Help Wanted and Dark Blessings

I have read two anthologies recently that I want to talk about. The first one is Help Wanted: Tales of On The Job Terror from Evil Jester Press. This book is edited by Peter Giglio and has short stories by Joe McKinney, Gary Brandner, Henry Snider and many more. As if work wasn’t already scary enough, this book gives you more reasons to be scared. Help Wanted is an excellent anthology that includes some great stories by some master storytellers.

One of the stories includes Agnes: A Love Story by David C. Hayes, which tells the tale of a lawyer named Jack who feels unappreciated at work and by his wife so he starts a relationship with a photocopier. They get along well until the photocopier starts wanting the lawyer to kill for it. The thing I liked about this story was how the author makes you feel sorry for Jack. His two co-workers are happily married and love their jobs while Jack is married to a paranoid alcoholic and he hates and works at a job he can’t stand. You completely understand how he can fall in love with a copier because he is a lonely soul that no one understands except the copier of course.

Another story in Help Wanted is Work Life Balance by Jeff Strand. In this story a man works for a company that starts to let their employees do what they want at work. It starts with letting them come to work a little later than usual, then the employees are allowed to hug and kiss on the job. Things get really out of hand though when the company starts letting employees carry knives and stab each other, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their job. This story is meant to be more funny then scary but still has its scary moments. Jeff Strand does a great job mixing humor and horror in this story.

Another good story in Help Wanted: On The Job Terror is The Chapel Of Unrest by Stephen Volk. This is a gothic horror story that takes place in the 1800’s and has to deal with an undertaker who has the duty of capturing and embalming a ghoul who has been eating dead bodies in a graveyard. Stephen Volk through his use of  imagery in describing the graveyard, the chapel and the clothes of the time, transports you into an 1800’s gothic setting that reminded me of Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

One more story in this anthology that I have to mention is Expulsion by Eric Shapiro which tells the tale of a mad man going into a office to kill his fellow employees. This is a very short but very powerful story that gets you into the mind of a disgruntled employee but manages to end on a positive note. Though there were stories I didn’t like in Help Wanted, all in all its a very good anthology. I highly recommend this book but if this one doesn’t appeal to you the people at Evil Jester Press have some other good anthologies available including: Evil Jester Digest Volume 1  and Attic Toys.

The other anthology I want to mention is from Biting Dog Press called Dark Blessings by John Paul Allen. Included here are short stories dealing with a road trip to hell, a child with an unusual appetite and a closet lover with deadly intentions. Dark Blessings was really a surprise for me, I hadn’t heard of John Paul Allen but I read some good reviews and decided to give it a shot.

The first story in this anthology is called Pit Stop at Hoo Hoo Hollow which follows a young couple on their way through West Virginia who have made a career out of scamming the elderly out of money. During  a stop at Poogan’s Pass they end up where they didn’t expect to go and pay for their misdeeds. While this story is not bloody like some horror stories, it manages to scare in away you wouldn’t think about and makes a point that even if you think you are going to get away with something, karma will get you in the end.

The next story in Dark Blessings is called Runs Like Rabbit and follows the story of a native american boy named Runs Like Rabbit that has to give up his heritage and move with his family so his father can take a job in the white man’s world. The family gives up their names and rejects the gods that they once worshiped in search of a better life. The family soon finds out its not easy to leave their heritage behind as they become isolated. Runs Like Rabbit leaves the family and they all pay in the end. The thing I love about this story is it makes you feel the pain and loneliness that Runs Like Rabbit feels but then the story leaves you with a surprise ending that changes your feelings.

Keeping with the theme of John Paul Allen’s anthology which seems to be that all humanity is good but there is a dark self destructive side to it that makes us suffer. My favorite story in this book a love story called Marquee which has to deal with mistreating the ones you love, paying for your mistakes and letting go. The story follows a man named Scott who mistreats a mentally handicapped person named Duffy, but later finds out that he is connected to him through past lives. Duffy holds the key to Scott fixing his relationship with his wife. To talk to much about this story would give it away, it’s a different kind of love story that shows that sometimes to prove you love someone you have to let them go.

Each story here is a gem and shows humanity at its worst and best. Another story here that I found disturbing but illustrates how good comes from something bad was Prader-Willie which tells the story of three boys left to watch a girl with special needs. The story shows that things aren’t always what they seem. Dark Blessings is psychological horror at its best and I look forward to reading more from John Paul Allen.

Horror Addicts #062, Hugh B. Cave

Horror Addicts Episode# 062
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Saints Of Ruin
————————
1930’s | hugh b. cave | the ghoul 1933 | witness the apotheosis
Listen below by clicking the play button.

| quills address poll | the ghoul & dracula | grimmer than grim |
| Taunya | Jay Hartlove | emz on speed baycon wrapup | www coming |
| 1930's books | fable 3 | roses of winter | podiobooks | 
| exorcist crochet | office angst | martyrs | Free Fiction Fridays |
| blood kin | gothhaus | undead ed | 100 word story | usa events |
| horror bday videos | UK frightfest news | witness the apotheosis | 
| hugh b. cave | 

Quills - fans name the address poll!  Vote!
https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/vote-for-quills-new-address-on-second-life/

Horror Bday Video Cards
Kelly Allen

DarkSyde Acres Haunted House
L.B. Thrillkill

MJ Hahn

Sorrow Schellenberger-Perrotti

Ghoul-bourn Spook Show

Veronique Chevalier
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vddn7QsWTug&feature=player_embedded

Having trouble with the audio button above? Try this direct link:
http://m.podshow.com/media/18914/episodes/285919/horroraddicts-285919-06-23-2011.mp3

h o s t e s s: Emerian Rich
s t a f f
Knightmist, Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Ed Pope, Dan Shaurette
Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email emzbox@sbcglobal.net
c o n t a c t
http://www.horroraddicts.net
t a p i n g . s t u d i o
Quills, A Place For Writers on Second Life
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/168/179/23

Horror Addicts #061, Henry Snider

Horror Addicts Episode# 061
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Saints Of Ruin
————————
1920’s / Henry Snider / Counterfiet i / The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Listen below by clicking the play button.

| cabinet of dr. c. | slow death podcast | gothicjewellerybox.com |
| books | alice the madness | keith hughes ebook deathmatch |
| dead mail | gotheftosleep.com | cradle of fear | gothhaus |
| horror disaster anthology | 100 word story | best band season 5 |
| usa events | uk events | counterfiet i | henry snider | live interview |

Music for Henry Snider’s story, provided by:
Kevin MacLeod
Incomtech.com

Having trouble with the audio button above? Try this direct link:
http://m.podshow.com/media/18914/episodes/284246/horroraddicts-284246-06-09-2011.mp3

h o s t e s s: Emerian Rich
s t a f f
Knightmist, Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Ed Pope, Dan Shaurette
Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email emzbox@sbcglobal.net
c o n t a c t
http://www.horroraddicts.net
t a p i n g . s t u d i o
Quills, A Place For Writers on Second Life
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Awen/168/179/23

13 Questions with Henry Snider Part 2

Alright Horror Addicts, let’s welcome back HA veteran Henry Snider. This returning Addict has a message for all you readers out there. “It’s fantastic [to be back]. Horror Addicts is a great place for authors to get their work recognized and, hopefully, build a fan base. Besides, with bands I’d otherwise not hear, movie and book news – what’s not to love? Then there’s the fiction in every podcast. Nightmares become flesh straight through my speakers . . . it’s a cornucopia of insanity! And let’s face it folks, I’m all about the crazies. For episode 61 1920’s I’ve been lucky enough to secure the vocal talents of the delightfully devilish Melanie Skipp to read, Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Now, I’ll do my best not to give anything away but this week’s story, Someone to Watch Over Me, is based off of many real life people and places. The story takes place in “McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, hometown of the original flapper and famous silent movie actress, Olive Thomas. [Who] had a long-running battle with alcoholism. It ultimately took its toll in 1920 when in a drunken stupor she drank her husband’s medication for chronic syphilis, not knowing it was to be administered directly and not ingested. When she was found, the poor gal had already expired.”

“The Mound” which is referenced in the story is an actual location, “a portion of which still exists and can be visited. It was excavated in the 1890s, uncovering thirty-three burials as well as stone and bone tools, marine shell beads and pottery. Rev. Mark Gruber, a former professor of anthropology stated that he agrees with the 1896 address by archaeologist Frederick Putnam that estimated as many as 500-1,000 human remains at the site.” And for all you military buffs out there “The Mound was actually scouted by George Washington as a potential location for a fort, as it sits alongside the river and high on a ridge.”

Fans, you can check out Henry’s now up and running website http://henrysnider.com. There you can find information on his past, present, and future projects. The site includes both his writing and photography, though, as of late Henry has had to put a bit of a hold on both. As mentioned in the previous interview with Henry he was in two car wrecks in 2008 and 2009. “I’m still suffering from blinding headaches due to a car wreck that crushed some nerves in my head. However, the docs are severing them again in a few days which means I’ll be a numbskull once again (the humor of which my wife will never let me live down) and hopefully back behind the camera. As for horror based projects, I’m currently working on two. The first is a different view of anatomy and the second is a erotic horror project based on my short story, The Vessel. Both will be on my website once complete.”

Just curious, I had to ask how many publications Snider currently has. He replied with, “Whoof. Unfair question for the moment. Remember, I just actually started writing for publication in 2010 and lost a good portion of that year to the healing process. How about I answer that one this way – since 2010 I have six acceptances, two rejections, a dozen pieces currently under consideration and am two-thirds done with a novel. Not too bad considering the circumstances.” No, not bad at all!

Now if you’re wondering how to get your hands or well eyes on some of those acceptances, let me give you some details. “To date there’s only one work that will be available on e-book and that’s Last Call. It’s part of the Rapid Decomposition anthology due out later this year. All other acceptances to date are for print publication only. However, one of the stories, A Murder of Crows made the cover of the forthcoming Fearology 2: Beware All Animals Great and Small. Olden’s Wood is in the sequel anthology, Fearology 3: Planting the Seeds of Horror.” More information about his publications is available on the Henry Snider website.

Having already asked what frightened Snider in the first interview; I decided to shake things up and find out what actually got him into the Horror genre in the first place. “Can I blame Mommy and Daddy? They took me to see Jaws in the theater when I was five and I’ve never been the same. No? Well then how about I discovered the adrenaline rush that came with being scared out of my wits addictive. Much like people who go crazy for roller coasters. I like to share what makes me keep the light on at bedtime. Let’s see – I know I read Ayn Rand’s Anthem as a kid and I stayed awake nights thinking about not having an identity all my own, but I’d have to say the two front runners are Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House and Matheson’s Hell House. Both of those are terrifying (the latter of which caused a few questions and my parents to start monitoring my reading a little more closely).”

Snider’s goals for 2011 are simple enough:

  • World domination.
  • Hunting licenses for tourist season.
  • Making “Naked Mondays” mandatory.

“Seriously, though, my immediate goals between now and the end of August, 2011, are to finish the 8 stories I’ve committed to (and submit them – no slacking here, folks) and finish my novel. Beyond that, rewrite the novel and have it ready for submission by December 31st.”

Keep an eye out for future projects from Henry. “I’ll toss a few bones out there for coming attractions . . . my novel, Drive-In Feature takes place at, of all places, an abandoned drive in theater whose land is cursed and has a dark history. I’ve had a good time with it, though juggling three concurrent time lines has been a real challenge. As for upcoming shorter works, they include demonic children . . . angels . . . killer birds . . . plants that crave human flesh . . . zombies during the Civil War . . . crazed circus performers . . . flappers gone wild (oh, wait, that one’s in Horror Addicts episode 61) . . . religious fanatics . . . cannibalism . . . gateways to other dimensions . . . and vampiric crack whores – gotta have your perforated-hickey-making vampiric crack whores.”

For more information on Henry Snider be sure to check out these websites:

http://www.henrysnider.com
http://www.facebook.com/henry.snider
http://twitter.com/#nightmarescribe
http://www.csfwg.org
http://myspace.com/nightmarescribe

13 Questions with Henry Snider

This episode’s featured author is Henry Snider, who is well known for his work with the Colorado Springs Fiction Writer’s Group as well as his photography. He has a background in the occult and parapsychology, which is the study of psychic abilities and various other paranormal happenings.

Mr. Snider is such a fountain of interesting and useful information, I had a difficult time cutting our interview down to 13 questions.

So lets get down to business…I asked Henry how it felt to be the featured author of Horror Addicts episode 36: Frankenstein. He said , “It feels fantastic…and fitting. I have an artificial knee and the body/not my body concept strikes close to home.”

The title of Snider’s featured story is Thump, the reason which he wouldn’t share. But I was able to get a little information about the story from him. “…[M]idgets in tutus sporting chainsaws, what else is there? Seriously, I’d have to say I hope I’ve envisioned a slightly different view of the mad doctor, though I made sure the monster makes an appearance. I mean, what would Frankenstein be without the monster?”

Though he may relate to the concept of the Frankenstein monster. Good ‘ol Frankie is not Henry’s favorite monster. “While zombies are my favorite movie monster (and for the record I was a fan since the original Dawn of the Dead was in theaters), I’d actually have to say children are my favorite horror monster. I realized this a few years back while on vacation with my family. Hollie and I were road surfing. Now for those of you who don’t know what road surfing is, try picking a direction and just start driving…then let everyone in the vehicle take turns picking which way to go when you get to an intersection.”

“So, we were surfing and ended up a few miles out of Guilford, Indiana (cue banjo music), and came across this amazing abandoned house. We explored a bit and took a few pictures. Once around back I looked into the basement and saw seven pairs of silver eyes looking back at me. Now, this was late August but I could’ve sworn November just set in. I looked closer and seven gray children looked up from the gloom, some blinking. I prepared to do my best impersonation of Disney’s Ichabod Crane, but dared one last glimpse. Seven pairs of eyes all right, only they belonged to a family of raccoons nesting in the piles of who-knows-whats left in the cellar. From that point on, children, especially those that stare, give me an icy chill. I think it’s the purity of their emotions that hits a raw nerve.”

Henry was one of the founding members of the Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group. In which he has held the position of President, Secretary, Webmaster, and Vice President, the position he continues to hold today. Interested in the CSFWG, I asked Snider to explain what it is they do. He replied, “You mean aside from act the literary equivalent to A.A.? Believe it or not, in many ways that statement’s not a joke. Think about it, red eyes, disheveled hair, unbathed (if we were in the middle of a really good scene), smelling of alcohol (if we were in the middle of a really bad scene). Readers enjoy writing, but often don’t understand writers. We’re quirky, opinionated, cranky (we mustn’t forget cranky), and those are just the good days. Writers need peer interaction, be it snagging a beer and complaining about the latest project to editing each others work in the hopes of helping create the best prose possible.”

Then he continued, “With that in mind, each of the three CSFWG groups meets once per month for three hours. Physical submissions are given and the previous month’s critiqued works are returned to authors, followed by oral critiques given by each member. This is the core of what we do – peer fellowship, literary twelve step program (“To Be” verbs are number six) and holding the occasional class or contest.”

Well known for his tasteful semi-nude photography, I asked Snider what got him started taking the photographs? He told me that “…believe it or not it was the customers. Many want a photo to show the world they’re incredibly desirable, but don’t have the Elle magazine figure. Once they saw that I could enhance their “concern” areas through posing (that’s the real secret) and completely remove others through digital wizardry word of mouth had me shooting 30% boudoir. I personally believe what you don’t show entices the critic more than what you do.”

I wondered if Henry took the photos for purely artistic reasons or if he took them for paying customers or a little of both. He said that it was all of the above, then added, “Often it’s people wanting to still look like themselves, only the “best” version possible. So after a photo shoot’s done I’ll soften wrinkles, digitally remove a few pounds, put curves where they were a couple of years before, etc..”

Curious, I asked what he enjoyed more…writing or photography? His response was interesting and thoughtful… “Oh, what an unfair question. Prose is creating a story through words and photography is telling a story through one single second of life that will never be repeated. I believe them two sides of the same coin. However, since you’ve pressed me on this one I’d have to say writing. I’ve loved the written word my whole life and only discovered photography in recent years.”

Snider’s publications include Penny For Your Thoughts “…one of [Snider’s] many salutes to H.P. Lovecraft. The tale revolves around a typical nerdy kid – every school has one – quiet, glasses, often carries forgotten demonic tomes around. Well this particular child comes across a way to resolve his bully issue.”

As well as Crossroads, which, “is actually a spin off from actual events that happened. I was visiting family in the back hills of Missouri (cue banjo music again) and passed the same model car I was riding in. Now at the time the car couldn’t have been over five years old, yet this one was in the weeds at a crossroads and rusted to the point of appearing decades older. One legal pad later Crossroads was born. A side note for authors, don’t watch television while you write. I had Peg and Kelly, ala Married With Children, running a restaurant.

Mr. Snider was in a two wrecks not that long ago. I asked if he would share a bit of the story and if it the experience has affected his writing in any way. “In both [wrecks] my vehicle was stopped and obeying traffic laws. The first cost me a knee, though now I have a shiny new one with a warranty, and the second scrambled my egg a bit. So it’s taking me a bit to get back into the literary swing of things, but I’d have to say it’s definitely affected my writing. Mechanically I’m brushing up on things I taught a couple of years ago and stylistically I’ve learned to relax and just let the story create itself. Now if you meant from a personal perspective I realized that writing a story means nothing if not shared, so beginning in 2010 I’m writing for publication (finally).”

Since Henry is apart of the CSFWG and since he is a published author I figured he would have some great advice for all you writers out there. To keep the interview short (I had already gotten to 24 questions in our interview) I asked, what I thought to be the two most asked questions out there. Do you have any tips for writers trying to get published? And, do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Snider had plenty of useful information to share…“be true to your characters. Don’t be afraid to let your characters be what they are, warts and all. Dudley Doright was annoying as a cartoon hero – you don’t want him as your protagonist. Let readers have revelations alongside the characters. It builds a bond that keeps people coming back for more. In retrospect, let evil characters have a human side, something that makes the reader identify with him/her/it. A sense of unease is what you create because the reader glimpses themselves in the very thing they despise. To me, at least, believable characters are the key to getting work published for others to enjoy.”

And his advice for aspiring authors was this, “Write like you speak. If not, your prose, especially your dialogue, will sound stilted. Take a while, go to the mall where people of all ages are and just listen. You’ll hear “salt and pepper” dialogue (speakers interrupting themselves, or others cutting in for inane reasons), slang, dialects, manipulations, flirtations…and if you plant yourself too near the bathrooms – constipations, all there for you, the writer, to sponge for your prose. Let those around you be your teachers and inspiration. Just listen. Remember – no one ever learned anything through an open mouth.”

As well as having a My Space profile, Mr. Snider has his own website, which, is “currently in the middle of a rebuild.” Henry stated that “[o]nce completed the site will feature a bit of prose, my photography and a little imagery. The writing could be anything from some previously published religious nonfiction (no folks, that’s not a joke – how’s that for scary?), basic rants, publications and, of course, horror. Photography offers an outlet for me that doesn’t involve a computer, a dark room and my horrific muse – the visage of Rush Limbaugh in a hot pink thong. My photographs encompass everything from landscapes to models posing for specific projects. As for the Imagery – find me on Flickr or Second Life and enjoy the vampiric crack whore images. There’s nothing like having friends with equally twisted imaginations who like to model.”

To end our interview I asked the question I always do to wrap everything up. Do you have any projects that you’re currently working on that your fans can look forward to? Snider had this to say, “I have a few irons in the fire. Every short story ends up running at 10,000+ words. Even this story is the third attempt at a Frankenstein story for Horror Addicts. The first two were shelved at 15,000 and 8,600 words respectively. Each is a different vision of Shelly’s characters and will be completed in due time. Future works include a Lovecraftian novel I’ve played with for a few years, monstrous babies, haunted homesteads, Colorado mines and, of course, children.”

If you would like to learn more about Henry Snider you can visit him at these sites:

Henry Snider’s personal website – www.henrysnider.com

My Space profile – www.myspace.com/nightmarescribe

Second Life – http://slurl.com/secondlife/Sukotraz/152/176/68

And the Colorado Springs Fiction Writer’s Group website – www.csfwg.org