#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Martha Allard

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

marthaWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
My name is Martha J Allard. My favorite horror writers include Loren Rhoads and Clive Barker.

What is your work in HAGL2 about? 

I’ve always felt that I write on the fringes. My piece is about just that. How do you conquer that uncomfortable feeling of not belonging? 

What is your favorite horror subject and why? 

I love stories about misunderstood monsters.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?

It am totally looking forward to Netflix’s Sandman, and the new Hellraiser show as well. Call me an optimist, they both could be great.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

Martha J Allard/amazon

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Historian of Horror : This Property is Condemned

 

DC Comics seemed to have an affinity for naming comic books after spooky houses. Other publishers had Vaults (…of Horror, … of Evil) or Chambers (… of Chills, … of Darkness), but the House that Superman Built would settle for nothing less than entire structures for their ghosts to live in.

To be fair, St. John did have a House of Terror. But that was a 1953 one-shot that reprinted older horror tales in 3-D format, and one house a neighborhood doth not make.

DC, on the other hand, had an entire subdivision of eerie edifices. Apart from the domiciles, I referenced in an earlier column, there was a House of Mystery, a House of Secrets, and a Ghost Castle, not to mention Secrets of Haunted House. They also had a Doorway to Nightmare, for readers not yet ready to commit to full home ownership.

House of Mystery was first, debuting as a typical horror comic of its day at the end of 1951. That was a few years before the institution of the Comics Code, so the occasional werewolf or vampire was allowed in its first thirty-five issues. Not that there were many, given that DC was less inclined to such sensationalism than other publishers. Even before the Code, the DC horror titles were rather tame. House of Mystery ran for 321 issues until October 1983, although it spent a few years showcasing superhero features (“Martian Manhunter” and “Dial H for Hero”) rather than spooks and specters. It did feature a vampire series in its later years after the Comics Code was revised to allow such beings.

House of Secrets was more faithful to its horror roots for its run from 1956 to 1978, with a three-year gap from 1966 to 1969. It was not consistently an anthology title, playing host to a few continuing characters, but not superheroic ones like its sister magazine. Eclipso wasn’t really a hero, super or otherwise, and did have a supernatural origin that was revealed years later. His adventures occupied twenty issues of the title, mostly drawn by Alex Toth or Jack Sparling. Mark Merlin, usually illustrated by Mort Meskin, was an occult detective who appeared regularly for six years before being shuffled into an alternate dimension and replaced by Prince Ra-Man, AKA Mind Master. Both features ended with the hiatus.

When the title returned with issue #81, it was all horror, all the time, and the house was virtually a character in the comic book. A similar transformation had occurred over at House of Mystery about the same time. That house was provided with a caretaker by the name of Cain, who introduced the stories, none of which had continuing characters or superheroes.

The new House of Secrets was watched over by Cain’s nebbish brother, Abel, who had an imaginary friend named Goldie. The house frequently tried to rid itself of him by having the resident suits of armor drop their weapons on him, or floors collapse, or other such inconveniences. Covers were frequently by Neal Adams, one of the most talented and influential artists in the industry, during the early years of this incarnation. One exception was issue #92, painted by Bernie Wrightson. It introduced the muck monster, Swamp Thing. I’ve mentioned that one before, so we need not dwell on it here.

Other frequent artists included Bill Draut, Alex Toth, George Tuska, and Jack Sparling, all of whom possessed distinctive styles. As the years passed, the art became rather derivative and bland, as did the stories. I pretty much lost track of the title by mid-decade. Too many more interesting things were happening in comics in the 1970s, some of which I will address in this space in the future.

Cain and Abel did appear together in other venues. They co-hosted the humor title, Plop! and occasionally dropped in on the trio of witches who hosted The Witching Hour comic book. Eventually, House of Secrets and The Witching Hour were absorbed into another magazine, The Unexpected, and the era of DC horror comics began petering out. 

But not permanently. In 1996, House of Secrets was revived for a two-year run under DC’s Vertigo imprint. The house was a mobile venue for judgment upon mortal sinners, who were tried for their evil ways by a jury of ghosts. No Cain, no Abel. That incarnation lasted twenty-five issues and a couple of specials, and that was it for the House of Secrets.

Oh, well. All things must pass.

Let’s meet again in fourteen days to have a listen to the first great movie score, composed for one of the first great horror films of the sound era. It’s sure to be a fun time of truly gargantuan dimensions. Until then, devourers of the demonic…

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Band/Musician Interview : Lia Hide

 

  1. What singers or bands inspired you growing up?
    Kate Bush, Dead Can Dance, Violent Femmes, Tori Amos, Smashing Pumpkins, Guns n Roses, Annie Di Franco, Cranberries, NIN, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley
  2. If you could be any TV or film horror character, who would you be? Why?
    I’d be Jack, from The Nightmare Before Christmas, cause I adore, simply adore Danny Elfman!
  3. What non-musical things inspire your music?
    Films, Books, Food, Sunsets, bad relationships, Alcoholic nights, Sleep deprivation
  4. If you could write your own soundtrack to a horror film already out there, which film would it be?
    Donnie Darko, although it’s not really a horror film, so let’s try The Beyond (L’Aldila) – E tu vivrai nel terrore! L’aldilà (1981) although that film’s soundtrack is a true gem, a masterpiece
  5. Where was the coolest place to play? Where did you enjoy yourselves the most?
    a. in a roof apartment in Antwerp, with 3 Chinese fluffy chicken. b. in Utrecht, after a gorgeous show we played in an old medieval monastery’s basement theatre.
  6. What are your favorite horror movies?
    I used to love zombie movies, cause they were fun, and I always love the latex effects. After seing the SAW series (up until III) I got disgusted at almost everything that contains torture, and now I only watch vampire or mystery or historical stuff.
  7. What was the scariest night of your life?
    Watching Nightmare on Elm Street 3 – the puppet scene. I still have nightmares about it.
  8. If you could bring back greats who have passed on, who would be your undead opening band?
    Layne Staley with Mark Lanegan and Christ Cornel with an Ennio Morricone conducted orchestra
  9. Final thoughts / Anything you want to tell the Horror Addicts?
    I sometimes lay in bed and think I soak into the mattress all the way to the earth’s core and can hear everyone’s thoughts while descending. I swear I heard your voice, too, one day .. (just kidding.. or not?)

To find more about Lia Hide:

https://www.facebook.com/liahidemusic

 Video YouTube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnW057t3RGw

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with J. Malcolm Stewart

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

J. Malcolm StewartWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest? 

Jason Malcolm Stewart: Fiction Author, Journalist, Interviewer, Horror Film Fan, Horror Fan Culture Enthusiast, etc.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

I have three pieces in the collection: You Might be a Monster Lover If…, Black Zombie: Hollywood and the 80s Voodoo Revival and Sounds of Horror in Black American Music.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
Wow, I’m a big horror head like we all are, so I tend to order from the buffet line. If pushed, I am an aficionado of classic monsters like Frankenstein, Dracula, werewolf lore… Anything that Universal would have made a movie about in the 30s.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
Oooof, haven’t heard of anything immediate upcoming in 2022 that has sparked the horror flame. But that just means something is unexpectedly coming down the pike that will be awesome that I don’t know about yet!

Where can readers/listeners find your work?
My YouTube page is the archive for all my horror-themed interviews and reviews:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0p5JP75jl349RUi7oB39Zg

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Shadow’s Love Chapter 6 : Torment 2

She winked at him and kissed him on the cheek, swinging her leg across to straddle him, tightening her legs against his body. She rubbed her cheek against his, whispering in his ear, “Did you miss me, honey? Did you think about me often?”

Aaron swallowed, aroused in spite of himself. “Y-yes, of course…”

She straightened up. “Liar!” She slapped him across the face again, her nails leaving welts on his cheek. Immediately she looked abashed. “Now see what you made me do…” she purred, kissing each of the welts separately, pressing her body back against his. “I’m not mad,” she whispered, chewing on his earlobe. “But I was curious…who was the girl I saw you with the day before you dumped me?”

His mind raced through story after story. “Audrey, please, let me go, I’m not worth this.” he whimpered. “She started it.”

The vampire snorted. “Such chivalry.”

Audrey giggled girlishly. “You’re ly-ing,” she sang and sank a fang into his earlobe. He squealed and jerked his head away from her, tearing the flesh around his ear, tears springing to his eyes.

“Her name is Katherine…” he whimpered. “I didn’t have the heart to break up with you until recently. It was a stupid decision, I’m so sorry.”

“Aww, how sweet. You were trying to protect me?” She caressed his face lovingly, rubbing her body against him. “But you see, I don’t need protection, Aaron…” She could feel him rising and giggled again, grinding herself on him heartlessly. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time,” she whispered in his ear and kissed him deeply, passionately, rubbing herself harder against him. His breathing quickened and he raised his head to hers, trying to kiss her harder. She could feel his tongue ring and began toying with it, nipping his tongue with her fangs as she felt it slide deeper into her mouth. She latched onto the tongue ring and jerked her head sideways, ripping it out of his mouth. Blood streamed down his face as he screamed and thrashed about, frantically trying to raise his hands to his mouth. 

She leaned over and whispered in his ear, “If you don’t stop screaming, I’m going to bite your tongue out of your mouth, and I’m going to make you eat it.” Instantly his mouth snapped closed. She could feel his whole body shaking beneath her as he fought to keep from screaming, his eyes leaking silent tears. Audrey sat up with a satisfied look on her face, and laughed. 

“I bet you wish you hadn’t left me now,” she cooed and spat his tongue ring back in his face, “but I’m glad.”

She rose from the bed and ran her hand across Aaron’s bloody face, bringing it to the vampire’s mouth. “How does he taste, lover?” she asked. 

The vampire caressed her fingers with his tongue and smiled.

“Weak.”

With a wicked look in her crimson eyes, Audrey pulled the neck of her robe apart further and using her elongated nails, cut a cross in the skin over her heart. She took his hand and brought it to the blood dripping down her porcelain skin and asked, looking into his eyes, “How do I taste?”

The vampire licked his own fingers, savoring the taste of her blood. “Vibrant.” He bent his head and ran his tongue up the blood trickling dripping from the wound, drawing the blood directly from her. Audrey purred and buried her fingers in his long dark hair, pulling his head closer. 

Afterward, as the tide ebbed and reality returned, they were reminded there was another person on the bed. Audrey noted, without needing to probe Aaron’s psyche, that their display of passionate eroticism would require a lifetime and a fortune in therapy bills to deal with. It would be far more merciful to kill him. Upon probing deeper, she found jealousy, regret, helpless rage and buried deep beneath all of them…pure terror. Fear of what these sadistic creatures were going to do to him. This pleased her as much as the sex and she rose from the bed, re-wrapping the robe about herself. Lastor remained lazily reclined on the bed, watching as she went to Aaron’s side. 

“I bet you really wish you hadn’t left me now,” she said teasingly and kissed him on the cheek. “Your tongue, or what’s left, really hurts doesn’t it?”

Aaron made a muffled noise and nodded, his eyes still leaking bitter tears. Audrey nodded understandingly. “Of course it does.” She brought her mouth close to his ear and whispered, “But I am not sorry. No, I am not sorry. This is what you deserve.” Without saying anything more and without warning, she plunged her fangs into his neck, turning a deaf ear on his inarticulate cries of pain and drained his veins until there was nothing left. Once she could get no more out of him and he had stopped jerking and crying, she withdrew from him and went to the bathroom to freshen herself up a bit. She felt liberated and cheerful, and hummed a little to herself as she splashed water on the bloodstains covering her and combed her hair.

Upon returning to the bedroom, she found Lastor dressed and untying Aaron’s corpse from the bed. She blew him a kiss which he returned and went the wardrobe, dressing herself in the clothes she had picked out what seemed like hours ago. After admiring her reflection in the handsome mirror set on the inside of the wardrobe door, she went to help Lastor dispose of Aaron’s corpse. 

They dragged the body to the backyard of the mansion and built a roaring fire from the large stack of firewood outside. As the flames reached ten feet tall, Audrey, only a little surprised at her sudden strength, picked up what remained of Aaron and bodily heaved it into the fire. As she watched it burn, she felt happier now than she ever had in her entire life. 

 

Submission Call! Manor of Frights

Our 2023 Anthology announcement:

Manor of Frights

nathan-mcdine-Sz2UlMzTv4I-unsplashImagine a Victorian house where every room is cursed with a frightful existence. Are monsters in the halls? Ghosts left to fester in the library? Or are the rooms themselves enchanted with malevolent energy? What was summoned long ago and what doorways were left open? Manor of Frights will be a collection of tales all set in different rooms of the same house.

 

Stories MUST follow these guidelines: 

  1. MUST be in 3rd person. No 1st person stories will be considered.
  2. The Manor of Frights was built in 1880. So, stories can take place between 1880-1980. Keep this in mind when writing. Is the house new in your era? Run down? Or refurbished? Has there been a fire? A flood? Are you writing about the homeowner? A guest staying at a BnB? Or maybe… You are writing about the architect renovating the place?
  3. Choose a room and write a horror story that takes place in it. 13 rooms will be picked from the submissions. Choose wisely. Be unique. You can write about the normal rooms in a house like bedrooms, bathrooms, or the kitchen, but some other ideas for rooms are: attic, conservatory, library, basement, study, billiard room, cellar, hall, parlor, boudoir, dining room, den, foyer, living room, nursery, dinette, hearth room, scullery, kit room, linen closet, landing, rotunda, nook, covered porch, widow’s walk, or maybe you have an idea of your own.  
  4. The story must have an overwhelming sense of menace and dread. The KIND of horror is open to you. Is there a monster inside? Does it connect to a demon world? Has it been cursed? Is it haunted? Do vampires reside in the home? Scare us. Entertain us.

LBGTQ and POC stories/writers are encouraged to enter. Sensual or passionate stories are acceptable but we don’t want erotica or sexually-based stories. No rape. The editor likes HORROR. Be careful of sci-fi creatures or anything that sways sci-fi or fantasy. She’s not a fan of superheroes or hunters.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

We are doing blind submissions. Wow us with your story.

Enter up to two short stories only. Make sure they fit the theme

Manuscript Format:

*Font: 12 pt Courier, Times New Roman, or Garamond.

*Double spaced.

*Your manuscript must be in either DOC, DOCx, or RTF format.

*DO NOT place your name in the manuscript.**

*No header on the manuscript. JUST THE TITLE.

**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

TO SUBMIT YOUR STORY, CLICK HERE:

https://forms.gle/3igMYXjnbCrcnoP49

Deadline: October 31st, 2022, 11:59pm PST

Length: 2,000-3,500 words MAX. No exceptions.

Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy

Accepted stories will be published in these formats: PRINT, eBook, and audio. The audio will be produced for both Season 18 of HorrorAddicts.net (2023), and be placed on an audiobook platform for sale.

Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/22). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: ha.netpress@gmail.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Priscilla Bettis

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

priscillaWhen I was a kid in elementary school, I dutifully read my English assignments, but they bored me. By age ten, I had grown tired of sappy characters and too pointed moral lessons. Then I snuck The Exorcist from my parents’ den.

The Exorcist scared the crap out of me even though I didn’t understand parts of it. But the visceral feelings I got were the same as when real life horrors occurred in the grownup world around me. I felt understood by the genre. In turn, I grasped how powerful dark literature could be.

I’ve been a horror addict ever since. Dark fantasy, dark poetry, Gothic, literary, creature-feature, I love them all.

Nowadays, I enjoy writing horror as well as reading it. It gives me a sense of control in an out-of-control world. After all, I can’t stop evil from running amok, but I can always close a book or put down a pen.

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Ep. 210 Nightmare Fuel: The Chambers Mansion

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Chambers-MansionHello Addicts,

Haunted and possessed homes have been a staple of horror movies for decades, and stories for centuries. Nothing quite beats finding out that where you sleep at night may not be as safe as you think. Previous tenants and homeowners may feel entitled to return, regardless if they are still alive or not. For this week’s Nightmare Fuel, we look at one such home — The Chambers Mansion in San Francisco, CA.

According to the legend, Richard Chambers, a wealthy baron from the Midwest, moved to San Francisco around 1887. He built a mansion at 2220 Sacramento Street, where he, his wife, and two nieces moved into. By 1901, however, Richard was dead, and the home passed on to his wife and nieces. Unfortunately, the nieces didn’t get along and one of them either purchased or had a home built next door to the mansion. The niece who stayed, Claudia Chambers, met with a grisly end. There are varying accounts which range from being murdered by a deranged family member living in the attic to a farm implement sawing her in half. Since then, people have reported seeing Claudia roaming the halls and flashing lights in the upstairs windows. An additional reason for the haunting given was the family’s practicing of black magic.

All of that makes for a good ghost story, however, no records prove a Richard Chambers lived in San Francisco. There are of a Robert Chambers living in that mansion. Robert died in 1901 from appendicitis, leaving the home to his brothers and sisters, none of who had children named Claudia. Robert’s wife, Eudora, had two nieces named Harriet and Lillian, who stayed with the otherwise childless couple.

While that part of the legend somewhat matches up, there were some strange occurrences involving Eudora that bear mentioning. In 1893, she went missing for a week before being found wandering a beach near Mussel Rock. On New Year’s Eve of the same year, she attempted to commit suicide by throwing herself in front of a train, only to be thrown out of the way before it hit her. Her family and friends viewed her as mentally unstable. Three years later, she died of undisclosed reasons.

In the decades that followed, an investor converted the mansion into a bed-and-breakfast that hosted such celebrities as Robin Williams, John F Kennedy Jr., and Barbara Streisand. A later investor split the home into two adjoining townhouses. Although there are no records of Richard or Claudia living in the mansion, there is nothing disproving that part of the story either. If any records existed, it’s possible that someone destroyed them at some point.

Regardless if the stories are true or not, the legend is enough for ghost tours in the San Francisco area to include it on their route. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to determine if the home is haunted or not. If you visit the townhouses, be sure to tell Claudia hello, just in case.

Until next time, Addicts,

D.J.

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Selah Janel

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

selah author shot dlWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

My name is Selah Janel and I have a few areas of interest. I write horror fiction, I review horror books (with a soft spot for horror comics and manga), and for years I helped design and build costumes for amusement park haunted events.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
My work is about the weird things I’ve created that have a horror vibe, whether they were costumes in my professional work or my own experimentation. I talk about what led me down that road and my processes behind several pieces I’ve made, as well as the trials and errors those involved.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

I have a big soft spot for vampires, the paranormal, and cosmic horror. I also lean into haunted events in entertainment, the ‘look’ of horror in terms of production design because of my past work.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

Every day it seems like I’m discovering more and more, whether it’s new projects or old. I’ve gotten back into reading horror comics and have discovered some amazing titles, and there have been some incredible (and unusual books released in the past few years). At the moment I’m just excited about seeing which directions the genre is going to go in the next few years.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

People can find me at www.selahjanel.com, on Facebook as SJauthor, on Twitter @SelahJanel, and on Instragram  as selahjanel99

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Loren Rhoads

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

lorenWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
I’m Loren Rhoads. I’m an author, editor, and cemetery expert.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
I’ve got 3 pieces in HAGL2. One has all my author tricks for writing when the words won’t come. One is about working with horror authors when I was editing Morbid Curiosity magazine. The third one is about Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s considered the most haunted cemetery in the world.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
Wow, that’s hard! I guess I should say cemeteries, since I wrote 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die. For as much time as I’ve spent in cemeteries, I haven’t had too many spooky experiences in them. I have smelled death, found an enormous snakeskin in the grass, and worried that I was being stalked by a mountain lion at one point, so I’ve been thoroughly scared in them.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

I’m really excited about the new Interview with the Vampire series. I fell in love with that book when I was in high school. If they do the series right, it should have several cemeteries in it!

Where can readers/listeners find your work?

https://lorenrhoads.com/

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Geneve Flynn

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Geneve Flynn-Author-EditorI became a horror addict when I read Stephen King’s It as a teenager. That book reached into my brain and turned all the dials up to ten. I couldn’t get enough horror after that. 

I wrote my article, “What’s Your Lens?,” in response to the call-out for content for the Asian Horror Month on the HorrorAddicts site. As an editor, you have to be aware of your own perspectives and preferences, and how that might shape your response to a manuscript. One way to become aware of the lens you view the world through is to read widely.

What encourages me to keep creating? I love having written. I love the alchemy of writing. You might overhear a snatch of strange conversation, read a weird fact, meet an intriguing person, have a bizarre and frightening dream, discover an odd object, and all of that makes its way into a story. All those ingredients come together in your brain cauldron and out comes something magical that’s more than the sum of its parts. That’s the best feeling.

I also write to see myself in stories. Publishing hasn’t been that diverse historically. It’s a sweet thrill to read a story where you don’t have to perform mental calisthenics to be the main character. 

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Carrie Sessarego

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

carrieWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

My name is Carrie Sessarego, and I am fascinated with horror from two directions – the intersection of horror and historical social movements and issues, that I explore by analyzing classic Regency and Victorian horror, and also horror as a means of liberation for contemporary female authors as well as female filmmakers.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

My essay shares some fun facts about Shirley Jackson, an author who distilled female rage so beautifully. I’m especially drawn to her dry humor, her matter-of-fact voice even when describing terrible things, and the detail with which she depicts lives of women who are constrained by their gender.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

I like gothic horror and Lovecraftian horror, but I’d say my favorite horror stories are ones in which women and other marginalized groups take over the narrative by subverting genre expectations (and by beating the bad guy!). I also like horror comedy and am currently enjoying What We Do in the Shadows.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

I’m so excited about the upcoming movie Renfield and by the upcoming movie Nope!

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

My own blog is resting right now, but you can always find me at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books:

https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Rena Mason

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

renaThe need for more mainstream, diverse horror in all mediums is what inspires me to continue creating the most. I’d also like to see more BIPOC and LGBTQ horror with women at the helm either writing or directing or both. Over the years, I’ve learned that they’re out there, it’s just that sometimes I’d have to seek them out or “stumble” upon them. A few I’ve discovered from their films and follow are: Madhuri Shekar Evil Eye, Karyn Kusama—The Invitation, Issa López—Tigers are Not Afraid, Mattie Do—Chanthaly and Dearest Sister, and Karen Lam—Evangeline. There are too many horror/dark fiction authors and poets to list, and I know that with my recent undertaking of co-editing an anthology of diverse fiction and voices, I’ve found many more. Ellen Datlow, who I’ve been reading since she was an editor for OMNI magazine, has an amazing talent for discovering and publishing new and diverse voices with excellent stories to tell. You can read those stories in her anthologies and at Tor.com, a publisher with a history of producing great work by authors from a multitude of backgrounds. 

In my opinion, diverse horror from diverse authors has improved and become somewhat more mainstream in the last decade, but I’ll always want more. I’d love the names of the writers behind those stories to be more known and their work discussed to a greater extent. 

Although the majority of my stories have Asian main characters, the evolution of my delving deeper into my own heritage was brought about after discussions borne from the promotion for Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women edited by Lee Murray and Geneve Flynn. In the virtual “green room” before panels, we would all discuss our works in progress, and future ideas, and how our stories inspired one another to venture into other aspects of our varied cultures. It has been an amazing experience and journey, and I love that it continues to grow with more work and the inclusion of more authors. We’ve always raised each other up, and now we’ve become a chorus. Our voices continue to rise, and we will not be kept silent.

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with James Goodridge

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

jamesgoodridge headshotWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
My name is James Goodridge. I’m a writer of speculative fiction in the sub-genre of occult detective. An ongoing student of the Carnacki method of ghost finding.
What is your work in HAGL2 about?
A series of essays on horror from a person of color’s view.
What is your favorite horror subject and why?
Cosmic horror/occult detective. Cosmic horror because it shows how unimportant we are in the universe.
What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
I have a collection of occult detective short stories coming out in 2023 featuring Madison Cavendish (vampire) and Susan SunMountain Cavendish (werewolf)
Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

http://www.facebook.com/jamesgoodridge3 

www.amazon.com/author/jamesgoodridge

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

13 BOOKS ABOUT HAUNTED HOUSES by Renata Pavrey

By book blogger and staff writer Renata Pavrey

What is it about hauntings that seem to beckon rather than repel? Buildings possessed by the dead who either want to drive away the living or make them one among themselves. Lodgings that come with a gamut of warnings and rumors that refuse to die, only to have an occupant promptly settle in and find oneself in trouble. Whom does a haunted house belong to – the owner who buys the property, or the ghost that refuses to let go? Horror fiction is replete with books about haunted places – homes, buildings, stores, hospitals. Then there are stories that blur the lines between thriller and horror – the things people are capable of that ghosts would never do, hauntings of the mind that far surpass a spirit’s capabilities. Here are thirteen books that take the haunted house trope and give it a life of its own, from the classic to the contemporary.

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

A gothic novella that was first published in a series format. The 19th-century classic raises the question of supernatural entities versus imagination, where the reader and protagonist both try to discern what’s real.

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

Is a house haunted because of its invisible inhabitants, or does believing it’s haunted make it so, or is it people doing the haunting while the ghosts suffer in silence? Blending terror and horror, another gothic story that blurs what’s inside one’s head versus what’s outside, and what one chooses to believe.

The Shining – Stephen King

Ghosts don’t always possess homes; sometimes they linger in hotels too. An isolated location with just three characters for the most part. Where would you go if there was nowhere to go to? Claustrophobia, solitude, loneliness. How would you know if it’s the hotel taking control, or your mind giving it up?

You Should Have Left – Daniel Kehlmann

Originally written in German and translated into English by Ross Benjamin, the novella follows seven days in the life of a screenplay writer in a rented Airbnb, which refuses to let go of its newest resident.

Apartment 16 – Adam Nevill

Sometimes supernatural influences are not happy with single houses; they need to possess entire buildings. An atmospheric novel that blends thriller with horror.

The Graveyard Apartment – Mariko Koike

A Japanese translation that mixes detective fiction with horror writing. If secluded haunted houses were bad enough, what happens when a building stands right next to a graveyard? Psychological horror can be more terrifying than out-and-out gore.

Beloved – Toni Morrison

Ghosts were once people, too. They might have known us. Maybe they loved us, or disliked us tremendously. How do you deal with malevolent spirits of people you knew and loved, but they don’t feel the same? Morrison’s seminal work explores the mother-daughter relationship, and the psychological effects of slavery.

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Hauntings need not always be physical entities. Memories can be powerful shapeshifters; taking over one’s mind and body with greater strength than any external force. Another hybrid novel that blends thriller with psychological horror.

The Sanatorium – Sarah Pearse

A former sanatorium, redeveloped into a luxury hotel. Will the ghosts of the past stay buried down, or will the evils of the present beckon them to the surface? A spine-tingling gothic mystery, just like its cold, isolated landscape.

Home Before Dark – Riley Sager

Another novel that shifts between thriller and horror, making the reader question its supernatural occurrences. When the author of a haunted house book is faced with a haunted house, is it just another story?

Horrorstör – Grady Hendrix

Horror need not always be dark, as reflected in this horror-comedy set in an IKEA store. When furniture comes to life, is there more to the products you sit and sleep on?

Seeing – Patrick Winters

How do haunted houses gain their reputation? A tightly-packed novella about a formerly luxurious mansion that has now gained a reputation of being haunted. Atmospheric and eerie writing that subtly creeps up on the reader, rather than in-your-face jump scares.

The Elementals – Michael McDowell

How do ghosts decide whom and what to possess? In a locality of three houses, two are without hauntings, while the third is filled with horror. If you live in either one of the three, would the spirits make your acquaintance?

Where would your next book take you? Step into a room, apartment, palace or hospital, and share space with its ghostly inhabitants as you dive into a story.

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with M.D. Neu

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

MDNeuWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
Hello, I’m M.D. Neu. I’m a Paranormal and Urban Fantasy author. I grew up on Stephen King’s books and I fell in love. There is nothing better then a creepy story, told right. I also, enjoy Alfred Hitchcock movies; The Birds and Psycho are my two favorites, but Rear Window is up there as well. As a writer I want my of body work to stand up to these masters of horror and psychological thrillers, maybe someday.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
I provided an article for Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 titled, When Did you know? It’s a personal piece about my coming out as a gay man. We all have different stories and lives to share and I wanted to offer up mine for folks to learn from and hopefully appreciate. We live in a wonderfully diverse world, and I think the more we understand about each other the better we become as a species.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
My favorite horror subject is vampires and ghosts, I think they are wonderful. In my mind they are both misunderstood and extremely powerful. As an author you get to play with these types of monsters, and are only limited by your imagination. For example; how would vampires exist in our technological world? How do they keep themselves from being found out on social media? This is the same with ghosts, we’ve all seen the videos and heard the stories, and yes, some of it might be fancy editing and special effects, but what if it’s not? What if they are lost souls who need help? Or worse, what if they are angry souls, demons, and spirits out to cause harm and pain.

You get to play around a lot with these types of characters. I not only enjoy writing them, but I enjoy reading what others have done with them. Even some of the older horror movies with ghosts and vampires are epic and fun to watch.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
I’m hoping to see a transition back to the ‘good old days’ before they showed everything on screen. I believe that no images we put on screen or down in words is nearly as powerful as our minds. King and Hitchcock both understand this in their storytelling. They never show you everything, they leave a lot up to your imagination, which is more terrifying then anything we can watch. So, I want to see more of this in movies, TV, and books. Story Tellers need to give us the basics and let our mind paint the rest of the gruesome picture.

Where can readers/listeners find your work?
People can find me at www.mdneu.com. That is where you’ll find everything you’d want to know about me and my writing world. Come on by and check it out, you’ll have a killer time. 

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Sumiko Saulson

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

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Most of my pieces in Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 are works that were written for the HorrorAddicts.net blog during February for the Black History Month series over several years. They are inspired by my personal connection as an African American to various subjects regarding the African Diaspora and horror writing. Coming up as a nascent horror writer, when I was younger, I often ran into people that did not associate horror writing or the genre with being African American. People actually had specific attitudes where they didn’t really think that black people wrote or enjoyed horror. Which is a trip, because there are lots and lots of different types of black horror films and a huge audience for them, which includes lots of people who are members of the black community. Writing these articles gave me a chance to show my love for the black community, my love for black horror, and to make sure that other people were aware of a lot of really wonderful things that are out there, such as in horror literature, the works of LA Banks, and works by Toni Morrison that are specifically horror writing. And there are all of these wonderful films by people like Tony Todd that I have really loved growing up, and all of my life. I hope that I can share that love of black horror writers, black characters in horror writing and film, and more, with other people through these articles.

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with R.L. Merrill

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Merrill_RL-HeadshotWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

I’m R.L. Merrill—you can call me Ro—and I write romance and horror. I’m also a rabid music fan and seeker of haunted spaces. I have a bachelor’s degree in history and I’m drawn to cemeteries, old hotels, and bars for inspiration. I collect horror-themed artwork, especially skulls of all varieties, and I’m a horror movie fanatic.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

My piece about my favorite Dark Love Songs is included in the collection as well as my interview with Naching T. Kassa, who has a brilliant mind.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

Just one? Probably ghost stories because I frequently wonder about what happens after we die. I’m fascinated by the stories folks share about their encounters and I think about the history we can learn from actual spirits or even the tales of forgotten times and places. The human experience is a never-ending source of inspiration for me. I’m also a fan of monsters and the misunderstood. You can’t make me pick just one.


What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
I’m obsessed with Mike Flanagan’s works and I can’t wait for his take on my favorite Poe story, “The Fall of the House of Usher.” My story in Haunts and Hellions from Horror Addicts Press was inspired by this story and I love the Vincent Price movie version as well. I’m also anxious to see what my current favorite horror-themed band Ice Nine Kills will come up with next. Welcome to Horrorwood, their most recent album, was truly stunning, and seeing them in concert was phenomenal.

Where can readers/listeners find your work?

https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com I’ll have a historical horror out this summer and a queer vampire tale out in September called Sundowners.

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Historian of Horror : The Foggiest Notion

Seeing that title, you might be under the impression that this edition’s subject is John Carpenter’s 1981 movie. You would be laboring under a misapprehension. We are discussing the peculiar atmospheric, in more ways than one phenomenon that is at the core of that film, but it just so happens that we are doing literature this time out – English author James Herbert’s 1975 novel, The Fog, to be specific – instead.

No ghostly, leprous sailors lurking in the mists coming in from the sea in this one. Herbert’s fog wells up from a crack in the ground running down the High Street of an English village and drives anyone it comes into contact with it homicidally insane. After committing as many anti-social acts as possible, the victims typically die.

Fortunately, the hero of the tale is the only person in the nation to recover and gain immunity from the murderous vapor, which roams about the countryside, turning its victims very naughty indeed, frequently in grotesquely inventive ways. The novel is suspenseful in the manner of English story-telling of its kind, reminiscent of one of Dr. Quatermass’s adventures for the BBC, but Nigel Kneale’s televised creation never dared show the horrific fates visited on one of the faculty of a boys’ school, for example. 

Entire villages are wiped out before the protagonist is able to convince the authorities to put down their tea and crumpets and do something constructive. His girlfriend gets a dose and nearly finishes him off several times, which complicates his efforts to impel the various ministries to get it in gear and solve the dilemma the government is ultimately responsible for. He does manage to get her into cold storage while various scientists work on a cure. Meanwhile, the fog slithers ever closer to London…

The Fog was Herbert’s second book. Like his first, The Rats, it’s a disaster tale with a scientific explanation. I enjoyed it for what it was, an early effort, somewhat derivative but fun and briskly paced. I have to admit I sort of skimmed over a few lines here and there. There are certain things that can be done to a school headmaster by wanton boys with no self-control that few adult males are apt to be comfortable reading about.

Ouch!

His third book, The Survivor, was a supernatural horror story, as were a fair number of his total of twenty-three novels. Herbert died in March of 2013 at the age of sixty-nine. 

The Fog has not been adapted to film, but The Rats has been under the title Deadly Eyes (1982). A few of Herbert’s other books have also been filmed. 

Speaking of movies, you might have heard of a little film franchise from Japan called Godzilla – the biggest, baddest radioactive lizard in the sea. But not the first. Ray Bradbury’s story, “The Fog Horn”, was published in 1951 in the pages of The Saturday Evening Post, one of those slick magazines all pulpsters aspired to graduate to the pages of in those days. It’s the charming tale of a deep sea creature that is lured to the surface by the dulcet tones of a lighthouse’s fog horn, thinking he’s finally found a mate. Every year, he comes up hoping to find true love, until on his third visit, the keepers turn the fog horn off. In a fit of pique, the thwarted lover demolishes the lighthouse and slips back under the waves.

Two years later, Warner Brothers released a film loosely based on the story with special effects by stop-motion wizard Ray Harryhausen. The title character of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is a dinosaur awakened from suspended animation by nuclear testing in his neighborhood. Sound familiar? He demonstrates his annoyance by rampaging through New York, passing out a contagious prehistoric disease as he progresses through the city. He is finally cornered on Coney Island, where he discovers he’s too tall to ride the roller coaster.

The film stars B-Movie stalwart Kenneth Tobey, who two years earlier had defeated The Thing from Another World in the Arctic, and two years later would save San Francisco from the five-armed giant octopus in It Came from Beneath the Sea, another Harryhausen creation. Busy guy. Towards the end of his life, he popped up in cameos in The Howling, Strange Invaders and both Gremlins movies, among others. He passed away in 2002 at the age of 85.

***

Speaking of passing away, Italian cartoonist and co-creator of Zora la Vampira Birago Balzano died on March 25, 2022. Zora was a very-much-NSFW fumetto about a 19th Century blonde possessed by the spirit of Dracula. She traveled the world bedding and biting anyone willing to be bedded and bitten. Balzano was eighty-six.

Until we meet again, dear fiends…

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Mark Orr

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

markorrIt would have been difficult to NOT become a horror addict when I was growing up. I was born just after the beginning of the horror renaissance of the late 1950s, and by the time I was culturally aware, that renewal was in full swing. Monsters were everywhere by the mid-1960s, and with fewer entertainment options, their presence was much more concentrated and therefore ubiquitous than today. The entertainment choices we now enjoy that are spread across hundreds of local and cable television channels and as many more streaming services were in those days distilled down to, in most places, three or four networks – NBC, CBS, ABC and sometimes PBS – and maybe one or two independent UHF channels per market, if you were lucky. Everyone knew who Herman Munster was, or Barnabas Collins, or Morticia Addams, or Samantha Stevens. Everyone who had access to a television set had seen at least one episode of The Twilight Zone. Programming at the local and national levels was filled out with regular movie presentations – morning, afternoon, prime time, week day, weekend, late night. Old movies, recent theatrical releases, made-for-television-films – there was no other way to watch movies outside of theaters until the widespread availability of cable TV and home video in the late 1970s to mid-1980s. And many of the movies shown were the Universal horror pictures of the 1930s and 1940s, or the Godzilla films from Japan, or the “in unliving color” blood-and-bodice terrors from Hammer Films in England. Monsters were depicted on the covers of mainstream national magazines – Life, Look, Time, TV Guide. Toys, games, model kits, wallets, comic books, bubble-gum cards, lunchboxes, everything that appealed to children of the time had monsters plastered all over them. Magazines about movie monsters and paperback books full of pulp magazine reprints about – you guessed it – monsters crowded the newsstands in every drug store within walking distance of my home. America was glutting itself on monsters, and I wallowed in that cultural cesspool of delicious terrors.

How could I possibly avoid being caught up in it?

Why would I want to?

So, eventually I grew up, got married, went to college and got my BA in history, then started producing offspring and being obliged to make a living and all that other adulting stuff attendant thereto. Now that my kids are grown and I’m left with this massive accumulation of horror books and magazines and comics, and scary movies, radio shows and TV programs, and creepy toys and games and cards and all manner of other cool stuff, what else is there to do with it all but write about it for the enlightenment, entertainment and edification of younger generations of horror addicts?

And so, that’s why I do what I do. That is why I am, and shall for the foreseeable future remain, your Friendly Neighborhood Historian of Horror.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Merrill’s Musical Musings

Greetings Horror Addicts! As I work on this collection of tracks for you to check out, it is indeed foggy and overcast outside, blanketing my neighborhood in that gray tinge that hurts your eyes and makes you long for a fire or for an afternoon curled up in bed with a good book. I hope wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, you’re staying healthy and safe and listening to some good tunes. Looking for new music? I’ve got a bunch of artists to share with you!

Ro’s Review

Amulet hails from Washington D.C. and will appeal to fans of Concrete Blonde or current rockers Dorothy as well as Coyote Kid as reviewed here on Horror Addicts last year. Their bio on BanCamp states that Amulet is bass-driven, dark alternative rock with powerful female vocals. With a theatrical performance ranging from high-energy post punk to soulful a cappella movements, Amulet is a ride through the emotional journey that is the dark side of the human experience. Their latest album, House of Black and White has some fabulous tracks such as “Valentine’s Day” and the title track “House of Black and White.” The album contains several solid rockers for the goth set. The band would be right at home on a dark bar stage belting out “Ghost of You” and I’d personally love to catch their live set someday. 

Shout Outs

New remixes are out now from industrial outfit Panic Lift’s Disease of Kings for you to check out. The Hate Club manages to sound just as heavy and fierce in an unplugged format. Check out their Unplugged Pt. 2 EP. Xenocide, the latest project from SINthetik Messiah, is a sci-fi-influenced EP about the end of a world and the life within, a topic many of us have likely pondered over the past three years. The songs all have a steady beat and a compelling hook. Check them out on BandCamp. And last but certainly not least, Blazer Jacket, a retrowave artist from Ukraine, brings us the powerful track “Get Out.” Excellent production quality, heavy vocals, and a clear message give this track it’s heart. It is a call to arms for the artist’s people who are currently engaged in the fight for their lives. Please show some support for Blazer Jacket during this bleak time for their country. 

Ro’s Recs

I have two recs on this occasion, and both are not what you’d consider horror when you look at their face value. Falling in Reverse are best known for their early emo anthems like “I’m Not A Vampire” and “Don’t Play With Ouija Boards”…wait, okay maybe they’ve got some horror themes in their repertoire. I first heard their new track “Voices in My Head” this week, and I was curious about lead singer Ronnie Radke’s latest hijinks. I looked up the video and was impressed with the level of production which has been improving with each new offering. FIR never shies from the darker side of humanity and sanity, but this particular video finds Radke’s many personas killing each other off. It’s quite graphic and brutal, but compelling to watch. If darker action flicks a la John Wick are your jam, check out this video. 

And then I came across the latest from manic pretty boy Brendon Urie and Panic! At The Disco…Again, Urie and co. are known for their emo gems like “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” but if you watch their videos, or if you’ve ever watched any of Urie’s Vines, you’ll notice that he’s got a delicious dark side. Just check him out in the video for “Emperor’s New Clothes” in his devil disguise and you’ll love it. In their new track, “Viva Las Vengeance” Urie becomes the victim of his…piano. You gotta watch it. The track is peppy and pop-punky, but the video is dark. And bloody. And I loved it. Check out these offerings on my YouTube Music Playlist and Stay Tuned for more

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Tabitha Thompson

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

20180209_121722_2[1]What inspired me to become a Horror Addict was at the tender age of 5 I was exposed to a movie called Maniac Cop by my mother. As horrified as I was of that movie (and the sequel), it unexpectedly had given me a love of horror, and given that I started writing stories at that age, it was only a matter of time before those two worlds would collide and I would become the person that I am today.  What has encouraged me to keep creating is my never-ending love for storytelling. Aside from books, I observe peoples’ actions and energy and find ways to incorporate them into various stories. I love having a ‘what if’ mentality with different situations that have either happened in my life or other people’s lives and finding new macabre ways to put it onto paper. With the understanding that everybody has a story to tell; I find that inspiration is pretty much everywhere and it helps to make some fascinating stories. Another encouraging factor that has kept me creating is my family; I want to not just provide a great life but inspire my nieces and future children with the idea that taking a leap and chance on yourself is definitely hard, but can be worth it.

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Shadow’s Love : Chapter 5 – Torment

Waking the next night, Audrey’s eyes opened slowly, adjusting to the gloom much more than usual. As she took in the satin sheets and the dried blood caked on her body, her mind flashed back to memories of the night before. Memories of Joe, tearing her classmate’s throat out, and her first taste of blood. She sat up, running her tongue over her teeth to reaffirm the veracity of present circumstances. The sharp sting as her tongue found her fangs told her that she was wide awake. This had really happened. She smiled a demon’s smile.

The vampire [Audrey marveled that she still did not know his name] was no longer lying beside her. She sent her mind out, searching for him, focusing on his dark red glow almost instantly. Reassured that she had not been abandoned, she turned her attentions to an ornate wardrobe in the corner. Her clothes from the night no longer suited her.

Upon opening it, she received a shock. It was filled with gorgeous clothing forgotten by modern fashion from some lost era. There were corsets, dresses, skirts, gowns, gauntlets, assorted jewelry, and accessories. After an agony of choice, she settled on a leather corset, a mid-length skirt with artful tears up and down it, skin-tight black gauntlets, fishnet stockings, and tall black leather boots. She spent a while admiring the collection of jewelry before picking out a silver ring with a modest bloodred stone set into it that reminded her of the vampire’s aura. She selected a plain leather choker, and set it out along with her other clothes on the hangers set into the doors of the wardrobe, grabbing a black silk robe for modesty’s sake in her quest for the bathroom and closed the wardrobe door. 

Finding an amazing black marble bathroom just down the hall from the master bedroom, she slipped off her robe and climbed into the cavernous bathtub, turning the chrome fists to make hot and cold water pour from a demon’s mouth. As the tub filled, she lay back against a black pillow opposite the faucet, closing her eyes and breathing deeply as the warm water climbed up her body, submerging her slowly. As it neared the top of the tub, she raised a foot and curled it around each fist in turn, shutting the water off. Silence filled the marble bathroom, broken only by the sound of water lapping against the sides of the tub and sporadic dripping, echoing off the smooth marble and lulling her into a dreamlike state. 

She lay there, floating between awake and asleep for a while, before rousing from her stupor and pushing herself from the tub, the water running down her body. Watching the water drain, she saw it was tinged red from the blood on her body. Smiling a little to herself, she searched for a towel, finding a stack of thick black linens in a cupboard. Selecting one, she toweled herself dry and wrapped the robe about herself again, loosely knotting the cord before padding down the hallway and returning to the master bedroom. When she opened the door, she received a shock.

Tied to the bed wearing nothing but his boxers was her ex-boyfriend Aaron, gagged and blindfolded, his shaking visible from the doorway. The vampire was leaning over the binding holding Aaron’s left foot, securing him solidly to the bed frame. At the sound of her opening the door, he turned, a devilish look on his face. “Surprise, darling,” he said, gesturing dramatically towards her prostrate ex.

Audrey feigned a look of girlish excitement. “My slimy worthless two-faced ex-boyfriend? You shouldn’t have!” She skipped across and kissed him hard on the mouth. 

At the sound of Audrey’s voice, Aaron started, jerking against his bonds, yelling through his gag. The vampire reached over and hit Aaron across the face. “Shut up.” Aaron went silent, shaking uncontrollably.

“No, no… let’s hear what he has to say,” Audrey said wickedly, kneeling on the bed beside Aaron’s head and pulling the gag from his mouth, untying the blindfold as well. 

Aaron blinked hard as the blindfold came away, shaking his head and pulling at his hands in an effort to rub his eyes. “Audrey!” he gasped as she came into focus. “Jesus, Audrey get me out of here! What are you doing here? If he hurt you, I’ll-“

She slapped him hard and leaning in close to her ex’s red sweaty face, she purred in his ear, “You’ll what, darling? What will you do to him? Are you gonna “kick his ass” for me?” The vampire snickered. Audrey smiled at him before caressing Aaron’s ear with her tongue and nipping. “I would love to see you try.”

She stood back up and put an arm around the vampire’s waist, leaning up against him and looking at Aaron thoughtfully. “What are your plans for this worm?”

The vampire put an arm around her, feeling no clothing under her silk robe. “I have none. He’s your surprise, you can play with him or dispose of him. Whatever you wish.”

Ignoring Aaron’s muffled squeak of protest, Audrey looked up at the vampire questioningly. “How did you know?”

“Your mind is an open book to me. Last night while you slept, I read. I can only imagine the rage you feel when faced with someone like this. Someone who does not treat you with any respect and takes you for granted. I thought you deserved to treat him for a change.” He smiled. “To… reciprocate.”

Audrey pulled away from him and went to sit on the bed beside her hapless ex, stroking his cheek with the back of a hand, smiling placidly at him. “Aaron, Aaron…I never thought I would ever see you again. I must confess, the thought wasn’t all bad. But I’m glad we have this time together now.”

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Geneve Flynn

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Geneve Flynn-Author-EditorWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest? 

Geneve Flynn. I’m a freelance fiction editor, and horror short story author and poet.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

“What’s Your Lens” encourages writers, readers, and editors to consider that we all view the world through a certain lens. It’s impossible to escape because we don’t exist in a void. Reading diverse works can expand our understanding of broader perspectives, which opens the way for greater possibilities in publishing.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

My favorite horror subject is the psychology of horror. We read to understand others. We’re social creatures and our survival relies on being part of a group, so being able to understand how others think and predicting how they might act is pretty important. That’s why character is so key in a good story.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

Books, books, and more books! There are so many interesting, talented folks creating fantastic dark fiction. I’ll probably die buried under my TBR pile, but I will be forever excited for new books. At the time of writing, I’m about two weeks out from heading to StokerCon live for the first time. I’m ridiculously excited about that.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

You can find me here: http://www.geneveflynn.com.au

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Jonathan Fortin

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Jonathan Fortin AUTHORPHOTO-2020My article 25 Of The Most Metal Films (That Aren’t About Metal) exists for two reasons: one, to promote my metal-themed short story Requiem In Frost; and two, out of spite that every list of “Metal movies” on the Internet. 

I completed the first draft of Requiem In Frost for a challenge in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest, wherein we were tasked to write a music-themed horror story. I’d had a fitting idea in my head for a while: a girl moving into a house haunted by the ghost of a murdered black metal musician, who she would befriend and eventually avenge by finding his killer. While I didn’t win that particular challenge, I did win the competition, and was invited to publish the work as a standalone ebook. (I recently recorded some parts for the audiobook, which should be out later this year.) 

I wrote 25 Films… as a blogpost to promote the story’s original launch, back in 2019. While researching similar lists online, I found an irritating tendency: nearly every list of the most “metal” films focused only on movies that were specifically about metal, rather than ones that felt metal. And I hate to say it, but despite my great love for the genre, I feel that a lot of the frequently-cited metal-themed films honestly aren’t that good. Most are extremely low-budget, to boot. In my mind, very few capture the epic, bombastic essence of metal. 

With that in mind, I decided to list only movies that weren’t specifically about metal, even though Requiem In Frost very much is. I instead focused on movies that had aesthetics, atmosphere, and/or subject matter that seemed appropriate for a metal album. I tried to include as much variety of metal as possible, from fantasy appropriate for symphonic power metal (The Lord of the Rings, Legend) to horror appropriate for goregrind (Martyrs, which you probably shouldn’t watch unless you have a very strong stomach). I also included a few stinkers out of necessity—Heavy Metal is tough to recommend in 2022, and I’ve personally never been a big fan of Conan the Barbarian—but the list wouldn’t feel complete without them. If I were to revise it for the years that have passed since 2019, then 2021’s The Spine of Night and 2022’s The Northman would both be shoe-ins for inclusion.

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FRIGHTENING FLIX VIDEO REVIEW: Horror Cliches I’m Tired of Seeing

 

Hello Contrivance, my old friend!

It’s time to fast forward over the prologues, driving to the horrors, and jump scares to have a fireside chat with Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz as we discuss all the formulaic tropes and problems with paint by numbers horror movies! For more Frightening Flix editorials as well as Kbatz Krafts projects anyone can do, pick up your copy of the Horror Addicts Guide to Life Book 2 workbook anthology available now on Amazon. What Horror cliches are YOU tired of seeing?

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life Book 1

Horror Addicts Guide to Life Book 2

Our Frightening Flix Video Playlist

Kbatz Horror Addicts Guide to Life Book 2 Press Tour Interview

More Horror Reviews and Viewing Lists at I Think, Therefore I Review and Twitter!

 

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Mark Orr

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

markorrWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

My name is Mark Orr, and I am the Historian of Horror. I have been intensely curious about nearly everything there is to be interested in for all sixty-three years of my life, including horror as expressed in every aspect of human endeavor – art, music, film and spooky storytelling in all its myriad forms, as well as the customs and traditions that arise out of the horrors that inform the human experience. I am also interested in the intersection of horror with other genres, especially mystery, which is itself another passion of mine.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

It’s about the broad range of horrific expression in every genre, every medium, every cultural practice known to humanity. Creepy comics, frightening films, monstrous music, scary stories, terrifying television, all of these are examined in my various articles.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

How cultural expressions of horror reflect the terrors of the time and place in which they are created – the angst of their age, if you will.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?

Historians have a tendency to look backwards more than forwards, but there’s always the delicious anticipation of coming across some forgotten artifact or unexpected scholarly work that will illuminate a previously unexamined facet of horror.

Where can readers/listeners find your work?

https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Orr/e/B00JFMY8AM

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Logbook of Terror : “What’s in the Fog, Rory?”

Rory bit his bottom lip and pulled his eyebrows close together while his pen darted across the paper. He spoke the line aloud. “The dense fog rolled in from the East.”

   Ah, what a fun first line; very atmospheric! Rory thought with a smile. I’m finally doing it, I’m becoming a horror writer just like I always dreamed!  

  “Ah, the glorious first line, where every writer’s journey begins.” 

  Rory glanced to his left. A middle-aged man wearing a navy blue mechanic’s jumpsuit and three days of gray beard stubble sat bare-foot and cross-legged on the bed. He sighed heavily and lit a cigarette. Rory handed the man an ashtray that was perched on the corner of his desk, half overflowing. . 

   “I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” Rory said. 

   The man shrugged. “You called so here I am. Now, let’s hear that first line again.” He took a long drag from the cigarette and exhaled. 

   Rory repeated, “The dense fog rolled in from the East,” then added, “Articulating the mounting dread of the deepening gloom…” 

   The man on the bed sputtered and stifled a laugh. 

   “What?” Rory asked sheepishly. 

   “Kid, you’re not Edgar Allan Lovecraft,” the man said. 

   “I’m not trying to be…besides, you’re mixing up their names.” Rory gripped his favorite pen tight and cleared his throat. “If you’re not going to         help, please be quiet.” 

   “Sure thing. Sorry, kid,” the man said. 

   Rory rolled his shoulders and adjusted in his creaky, antique wooden chair. “And please don’t call me kid, I’m forty-seven years old.” 

   “Hey, it’s never too late, right?” The man said with a laugh. 

   “That is right.” 

   Rory turned back to his paper and began again, reading to himself as he plunged into the story. “…A veil of impenetrable darkness fell over the land and beckoned the pale shroud of mist toward the coastal New England village…” 

   “Oh my God, I love it! I’m so excited!” The man hollered, bouncing on Rory’s bed, then yelling, “Rory smiled wide and continued to write!”

   Rory stopped smiling and glared at the man. “Why did you say that?”

   “What?”

   “You don’t get to tell me what to do.” 

   “That’s why you hired me, kid.” 

   “No,” Rory said flatly. “I hired you to provide inspiration, not stage direction.” 

  The man held up his palms. “Hey, just trying to help.” 

   Rory let out a deep breath. “Okay. Well, please, just…be patient with me and I’ll let you know when I need you.” 

   “Alright then,” the man said. He lit another cigarette and asked, “But, before you get back to it, answer me this: What’s in the fog, Rory?” 

   Rory tapped his pen on the desk. “Um, I don’t know. It’s just creepy fog, that’s all.” 

  “Just good old, creepy fog?”

  “Uh-hu,” Rory replied, nodding. 

   “Like that creepy fog,” the man said, pointing to the bedroom window with his cigarette holding hand.

   Rory looked. A thick haze of pale fog pushed against the window like a stranger pleading to be sheltered from the terror of the night. His eyes widened in wonder. His pen trembled against the page. 

   “You should let it in, Rory,” the man said. 

   “Why?” Rory asked in a near whisper, still gazing into the swirling fog.

   “It’ll be good for the story. You want to do what’s best for the story, don’t you  Rory?” 

   The fledgling writer nodded. “Yes, of course I do.” 

   “Then open the window.” 

   “For the story…” Rory whispered as he went to the window, turned the latch, and raised the glass.  

   Thick, ghostly tendrils weaved their way into Rory’s room. The fog glided across every surface, filling the space and obscuring every object. Rory stumbled toward his desk. 

   “I can’t see!” Rory screamed.

   “Follow my voice,” said the man, his words bouncing and echoing in thin, distant reverberations. 

   “Why are you so far away?” Rory shouted. 

   “I’m right over here!” The man called back. “Just a little further.”

   Swinging his arms in wide half-circles, Rory lurched forward, crying out against the blinding mist. 

   A neighbor overheard Rory screaming while another saw him pitch forward out of the bedroom window of his sixth floor studio apartment and plunge headlong into the bricks of the courtyard floor. 

   The would-be horror writer’s death was ruled an accident. The police only found two helpful clues. On Rory’s desk sat a tattered paperback titled Summoning the Muse, and a piece of notebook paper, torn away from the pad under it, with the question, “What’s in the fog?” scrawled beneath what appeared to be the beginning of a story. 

Book Review: The Man in the Field

The Man in the Field by James Cooper, pub. Cemetery Dance Publications 10.6.2022 is available on amazon.

Synopsis:

The village: a remote, God-fearing place, governed by ancient rituals that provide eternal balance to the land. Here, people have faith in working the soil, the good Lord above, and their own peaceful community. This is how they have lived for centuries, the Council providing spiritual oversight and the charismatic Father Lynch lighting the way.

As he does every year, according to an age-old custom, the man in the field arrives amid much rejoicing and apprehension. To sanctify the newly planted crops and ensure a productive harvest, the village must make a personal sacrifice in his name. This is the tradition that must be honored. For every blessing, there is a debt to be paid . . .

Mother Tanner, an older member of the village, has seen all this before. She has been born and raised in the shadow of these harsh solemnities and feels increasingly disturbed by them. Celebrating the Turning of the Wheel and exalting in God’s bounty is only half the story; there is much here that she is starting to distrust. Not least of which is Father Lynch himself and his beloved Council. And the enigmatic man in the field, who gazes not at the village, but at the distant horizon, thinking only of the overdue debt and the stroke of midnight when it will be time to collect . .

Review:

The Man in the Field by James Cooper drew me to it with its promise of rural isolation and strange doings. With its ritual nature, it sounded very much like a folk horror, which is a genre I love. It sort of is, but with a layer of dystopia washing over it.

My first impression, as the villagers respond to the sudden—although expected—appearance of the man in the field, is of an isolated community set some time in the past. It reminded me of the setup of the film The Village, being similarly bordered by forbidden woods. As these villagers respond to the man’s presence—the precursor to horrific events portrayed as a ‘blessing’ by the males of the community and by the council in particular—little bits of modern living are dropped in: the references to the city, the discovery of someone watching a video on their mobile phone, the journey taken at the end away from the village. All of this is neatly done, adding to the sense of dislocation and difference of the village and its inhabitants.

At the heart of the story is the relationship between Mother Tanner and Father Lynch. The latter is effectively the leader of the council, whilst the former is someone Lynch considers a challenge to himself, disrupting his authority within the community. When Mother Tanner discovers some of his secrets following the awful outcome of The Offering, she comes under increasingly close scrutiny and is in a position of some danger—from the men, from some of the women, and from some of the strangers in the woods. I still can’t quite believe that the women allow the offering to go ahead if they are the subjugated, but there is little they can do.

The sinister presence of the man in the field is something I would like to have known more about. With his sudden appearance and his continual unmoving position, with his back to the people of the village so they never see his face, he gives an almost supernatural feel to the tale. Apart from his presence denoting the start of the sacrificial ritual and the resultant offering, nothing more is explained.

Throughout the pages, the events are a backdrop to this ongoing ‘duel’ between Mother Tanner and Father Lynch, told with an excellent building of tension and pace. If this is a standalone novella, then I would say that the ending is somewhat unsatisfying. If there is to be a sequel, then it is the perfect place to stop. I also have the suspicion that any follow-up will play more to the dystopian nature of the story than the folk aspect, but that is my own opinion! Regardless of this, I would still highly recommend this atmospheric and weird little tale.

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Michael Fassbender

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

M. FassbenderIf you want to trace my love of horror back to the beginning, it would have to start with the Haunted Mansion at Disney World when I was four years old. That became my favorite place in the whole park, and then I came to realize that Halloween was the time of year when everybody sort of plays along. Naturally, that became my favorite holiday. It was my discovery of Lovecraft in high school, however, that kindled a desire to write horror stories of my own. I can still remember thinking of my very first short story idea while shoveling my grandmother’s driveway.

The specific incidents that inspired the articles I wrote here are fairly well documented in each of them, but more broadly, they both touch upon subjects dear to my heart. One presents a philosophical look at music and horror. I’ve been a fan of Heavy Metal since I was sixteen, and when you get down to it, the horror element in the music was always a big part of what I appreciated, from Black Sabbath to Mercyful Fate.

The other concerns the intersection of history and horror, and that is another natural fit for me. I am a lifelong student of history (and hold an M.A. from IU-Bloomington) and it remains a major avocation. Anyone who has read my stories, including “Miroir de Vaugnac” in Dark Divinations, will notice this. 

Ancient Egypt is one of my earliest fascinations, and I’ve written several stories involving it. As a matter of fact, the first of them has seen publication this year, in Unbreakable Ink Vol. 2. “The Seeker and the Queen of Ghouls” brings an acolyte of Aleister Crowley together with the legendary Queen Nitokris in 1923.

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#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Rena Mason

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

renaWhat is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
My name is Rena Mason and I’m a horror author of fiction and nonfiction. I have also co-written a screenplay and have another in the works.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
My article is about the use of colors and the emotions they elicit in film(s) and how I applied those techniques to my short story “The Ninth Tale” in the award-winning anthology Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
Pretty much everything horror is a favorite subject to me, but if I had to pinpoint an aspect that had the most impact on my early developing horror mind, I would have to say monsters. From reading the ogre in Jack and the Beanstalk and the monsters in Where the Wild Things Are to sneaking late-night peeks of Godzilla and Christopher Lee’s Dracula, they all struck an intense fear that the kid in me also found thrilling.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

This one’s easy—Other Terrors: An Inclusive Anthology which I co-edited with Vince Liaguno for the HWA’s Anthology Series published by Mariner/HarperCollins out July 19th.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

www.RenaMason.Ink

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#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with M.D. Neu

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

MDNeuThe article I provided for Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 titled; When Did you Know? Was inspired by all the times I’ve been asked that same question by friends, co-workers, and family. I find the question funny, especially because people will ask me this when they find out I’m a gay man. I’ve never once asked my heterosexual counterparts that question; When did you know you were straight? See how silly the question sounds when you frame the question that way? Still, I wanted to share my story and my thoughts, because it’s not a story you see or hear a lot about. We tend to hear the coming out stories about hardship caused by parents and family’s cruelty to these emerging youth. My coming to terms with my sexuality had nothing to do with others, but more to do with me. I think a lot of us experience this, but I’m not sure. So, I shared my truth in hopes that my story will show that sometimes the pressure we put on ourselves is harder and worse then anything that others can put on us. I hope the article is something the people can read and relate to, even if they aren’t part of the queer community, because there is always something that we silently struggle with that even our closest friends and families may have no idea we are going through.

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#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Kristin Battestella

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

kbatzIt’s difficult to keep creating horror content. Now and even before the very real-world scary pandemic. I move at my own old-fashioned speed back from ye olden 1980s where you couldn’t find scary content 24/7, 365. Do I have anything worthwhile to say about what films and television scare us? Are my kooky crafts and macabre trash to treasures subjective art that is only a sophisticated haunt to me? I’m inspired by what makes our fight or flight response and why or what makes us look at dark things in a new light. I see something not as what it is, but what it could be. For some people, that is a terrifying concept – especially when it comes to your own art and creation. I enjoy sharing my opinion about Frightening Flix because I like to know what other people think about complex horror. I’d like to think some of my little DIY Kbatz Krafts can inspire others to break out of their four walls and seek what glamour moves them. Is it all just gothic adjectives and poor-quality cardboard and cheap hot glue? Maybe. However, it’s like Bob Ross said, “We need darkness in order to show light.”

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HWA Mental Health Initiative : GIVE THEM A PEN AND PUT THEM TO WORK By Ronald J. Murray

Make your demons work for you instead of against you. This is a phrase that I have carried with me for years, and one that’s never exonerated me from the responsibility of confronting my issues directly. Rather, it catalyzed my ability to allow the hardships of life and mind to inspire creation, to find enjoyment even while in the dark.

The writer is no stranger to suffering. I’m no different than any other. Throughout the year of 2019, I was writing Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower, a product of my realization and confrontation of my yet undiagnosed CPTSD and the resultant havoc it wreaked in my life at that time. The cathartic experience of taking my struggles and forcing them into the dark imagery of horror poetry allowed me to find an unshakeable sense of accomplishment, a shining pride in my talent, and to see a way to still cling to an appreciation for life.

Complex PostTraumatic Stress Disorder is linked to multiple traumatic events and is defined as a developmental trauma disorder. Though there are rare instances where the disorder can be developed during adulthood, it’s more often linked to traumatic childhood experiences. Its symptoms are like PTSD in that its sufferer will re-experience traumatic events, avoid traumatic reminders, and maintain hypervigilance against perceived threats in every avenue of life. However, it differs in that it affects emotional dysregulation, causes a development of a distorted sense of self, and can lead to disturbances in relationships. It often mimics Borderline Personality Disorder, and, in my case especially, can be misdiagnosed as such.

This darkness of course followed me into the next year, and it sought vengeance. During a time when so many, including myself, were learning to navigate the difficult struggles of the pandemic and its terrors, I saw the world crashing around me in the form of my first major loss: a decade-long unhealthy partnership came to an explosive close. Blessing in disguise as it was, I found myself suddenly without the home I’d known for years and having to learn to live without a person who’d been there for so long. I was only at the beginning of my journey in facing and healing my previous emotional afflictions, and this needed event exacerbated my symptoms to a degree I’d never experienced.

Lost Letters to a Lover’s Carcass was born through painful labor. Employing my demons, I wrote this collection to help me process this hardship and everything that led to it. More importantly, it reminded me of something almost lost: myself. My drive, my talent, and my lust for creation and its act kept me tethered to this planet and its bountiful, beautiful one-time chance at life. Without me, there is no art to create or, for me, to even perceive and interpret. Without me, there are no experiences and the healthy translation of them into narrative and verse.

But creating art from a place of suffering can paint the process as something that needs suffering to flourish. This is untrue, and a pitfall I’ve been able to avoid with the help of perspective. I’ve seen this misconception among some budding writers that may romanticize the clichéd tortured artist.

While the intermingling of internal and external hardship can be appreciated in this medium and enjoyment can even be found through it for the creative, it is not necessary to create more suffering for the sake of the written word, or to wear it as a writing badge of honor. Because without the appreciation and care for the self, creation can become a chore, or worse, a whirlwind of unhealthy self-criticism and a frustrated pile of unfinished projects.

CPTSD may likely follow me to my far-away death, but I will always find ways to stalk it in its own shadows. I will use it, crush it, and subvert it to find exactly what I need to tell my stories. And through my victories, I’ll bask in the sunlight of the lines and stories and characters that I write, which remind me of who I am: an intelligent, empathetic, and passionate creator.

None of this is meant to invalidate the struggles of others. I can only write from my own experiences and hope that they inspire hope and open the gates to new perspectives. The experiences of others are muddy and complex, and faltering along the path is to be expected. But I’d like to challenge my fellow Horror Writers to continue your therapy, eat your three-square meals, drink your water, be mindful and take time to enjoy the moment. And, lastly, let your work be the light switch on your wall that drives your ghosts back to their graves.


 

Ronald J. Murray is a writer of speculative fiction and poetry living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His published work includes his two dark poetry collections, Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower, which appeared on the 2020 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot and was nominated for an Elgin Award, and Lost Letters to a Lover’s Carcass, from the JournalStone imprint, Bizarro Pulp Press. His short fiction and poetry has appeared in Space and Time Magazine, The Horror Writers Association’s Poetry Showcase Volume VIII, on The Wicked Library Podcast, in Bon Appetit: Stories and Recipes for Human Consumption, and Lustcraftian Horrors: Erotic Stories Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, and more. He is an Active Member of the Horror Writers Association and an Active Member of the Church of Satan.

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with CM Lucas

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

cmlucasWhat is your name, and what is your horror area of interest?

My name is Carl Michael (CM) Lucas. My area of interest is writing horror fiction. I am also an illustrator.

What is your work about in HAGL2? 

My piece is a list of the best horror games of all time… subjective, of course. 

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

Psychological torment is my favorite subject within horror. The mind is inescapable, and what it can create is far more terrifying than anything within the realm of reality. 

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

I’ve been hearing rumors about another attempted reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street. The 2018 Halloween sequel/soft reboot was very fateful to the original, so that gives me hope for Nightmare’s reboot. There have also been rumors that Sony plans on buying the Silent Hill IP and continuing the franchise. That is spectacular. 

What inspires your work?

 Hm… Do you have an hour? There’s so much for movies to (Silent Hill mostly), the work of Philip K. Dick, Junji Ito, and subversion stories. 

Where can readers find your work?

Nonfiction: Thethings.com, The Official Black Magazine.com, View The Vibe. Fiction: Reedsy.com, Twitter, and soon, in bookstores as I have finished my first horror novel, and I am working on a publishing deal. However, I save my best horror prose for Horroraddicts.net. 

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HWA Mental Health Initiative : Out of the Darkness: A Conversation with Lee Murray and Dave Jeffery

Lee Murray:

I write horror. I also suffer from anxiety, and sporadically from depression. Most of the time, I’ve managed to keep this to myself, but, in recent years, I’ve tried to be more open with friends and family about my mental health. The interesting thing is, in doing that I learned that a lot of my horror colleagues are also pacing to and from at the ramparts checking for danger or engaged in all-out battles with kaiju of epic proportions. Was it time to open a discussion about horror writing and mental health? I consulted my friend, Forever Man author, and psychologist Brian Matthews, who agreed that a discussion was timely, and with his help we put together a panel for 2018 StokerCon, Providence which we called Writing From a Dark Place. We were able to enlist some incredible panelists too, including Brian Kirk, Leslie Klinger, James Arthur Anderson, and Eric J. Guignard. The conference committee welcomed the proposal, and the resulting panel conversation was frank, informative, and warming. Then, some months after the convention, I shamelessly used the panel discussion as the basis of an essay, which was later published in Victoria University Press’ Headlands anthology, along with 33 other New Zealand writers with their own personal stories of anxiety. The Headlands project has led to an upcoming hui (gathering) to bring the writers together for further discussion and a possible documentary on the topic. It seems when you open a conversation about mental health and lift it out of the darkness, a lot of good things can result. For that reason, I welcome this new initiative by the HWA to support Mental Health Awareness. I’m excited (and a little anxious) to contribute to the blog series and to an ongoing conversation about horror writing and mental health.

Dave Jeffery: 

I have worked as a mental health professional in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) for 35 years. I have been a writer of dark and obscure fiction for considerably longer, writing my first horror novella at the age of 13. The novella was poor, but my experience of working with those who endure mental illness over the years has been nothing short of amazing. It is an honour to work with those who endure mental health issues on a day to day basis, they are the brave and mighty, they know true suffering and they have fought for light in the darkness. I know this because I have seen it, holding the hands of troubled souls, witnessed the tears and the trauma. It leaves a person humbled beyond words. 

In his 1964 publication, Madness and Civilization French philosopher Michel Foucault writes, “Mental illness has its reality and its value only in a society that recognizes it as such.” In other words, how we define mental illness as a society reflects how we ultimately treat it. There is truth in that those with severe mental illness are marginalised, the stigma associated with acts and behaviours making more of an impression on how they are viewed rather than on what these people endure. As a mental health professional and a horror writer I have a duty to readdress the balance and ensure the social stereotype of ‘lunatics’ and ‘maniacs’ are challenged from the beginning. Nothing puts me off a book quicker than the thoughtless misrepresentation of mental illness. 

Lee Murray: 

Thanks so much for agreeing to chat with me, Dave. I’m looking forward to hearing your perspective as a mental health professional and a horror writer. 

Naomi Arnold, my editor in Headlands says, “Clinic anxiety is a chronic crushing panic. Sometimes you can function fine, with a faint residual fluttering and a few deep breaths,” She writes. “Other times, it grows until it takes over your mind, your gut, your heart, your breath, your limbs, and everything in your life until your entire being feels reduced to the nub of your earliest brain. The one that pumps adrenaline through your system, puts everything on red alert, shuts down all your body systems and makes every cell scream.” 

I waited until I was 50 for a diagnosis of anxiety. “Oh and by the way, you have depression, too,” the doctor said. 

When I tell them, most people can’t believe it. “But you’re so bubbly and outgoing,” they say. “So smiley.”

It’s true, I do try to be cheery. But it strikes me that a person’s mental health isn’t always evident from their demeanour, and sometimes those who we least expect are suffering the darkest demons.

After the Writing from a Dark Place panel, panelist Brian Kirk wrote to me, and what he said interested me because it’s something I’ve noticed too. He said: “I’ve always found it curious that, in general, horror authors are some of the friendliest and most optimistic people I know. Whereas comedians are typically morose and depressive.” Would you agree with that comment?

Dave Jeffery:

My experience of the horror writing community is indeed one of warmth and inclusion, and an almost overzealous need to help others. I often wonder if there is a compensatory element in that writers are, by nature, insecure entities and perhaps coming to the aid of others has a basis in the desire to create climates in which they, too, feel safe. In their study of personality types, Ando, Claridge and Clarke (2014) concluded that comedians have traits not dissimilar to those who suffer psychosis, so I would certainly agree that comedians overall tend to be somewhat distant in real life. 

Lee Murray:

Kirk also says, The basic commonality I see between works of profoundly troubled people is an extreme kind of sensitivity. A brutally insightful look into our basic human condition.” If what Kirk says is true and people with mental illness have an ‘extreme sensitivity’ and ‘insight’ into the human condition, do you agree that horror writers who suffer from mental illness, make better writers? After all, many of our best-loved horror icons, past and present, are known to have struggled with mental illness—writers like Sylvia Plath, Stephen King, Ann Rice, and Mary Shelley.

Dave Jeffery:

I’m comfortable with the view that those who are ‘in tune’ with the darker side of the human condition can make better sense of how to translate that onto the page. There does need to be balance, of course. My view is that one-sided worldview, for example: the terrible actions of one person or one group of people somehow defining humanity, makes for a dull, cliched narrative, no matter what the intention of the writer. The links between mental illness and creativity has been long established, so I’m not surprised by Kirk’s view on this perspective and would support it wholeheartedly.

Horror and mental illness are effective bed-fellows. Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart is a classic example of how this can be used to incredible effect as the narrator questions his own sanity following his heinous act of murder, and the guilt this generates. Robert Louis Stephenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a less subtle take on the dualities of man and the consequences of wanton action. This concept of two sides to a personality has plagued public perceptions of schizophrenia for centuries. This cannot be laid at Stephenson’s feet as the book is of a time where the renaissance of modern-day psychiatry was a few years away. Do you have any favourite examples of where horror and mental illness have been used effectively? 

Lee Murray:

I was afraid you were going to ask me that. Let’s start with Hamlet, given that I spent my high school years quoting Lady Macbeth’s ‘Out, out damned spot’ soliloquy whenever I washed my hands in someone’s hearing. Other fiction titles addressing mental illness that resonated for me while growing up include Madge Piercy’s classic A Woman on the Edge of Time, The Madness of a Seduced Woman by Susan Stromberg Schaffer, and The Bone People, by New Zealand’s Booker-prize winner, Keri Hulme. More recently, I could add The Drowning Girl by last year’s StokerCon guest of honour, Caitlin R McKiernan and there’s Mark Matthew’s grueling anthology Garden of Fiends with its stellar line-up of authors writing addiction-inspired stories. Your own novella Bad Vision effectively addresses how the system fails sufferers when a man faced with a debilitating mental illness is unable to find support from his doctors, his community and even his wife. And there is Kirk’s We Are Monsters, which won him a Bram Stoker-nomination for First Novel. The book examines two doctors’ approaches to a schizophrenia: one, Drexler, who uses his patients as guinea pigs for his experimental drug treatments, and the other, Alpert, who advocates for therapy. As the story unfolds, a serial killer named Crosby becomes the test subject for Drexler’s latest treatment, but something goes wrong: the medicine alters Crosby’s mind, dragging him, and everyone with him, into a parallel plane where they are forced to face their demons. If we’re talking about translating the darker side of the human condition onto the page, then Kirk has definitely achieved that. 

I’m going to stop there, and let you jump in with a couple of favourites because so many of our horror colleagues are doing excellent work addressing mental illness in their fiction that this could become a very long list.

Dave Jeffery:

Gosh, there are so many to cite, outside of those I’ve mentioned earlier. If I’m looking at recent examples, I would have to say Gary McMahon’s excellent What They Hear in the Dark which focuses on the cost of terrible loss. I also add King’s novel, Pet Sematary, Richard Farren Barbers’s novella, Closer Still and James Everington’s Trying to Be So Quiet as wonderful stories that capture grief and its impact on the psyche. One that certainly lingers in the memory is Phil Sloman’s Becoming David which is a subtle and brilliantly executed exploration of the descent into madness. 

Lee Murray:

For anyone who would like to read more widely, I’ve found an excellent summary of more than 250 mainstream titles featuring mental illness (non-fiction and fiction) on the Bookscrolling website. The page also includes 22 other sources listing mental health and illness titles. 

Dave Jeffery: 

As highlighted in my introduction, the stigma of mental illness is an ongoing issue in society. For someone who works in the mental health field, the frustration when inroads in challenging these issues are swept away by negative, inflammatory media stories is beyond description. Yes, some people have committed terrible acts of violence when they have been in the throes of psychosis, but statistically the mentally ill are more likely to be the victims of crime. It is my view that those with extreme forms of mental illness have become a soft target for society’s ills. When someone commits heinous crimes, they are often labelled ‘insane’ or ‘crazy’ when it has more to do with deficits in their personality or behavioural programming. Perhaps they are just bad people. Many atrocities have been undertaken by governments all over the world and throughout history, after all. These constructs became the motivation for writing Finding Jericho and has been, if it hasn’t come across already, a passion of mine for most of my working life. 

Lee Murray:

I agree the stigma surrounding mental illness is perhaps the most significant barrier to getting support to people in need. As an example, for several years I sat on the committee of our local Alzheimer’s Society, providing community support to the families of sufferers. At that time, the region had two part-time field officers and a growing number of clients. With growing demand, the committee discussed the possibility of purchasing a vehicle, which the field officers would share and which we would brand with the Alzheimer’s Society logos to improve community awareness, another of our stated goals. The field officers were against the idea, preferring to use their private vehicles despite personal cost to themselves. We wouldn’t understand it. Field Officer  ‘Anna’ explained: “As it is, several of my clients have asked that I not park in the same street, and to please come to the back door when visiting, so that the neighbours don’t see.” The field officers were concerned that an Alzheimer’s-branded vehicle would mean clients would refuse valuable help, for fear of friends and neighbours finding out they were suffering from a mental illness. Even the words used to describe mental illness have stigma attached, our local field officers using the less offensive term ‘memory loss’, rather than Alzheimer’s or dementia, when speaking with clients and their families. It’s clear, the stigma of mental illness is a monster in itself.

Dave Jeffery: 

The associations between horrific acts of violence and mental illness in genre media can be exacerbated when such misguided links are assumed in horror fiction. As a horror writer, do you think we have a responsibility to temper this view when we write our narratives? 

Lee Murray:

I think we have a responsibility to write with authenticity. My Writing From a Dark Place panellist, Eric J. Guignard, is of the same mind. He says writers should: “create empathy with real life sufferers by sharing authentic experiences by way of storytelling”. To do that I believe we need to write complex rounded ‘real’ characters, including characters with mental illnesses. And if we also show the missed opportunities for help, those pivotal moments for connection that might have averted those acts of violence, then perhaps we would also see opportunities to affect change. 

I guess that gives us an altruistic reason to write horror, doesn’t it? 

Something interesting I learned recently is that while New Zealand’s Māori and Pasifika population currently have the country’s the highest rates of mental illness and suicide, a study conducted in the 1940s showed that, by contrast, Māori had no discernible incidence of mental illness at that time. Mental illness is a new phenomenon in Māori communities and is largely a product of the pressures of our modern society, arising because the traditional support networks provided by family and community have been broken down.

Baker (1988) reports: “Society had this fear of contamination from mental disease and also a massive denial that it even existed. These concepts were alien to Māori people whose whānau (family) members suffering from trauma were always included within the whanau (family), hapū (subtribe), iwi (tribal) boundaries and given special status.”

I think we have a lot to learn from the traditional Māori approach of inclusiveness and care when dealing with mental health issues.

Dave Jeffery: 

I would agree with your viewpoint. There is certainly a recovery-based ideology prevalent in Baker’s description of Māori culture, and this can be seen in Western values throughout the history. For example, in 1796, Quaker William Tuke set up The Retreat, a facility built in the city of York, UK that was to become the cornerstone of a philosophy of what was called The Moral Treatment. The programme involved giving patients purpose, including them in their decision-making and giving them a meaningful life through the sanctity of work. These are key tenets that we see in the recovery paradigm that is so fundamental to mental healthcare in the 21st Century. Community and inclusion are essential to the concept of reducing stigma. With celebrities using their high profile to share their experiences of mental health issues, I have to say we’ve come a long way, but it is nowhere near enough. 

Lee Murray:

Whether or not it is therapeutic, writing has been known to save people. 

Janet Frame is one of New Zealand’s most iconic writers of dark fiction and the subject of Jane Campion’s 1990 film An Angel at My Table. Almost all of Janet Frame’s work, including her debut novel Owls Do Cry (1957), addresses mental illness and is thought to have been drawn from her own experience. After a suicide attempt, Frame spent eight years in mental hospitals and received 200 electroshock treatments. She was about to undergo a lobotomy, but the New Zealand Society of Authors sent a letter advising the hospital that she had recently won a major literary prize, and instead she was released.

Later, a panel of psychiatrists determined that she didn’t have schizophrenia, a fact which Frame resented, as she wrote in her third autobiography: “Oh why had they robbed me of my schizophrenia, which had been the answer to all my misgivings about myself?”

It introduces a chicken and the egg aspect to the horror-mental health debate, doesn’t it? Which comes first, the horror writer who suffers mental illness, writers who suffer mental illness who are then drawn to dark themes? Why exactly do we choose horror over happier more light-hearted themes, anyway? As a mental health practitioner and a horror writer yourself, do you consider dark themes are therapeutic in any way?

Dave Jeffery:

 I think if done with integrity and skill then, yes, it can be therapeutic. I say with the caveat of recovery, of course. If people relate to the experiences of characters then it reinforces the concept that they are not experiencing these things in isolation, that social context is has given them common ground through the characters. Where it becomes less helpful is where the narrative is delivered in a clumsy way by those who prefer to shock, reinforcing those ever-present societal views of the salivating lunatic who kills anyone they see, a human monster terrorising the innocent. My advice to those who are planning on writing about mental illness in horror fiction is to treat it with the sensitivity as they would gender and race issues. That way you will take the time to consider what the pitfalls are and ultimately write something interesting and, above all, authentic. 


Lee Murray and Dave Jeffery are current co-chairs of the HWA Wellness Committee.

Lee Murray is an author, editor, screenwriter, and poet from Aotearoa New Zealand. A USA Today Bestselling author, double Bram Stoker Award® and Shirley Jackson Award winner, her work includes military thriller series, the Taine McKenna Adventures, supernatural crime-noir trilogy The Path of Ra (with Dan Rabarts), and short fiction collection, Grotesque: Monster Stories. Lee is the editor of nineteen volumes of dark fiction, among them Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (with Geneve Flynn). Other works include non-fiction title Mark My Words: Read the Submission Guidelines and Other Self-editing Tips with Angela Yuriko Smith, and several books for children. Her short stories and poems have appeared in venues such as Weird Tales, Space and Time, and Grimdark Magazine. Lee is co-founder of Young NZ Writers and of the Wright-Murray Residency for Speculative Fiction Writers, an HWA Mentor of the Year, NZSA Honorary Literary Fellow, and a Grimshaw Sargeson Fellow. Read more at https://www.leemurray.info/

Dave Jeffery is the author of 17 novels, two collections, and numerous short stories. His Necropolis Rising series (Severed Press) and yeti adventure Frostbite (Severed Press) have both featured on the Amazon #1 bestseller list. He regularly contributes both articles and short stories for the prestigious genre publication, Phantasmagoria Magazine. His YA work features the Beatrice Beecham supernatural mystery series (Crystal Lake Publishing & Crossroad Press). Jeffery is also the creator of the critically acclaimed A Quiet Apocalypse series (Demain Publishing). His contemporary mental health novel Finding Jericho is currently being optioned as a TV miniseries. 

Jeffery is a member of the Society of Authors and actively involved in the Horror Writers Association where he is a mentor on the HWA Mentorship Scheme, and co-chair of the HWA Wellness Committee. He is contactable through his website: http://www.davejefferyauthor.com

References:

Ando, V., Claridge, G. & Clarke, A. (2014) ‘Psychotic traits in comedians ’. The British Journal of Psychiatry.  204(5)

Baker, R. (1988), ‘Kia Koutou’ IN Walsh, C. & Johnson, S. (eds.), Psych Nurses, 88, Wellington, p.40.

Beaglehole, E., Beaglehole, P., (1947), Some Modern Māori, New Zealand Council for Educational Research, Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd, Auckland.

Foucault, M. (1967) Madness & Civilization. Routledge, London. 

Arnold, N. (ed.) (2018) Headlands: New Stories of Anxiety. Victoria University Press, Wellington.

Tuke, W. (1813) Description of the Retreat. Alexander: York.

 

 

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with J. Malcolm Stewart

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

J. Malcolm StewartWell, like most of us who have the delusion of being writers, I’ve been telling stories of all kinds since I was a kid. I’ve been a published author with various small presses around North America and the UK for about 10 years now and as of yet no one has come to take me away. So onward I go!  Good Horror storytelling is characters saying the right thing and doing the right thing at the right time in the story. I’ve always responded to that trigger or emphasis as a reader or viewer. Horror is unique in its ability to deal with both complex themes and primary motivations (fear, panic, loss, revenge etc). My pieces in the collection try to place the themes of horror in context, with both serious and humorous analysis. Hopefully, I communicate why I, and so many of us, love horror and the rush of excitement and anticipation it brings to our lives. It’s the only addiction that’s good for you!

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Russell Holbrook

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

IMG_20180401_084532What is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

Hi! My name is Russell Holbrook, and my horror area of interest is horror fiction. I love writing horror! Coming in a very close second is horror music. I love listening to and creating spooky sounds!

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

I have some short fiction featured. One piece is a poem about being chased by Death, I think, and there’s a “travel log” about getting lost in the Winchester Mystery House, and another travel piece about visiting the Trans-Alleghany Lunatic Asylum. Muwahahahaha! 

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

My favorite horror subject is probably possession and/or spiritual issues, which can also include issues of mental and emotional health, or the lack thereof, haha! I love that because I’m very interested in spirituality and the supernatural. I was raised in a religious home, and I love to think that there’s a spiritual world that we can sometimes access, and I enjoy imagining what kind of influence or effect that world might have on our world and how the two might interact.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
Halloween Ends!  😀

Where can readers/listeners find your work?

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14785254.Russell_Holbrook

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Jonathan Fortin

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Jonathan Fortin AUTHORPHOTO-2020What is your name and what is your horror area of interest? 

I’m Jonathan Fortin, and I’m a Horror and Dark Fantasy author.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?
25 Of The Most Metal Films (That Aren’t About Metal) is list of movies that aren’t specifically about metal, but capture the essence of the music genre. It was created as a promotional article for my horror short story Requiem In Frost, which is about a girl being haunted by the ghost of a murdered black metal musician, and trying to find his killer.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
I have a special interest in all things Gothic, from the dark crumbling castles to the beautiful Victorian outfits to the psychological intrigue. I love monsters, explorations of mental illness/trauma, dark romance/eroticism, and transformation. My work also often features body horror, and more than a few Lovecraftian influences as well.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
I’m really excited for Stranger Things Season 4, Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, and Jordan Peele’s Nope. I’m also really hoping Netflix’s Sandman show, HBO’s The Last Of Us show, AMC’s Interview With The Vampire show, and Evil Dead Rise are good, but I also have a certain degree of anxiety about whether they’ll live up to their names.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

My website is here: https://www.jonathanfortin.com/ 

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Author Interview : With Naching T. Kassa

Naching T. Kassa https://nachingkassa.wordpress.com/ is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, and a staff writer at Crystal Lake Publishing. She resides in Eastern Washington State with her husband Dan. They are the proud parents of three children and a dog. 

NOX: Our readers may know you as a runner-up in the Great Horror Writer’s Contest, a staff member, writer, and publisher for HorrorAddicts.net.  But a search of the internet shows so much more! Can you give us a rundown of your major accomplishments from your viewpoint? And where you are now?

Naching: Well, I wrote a story called, “The Darker Side of Grief,” which appeared in Arterial Bloom, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085QLBYSS an anthology edited by the amazing Mercedes M. Yardley and published by Crystal Lake Publishing, and that book was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award ®. And, I’ve been writing and editing stories for Crystal Lake Publishing’s Patreon series, Still Water Bay, https://www.amazon.com/Guild-Small-Horror-Still-Water/dp/B09MG866BM and producing audiobooks for the series. I’ve also had several Sherlock Holmes stories published by Belanger Books, MX Books, and Mango Books. And my poem, “A Home to Those Who Fly,” appeared in the Blackspot Books Poetry anthology, Under Her Skin. https://www.amazon.com/Under-Her-Skin-Marge-Simon-ebook/dp/B091ZH59G2  

It’s been a pretty exciting time!

NOX: Tell us a bit about your writing history. What made you decide to be a writer? What did you write at first? 

Naching: Oh wow. Let’s see. I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was little. When I was eight, I used to draw and illustrate monster books for my second grade class. One was about a monster called Henry, who was so ugly, that he had to wear a paper bag over his head. 

In high school, I was very into fantasy and I wrote that for a while. When I had my first child at 33 and decided to be a stay-at-home mom, I started writing horror and mystery. I’ve been writing in those genres ever since.

NOX: Why the horror genre for you?

Naching: I have always enjoyed frightening things so it was natural I would gravitate toward the horror genre. Dean Koontz is a particular favorite. He really inspires my writing. 

Nox: In the Anthology, Crescendo of Darkness, your story, Audition, is a great piece.  The characters are so real and reminiscent of musicians we have heard stories about. Will you share your methods of character development?

Naching: Sure! All of my characters–even the villains–have a moral code they follow, a list of things they will and will not do. This gives them dimension and makes them who they are. Some characters have a flexible moral code, one they can adapt to their experiences, while others have a rigid one they won’t violate.  

A character should also learn and grow during the arc of a story. Ideally, the person they are at the end of the story should be different from the person they were at the beginning. 

NOX: What kind of challenges do you face as you write? Any stumbles along the way?

Naching: Oh goodness, I’m always stumbling. My editing process is a long one. Haha!

NOX: You have written, edited, critiqued, and published. Which part of the literary life do you like best?

Naching: Writing is my most favorite part of the literary life. I just love the creative process. 

NOX: Have you any advice or encouragement that would be helpful for horror writers reading this interview?

Naching: My advice comes in three parts. First, read. Read absolutely everything you can. Read new authors, old authors, authors in and outside of your genre. Just read. Second, learn to accept criticism. Nobody on this planet is a perfect writer (though some do come close!) Put your ego on the back burner. And Third, never ever give up. If you get a rejection, just keep going! The publisher or editor isn’t rejecting you as a person. Keep going, keep learning your craft and you will make it!

NOX: Good advice! Thank you so much for talking with us today but before we go, can you tell us what’s ahead for you. And where can we read more of your writing?

Naching: I have a new episode of Still Water Bay coming out in a few months and John Linwood Grant, Angela Yuriko Smith and I have a Sherlock Holmes book coming out from Crystal Lake Publishing next year. I’m afraid the rest of my projects are secret right now!
You can find my work on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Naching-T-Kassa/e/B005ZGHTI0 

Thank you, Nox! It’s been a pleasure!

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with Steven P. Unger

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

novamp10Growing up, I voraciously read science fiction books and pre-Code horror comics (see http://thehorrorsofitall.blogspot.co.nz/), and especially loved watching the old Hammer Films about Count Dracula on TV. Produced between 1958 and 1974, they almost always starred Christopher Lee in the title role.

Around 1980 I found a coffee table book-sized paperback titled The Annotated Dracula, with copious notes, maps, and even a calendar of events in the novel. I loved Bram Stoker’s skillful foreshadowing of dire events; the way his imagery boiled up from the collective unconscious of the Victorian mind and the sexual repression of the 1890s when Dracula was conceived.

Over time I developed an obsession to travel to every site related to either the fictional Count Dracula or his real historical counterpart, Prince Vlad Dracula the Impaler—especially after a visit to Whitby, England, where three chapters of the novel Dracula take place. I stood on the cemetery hill where, in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Lucy Westenra and Mina Murray spent hour after hour sitting on their “favourite seat” (a bench placed over a suicide’s grave near the edge of the cliff)—while Count Dracula slept just beneath them!

In my mind’s eye, I could see the un-dead count rising at night from the suicide’s grave slab to greedily drink the blood of the living. The graveyard where Count Dracula spent his days sleeping in the sepulcher of a suicide looks the part that it plays, with weathered limestone tombs blackened by centuries of the ever-present North Sea winds. That graveyard made the novel more visible, more visceral, to me, and I wondered if the sites in Transylvania described in Dracula and in the remote mountains of southern Romania would evoke the same chilling feelings. 

But my quest to solve that mystery would have to be postponed. From 1974 to 1989 the country of Romania was in the grip of the ruthless, cult-of-personality regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu. As official television broadcasts showed stores full of produce that was actually painted plastic, thousands of Romanians were being tortured in political prisons and millions more were near starvation.

I wasn’t restricted from going there, but it felt all wrong. I didn’t want to support the Ceauşescu dictatorship in the slightest way.

After fifteen years of increasingly repressive rule, on Christmas Day in 1989, the brutal dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu and his wife Elena were executed by a military firing squad in Tărgovişte (the very city from where Vlad the Impaler ruled his princedom!).

In all I waited more than twenty years until I could journey to Transylvania and experience a free and independent Romania. But it wasn’t going to be easy. The Ceauşescu regime had gutted what little infrastructure Romania had, and there were no tourist offices in Romania to help me get to Transylvania. But I made it, and my book, In the Footsteps of Dracula, was the result.

What makes me keep writing despite the relentless rejections? Feedback like this:

“We took your book to Romania with us, went to the sites, hotels, and restaurants you recommended; took the same buses, trains, and MaxiTaxis; and had the greatest time!”

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Kay Tracy

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

What is your name and what is your horror area of interest?
Kay Tracy here.  I never thought of myself as a “Horror Addict,” I mean, I am not overly fond of modern horror movies, though I admit as a kid, watching many MANY Lugosi and Karloff movies! I also enjoy dark tales and stories.


What is your work in HAGL2 about?
My contribution in this issue is actually based on a true event that I cannot fully explain…..

What is your favorite horror subject and why?
That is a hard one to answer.  I like ‘cautionaly’ tales and those with moral lessons.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?
Hmmm, well, I did just attend the Iceland Horror film fest, Frostbiter, and there were several fun films to be seen, so I guess more films and shorts!

Where can readers/listeners find your work?

Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Book Review: MAELSTROMS – COLLECTED DARK FICTION ABOUT THE SEA

A review by Renata Pavrey

I love anthologies for the bite-sized stories they provide to read on the go, and also for introducing the reader to a range of writers and writing styles within a compact collection. Maelstroms from Shacklebound Books piqued my interest for its genre and theme of dark fantasy and horror set around the sea. Edited by Eric Fomley, the compilation features an assortment of short stories by twenty-three writers, each one wonderful in its own way.

From mermaids to pirates, haunted castles and dangerous storms, sea creatures and suspicious amphibians, witches and queens, Maelstroms presents a plethora of tales about watery graves. I particularly liked how the authors dissected the narrow theme and explored the depths of their dark imaginations. Each story is so different from the next one, even though they’re all about the same topic. Kudos to editor Eric Fomley for his spectacular selection for this collection.

Some authors like Dorian Sinnott, Taylor Rae, and Dawn Vogel I was already familiar with from their work in other books. The anthology introduced me to new, stellar writers like Ai Jiang, Dennis Mombauer, Addison Smith, and Jenna Hanchey. A few stories that stood out for me were Dangers of the Deep, A Bad Day at Sea, Until There Were None, The Island of Masks, No King Will Come for You, The Ocean’s Choice, Grow, and The Kingfishers Come at Dawn, although I loved all of them – Maelstroms is a very well written and put together collection.

Some quotes:

~There was nothing to row to. Only the sea, filled with the crimes of his past.

~The sky, the very sea, was red. Not the red of blooming sunlight, but the crimson red of blood.

~They said her hair had become stained with blood and that is why it was red. Dead Red Delahaye.

~What tossed us into the sea’s dark waters was not the strong winds that carried us forth, nor the storms that brewed and rocked the ship, but the men who found that we were too many mouths to feed.

~The word slides into the hall like frozen glass.

~…the shadows were so profound that just his weighted leg revealed which side was down.

~…the agony of drowning and the peace of death.

~In the end, her most important lesson was the one the students taught.

~Scattered among the sand are a multitude of stones…, worn affectionately from embraces of the ocean.

~I feed on iron and bone and tears.

~Frost clung to her eyelashes and nipped at her cheeks, tasting her. The winter was hungry.

My rating – 5/5

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with A.D. Vick

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DSCF1060What is your name and what is your horror area of interest?

My name is A.D. Vick, and I write Gothic and Southern Gothic fiction. I am particularly fond of vampires, but my material also delves into the spooky feel of cemeteries, witchcraft, Ozark culture, and various other aspects of the supernatural.

What is your work in HAGL2 about?

My work in the new book consists of several biographies/obituaries of actors or producers in the horror-film industry that have passed on from this world.

What is your favorite horror subject and why?

Without a doubt, vampires are my favorite horror subject. I love their ability to mesmerize—to be seductive, and yet be such blood-thirsty, lethal creatures.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre?

Mostly, I simply wish that the horror industry would quit redoing so many films, and instead, focus on new material. I strongly feel that horror is capable of taking many twists and turns, which as of yet, have not been explored.

Where can readers/listeners find your work? 

I have a website entitled Tales of Dark Romance and Horror, which is also the title of my first book. It can be accessed at http://www.romanceandhorror.com/ . The site provides purchasing information as well as excerpts from many of the stories contained within the pages of my books.

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: The Divine Fury

 

Plotline: Champion fighter Yong-hu has it all, until mysterious wounds appear in the palms of his hands. After seeking help from a priest he quickly finds himself in the middle of a dangerous fight against otherworldly evil forces.

 

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

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

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

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.com

http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

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

http://podiobooks.com/title/and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after

#HorrorAddictsGuide What Inspires Horror with R.L. Merrill

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

Merrill_RL-HeadshotMy stepfather, aka The Dude (way before Lebowski), has fallen asleep in his recliner around seven pm since he became my stepfather in 1975. He wakes a few hours later and watches TV, mostly Westerns, and Horror flicks. I was not quite three years old when he married my mom and gave me a fantastic stepsister, and as I grew older, I looked forward to sneaking out of bed to watch Creature Features and The Twilight Zone with him. My first drive-in memory was going to see Jaws 2 with the fam in our Pinto station wagon with the fake wood paneling and my mom accidentally spilling the entire bucket of homemade popcorn on him. 

My love of horror grew to its current level of obsession when we got our first VHS player somewhere around 1983 and a video store opened down the street. I remember walking to the store most days in the summertime to return the two horror flicks (two was the limit at this place) I’d rented the day before and rent two more. House, The Pit, and The Reanimator were all early faves. I re-watched The Company of Wolves so many times…and creepy Sting in Brimstone and Treacle horrified me. But I was in love with the morbidly mysterious, the murky spaces, and the monsters. Then I spied my mom’s copy of Stephen King’s Night Shift…and I snuck the book into my room. I read “The Boogeyman” and scared myself deliciously to death. 

I’ve been a proud Horror Addict for about 44 years now and I love bringing my love of music to the blog and podcast in the form of reviews for some of the best horror-infused tunes out there today. One of my favorite pieces I submitted to the blog was about Dark Love Songs…We love them, don’t we? It’s my goal to share all the titillating horror tunes with you awesome addicts.

I knew I’d met a kindred spirit when Emerian Rich first came into my life a few years ago.  I’m grateful she brought me into the HA fold and introduced me to the best people. I loved reading Naching T. Kassa’s short stories and when I was asked to interview her for the blog I jumped at the chance. Now I’ll pretty much do anything our mistress asks and I’ll continue as long as she lets me play in her creepy sandbox. 

Thanks, Horror Addicts. Stay Tuned…

Check out our new book at: Amazon.com

Book Review: Future Tense: Tales of Apocalyptic Vision

Future TenseHello Addicts,

Apocalypse. It is a word that has so many meanings to so many people. To some, it is the end of all things. To others, it is the end of one time and the start of a new. Both meanings are on full display in “Future Tense: Tales of Apocalyptic Vision” by Michaelbrent Collings.

This is a collection of stories that covers a gamut of horrific settings. It starts with using clones to deter suicides in a totalitarian future; moves on to a society where a computer decides your life; and then lands on a group of friends getting together being forced to play a deadly children’s game. There are post-apocalyptic stories on a global scale, and others covering a more personal perspective. Michaelbrent Collings seems to have all the bases covered.

Since starting doing book reviews for Horror Addicts, I have become a big fan of the author. When I see one of his books, I know I am in for a macabre ride and good storytelling. This collection didn’t disappoint. I don’t want to divulge too many details to keep from accidentally revealing spoilers, but I can say that there is something for everyone in there. There is humor for those who like their funny bone tickled while being chilled, and nasty people getting their just rewards. Even the author appears in a story as well. All will have a fun and scary time.

You can find “Future Tense: Tales of Apocalyptic Vision” by Michaelbrent Collings on Amazon in eBook, hardcover, and paperback formats.

Until next time, Addicts,

D.J.

#HorrorAddictsGuide An Interview with Tabitha Thompson

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life 2 

20180209_121722_2[1]What is your name and what is your horror area of interest? My name is Tabitha Thompson and my horror area of interest is I’m a horror fiction author.

What is your work in HAGL2 about? 

My work is a blog post about my personal experiences as a black female writing horror fiction and the writers who has inspired me on this journey.

What is your favorite horror subject and why? 

I’m torn between psychological and body horror. Psychological because dealing with the horrors of the mind has always been creepier to me than paranormal activities; and body horror because as much as we try to maintain control, when something horrible happens to our body that is out of our control, to me that is extremely terrifying.

What are you looking forward to in the horror genre? 

I’m looking forward to David Cronenberg’s upcoming film Crimes Of The Future. He’s going back to his body horror roots and I can not wait to see it!

Where can readers/listeners find your work?
You can find links to my work here: https://tabithathompson391.wordpress.com/

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