Fiction and Genre Panel – 3rd Indie Author Day Event

Moderator and horror author Brian McKinley is joined by science fiction writer William Gold, humorist Loretta Wish, mystery and thriller author J. Lauryl Jennings, dark fantasy author Kristin Battestella (yes that’s me! Your trusty Kbatz!), and urban fantasy storyteller Laura Kaighn for the Fiction and Genre Panel at the 3rd Indie Author Day hosted at the Heggan Library in Sewell, NJ.

You can see the entire 7 part video below or also view the Childrens and Non-Fiction Panel from the Indie Author Day.  For more photos and author events, visit the South Jersey Writers Conference, Facebook Page.

 

 

 

Book Review: Her Dark Inheritance Meg Hafdahl

Book Review: Her Dark Inheritance by Meg Hafdahl

Don’t be alone. Not at Night. Not in Willoughby.

Willoughby, Minnesota is an idyllic small town in Middle America. It boasts one café, one motel, and a population of five-hundred-nine. But, there are more than small town secrets hiding in the shadows of the town square. Something lurks just out of sight—and out of mind—from the residents. A bloody history of accidents, violence, and murder plagues Willoughby and threatens the town even in the present.

In July 1982, someone brutally murdered three members of the Bergman family with an ax in their Willoughby home. For decades, town suspicion has fallen on the sole survivor of the bloody massacre: Caroline, the Bergman’s teenage daughter.

But Daphne Forrest knew her mother not as Caroline Bergman, but as Jane Downs-Forrest. It wasn’t until Jane’s death that Daphne found out that her mother was the suspected murderer that newspapers had dubbed The Minnesota Borden.

Daphne visits Willoughby for the first time, looking for answers to questions about the woman she thought she knew. She may not have grown up in Willoughby, but Daphne quickly finds that she shares a connection with the town that not even the residents can fathom. Willoughby wants to show her something, something that can save the town and, maybe, Daphne herself.

Thrust into memories of unfathomable violence and fear, Daphne must face her own mistakes and find a strength that her mother never had. If she wants to get out of Willoughby alive, she must face an evil that has stalked the small town since its founding.

Her Dark Inheritance follows in a glorious tradition of American ax murderers, but it’s far from the typical tale.

Meg Hafdahl creates characters real enough to climb off the page, including a monster that stalks you long after the novel’s last sentence. The town of Willoughby itself is as real as any character. Vividly described, it’s delightful and terrifying in equal measure. It embodies an abusive relationship that traps the residents in a situation where manipulation masquerades as protection and “this is for your own good” can be just as sinister as any threat. The story raises questions that strike to the core of all of us: What does it mean to be evil? What does it mean to be weak?

Hafdahl weaves an intricate tale of betrayal, murder, and small town intrigue. Her brilliant narrative style keeps you guessing from beginning to end about the next shocking twist. Whether it’s the truth about the Bergman murders or Daphne’s ultimate fate, Hafdahl keeps you at her mercy through every page.

I haven’t read a book in one sitting in a long time, but I couldn’t put down  Her Dark Inheritance. ‘One more chapter’ led to ‘one more chapter’ and ‘one more chapter’ after that. The book is labelled for Young Adults, but is just as gripping for adults. I recommend it whole-heartedly, especially for those who like to see the darker side of the American Dream.

An Interview With Suzanne Madron

What is your story for episode 135 about?

28101675The story is a sample of a longer work titled For Sale or Rent, available on Amazon. It’s about a house that never seems to be lived in for very long and seems to go on the market every few months, but this time, nothing about the sale is normal, including the new owners. No sooner has the for sale sign come down and the neighborhood is thrown into a Lovecraftian nightmare and the only way out is to attend the house-warming party.

When did you start writing?

I began writing in grade school, initially just journaling with a few stories here and there. In high school, I wrote what would become the first draft of my first novel, NEMESIS.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

Ultimately it depends on my mood, and which pseudonym I’m writing as that day. I enjoy writing vampire horror, Lovecraftian horror, and hard-boiled occult noir mysteries. Sometimes I even write how-to and training documentation. It would be hard to pin my favorite into one category.512hsuf4k7l

Who or what inspires you?

Everyday life inspires me quite often. In For Sale or Rent, it was our neighbor’s house across the street, which was on the market a lot over the years until they moved in and fixed the place up.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

The ever-present glimmer of hope – usually. In some more recent horror stories, I’ve noticed a trend of no hope and no end to the nightmares. In older horror stories, there was always hope at the end, and if not a happy ending, at least a temporary reprieve until the next battle between good and evil.

Could you tell us about the Immortal War series?

The Immortal War Series starts off in three books dealing with the events before, during, and after a war that would become known as the Immortal War. NEMESIS is the first book, and we meet the main characters. Somewhere in the blood and violence 51qvotf0wplis apparently a love story, or so I’m told. In the second book, LAMIA, we learn more about our main characters and what makes them tick. When the Immortal War begins, we discover how it began. By the third book, THE TOWER, twenty years have passed and the Immortal War has ended. To give more details would be to ruin the surprise.
The fourth book in the series is a break from the initial books in that SCYLLA is more young adult horror, the fear is very much based in human monsters rather than those of legend.

What are some of the other books you have available?

For Sale or Rent, The Cat with Cthulhu Eyes, Apocrypha of the Apocalypse, and Love Notes are all available on Amazon. Other books (written as James Glass) include The Murdered Metatron, The Dispossessed, and The Vampire of Plum Run.

Where can we find you online?

 

An Interview With Lisa Mannetti

Our Featured author for episode 132 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast is Lisa Mannetti. Lisa writes what I like to call historical horror fiction. Recently she talked to us about her work:

What is your story for episode 132 about?

Stoker_NomineeI will be reading from The Box Jumper, my stand-alone novella about Houdini which was nominated for both the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Awards and won “Novella of the Year” from This is Horror. The protagonist or narrator is Leona Derwatt, a former “box jumper” i.e. assistant to the great magician himself. Thirty years after Houdini’s death, she says she’s going to reveal his secrets about the paranormal—but is she telling the truth? Leona was in love with Houdini and she helped him debunk fraudulent Spiritualists, but in the present (1956 in the novella) she’s trying to guard herself from telling a shady medium/magician named Emory the real source of Houdini’s powers. As the book progresses, we (as readers) realize she’s been drawn into a dangerous situation with Emory and two of his cohorts that is more nefarious than she ever imagined. The novella’s five parts and main structure follow the five classic symptoms of demonic take-over—from “invitation” to “summoning” to “obsession” through “infestation” and finally, “possession.” Has Leona been “invaded” and overcome by dark forces? Or is she merely a tragic, lonely figure who’s fallen prey to madness? Terrifying and poignant, the novella delves into the darker side of a broken woman who worshipped an immensely charismatic public figure—and maintains—was loved by him in return.

When did you start writing?

I first started writing when I was eight years old—and the very first story I dwatch 277x419wrote (that wasn’t an assignment from one the nuns who taught at my school) was a psychological tale about vampires. Sounds pretty sophisticated, right? It wasn’t though. It turns out my parents were going crazy because I had night terrors and I was keeping the entire household awake night after night. When I wrote the story, my mother read the “Twilight Zone” ending I’d tacked on which was that the girl’s frightening nightmares and dreams were actually triggered when her mother came in each every evening to kiss her while the child was asleep and resulted in her bolting upright and screaming an hour or two later. This goodnight ritual was my mother’s routine because she was going for an advanced degree from NYU and by the time she got off the train and came home, I was already in bed, asleep. The great thing from my parents’ point of view was that by writing about it, I saved them megabucks at the psychiatrist they were just about to drag me to. The important thing for me was that if you let your subconscious run, great stories (not this one, necessarily) can happen. And sometimes it doesn’t matter if truths about the author emerge—I mean unless you have my mother as your first reader, chances are excellent you won’t know what the hell you’re revealing and won’t have to feel embarrassed.

What are your favorite topics to write about? 

I really like writing about the dark side of life. Disease and disfigurement are prominent themes. I’ve written about polio, glanders (a disease that afflicts horses but can also spread to humans), radiation poisoning, and a host of other terrible ailments. In fact, I think one of the reasons the door to my imagination opens wider when I set the stories in the past is because the medical treatment was so abysmal compared to today’s standards that disease (of all kinds) was more part and parcel to everyday life. I like to write about the things that “seize” us mentally or physically and force us to cope with what’s beyond our control. I also like to write about the changes a disease has—not just on our bodies—but on our psyches. Both disease and possession/manipulation in my work are metaphors (ultimately) for the things around us we can’t control—those profoundly painful moments each of us face in life. We all encounter deep disappointment, death of loved ones; harrowing circumstances that make us question ourselves and the world around us. I like to write about that nexus—the things that impact our lives and create permanent change in our bodies, minds and hearts.

Who or what inspires you?

I think a lot of my stories are still attempts to reckon with the fact that we all die someday. Because my mother was a nurse (later a public health director) we had plenty of medical-type textbooks around the house and the pictures and the diseases both fascinated and terrified me. From fourth through seventh grade, for example, I was obsessed and phobic about getting leprosy. It sounds funny now, but I really did worry about it to the point I was getting up in the middle of the night to check and see if my palms were turning yellow or if I’d lost feeling in my feet. The Catholic nuns were big on discussing it back then (and collecting money to send to leper colonies) and there was plenty to read in the school library about notable figures like Father Damien. The big thing about him, as I recall, is that during one Sunday sermon he began speaking about the affliction “we” lepers endure and that was the hint to the rest of the colony that he’d joined their little weeping sore club. There were also tons of books in each classroom that dealt with the lives of the martyrs—all of whom died gruesome, miserable deaths. (Everything from being shot with arrows, to roasted over coals, to thrown to lions) and between those books and my mother’s handy pictorial guides, disease became a lifelong fascination for me. I didn’t really move to the next level—how it impacts our personalities—until I was in my late twenties and diagnosed with a benign pituitary tumor that turned out to be no big deal. But, while I was at the doctor’s office, I saw a woman about my age who was not only disfigured, but completely miserable. Don’t get me wrong. I had the utmost sympathy for her, and it was abundantly clear she was suffering. It was also obvious that she couldn’t help snapping and being somewhat nasty to people around her because her life had been utterly ruined by her disease. It was terrifying to me to contemplate—not just the havoc and devastation the disease wrought on her physically—but how her mind and heart had given way and succumbed, too. Years later I read Pet Cemetery and realized Stephen King was probing the same idea when he depicts what Rachel went through on account of her crippled sister.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

Tom and Huck adult 2014Well, one thing that strikes me—as both a reader and a writer—is that the genre has both suffered and gained from a schizophrenic perception of its merits and faults. The first gothic supernatural novel, The Castle of Otranto written by Horace Walpole in 1764 (which was both enormously popular and truly awful) claimed to be drawing on the works of Shakespeare. In my personal opinion the only thing Walpole really has in common with the bard derives from what I consider one of Shakespeare’s more preposterous works: Titus Andronicus. Castle includes some pretty laughable scenes including one where a giant helmet falls out of the sky, and Titus has a lot of over-the-top action, too—his daughter, Lavinia, enters at one point carrying her father’s severed hand between her teeth. Sure, there were and are some terrible horror novels—just as there are in any genre and in mainstream books as well. As a reader and a writer, I find it both fascinating and wonderful that authors like Stephen King and Peter Straub and Shirley Jackson (and many others—too numerous to mention) completely legitimized and elevated horror—and it’s a pleasure to be able to write serious, literary works in their wake. Without their achievements, horror would be consigned to remainder tables, beach reads, and scrap heaps for the most part. The general public seems to have difficulty in making the imaginative leap or transitional analysis that (for example) makes them aware that a book like William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice or a play like Tennessee Williams’s Suddenly Last Summer are fraught with horror—and that many of us draw upon the same kinds of important themes when we write.

Could you tell us about 51 Fiendish Ways to Leave Your Lover?

It started as a little joke to amuse myself, then P.D. Cacek suggested I find an illustrator and she introduced me to the wonderful and wonderfully talented Glenn Chadbourne. 51 Fiendish Ways is a macabre gag book of mostly one-liners about the nasty side of breaking up. There may be copies here and there, but alas it’s pretty much out of print. The good news is that sometime in what I hope will be the near future, Glenn and I are going to reissue the book with new cover art, a new introduction, etc. I’ve always been drawn to dark satire—it’s a skewed perception of a situation—just as horror the “overlay” used by horror writers.

This is a small video trailer of 51 Fiendish Ways for your enjoyment.

Could you tell us more about The Gentling Box?

Although it wasn’t the first novel I wrote, it was my “debut” novel and I was thrilled beyond measure when it won the Bram Stoker Award.

The book is set in 19th century Hungary and Romania and its protagonist (who is suffering from a fatal disease), Imre, a half-gypsy horse trader; his immediate family; and his close circle of friends have all been duped by his wife’s mother, a sorceress named Anyeta whose goal is to gain personal power and to throw off a curse that will condemn her to being eternally awake and aware in her own grave. But, the only way to make an end of Anyeta and to grant her victims peace is gentling—a crude surgery performed on wild horses in order to tame them. Imre’s most hellish childhood memory is witnessing his father opening the crate-like gentling box and placing the wooden and leather devices around the heads of a herd of wild horses. Jutting inward from the circular bands are metal spikes which penetrate the horses’ brains and Imre cannot forget the sight of the blood or, more sorrowful still, the dimming of intelligence in the horses’ huge glossy eyes. Despite his trade, he has never gentled a horse—nor can he bring himself to face the ironic fact that in order to free Anyeta’s human victims, he must gentle them. His decision, then, is whether he can summon the courage to heal himself of his disease by claiming the curse known as the hand of the dead, knowing that once he does so, he must also ultimately face the terror and the freedom of the gentling box.

Here’s the trailer from the second edition:

N.B. The book is currently in its third edition (with wonderful cover art by Steven Gervais) published by NightScape Press and available from Amazon and other online retailers.

It seems like a lot of your work is a mix of historical fiction and horror, Do you have a favorite time period to write about and how long does it take you to research a book before you write it?

gbox+280x419My background (actually my graduate degree and half my Ph.D.) is in 18th and 19th century English Literature; but this is a sort of chicken vs. egg situation since I’m not sure which actually came first. I’ve always been drawn to that period and it seemed like a natural fit when I began writing fiction. That said, I’ve set books and stories in 16th century Scotland, the late 19th and early 20th century in America, as well as in the present. I find that the past often opens the door imaginatively for me and I often write in the first person because it’s a natural and immediate identifier for the reader. Unconsciously, the reader accepts and becomes one with the narrator and therefore finds it easier to slip into the past as present.

It depends on the story or book; but six weeks for a story and six months of research for a book are pretty typical. I also continue to research as I write and will look up whatever I need: a street address, the name of a song, a diagnosis. It keeps the process very interesting to say the least and I select what I find mind-boggling so hopefully the reader will also get caught up in those details. While I’m writing a particular piece, I also watch any videos and read any other books I can find that touch upon the topic—it keeps me close to the lives my characters are experiencing and even unconsciously influences the subtle details of the tale. So, for example, when researching Houdini, I not only read all his written work and biographies about him and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and watched videos of his and Doyle’s films, I also read up on and watched anything I could find about mentalism, the Spiritualist movement, séances, magic, hypnotism, demons, 1920s New York City and Boston, mediums, and witchcraft. Plus a lot more that I can’t think of right off the top of my head.

What are some of the other books you have available?

YA Tom and Huck 547 x 819There are tons of my stories published in numerous well-edited anthologies that also include some other wonderful authors—so I can recommend them all without reservation. (Check out my Amazon Author page.) But, also available are my Stoker nominated stories, “The Hunger Artist” –which can be found in Zippered Flesh 2 (Smart Rhino Publications), and my short piece about Lizzie Borden, “1925: A Fall River Halloween” in Shroud Magazine #10. “Everybody Wins,” which was made into a short film starring Malin Ackerman (Bye-Bye Sally) is available in Uncommon Assassins. (Smart Rhino Publications).

Among my books (fiction) are The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn (Smart Rhino) and Deathwatch, (NightScape Press) which is a collection of two related novellas, “Dissolution” and “The Sheila Na Gig.” “Dissolution,” which was nominated for a Stoker Award, is set in 1893 and will soon be a feature-length film directed by Paul Leyden. It’s the story of a young medical student who’s been expelled from university and finds himself in an isolated town in upstate New York where he learns that though he’s been ostensibly employed as a tutor to twelve-year old twins, their father has actually hired him as an assistant in an endeavor to separate them because they’re conjoined. “The Sheila Na Gig” is also set in the 19th century and concerns a young man and his dysfunctional family and his grandmother’s supernatural powers. Both novellas are very dark.

The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn (Adult and YA editions) is a lighthearted tale in which Twain’s Tom and Huck have been reincarnated as twin white cats and familiars to a witch. They long to be boys again—scheming accordingly—and, as New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry writes in the introduction, “The novel is equal parts Mark Twain’s quaint and homespun humor and Mannetti’s sharp-as-a-razor modern-day wit…an adventure into the funhouse of intelligent imagination.”

Finally, “1925: A Fall River Halloween”; The Gentling Box, and The Box Jumper (April 2017) have all been translated into Italian.

Where can we find you online?

Just about everywhere! I’m also a member of the HWA and the Author’s Guild.

Websites:

www.lisamannetti.com

https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Mannetti/e/B001HPT6J8/

http://lisamannetti.blogspot.com/

http://twitter.com/LisaMannetti

https://www.facebook.com/LisaMannetti.Writer/

https://www.pinterest.com/lisamannettiaut/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1978203.Lisa_Mannetti

The Chancery House:

www.thechanceryhouse.com (my virtual haunted house)

Lisa 2Lisa Mannetti’s debut novel, The Gentling Box, garnered a Bram Stoker Award and she has since been nominated four additional times for the prestigious award in both the short and long fiction categories. Her novella, “Dissolution,” will soon be a feature-length film directed by Paul Leyden.
In addition to The Box Jumper, her novella about Houdini which was nominated for both The Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Awards and won “Novella of the Year” from THIS IS HORROR, she has also authored The New Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn; Deathwatch; a macabre gag book, 51 Fiendish Ways to Leave your Lover; as well as non-fiction books, numerous articles and short stories in newspapers, magazines and anthologies. Recent and forthcoming works include “Arbeit Macht Frei” in Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, “The Hermit” in Never Fear: The Tarot, and a novel about the dial-painter tragedy in the post-WWI era, Radium Girl.

Horror Addicts Guide to Life Author Spotlight: Sumiko Saulson

23676179Sumiko Saulson has written several horror novels and has been featured on the horror addicts podcast before. For Horror Addicts Guide To Life  she wrote an article called The Addicts Guide To Cats. In it Sumiko gives us some hints on what not to do with your kitty. One thing you definitely don’t want to do is bring your cat back from the dead.  To read Sumiko’s article along with several other articles on living the horror lifestyle, pick up a copy of Horror Addicts Guide To Life. Recently Sumiko was nice enough to tell us what she likes about horror:

What do you like about the horror genre?

The horror genre addresses our deep, dark fears of the unknown. Many horror stories are about surviving or at least attempting to survive the worse. Often, they are stories about why we fight to survive against all odds. Sometimes, they are stories about the underdog overcoming, but even when our brave heroes and heroines die, they are valiant in the struggle. I’m not sure if all human beings are deeply concerned with their own mortality, but I certainly was, from an early age. How can we enjoy our life story when we know it inevitably ends in death? Or does it? Perhaps there is an afterlife. Perhaps we can continue as the Undead. If we can’t continue, perhaps our brief lives can still have meaning. I think all horror addresses some visceral fear of the unknown, where death is the greatest unknown of them all.

What are some of your favorite horror movies, books or TV shows?13564711

My first horror novel was Peter Straub’s “Ghost Story,” which I read when I was 11 years old. My first favorite horror novel was Stephen King’s “The Stand.” I don’t think “Dune Messiah” by Frank Herbert was a horror novel, but it probably should have been. It certainly gave me nightmares. Both of Christopher Rice’s horror novels, “The Heavens Rise” and “The Vines” were excellent, but I’m not sure when the will be a new one, since he’s writing porn.. uhm I mean erotica, lately.

I know this is kind of weird but, “Bones”- that fifteen year old horror film with Snoop Dog – is in fact, one of my favorite horror movies. I also love the Tony Todd film “Candyman” – and generally, I adore Tony Todd. “Bride of Chucky” and “Spawn of Chucky,” and “Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors” are other favorites, as are the original three Raimi “Evil Dead” films, particularly “Army of Darkness.”

As far as TV shows go, Supernatural.

In what way do you live the horror lifestyle?

When I had a 93 Crown Vic I used to pretend it was a Chevy Impala and I was Dean Winchester while bumping some old ass 70s tunes on the radio, does that count?

I think I’m a standard issue old school goth chick, and I have headstone book ends all over my house and a coffin-shaped jewelry box.

What are you currently working on?

I’m editing “Insatiable,” the third book in the Somnali trilogy. The first was “Happiness and Other Disease,” the the second “Somnalia.” They are dark fantasies based in Greco-Roman mythology, but the third book also has Hawaiian mythology, which makes some sense since the central protagonist is half Hawaiian. I can’t really say much more without giving spoilers for the first two books, but let me just say that things get really bad for mankind in this third book and I really feel for the humans. And there is a lot of weird, transgressive sex involved.

Where can we find you online?

sumikosaulson.com

https://www.facebook.com/authorsumikosaulson

https://twitter.com/@sumikoska

Lori R. Lopez – Celebrating Women in Horror 2015

Women In Horror 2015

Welcome to Killion’s Kave!  Today I have a very special treat for you.  We’re interviewing Lori Lopez who knows how to scare the heck out of you and isn’t afraid of spiders!  I first met Lori in a Women of Horror group and have grown to love the kind generosity of her posts and the ever-lasting smile in all her photos.  But what I love the most are her HATS!  She stole my heart when she featured a video book trailer that her family helped her create.  She is an inspiration to me that a lady in horror can have it all!

I love how you integrate your family into your whole book marketing. Tell me how did that start and where do you see it continuing?

Lori R. Lopez - Horror AuthorWriting was always something I did, and my sons were around it as they were growing up. They have been very supportive, though they are not big “horror fans” like me. They believe in me, as I believe in them. The respect and admiration is mutual between the three of us. I did my best to encourage and bolster their interests when they were kids.

We share the same talents, yet each of us has our main passion. Mine is for writing. Noél is focused on music, Rafael on acting and filmmaking. But we love doing all of that, and it seemed a good idea to form a creative company. That is now called Fairy Fly Entertainment. We voted, and it meant a lot to me that my sons chose the name from one of my novels, THE FAIRY FLY.

The three of us have many projects and plans . . . for literature, films, and music. I started writing songs in the early Eighties. I’ve always wanted to act and be a musician, and that is possible at last. We started filming some things, such as author readings for my books, with Rafael behind the camera and Noél recording audio plus composing original scores.

We initially released a book trailer several years ago for my first novel, DANCE OF THE CHUPACABRAS. Rafael did the animation, Noél the creepy organ music, and we all sang my lyrics. It was a lot of fun. You can find two versions linked to our Fairy Fly Entertainment channel on You Tube.

In a more recent book trailer for my second poetry collection, THE QUEEN OF HATS, we played characters and filmed an improv scene. I’m a famous reclusive hat model, and my sons are trying to interview me. It’s funny, and the ending was a surprise! We were winging it, but I think the whole thing worked out pretty well. We filmed a couple of other single-take continuous-shot improv films the same night and may release them soon, along with more author readings that we filmed last year.

Rafael has a poetry collection published. He’s working on an author reading for that, an animated film, and more book projects, while his brother is working on musical projects. We hope to release songs this year. There is so much to do, so much going on, it’s difficult to keep up with. I love working with them and couldn’t be prouder that they chose to do this with me! They’re incredibly talented and supportive.

That is so exciting that your children are very involved in your marketing!  How fun is that!!  I bet they think they have the coolest mom 🙂

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? How’d that work out for you? 😀 I Also wanted to ride my bike across the United States … but I gave that up after an hour at the state park!

Odd And Ends Cover by Lori R. LopezHonestly, in Kindergarten I knew I wanted to be an artist. I illustrate most of my books and do my own cover art, so I guess that came true. Next (by Second or Third Grade) I wanted to be a poet and songwriter too. I’m both of these. I’ve built a small following for my poetry column “Poetic Reflections” on our website, Fairy Fly Entertainment.com. We plan to record some of my ballads. I also wanted to write stories, which I am doing.

So far I have four collections of short fiction: OUT-OF-MIND EXPERIENCES; CHOCOLATE-COVERED EYES; THE MACABRE MIND OF LORI R. LOPEZ; and my latest, ODDS AND ENDS: A DARK COLLECTION. Further collections are in progress. I have stories and poems published in a number of anthologies with other authors as well.

By age fifteen I knew I wanted to write novels. I have a few out so far: the eccentric Chupacabras horror-fantasy-adventure; AN ILL WIND BLOWS; THE FAIRY FLY. Some were written around seventeen or more years ago, but ILL WIND was written in one month for a challenge between a group of writers.

Since I can remember I’ve wanted to act. I was in school plays growing up and received First Place for a two-person Forensic Playacting competition in Ninth Grade. In Fourth and Fifth Grade, I would write comedy skits and perform them on the stage at my Middle School. It’s something I loved, but I had to bury it for many years. I supported my sons as dancers and actors, along with soccer and science fairs. Rafael was cast as a dancing Jack Junior for a Jack In The Box commercial when he was a child.

He also acted in an indie film, THE HUNGRY WOMAN. Noél went to the International Science And Engineering Fair in Ninth Grade after winning a lot of awards at the regional level. He went to a few State Science Fairs. I homeschooled them from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade, putting them ahead of my ambitions. My parents had signed me up for the military while I was in Eleventh Grade, so I went straight into the Navy after graduation, then married and wound up doing court papers for my husband another five years for a lawsuit. When that ended, the homeschooling began.

My life has taken detours, yet I never stopped believing that I would pursue my dreams. I have always been writing to some extent, and I would submit it when I could. I received the usual rejections. We self-published my first book in 2008, followed by a series of hardships and setbacks including divorce, financial struggles, one of my sons being ill for two and a half years . . . I continued to write and publish, meeting other authors online. Beginning in 2013, my sons and I could finally start attending events — festivals and book fairs, conventions — and working toward our goals. It has been an amazing period in my life. Finally, finally, I am doing author things! Signing books, producing them, working with my sons. I’ve never been happier.

You can easily tell how happy you are 🙂 Keep it up, Lady!

Is there a message in your stories/novel that you want readers to grasp?

I usually have a message . . . although I write some crazy poems that really don’t have much of a point other than harmless humor. The environment is a recurrent theme. The human struggle. War and peace, poverty. Respect. Animal and child abuse. I don’t have one area that I focus on. There are many concerns that I need to express. I put a lot of depth, emotion, and substance. It will make you think, hopefully make you wonder and question. Or feel, react . . . I take risks — inventing the occasional protagonist you might not like a lot, for example, and may even need to dig deeper to find compassion for.+

I like to challenge readers and push beyond conventions. I write my own way, by my own rules, so you can expect an unorthodox style rather than one that goes according to the way they now say everyone should write. I know the basics, the standards. I simply do not agree with all of the rules or lists on writing, and I do not use formulas. There is no single “right way” to write.

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Find your voice, not anyone else’s. That is the most important possession a writer has. The second is to practice. Write and rewrite. Be patient. Be persistent. Do not give up if it is burning inside you. If it is not, go do something else. Don’t clutter the world with something you’re only lukewarm about. Don’t pretend you’re a writer. Find your true calling, your true passion. I think there currently could be more writers than just readers.

What about the horror genre interests you? Disgusts you?

I have loved horror since I was very small. Watching the FRANKENSTEIN and WOLFMAN movies, THE MUMMY, Alfred Hitchcock; THE ADDAMS FAMILY and MUNSTERS. Reading Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allan Poe, Washington Irving and so many others. Later, Stephen King and Dean Koontz, Peter Straub. Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman are wonderful. I just love dark things. I love the nighttime and find it tough to stay on a daytime schedule. I enjoyed hanging out in cemeteries as a kid. This is who I am. My sons adjusted to their mom being into Horror. Not everyone understands.

What disgusts me? I worry that things can go too far. Horror without a conscience, a message or meaning. That worries me. That kind of sick and twisted gore, purely for entertainment, isn’t my thing. And I do worry how the choices and decisions of today, artistic or otherwise, will affect our next generations. My generation was influenced by the classics of Horror. I think we turned out okay, for the most part. But what about the future? I think about that as a writer. I worry a great deal about Tomorrow. I feel we have to consider the impact, our footprint, because there have to be some limits. With everything. It’s a delicate balance. Just as there have to be standards for quality. You can’t throw it all out, or you will create garbage. That’s my belief, anyway.

I was raised watching Dr. Paul Bearer.  My father LOVED old “horrible old B-movies.”  I have amazing memories of huge spiders chasing little itty bitty people across the screen in black and white!

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?

I tend to be a nervous person, despite loving Horror. I get anxious. I’m working on it, but there were things in my childhood that affected me deeply. I can get really scared just riding on a freeway. I don’t drive. I have been terrified at times, sometimes over nothing.

One time as a kid I heard water dripping and was convinced there was a bomb in my room. I woke my mother. I remember being afraid of Ed Gein. I grew up in Wisconsin and heard stories. I knew he was locked up about fifteen miles from my house, so I would hear sounds at night and be sure he was coming for me. I think I worried about that instead of monsters in the closet or under my bed. My monsters were real. I recall seeing headlines and news about the Manson murders. That shook me up. To this day, human monsters are far more frightening to me than any make-believe creatures.

Without a doubt!

Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?

Yes, I tend to mix in my own fears and history from time to time. I think all of my writing is personal in some way or other, no matter how far I reach into my imagination. I will find myself tossing in a detail here or there that is about me, from my life.

What one stereotype about horror writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?

People think horror authors are odd, tortured, wacko. I completely agree. I certainly am! Which stereotype is wrong? That we’re odd tortured wackos. I don’t think this is true for most of them. It’s just me. (Wink.)

Tell me how you feel being a woman has either enhanced or hindered your writing in the Horror genre.

Well, I hear there has been a lot of doubt and disinterest toward female horror authors. I cannot say whether it affected my career so far. It is possible, since I do not yet have a lot of readers other than downloads for my free stories. And there are no thousands lining up for those. But I do have a number of male fans. I don’t feel I have more female fans than male. Nor do I write with female protagonists more than male protagonists.

I bring my own particular style to horror, my own individual sensitivity and perspectives. Whether that is a female aspect or just a unique one, I cannot say for sure. I do know that women write Horror as well as the guys do, and we are changing that type of negative attitude by putting our work out there for the world to see.

Tell me more about what’s on deck for Lori in 2015!

Thank you, Killion. I’m excited about my latest books and will be trying to spread the word for them. As I mentioned, I have a new horror collection titled ODDS AND ENDS and a collection of dark and humorous verse called POETIC REFLECTIONS: THE QUEEN OF HATS. (I recommend the print editions, which I did quirky artwork for.) I anticipate doing more filmwork and music with my sons. We plan to be at events. I have a Local Authors Exhibit coming up in San Diego soon. I’m thrilled that one of the anthologies I have a story in, JOURNALS OF HORROR: FOUND FICTION, made it onto the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards. It isn’t nominated, merely in a preliminary round, but it’s the first time I have anything on the ballot.

I have received honors for my work before, yet being a horror author, the Stoker Award is iconic. It’s very meaningful. JOURNALS is a terrific book that was put together by Terry M. West. I’m just so excited to be part of it and to have the chance to be recognized at that level.

And of course … my signature question – What is something that truly frightens you and how do you deal with it?

Fear of failure is up there. What if I never build a larger audience? Or what if the one-star reviews outweigh the positive ones? If you think about it, readers are busy and somehow find the time to read! They don’t often take time to write a good review. Writing a bad review is appealing to some, on the other hand, as it can be a way to hurt somebody else. It gives them the power to take out frustrations on another person safely, without any repercussions, whether it’s an honest opinion or an insulting one.

They can intentionally give away critical information, spoil the twist or ending. An unfair review can have a serious effect, not just on an author’s emotions. It can cause readers not to read something that might be good — it simply wasn’t what certain readers liked. I’ve had all of this happen. So negative reviews, especially one-star, can be pretty terrifying. Just like trolls attacking others online in comments. The whole attitude of pulling out daggers really concerns me. There are a lot of nice people in the world. But there is a lot of cruelty and injustice out there also, and it scares me.

Something else that frightens me is asteroids. One is passing us tomorrow as I write this. A rock the size of a mountain! There are so many things to be afraid of. I could go on and on. I deal with it by writing about horrors in the hopes that people will want to change it, maybe change their lives, possibly change the world.

Want to learn more about Lori – you can connect with her here!

Website: www.fairyflyentertainment.com

Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/lorirlopez

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoriRLopez

Fairy Fly Entertainment Channel on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO8H3bHfH1WmzJ-3nDo9Krw

ODDS AND ENDS: A DARK COLLECTION: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RLYNC76

POETIC REFLECTIONS: THE QUEEN OF HATS: http://www.amazon.com/Poetic-Reflections-Lori-R-Lopez-ebook/dp/B00N7CS0ZA

JOURNALS OF HORROR: http://www.amazon.com/Journals-Horror-Fiction-Todd-Keisling-ebook/dp/B00MTB67GY

Rose Blackthorn – Celebrating Women in Horror 2015

Women In Horror 2015

Please welcome the ever vivacious Rose Blackthorn to Killion’s Kave today!  I first learned about Rose when she captivated me with her short story, Beautiful, Broken Things, in the anthology Wrapped in Black by Sekhmet Press.  I’ve always craved any type of  Morrigan tale, and Rose’s story brings empathy and love into the fearful crossroads of life’s choices.  My favorite line was, ” The taste was bitter, like his many regrets.”

Let’s learn a little bit more about Rose and Horror!

What about the horror genre interests you?

Rose Blackthorn - Horror AuthorI love the emotion – I think it’s easier to create real believable emotion in characters in the horror genre than just about anything else. Horror can be based on real life places and experiences, or it can be completely out there as far as monsters or supernatural forces or made-up places. There are very few boundaries that can’t be broken or completely obliterated in the horror genre, which makes it very freeing as a writer.

Horror can be based on real life places and experiences, or it can be completely out there as far as monsters or supernatural forces or made-up places. There are very few boundaries that can’t be broken or completely obliterated in the horror genre, which makes it very freeing as a writer.

Tell me how you feel being a woman has either enhanced or hindered your writing in the Horror genre.

Maybe I’m oblivious, or just extremely lucky, but I don’t think my gender has ever had much to do with my success as a writer. I am a very emotional person (I’ve been known to cry, even sob, at certain commercials – don’t ask) but that may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I’m female. I try to use that empathy to add depth to my characters, and hopefully create an emotional response in my readers. As far as how I’ve been treated by editors, publishers, and other authors – I have to say I don’t have any horror stories to share. 😉

This is very true!  Real horror elicits emotion, and that’s when you know it’s good!

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up? How’d that turn out for you? 😀 I also wanted to be a chiropractor, because my father was one. When I found out I had to carve up a real live dead body in school … yeah … I taught myself how to code instead. LOL

For a while I wanted to be a performer – a dancer or singer. I took dancing lessons for several years, but never went any farther than that. I sang in a choir in school, until my teacher told me in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t good enough to do anything with it. (Whether or not he was right, he certainly ended that dream).

I’ve been reading voraciously since I was five or six years old, and have been writing since my teens. I’ve always thought it would be the best “job” ever to be a full-time writer. I have published a few short stories and poems, and have written (but not published) more than one novel. I still think being a full-time writer would be the best job, but haven’t reached that point. However, I’m still working on it. 🙂

I agree!  Being a full-time writer is a huge dream!  I LOVE my day-job, it is very needed and enjoyed. The days I’m able to plan plotlines and write dialogue are treasured gems!

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I don’t have a novel out, although I’m working on a couple. As far as a message in my writing – it just depends on what it is. I’ve written some things that are very close to my own heart, in which I’m sharing my own pain. Some are just for entertainment with no “deep meaning”.

What was a time in your life when you were really scared?

I guess when my mother passed away. I am an only child of a single parent, and so when she died it was the first time I felt that I didn’t have an older, wiser person looking out for me with my best interests in mind. I was married at the time, so I had my husband, and I had several very good friends who were there for me. But I definitely felt like an orphan, even though I was in my thirties and a responsible adult.

I can completely identify with that pain and loss. Nothing can frighten you to a child more than the loss of a parent. {{HUGS}}

Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?

I have written stories and poems about dreams I’ve had, and based my writing more than once on experiences from my own life, even if only on character development or emotional responses. Fantasies are always fodder for a new tale to tell.

As far as using my own personal phobias – no, I haven’t done that. Maybe I should, because it would take some of the fear out of them. But I don’t even like thinking about those deep-seated involuntary fears of mine, let alone spending hours immersed in them while writing.

What is one stereotype about horror writers is absolutely wrong? What one stereotype is dead on?

Twice Upon A Time Anthology“Horror writers ain’t right in the head.” Obviously that one is wrong. Right? 🙂

Dead on? Judging from those horror authors I know (either personally or through social media) that would be, “Horror writers can look at something innocent and innocuous, and immediately find the darkness or off-kilter thing that leads to something frightening.”

I know I’ve been that way most of my life. My wonderful mother introduced me to Stephen King and John Saul at a very young age, and I’ve embraced that “what if” that leads down the less-trodden path ever since.

Your mother was a very wise woman!  Go Mom!

What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Don’t give up. It’s hard if you are getting rejections, or if people in your life don’t understand the time and emotion that you invest in your writing. Sometimes it’s hard to keep going. But if you love it, don’t give up. You’ll never know how far you might go if you give up.

What are you currently working on? Any new story or book releases? What’s on deck for you in 2015?

Speculative Valentine Drabbles 2015I have a fantasy novel, an urban-fantasy/post-apocalyptic novel and a horror/post-apocalyptic novel that are all in various stages and being worked on. There are also a few short stories in the queue.
As far as releases – I have a drabble “Young Love” in Speculative Valentine Drabbles 2015 released by Indie Authors Press on Feb. 4th.

I have a short story, “Beneath the Shadows of the Red-Leafed Maple” that will appear in the Eldritch Press anthology Our World of Horror to be released in 2015.

And, in the anthology Twice Upon A Time from Bearded Scribe Press I have a story titled “Before the First Day of Winter” which should be out within the next month or so. Also from Eldritch Press, sometime in 2015 I’ll be releasing my poetry collection titled Thorns, Hearts and Thistles which includes my photography as well.

And of course … my signature question – What is something that truly frightens you and how do you deal with it?

There are different kinds of fear. I’m terrified of bees/wasps/hornets. I’ve nearly wrecked my car when one flew into an open window.  I’ve stood frozen and screaming (as a child) while one crawled on my arm. It’s completely visceral, and I have no control over it. How I deal with that is simply trying to never put myself in the position where I have to be around them. I love flowers, but stay away from them when the bees are there.

The other kind of fear is more internal. I’m terrified of losing those I love, whether it be friends, family members, or my fur-kids. I have few really strong relationships anymore, because I can’t bear to lose them. If you’re part of my life, expect to be stuck with me forever – because I don’t want to let go!

Love Passionately!
Amazon link for Speculative Valentine Drabbles 2015 from Indie Author Press:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00T7VCFHY

Excerpt from Before the First Day of Winter, available soon from The Bearded Scribe Press:

There was a path down the ten foot drop of rock, carved as rude steps and handholds that Jordon took cautiously. He was terrified and wanted to rush headlong, but falling and breaking an ankle would help no one. As he reached the beach, the last roseate beams of sunlight made the fog incandesce, rendering his lantern redundant. But the brighter light hid more than it revealed, and his eyes burned and watered as he tried to find some sign of her.
Something moved to his right, and Jordon flinched. As quickly as the sun lit the fog, when it dropped below the horizon the billowing mist immediately became opaque. Shadows darted high, hunched low near the edge of incoming waves, and the sound of wings filled the air as the last gulls lifted from their foraging.

“Naia,” he called, desperate now. He moved toward the thicker shadows, lantern held high again.
Crumpled on the sand, safe from all but the highest tide, were a faded red skirt and sleeveless white shirt. Bare footprints led from the discarded clothing to the sea, and Jordon hastened to follow.
“Naia, don’t,” he shouted, “please don’t go!”
The mist shifted and thinned, giving him a clear view of maybe a dozen yards of wet sand and rushing waves. Standing knee-deep in rising water, Naia pulled something dark and heavy around her shoulders. Her hair lashed in the wind, and she looked back at him for only a moment.

“Naia—”

Then she was gone, and something dark and sleek swam away into the restless sea.

Want to learn more about Rose?  Connect with Rose on Facebook.