act of fun rebellion against myself. It’s weird but effective.” – Jonathan
“I stick with my writing because my heart desires. It wants me to write my dreams down, and to express the things that it deems interesting. The need to create and communicate is what drives me forward. It is my passion, after all, to tell stories.

Also, maybe my secret is that I don’t adult. Sure, my body has grown, and as time goes by, I have a better understanding of things and situations, but I’ve always tried to remain young in my heart and mind. Also in my soul, if such a thing exists. I try to keep things as simple as possible, never take anything too seriously or personally, and remember that growing up is a thing we never stop doing.” – JC

“I eliminate all distractions. No TV. No Facebook. No internet (unless it’s for research). No husband walking around without his shirt on. (In fact, my husband is required to dress in loose, long-sleeved shirts until I have finished writing for the day.) no cute children in the room, no cute puppies or kitties, and no cute ice cream cones or cherry bonbons.” – Naching

Our finalists for episode 144 were, in no particular order, Jess, Daphne and Sumiko. The judges were also quite taken with Harry and Jonathan’s entries also, but the points decided the contestants.

Last week, Daphne took home her first win. This week, there was another first for this comp. Daphne took home her second win! One win after another. Congrats, Daphne! You can read Daphne’s full entry here.

The scores are getting very close. Jonathan is still in the lead, but Daphne is now hot on his tail with only eight points between them. Third place is a tie between Jess and Naching with 29 points between them and Daphne. But it could still be won by anyone. One turn of the tables and everything could change.

So, until next episode, stay spooky!
Hugs
Adelise

By The Fire: Episode 144: Challenge 8: 900-1000 Word Introduction of an Original Horror Character

In episode 144 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 900-1000 word introduction of an original horror character. The point of this challenge was to test the writer’s ability to create a believable and descriptive character. The prize for this part of the contest is for an anime sketch of the writer’s creation. So if they can’t describe their main character well, the artist can’t draw it and the person reading their work can’t form a mental image of who is being written about.

Describing a character in a book may not seem important but if an author leaves too much to the reader’s imagination, the reader’s image will be different from what the author is thinking about. The writer can’t control how the reader imagines his or her creation will be but they can at least give the reader an idea of what they were thinking. Writing a character description probably isn’t as easy as it sounds because how do you know when you over described them? You have to leave something to the reader’s imagination, but if you leave everything up to the reader it could ruin your whole story.

I have a great example of the importance of character description. Keep in mind that I’m coming from the reader’s point of view and not the writer’s. I just finished reading a horror novel where the monster in it is a Sasquatch. In this book, there is no real description given of the Sasquatch beyond the fact that it was big and hairy. The author left what the monster looked like to my imagination and instead of coming up with the image of a horrifying monster in my head I found myself thinking of the Sasquatch from the Jack Link beef jerky Messing with Sasquatch commercials. Every time the monster did something horrible in the book I wasn’t feeling scared for the protagonists instead I was laughing at how funny those commercials were. The writer’s attempt at making me scared of his monster failed because he didn’t give me enough information on what he was thinking.

So if you can’t give enough description of a character it could ruin your whole story. Character description in a horror novel is probably more important than in any other genre of fiction. Horror is all about emotion and as a reader if I don’t know enough about someone in a book I can’t feel any emotion for him. To fear a monster I need to know how evil it is and to be scared for a victim, I have to feel some compassion for him. It doesn’t even have to be a visual description if you describe how the monster in question has killed others that could get me to fear him. Same thing for the protagonist, just give me something I can relate to like how hard he works to support his family. That way I’ll be hoping he gets away from the monster because his family needs him. So horror addicts how would you describe your favorite monster? And what did you think of the contestants’ description? Leave a comment and let us know.

 

 

#NGHW News Episode #143

Hello Addicts,

This episode opens up with a little more sad news. We are down to eleven contestants now. Timothy has now left us. But hopefully it will not be the last we hear of him.

We do still have our Evil Eleven and competition is getting fierce.

Episode #143 brought us some true stories of horror that the contestants personally experienced. And the mini prize was full publication on this very blog.

So, let’s get straight into this episode’s seven semifinalists, shall we?

  1. Black Death by Naching T Kassa
  2. A Day at The Beach by Harry Husbands
  3. Calling The Dead by Cat Voluer
  4. Sin Scope by JC Martinez
  5. Into The Grave by Daphne Strasert
  6. My Life as a Young Adult Urban Horror Heroine by Sumiko Saulson
  7. Dogs and Sand by Jonathan Fortin

It is so important for authors to blog, these days, and it is good to see such talent and honesty in our Evil Eleven. It is difficult for most people to be honest and open with someone that you are close to, let alone be open and honest with the world. And that is what the contestants have demonstrated here.

Unfortunately, we only got a snippet as always, but I think it was enough to get a feel for the piece and the writing style. Plus, we got to hear our authors’ voices, real voices. They spoke about why they deserve to be the next great horror writer, and the difficulties they have had to face.

Next episode will show the 8th challenge. It is a 900-1000 word Horror Character description. The Eleven have to describe an original character in a story telling way. So, it cannot sound like an instruction manual. The winner of this challenge will have the amazing prize of having their character brought to life by the amazing Anime artist Alyssa from Pixel Ghost Creations. Seeing their character in front of their eyes and not just in their head would be amazing.

Which brings me to the question I asked the contestants this week. I asked the contestants about book covers. We all know that old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” but do any of us actually follow this? As exciting as it may be for an author to see their characters brought to life, having a character on the cover of a book can be distracting and, sometimes, deceiving. Here is what some of the authors think.

“I’m picky about book covers. I know they say not to judge, but you only get one first impression. If an author (publisher, etc.) took the time to create a good cover, then I assume they took that same care with the story inside. I love covers that show a character, but only if they’re well made. I’m not a fan of stock photo manipulation. Artist renderings (like those for Patricia Briggs’ novels) are my favorite.” Daphne

“Graphic design is my day job, so covers are definitely very important to me!
As far as the design of the book covers, I think whatever fits the story best is a-okay. If your cover shows a character–great! If not–that’s great, too! But the readers should definitely get a sense of what your novel is about based off its cover.” Jess

“I think readers often make determinations about whether or not to buy a book based on its cover. When I answer calls for submissions for anthologies, the cover art is often a factor. The cover art for Mocha Memoir Press “Death’s Cafe,” Colors in Darkness “Forever Vacancy” and HorrorAddict’s “Clockwork Wonderland” attracted me to those anthologies – I have work in all three.” Sumiko

“I look at a book cover much like an album cover. A bold exciting cover will get people’s attention, holding that attention is then all up to the content. Put shiny wrapping paper on a gift it’ll catch people’s attention but what’s inside is what they’ll remember. No one remembers the wrapping paper once the gift is opened, all they remember is what was inside.” Feind

“Book covers are very important. Even though they tell you not to judge based on them, covers are what catch your eye, and in a world where there are so many choices, covers are the first thing that sets your book apart from others.
Truth be told, I’ve never given too much thought to character-centric book covers. I think the most important for me is that a cover has an understanding of the content of a book, and accurately conveys it with simple yet powerful images.” JC

“They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, many people do. Most won’t even read a book unless the cover intrigues them. Good art does a lot for a story. Bad art can hurt one.
Suppose you’ve written a story about a brave Knight battling a dragon and you illustrate it yourself. Unfortunately, you have no talent when it comes to dragons. Every time you draw your cover, the dragon resembles a mutant spider fighting a stick-figure with a top hat. You publish the story with said cover and no one buys it. Do you need to wonder why? Bad art shows a lack of quality. It’s a disservice to your work. You may have written the best thing in the world but no one will touch it because they think it’s about a man with a hat walking his spider.
By the way, this never happened to me. If it did, I was much younger and my access to art supplies consisted of three crayons, two of which were broken.” Naching

“I am so picky about book covers. I LOVE pretty book covers but ugly covers can detract from the entire experience of reading or make the book seem less professional. I can’t stand covers where we see the character, but not their eyes or forehead. Or only from the neck down. Anonymous Naked Man Chest is also a variety of this. Some of my favorite books have decidedly boring covers (American Gods, Perdido Street Station, Name of the Wind)–covers that aren’t necessarily BAD but aren’t exactly GREAT either. On the other hand, when I see an absolutely BEAUTIFUL cover it makes me want to buy the book. Original, well-crafted, aesthetically pleasing works of art created specifically for the book are my favorite.” Jonathan

What are your thoughts on book covers? Do you agree with any of the contestants?

Our finalists this episode were Harry, Daphne and Jonathan. And don’t forget, addicts, that every challenge brings points to every contestant. The points are close and the big prize of a publication contract could still be anyone’s. You can check out the overall scores here.

Without further delay, if you didn’t already know, I will reveal this episode’s winner. #TeamDaphne got her first win of the series! Congrats to you, Daphne! You can go and read the whole blog post right here.

Come and join in the discussion at the HorrorAddicts.net Facebook page, a community of freaks, weirdos, goths, vampires, and general horror fanatics. We’d love some fresh meat. (insert maniacal laughter here) but seriously, come and have a chat, talk to the contestants and the staff and other addicts in the community.

Until next episode, Addicts, stay spooky!

Hugs xxx

Adelise

#NGHW News Episode #142

 

Hello Addicts!

In the last episode, our writers were hit with a big one. A 3000-5000 word horror story. The theme: Music. They were given the extra time, of course, Emz is no monster. But it must have taken a lot out of them. After whipping up 5000 words worth of story… plus editing … and rewriting … and then having it publicly judged, surely they are feeling exhausted.

“For the 5000-word story–man, that was tough! I’m a procrastinator by nature, so of course, I didn’t start writing it until a few days before it was due. I jammed-packed all the emotions a writer goes through while writing a longer story. Basically going from ‘Ooh, this could work as an idea!’ to ‘Dear God, what have I done?’ in less than 24 hours. A new personal best!”-Jess

“I always feel good when I write. And after I’ve finished something, if it will be read or not, if it’s good or bad, regardless of whatever circumstances surround a piece I’ve written, I just keep writing. I think that’s the only thing a writer can do.” -JC

We had some great snippets here. All of them unique and left me wanting to hear the rest. The uses of the genre and the theme were stretched and I really enjoyed the fact that I was surprised by the story ideas. Alternative worlds were Music is like a drug to Japanese folklore. Their stories were so different, it was hard to believe they were given the same set of instructions. But they all ran with the same theme, keeping to the rules. Our semi-finalists last week were:

  1. Cherry Blossoms and Yokai by Adele Marie Park
  2. Scordatura by Jess Landry
  3. Audio Addict by Daphne Strasert
  4. Requiem in Frost by Jonathan Fortin
  5. Audition by Naching T. Kassa
  6. The Agent by Harry Husbands
  7. The Lament of the Piano Man by AE Kirk

This week’s mini prize was not so mini. Publication in the upcoming short story anthology, Crescendo of Darkness. To make the prize even more special, the other contestants were banned from submitting their stories for the anthology. As much as this hurt Emz to do, the stories were so good that she would have liked more of them in the anthology.

Let’s have a quick chat about next episode’s challenge. A 900-1000 word non-fiction blog post on something horrific that the writer experienced. This could be a haunting, a phobia, anything that they have experienced that they found horrifying. It will be judged based on: blog-ability, topic choice, and writing quality.

This week’s challenge is a little more personal than the rest. Even though what writers do is personal, mostly we can hide behind that banner of “fiction”. I asked the writers how they feel about baring something so personal?

This also made me think about privacy and people’s comfort levels with how much they are willing to let people in. As writers, we are generally introverts, but with success comes other things that introverts don’t tend to like. So I asked the writers if being in the public eye is something they feel will be difficult?

“This week’s challenge was difficult. You’re baring a piece of your soul to the world and you’re hoping they understand your point of view. My experience happened over 30 years ago and may seem funny to those who read it. The things we fear may seem ridiculous to others or just as frightening. Sometimes, we don’t choose our fears. They choose us. (By the way, you’re talking to someone whose first fear was a flying sandwich with vampire teeth. Did he choose me? Or, did I choose him? It’s the eternal question.)

I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble being in the public eye. Like most people, I’m nervous at first. But, after a while, I turn into a huge ham. Maybe, that’s why the sandwich chose me.” -Naching

“In real life, I am a total introvert, practically like a monk living high in the mountains away from civilization at times, but writing isn’t like being a rock star or movie star. Most of our “public” attention comes online which is a much easier animal for us introverts to withstand. I don’t know how I’ll stand up to a convention or book signing at some point but armed with my anxiety pills I should be fine. LOL” -Feind

“I’m not a fan of writing about my personal life and would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to just make some stuff up. I’m sure that’s a viable option, but it defeats the purpose. I think in writing about your own experiences, you’re saying: “Hey, I may write fiction, but I’m real.” and that’s too valuable a thing to be phony about. I’m no good at it, but I get real pleasure from reading about writers’ lives whom I admire and so if I ever gained any kind of readership, I’d want to be able to do that for them too. I don’t see myself being in the public eye at any point (I’m talking tabloid man-boob close-ups) but if by some off-chance I ever was, I’d be swift in retreating to the mountains for a while until it all blew over.” -Harry

Episode #142 meant Naching took home her second win! Congrats #teamnaching! You can go and check out a snippet of Naching’s winning story on our website. Remember that if you wish to learn more about the contestants, the past, and present, you can do so at our contestants’ page. Have a peek at their websites or blogs, connect with them via the social media.

We have a little sad news this week. Our fearsome thirteen has been cut down to the Twisted Twelve, with our beautiful cosplaying Riley leaving. I hope that, as I do with all of the writers, that this is not the last we hear of her. I wish nothing but success for all of our contestants.

So, halfway through the contest now and Jonathan still holds the lead with a score of 399. Naching is close on his heels with 375 and coming up into third is Daphne with 369. It is still a close contest. Each week every contestant get a score and just because they don’t win that particular challenge doesn’t mean they can’t take home the big prize. Consistently good can still win out. If you want to check out how close the scores are, you can do so right here.

Until next episode, Addicts, stay spooky!

Hugs xxx

Adelise

By The Fire Edpisode 142: Challenge 6: 3,000 to 5,000 word story on Horror and Music

 

In episode 142 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 3,0000 to 5,000-word story that includes music, horror and musical instruments. The story will be judged on musical theme, creativeness and writing quality. The winner of this contest will get their story published in the anthology Crescendo of Darkness from horroraddicts.net publishing.

If you’re not familiar with Crescendo Of Darkness it’s going to be horroraddicts.net publishing’s 6th anthology and will be edited by Jeremiah Donaldson. You can find more about it here. This could be the hardest challenge yet for the contestants, it’s certainly the longest. First, of all, you would have to come up with an idea on how music can be scary. Could the story be about a cursed instrument? A song with backward messages causing people to go crazy? Or could it be a spirit trapped in a song? The sound of music can cause powerful emotions in people but does it scare people? Can music be dangerous?

I think a lot of times when people think of horror they don’t necessarily think of music, but think for a minute what horror films would be like without music to set the mood. Movies like Halloween and Psycho would not have had the same effect without the orchestra music in the background. What would happen if you replace the music in Suspiria with country music? It definitely would not have the same effect. Music soundtracks are only one way that we see how music can be scary, there are also quite a few stories out there about cursed musical instruments. M.R. James wrote about a cursed harp and Caitlin Kiernan had a story about a cursed violin. Music is a form of communication and it can be used to strike terror in someone’s heart.

So addicts do you have a certain song that when you hear it causes you to feel a strong emotion? Can a certain instrument cause you to have chills? I’ve always felt that music can take you to another place and time but can it create fear? Tell us in the comments if you’ve ever been scared by a song or just how you think music can be something scary.  Also if you were in this contest or submitting to the anthology what would you write about?

#NGHW News Episode #141

Hello Addicts!

This episode on the next great horror writer we got to see a sweeter side of our fearsome thirteen. If you can call demon conjuring, zombie love, and flesh-devouring barnacles “sweet.” A 650-700 word, Epic Romantic Horror Poem was the challenge this episode and didn’t the contestants pull out the good stuff! Despite them not liking it very much.

This week the mini prize was publication in Siren’s Call magazine plus ten bucks from Horroraddicts.net!

Nautical seemed to be hugely popular among the contestants. And I loved the different “Romance” scenarios and they were not all completely serious. The only issue that I have is that we didn’t get to hear the whole poems! They were so good!

First cab off the rank was Under the Water by Sumiko Saulson. It was beautiful and dark, ocean and Leviathan imagery ringing through.

Next was Siren’s Song by Riley Pierce. Haunting and a little sad. One of sacrifice and of possible unrequited love.

Flesh Passion by Feind Gottes was a gorgeously dark tale that makes me long for more. Sticking to Feind’s style, it seems a little thicker on the horror than the other poems. And hearing the judges talk about the rest of it, I definitely want to hear the rest.

Our fourth poem was A Warning on Wings by Jonathan Fortin. JF wove a story of longing in such a poetic way that just left me wanting more, yet again.

The imagery in number five is so beautiful. The Only Thing That Remains by Jess Landry is so sweet, I can only imagine how the rest of the poem goes…

A Vampire and a Zombie by AE Kirk went in, what to me was, totally the other way. Lovely and apocalyptic and comical, if you like decaying flesh jokes (which we have already established that I do like the sick sense of humour) and with back story that I simply must find out…

Maybe I can use my journalistic advantage for evil and request the full poems? (insert maniacal journo laughter here)

If you haven’t noticed (but you probably have), we are down to thirteen contestants. We have lost two of our fearsome – Patrick and Quinten – which is sad. The comp is tough. The challenges, although from the outside may seem easy, are grueling, pushing the contestants to the limits of their creative minds and souls.

This week, I asked the fearsome to give some feedback on how they are going. We are almost halfway and things are really moving. We have some clear leaders at the moment but it is in no ways “in the bag.” The going has been tough, but it is not over yet.

This is what some of them had to say…

“So, the poetry challenge. I didn’t hate it, jajaja, and it was a good opportunity to create something I wouldn’t have created otherwise… About the challenge in general… the important thing, to me, is to keep writing. The contestants have made an incredible effort, an incredible job, and have created amazing art, which is the most important. I hope they keep up the great work.”
JC

“I was one of the few who enjoyed the poetry challenge and, though I didn’t make it into the top six, I had a great time. Sometimes, your submission doesn’t meet the needs of the judges or potential editors. It doesn’t necessarily mean your piece sucks. As writers, we tend to link our personal feelings to our art. We act as though any criticism of what we’ve created is a critique of ourselves, our own personalities. This isn’t the case. Many times, editors have no idea who we are.
Sometimes, rejection can be awesome. I submitted a piece to the Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy earlier this year and received a personal rejection from the editor. He told me what he liked and didn’t like about the story and then, he invited me to submit another story in the future! Best rejection ever! I’ll crack that market yet!
With regards to the contest, I must say I love the challenges. Not only are they fun, they’re also functional. I’m building a terrific portfolio here. It’s something I wouldn’t have done otherwise. And, I say, the more difficult the better. I love testing my brain. This whole thing is a blast. I wish it would never end.”
Naching

“I can only speak for myself but the poetry challenge was the toughest so far for sure. I used to write little poems all the time just for fun but trying to write a poem that long (650-700 words) on a subject, horror romance, that I would never touch with a ten-foot pole was no easy task… I feel this contest has already helped improve my writing overall by forcing me to push my limits. No matter how I end up in this contest be it first place or dead last I will continue writing and searching for outlets for my work. During the course of this contest, I have had two stories accepted for publication and several more in the pipeline with more I’m writing every day. The only real problem I see is that because of how much we are being pushed out of our comfort zones that some who perhaps aren’t doing so well will be discouraged from continuing. Writing is a subjective medium, what one person or judge loves another will hate… Everyone has their own taste in art so no matter what happens in this contest it’s important for me and the other contestants to keep in mind that while we must always strive to improve it is equally important to find like-minded outlets for whatever style it is we do best. I’ve been lucky enough to find some and I hope every one of my talented competitors do also.”
Feind

“I really enjoyed the challenge. It was tricky because I had to abandon the stanza structure I was using in order to make it fit the word count, but it worked out in the end.”
Jonathan

Well, Sumiko, Feind and Jonathan got into the finals this week but it worked out really well for Jonathan in the end, because he is the winner of this week’s challenge! Congrats, #teamjonathan. “Trigger the becoming of the darkest greatest you.” This win puts Jonathan in the lead overall.

This brings us to our sixth challenge. It will be a 3000-5000 word story with music or musical instruments involved and in the horror genre. This will be judged on musical theme, creativeness and writing quality. It will be the longest challenge for the season. The winner will be published in the Horroraddicts.net submission call, Crescendo of Darkness, released in 2018. We are only publishing the winner.

So that brings us up to date and ready for the next episode. Stay tuned addicts! Don’t forget to come and connect with us at the Facebook group and let us know who you are cheering for!

Stay spooky!

Hugs xxx

#NGHW News Episode #140

 

Hello, Addicts!

How has everyone been during the break? Have you survived without us? Well, no need to fear, no need to fret, our fearsome fifteen and the horroraddicts.net team are back this week.

Did you all enjoy Episode #140? It has been a little while so I will give you a reminder. The last episode was a bit of a change up from the “norm” and the writers were challenged to write a script. The script was for a spoof commercial for a make-believe horror product. This was a great way to stretch the writing muscles that are not normally stretched in the horror genre. The spoof had to be original and funny. The mini prize was to have their script professionally produced.

The spoofs that made it through to the semi-finals were Dead Fresh Air Freshener by Fiend, Earl King by Jonathan, The Spoof is Happening by AE, Fang Blings by Jess, Full Moon Undies by Naching, MonsterMatch.com by Timothy, Little Bites Kiddie Coffin by Daphne, Home Stench Plugins by Grave by Sumiko.

The fearsome fifteen were in fine form this episode. All of the semi-finalist did a great job, their commercials were all hilarious and on point. But, alas, only three could make it through to the finals. Fang Blings, MonsterMatch.com and Full Moon Undies were the chosen ones.

This brought about discussions about Monster Body Positivity and the such. This led me to think about dating monsters or horror movie/book characters or bad guys in general.

I have recently noticed that, as a young girl, a had a thing for bad guys. This is not something that I am particularly proud of but it is something that I have noticed now that I am older. Anyone from Jareth from the Labyrinth, the Erl King from Raymond E Feist’s Faerie Tale, even the Riddler from Batman (1966 not Jim Carrey’s) So, I had to ask the fearsome fifteen “If you had to (or got to) date a monster or horror character who would you choose and why?” And I got some very interesting answers.

I would normally chop a little to keep them short or choose only three or so to add, but I just loved everyone’s answers. But here are the six answers that made the cut.

“I would date a siren. I love music so I think we would probably get along pretty well. Unless she liked Nikki Minaj, in which case I do not think we would be very compatible.”
– Timothy

“I’ve had the hardest time answering this. “Horror character” just left so many possibilities. Ultimately though, my answer would be Spike, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Although I don’t normally like vampires entering into my romantic dreamworld, I’ve had a crush on Spike most of my life at this point. There’s something about a bloody awful poet turned kick ass bad boy that’s as irresistible as his British accent. I loved the black nail polish, the bleached hair, the singing voice – and of course, he’s the type of man who can really get away with wearing black leather. I also love that he’s so passionate about everything he does. When he’s in love with someone, there’s no limit to what he’ll do to redeem himself in their eyes. The other great thing about Spike (as opposed to my other fictional monster crushes) is that his great love story is one-sided. Unlike many of the other people I considered, if we were dating, I wouldn’t be breaking up a couple that was perfect for each other.”
– Cat

“In horror, most of the monsters are pretty undesirable as potential mates. Paranormal romance is a bit better, but it’s still drama-filled. I would go with a safe monster. I like Reuben Golding in Anne Rice’s Wolf Gift because even though he’s technically a monster, being a werewolf, he’s kind of like Bruce Wayne, and I do love Batman. Reuben is probably less Byronic that Batman. And I do love my Byronic heroes. Come to think of it, maybe the older gent, Felix Nideck, who is darker, more mysterious, and Byronic as all get all would be better, but I think he’s gay, so I’ll stick with Reuben. The werewolves in Wolf Gift only kill and eat the really evil people, like chomos. They hunt as a back, and they keep murdering, dismembering, and gobbling down corrupt Catholic Priests and rings of child molesters. They’re almost like superheroes. When they aren’t killing off the wicked – who they can smell, and sense, with their Ghost Rider like superpowers, they have lots of fun sexy times with their pack mates. Wolves mate for life, don’t you know, so even the not so monogamous ones, while not faithful, are loyal as all get all. That’s hot.”
-Sumiko

“If it were my choice, I’d go with a heroine archetype, like Laurie Strode, from the original Halloween, who was intelligent and resourceful, or Mina Murray, from Dracula (the book version), who was so diligent, so sweet and loving, that she managed to overcome being corrupted by the monster. My perfect date, I think, would be Evelyn Carnahan, from The Mummy (the 1999 film), who was a kick-ass librarian (just imagine all the stories she would know about Egypt and its mythology. Amazing). If I had to, that would mean I would not have a choice. However, this being hypothetical and all, I’d have to go with the devil, as portrayed in the Bedazzled remake. It’s always fun to make a wish just for it to be granted the wrong way (or the right, too literal way). Either that or with a succubus. Succubi seem cute.”
-JC

“I absolutely love Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Dracula in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There is something so alluring about a dangerous man that would drain the world, but save one – the woman that his dark heart has always loved. I think my favorite line, the one that popped into my head as soon as you asked us this question, was when Dracula says, “I have crossed oceans of time to find you”. It’s so timelessly romantic, and I’ve always loved that. It’s definitely one of my favorite films.”
-Riley

“When I was young, I had a crush on the cutest, sweetest, funniest vampire ever. He had a terrific green complexion and a snappy wardrobe. He was a great father, grandfather, and animal lover. Yes, I had a crush on Grampa Munster and if you had asked me thirty years ago who I would date, he would’ve been my answer.
Would I answer the same today? Are you crazy? No way! I’m a happily married woman!
I also wear glasses.”
-Naching

Bahahahaha … Love it, Naching.

So, if you don’t already know, I will not hold back any longer! MonsterMatch.com by Timothy took home the mini prize this episode. You can go and read the script here or listen to it here. All the congrats go out to #TeamTimothy and MonsterMatch.com

I must say, I am super excited for this next challenge! The challenge for episode #141 is a 650-700 word horror romance poem. It can be rhyming or free form, but it must have a horror romance theme. It will be judged on sexiness, style, and theme. It can be erotic but porn, rape and/or pedophilia is strictly forbidden. The love must be between two consenting adults. “Think Morticia and Gomez,” says Emz.

So make sure you join us for this next episode, where things are going to heat up! Bow Chicka Wow Wow!

Stay Spooky, Addicts!

Hugs xxx