Chilling Chat: Episode #217 – Loren Rhoads

chillingchat

Loren Rhoads served as editor for Bram Stoker Award-nominated Morbid Curiosity magazine as well as the books The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, Death’s Garden:Rhoads Headshots 9-18 FINAL-1782 Relationship with Cemeteries, Death’s Garden Revisited, and Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual. Her short stories have appeared in the books Best New Horror #27, Strange California, Sins of the Sirens: Fourteen Tales of Dark Desire, Fright Mare: Women Write Horror, and most recently in the magazines Weirdbook, Occult Detective Quarterly, and Space & Time. 

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

LR: I remember catching a glimpse of Barnabas Collins climbing out of his coffin when I was four. I didn’t know what I was seeing at the time, but the music was so deliciously creepy! I was definitely marked for life.

NTK: Is Dark Shadows your favorite horror TV show? What is your favorite?

LR: Wow, it’s hard to choose a favorite. I loved Dark Shadows, Kolchak, and the monster of the week episodes of The X-Files. Now I’m loving Legion, which might not seem like horror, because the main character/villain is presented to be so charming. He’s really quite terrifying.

NTK: Do you prefer villains or heroes?

LR: I prefer characters who wander from one side of the equation to the other.

NTK: What do you think makes a character believable?

LR: Self-doubt.

NTK: When you write characters, do they have free will? Or are their actions predetermined?

LR: They definitely have minds of their own. I generally write to find out what I think, rather than the other way around, so I just wind my characters up and watch them go.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?

LR: The one I’ve read the most is Dracula. I find something new in it every time I read it. Other than that, my second favorite changes from day to day.

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror film?

LR: Alien. The first one. I still find it scary.

NTK: Is it the fear factor, or the fact that people are pulling together to fight a greater evil that attracts you to the story?

LR: I like watching Ripley, who is marginalized and ignored, turn out to be right. She knows what the protocol is supposed to be, but the more-emotional men overrule her and get killed for it. Watching Ripley, who has discounted herself, realize that she’s resourceful enough to survive is amazing. And the monster still haunts my nightmares all these years later.

NTK: You are a well-known cemetery aficionado and I have been dying to ask you this question, have you ever been to Colma, CA?

LR: Oh so many times!

NTK: What’s it like?

LR: The absolute best. There are 17 cemeteries in town, one right beside the next. They range from Japanese to Chinese to Italian (full of sculpture) to Jewish to Catholic to a former Masonic cemetery to a former potter’s field. There’s even a pet cemetery!

They say 1 million people are buried in Colma but there are only 1,000 live ones.

Wyatt Earp is buried there, and Levi Strauss, and Emperor Norton (the only Emperor of North America and Protector of Mexico). It’s lovely and sad and full of treasures.

I don’t know if you know the history of the graveyards of San Francisco, but in the early 20th century, all of them were dug up and the bodies hauled to Colma. There are several huge mass graves down there. Even so, people keep finding bodies that were missed somehow and weren’t moved.

Several years ago, a woman doing yard work found an iron coffin with a little girl in it, still perfectly preserved, and visible through a glass window into the coffin.

NTK: What inspired you to edit the anthology, Death’s Garden Revisited

LR:  I wanted to assemble a book that illuminated all the reasons people visit cemeteries. Once I started asking people to tell me about the cemeteries they have a relationship with, stories started flooding in. I am really proud of how this book turned out.

NTK: What authors are included in the anthology?

LR: Contributors include horror authors A. M. Muffaz, Angela Yuriko Smith, Christine Sutton, Denise N. Tapscott, E.M. Markoff, Emerian Rich, Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito, Francesca Maria, Greg Roensch, Mary Rajotte, Melodie Bolt, Priscilla Bettis, Rain Graves, Rena Mason, Robert Holt, R.L. Merrill, Saraliza Anzaldua, Stephen Mark Rainey, and Trish Wilson – and then there are all the others who don’t write horror. There are 40 authors in all.

NTK: How many cemeteries have you visited since you first became interested in them? 

LR: At a guess, hundreds. One of these days, I’m going to have to sit down and count them all. On one of my favorite vacations, my husband and I went to 18 graveyards between Boston and Gettysburg in a little more than a week.

NTK: How many cemeteries outside of the U.S.?

LR: I just made a quick list and I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but 51 so far. That includes the thirteen burial grounds I counted in Italy–which is the most I’ve visited in one country outside the US–but in Italy, there are people buried in every church, so I’m sure that doesn’t include every grave I saw there. I’ve been to cemeteries in England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and the Czech Republic, as well as in Singapore and Japan. Clearly, there are a lot of countries left to see!

NTK: Have you ever experienced anything strange or paranormal when you visited a cemetery?

LR: I’ve never seen a ghost, but I’ve had spooky things happen. I was on a ghost hunt in a cemetery in Oakland when I felt a weird, cold sensation in the back of my neck. Turns out, I was standing over a fallen headstone that had been covered with sod. Even the docent didn’t know it was there!

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

LR: I’m so glad you asked that! I’m finishing up a book called Still Wish You Were Here, which is a sequel to my first cemetery memoir. It is a collection of my own cemetery essays, stuff that was published in Gothic.Net, Gothic Beauty, Morbid Curiosity magazine, and a bunch of other places. After that, I’m thinking about getting back to my novel The Death of Memory. So many books, so little time!

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Loren!

LR: Thank you so much, Naching!

Addicts, you can find Loren on Facebook, Twitter, and at Cemetery Travel.

HorrorAddicts.net 108, Alexander Beresford

Horror Addicts Episode# 108

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini

Click to listen:

40 days till Halloween!

alexander beresford, post rapture party, whitechapel

coolest little monster, john zacherley, halloween prep, whitechapel tv series, jack the ripper, eden lake, wolf creek, dating a zombie, c.a. milson, zombie town, pet cemetery, crystal connor, devil, m. night shyamalan, cam2cam, post rapture party, cropsey, dark wave, music, venus de vilo, queen of the pumpkin patch, a taste of murder, chocolate coconut oblivion cake, end of the world radio, zombies, 809 jacob street, marty young, christine sutton, all the little children, suffer the children, craig dilouie, apocalypse, flash fiction friday, ken macgregor, horror addicts guide to life, events, count dracula and his daughter boocula, reanimator, h. p. lovecraft, the ring, japanese novel, 30 days of night, comic, movie, clive barker, oscar wilde, bela lugosi, dracula, alexander beresford, doll face, charla, www panel audio, emerian rich, heather roulo, laurel anne hill.

 

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Cheap Reads

18591386Byron has just moved to the small town of Parkton from the big city and its like entering a new world. Parkton is a place filled with dark secrets and strange people. At the heart of it all is an old house on Jacob Street. For the most part people don’t like to talk about the house, when Byron asks about it in the library he gets yelled at and people seem to avoid the area all together. The only ones that have an interest in the house are two boys at Byron’s school named Lain and Hammish. They seem to have an unhealthy interest in monsters and they want to take Byron to find the monsters that live at 809 Jacob Street.

Byron is not sure he believes in monsters but something weird is going on in Parkton. One of its residents is Joey Blue, an alcoholic blues singer who is homeless and sees ghosts. Joey gets a shock one night when an old friend comes to him for help and he finds that the only way he can help him is by entering the house at 809 Jacob Street. Something sinister lives in that house and it is calling to Joey and Byron and when they enter the house they may never return.

809 Jacob Street by Marty Young is an atmospheric haunted house story that is like a painting put to words. Everything in this story is described in vivid detail from the ghosts in Parkton, the house on Jacob Street and the character’s emotions about what was going on. There is not a lot of action in this story but it makes up for it by giving you vivid descriptions on a town haunted by ghosts and monsters.

The characters in 809 Jacob Street were a mixed bag for me. I liked how Byron and his friends are doing what normal kids do by being curious about the haunted house that no one wants to talk about.  Then its made obvious how their interest is not as normal as it appears. The other kids in school seem to avoid Hammish and Lain and Byron realizes that no one in this town acts like they did in his old hometown. Lain and Hammish are not normal kids and everyone seems to know it. I liked how Byron is given a choice on whether to go along with the monster hunters or be accepted by the other kids. I also liked the dynamic of the group and how Lain’s agenda is revealed.

The other main character in the book is Joey. I didn’t like Joey’s character and didn’t quite understand his role in the book. I found myself not liking him and it bothered me that he talked about how he loved his wife and daughter but he also talks about how he abandoned them and never went back. I didn’t see Joey as a sympathetic character and didn’t care about what happened to him. His role until the very end confused me but I did like the payoff and his involvement in the end of  the book. 809 Jacob Street is a great haunted house story, It’s very visual and I can see it making a good spooky movie.

22351700The next book I want to mention is Sailors Take Warning by Malcolm Torres   When alarms go off aboard the USS Nimitz, first responder Kate Conrad runs to the scene of accidents and injuries. But after 93 days at sea, Kate is suspicious about strange activities in the ship’s morgue, so she conducts her own gossipy investigation. Captain Fox, obsessed with the success of the ship’s experimental cloaking system, delegates authority over the crew to his executive officer, Captain Brandt. And Brandt, of course, is a psychopath who coerces the ship’s medical officer to cover up the problems in the morgue. As the ship approaches the equator, where the crew will hold an ancient hazing ritual, Kate Conrad confronts her superiors with proof of the horrifying activities taking place in the morgue. But they provide no help, so Kate takes drastic action on her own.

13097934The last book I want to mention is by Christine Sutton called All the Little Children is a novella that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Ben and Cara Barlow move into a beautiful Connecticut Victorian home to start the next phase of their lives together. They are thrilled with the home’s beauty, location and price, so they move in right away. When strange things start to happen to Cara, Ben tries his hardest to be supportive. They call in a team of paranormal investigators, and the home’s grisly history, and occupants, past and present, engage in a battle to the death. Will Ben and Cara reclaim their dream house, or will the evil within those walls take everything, including their souls? A short novella at approximately 20,000 words.