Chilling Chat: Episode 171 | Loren Rhoads

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

Loren is an imaginative and skilled writer. We spoke of inspiration, editing, and cemeteries.

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Loren! Thank you for joining me today.

LR: My pleasure! I am really looking forward to chatting.

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

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

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

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

NTK: Do you prefer villains or heroes?

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

NTK: What do you think makes a character believable?

LR: Self-doubt.

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

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

NTK:  Lily is a fascinating character in “Still Life with Shattered Glass.” What inspired that story?

LR: I was working at the University of Michigan as the Secretary of the Undergraduate English program. One of the perks was that I got to sit in on any English class I wanted, so I took all the creative writing classes. Students were strongly encouraged to “write what you know” so we read an awful lot of shitty roommate stories. I wanted to write a story where the reader wasn’t sure which roommate was worse. And I wanted to mock all the artistic pretensions that the undergrads were spouting.

NTK: “Still Life” is part of the anthology, Tales for the Camp Fire. Could you tell us what that anthology is about and what inspired it?

LR: Last November, there was a terrible wildfire in Northern California. Some of the power company’s equipment failed in a windstorm and threw sparks that burned for three weeks. The town of Paradise, California was leveled. The smoke from the fire was so bad that it could be seen from space. It drifted 200 miles from Butte County in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to settle in the Bay Area, where I live. For a week, we had the worst air quality in the world. So even if we didn’t lose anything directly in the fire, we were still affected by it.

Tales for the Camp FireThe local chapter of the Horror Writers Association decided to help the survivors. Ben Monroe suggested we put together an anthology that we could use to raise money for survivors. I volunteered to edit. Tomes & Coffee volunteered to publish it. All the stories—even the one by Clark Ashton Smith—are donations. The cover art was donated by Petersen Games. Even the cover designer donated her time.

All of the book’s profits are going to the North Valley Community Foundation, which is a clearinghouse in Butte County that applies funds to the greatest needs.

NTK:  Horror writers are great people. What did you look for in a story, when you edited that anthology?

LR: Because it wasn’t a themed anthology, I wanted to include as wide a spectrum of horror stories as possible: creepy, gross, funny, disturbing, thought-provoking, nightmarish. I wanted something about the story to stick in your mind after you read it, a splinter that would work away at you.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?

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

NTK: You spoke of your inspiration for “Still Life,” what inspires you in general? What gets the creative juices flowing?

LR: I’m just trying to make sense of life on earth. It can be so beautiful and yet so tragic. We don’t seem to make it easy for each other, even though we’re all trapped here. I write to get to the heart of that.

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror film?

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

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

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

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

LR: Oh so many times!

NTK: What’s it like?

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

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

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

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

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

NTK: Do you have any stories set in Colma?

LR: Not yet. I’ve written about it on Cemetery Travel (my cemetery blog) and in 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, but I haven’t set a story there yet.

NTK: I look forward to those stories. Loren, what does the future hold for you? What work do we Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

LR: I’m finishing up a novel that I hope to have out in October, so I can sell it at the199 Cemeteries Horror Addicts table at Sinister Creature Con. It’s the sequel to Lost Angels (which HA gave a super nice review to several years ago). This new one is called Angelus Rose. It continues the story of Lorelei, a succubus who falls for an angel named Azaziel. It’s set in LA—and bits of it take place in Forest Lawn, Westwood Memorial Park (where Marilyn Monroe is buried), and Angelus Rosedale, where Buffy was filmed in its first season. The story skates between erotic horror and urban fantasy romance, lots of sex and death and graveyards.

NTK: Thank you so much for chatting with me, Loren. You’re a terrific guest.

LR: Thank you so much for doing this, Naching! You asked some great questions. It was really fun.

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

You can purchase Tales for the Camp Fire: A Charity Anthology on Amazon.

Cure for the Holidaze Guest, Loren Rhoads

In our Cure for the Holidaze episode #150, Emz chats with Loren Rhoads. Listen below and check out her new book, 199 Cemeteries to See Before You.

 

Loren Rhoads is the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. She writes about graveyards for the Horror Writers Association and blogs blogs about cemeteries as vacation destinations at cemeterytravel.com.

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |  Indiebound

Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel

Amazon

Guest Blog: The Most Haunted Cemetery in the World by Loren Rhoads

 

The Most Haunted Cemetery in the World

by Loren Rhoads

In 1447, Franciscan monks (the so-called Gray Friars) built their friary at the north end of the Grassmarket on a slope with a lovely view of Edinburgh Castle. The Franciscans, a medical order, served the poor there until they were chased out of Scotland in 1558 by the Reformation.

Their friary yard was claimed by Queen Mary in 1562 for a public burial ground. Just in time, too. The graveyard was used “extensively” during the Black Plague of 1568.

At the foot of the cemetery’s east walk stands the Covenanters’ Monument, which remembers Scottish Presbyterians who died for their faith rather than convert to the Anglican Church founded by Henry VIII in England.

The scourge of the Covenanters was Sir George Mackenzie. He was a highly educated member of the Scottish Parliament, a lawyer, and a member of the Privy Council of Scotland. In 1677, he became Lord Advocate in the service of King Charles II of England, in charge of punishing anyone who refused to swear loyalty to King Charles or rejected the Church of England.

Four hundred Covenanters were imprisoned in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard in 1679. The guards abused them. They suffered from the weather, lack of shelter, and starvation. Many ended up buried anonymously in a mass grave in the Kirkyard. In all, Mackenzie is blamed for the deaths of nearly 18,000 people during the eight years dubbed “the Killing Time.”

Mackenzie himself died and was buried in the Kirkyard in 1691. His tomb stood quietly until 1998 when a homeless man broke into it. When the thief ransacked the coffins, the floor collapsed beneath him, spilling him into a plague pit full of bones beneath the mausoleum. The man managed to haul himself out, then ran screaming into the night.

Something had been unleashed.

For the past twenty years, Greyfriars Kirkyard has been considered one of the most haunted graveyards in the world. Visitors have been scratched, bruised, and bitten near Mackenzie’s mausoleum. Blasts of cold air chase some visitors away. Others become nauseous and disoriented or are struck with splitting headaches. One woman was found unconscious near the mausoleum with bruises like finger-marks around her neck.

In 2000, spiritualist minister Colin Grant attempted to exorcise the mausoleum. He felt the presence of hundreds of souls in torment and a presence of overwhelming evil. He fled the Kirkyard, but it was too late. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack several weeks later.

YouTube is full of videos of people showing off bite marks and bruises received while touring Greyfriars Kirkyard. Enter at your own risk.

Greyfriars Kirkyard is one of the 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die by Loren Rhoads. She is also the author of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel and writes about graveyards for the Horror Writers Association. She blogs about cemeteries as vacation destinations at cemeterytravel.com.

 

199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2xFsas3

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/199-cemeteries-to-see-before-you-die-loren-rhoads/1125684248?ean=9780316438438#/

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316438438

 

 

 

 

Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wVzjG6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press Release: Book Signing Loren Rhoads “199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die”

Press Release: Book Signing Loren Rhoads “199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die”

 

Loren Rhoads has a new book coming out, and she will be doing a couple of events for fans to discuss with her about the book and a book signing. Her new book is “199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die”. It features unforgettable cemeteries seen in more than 300 photographs. In this bucket list of travel musts, author Loren Rhoads, who hosts the popular Cemetery Travel blog, details the history and features that make each destination unique. Throughout will be profiles of famous people buried there, striking memorials by noted artists, and unusual elements, such as the hand carved wood grave markers in the Merry Cemetery in Romania.

 

Her first event will be on Tuesday, October 3 at 7:30 PM – 9 PM PDT at Green Apple Park Books on 1231 9th Ave San Francisco, California, CA 94122. Here she will discuss her book. Admission is free. More info here

Her second event is a book signing event on Wednesday, October 18 at 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM PDT at Ipso Facto 517 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, California 92832 Admission is free. More info here

 

Guest Blog: What a Piece of Work is Man by Loren Rhoads

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What a Piece of Work is Man

by Loren Rhoads

From the Via Veneto, home of La Dolce Vita, the yellow brick church didn’t look like much. Mason marched up the sidewalk past it, but something about the name Chiesa di Santa Maria della Concezione gave me pause. “I think we’re here,” I called after him.

One might expect that a centuries-old international tourist attraction like the Church of the Immaculate Conception would have a multilingual sign. Not until we climbed the first flight of stairs up to a landing large enough to be considered a patio did we see a small plaque with an arrow pointing toward the Coemeterium.

That caught me off guard. I hadn’t expected to see a cemetery, which I think of as bodies buried in dirt or, at least, bodies hidden behind stone. We had come to see skeletons. This Capuchin “cemetery” ranked with the Paris Catacombs and Kutna Hora’s Bone Chapel in the European triumvirate of weird assemblages made from human bones. The visit marked a pilgrimage for me.

The Capuchins separated from other Franciscan monastic orders in 1525 AD. The Capuchin monks wanted to exist closer to the way St. Francis of Assisi had lived at the turn of the thirteenth century. To that end, they wore sandals without socks and a simple brown tunic that had a hood to cover their heads when the weather turned bad. The name Capuchin derives from this hood, called a capuce.

Capuchin monks gathered in houses near woods or green spaces, where they could meditate. They planted orchards, in which their work served as prayer. They cared for the poor, especially the sick. They continue those ministrations today.

In 1631, the Capuchins of Rome moved from their friary near where the Trevi Fountain now stands to land donated by Cardinal Barberini near his palace. The monks exhumed and brought with them bones of 4000 of their brethren. These bones were piled under their new church of Santa Maria della Concezione, in six rooms connected by a sixty-meter corridor.

Sometime in the 1700s, arrangement of the bones began. Several theories exist about the identities of the decorators. Either they were French Capuchins who fled the Terror, or a notorious criminal who sought refuge with the monks and atoned for his crimes by positioning the bones, or a man of “ardent faith, who is almost joking with death,” as the brochure suggests. The Marquis de Sade, who visited in 1775, suspected that a German priest constructed the decor.

*

Just inside a thick wooden door to the “cemetery” sat a paper-thin old man in blue coveralls. People tossed money into his wicker basket as they passed his rickety wooden table. Since the Capuchin catacombs were our first destination in Italy, we only had large bills or very small ones, neither of which Mason considered an appropriate donation. He put in a couple of thousand lira notes and hoped that once everyone came in, he could make change out of the basket to add more.

Although I felt devastated to be forbidden to photograph the bones, nothing prevented note-taking. I tugged my notebook out of my backpack and jotted down descriptions of the crypts.

A dim hallway stretched ahead of us. Gray light flowed in through cloudy windows facing an alley alongside the church. Inside the “cemetery,” the cool air smelled of dust.

To the left of the hallway, a painting of Christ leading Lazarus from the tomb dominated the first room. Grasping his friend’s wrist, Christ tugged the revenant up from the ground. The former corpse was nearly naked: his shroud had slipped down beneath his buttocks. Turned away from the viewer toward his sisters and Christ, Lazarus’s expression was impossible to gauge. One can only imagine his thoughts after having spent four days in his grave. Lettered boldly in yellow at the bottom was the legend: “Lazare veni foras”: Lazarus, come forth.

The command made me uncomfortable as we stood outside a room crammed with bones. I had a sense that the monks had tried to use as many bones as possible here, in order to fit everyone in. Skulls formed two triangular arches, beneath which lay the dusty mummies of two monks in tattered brown robes. I wanted to climb the low fence, step across the holy dirt brought from Jerusalem, and take a feather duster to the cadavers. Mason pointed out that the Catholic Church probably had a sacred maid to dust the hallowed bones. Looked to me like she didn’t come around often enough.

The next room — the only one on the corridor free of bones — served as the cemetery’s mass chapel. The altarpiece depicted Mary seated on a cloud. A toddler Jesus stood on her knee, his nakedness shielded a mere wisp of white fabric. With the help of three monks in brown robes and an angel in gray, they raised souls out of the flames of purgatory. Only one of the dead seemed to be female: she was modestly wrapped in more fire than the others. A dead man gave her the eye: bold behavior at the feet of his savior.

Next door, the Crypt of the Skulls had been decorated with curved niches formed by arm and thighbones, supporting cornices of skulls. Inside each arch lay another dusty monk.

In the tympanum of the central niche hung an hourglass made of two tailbones tip to tip. The bottom coccyx looked darker in color, as if the sands of time had all run down. A double row of very straight bones, perhaps somebody’s forearms, drew the hourglass’s case. Outside the case, four shoulder blades symbolized wings. While the message was certainly intended to be serious, I smiled at the artwork. Time flies, as these bones testified. The bone art seemed lighthearted, though not at all disrespectful. Joking with Death, indeed.

Ornaments made of bones continued overhead. A garden of ribs suggested furrows of earth, where tulips bloomed into single vertebrae. A chain formed by jawbones came to a point, from which descended a lamp made from a sheaf of thighbones. Unfortunately, it wasn’t illuminated. I wondered if it had been wired for electricity. Baroque squares with in-turned corners decorated the ceiling. A double row of vertebrae sketched these on the wall. Inside blossomed ten-pointed stars made of tailbones.

Next came the Crypt of the Pelvises. Against the back wall rose an ornate canopy made from stacks of pelvic bones. The flat planes of the hipbones nested together like scales or roof tiles. A fringe of vertebrae dangled from the cupola.

Mummies of three monks leaned into the room, so stooped they seemed to be bowing. Each cradled a wooden cross in the sagging sleeves of his robe. From their cuffs protruded hands that looked like withered sticks wrapped in autumn leaves. More than anything that had once been human, the monks’ leathery faces looked like masks from some science fiction film. I suppose that two hundred and fifty years of standing around in the open air will do that to a person.

Reading up on them later, I learned that some of the mummies are unidentified. I’d assumed that anyone important enough to preserve “whole” would have been important enough to remember. The records must have been misplaced or destroyed.

My favorite decorations in the Crypt of the Pelvises were crosses suspended from the ceiling formed of thighbones. X-ed across them were shinbones. Something about the mobile aspect of these dangling three-dimensional crosses struck my fancy.

Though the fifth room was called the Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thighbones, its predominant motif seemed to be skulls. Rows of leg bones interspersed with orderly stacks of skulls gave the overall impression of pinstripes. It was an incredibly beautiful arrangement — and functional, because it used up a great deal of bones. When you’ve got thousands of dead monks to jam into five rooms, you’ve got to get busy.

The room’s centerpiece caught my eye. Two severed arms, lopped off at the shoulders, had been affixed to the back wall. The arm on top was bare; the other wore a rough brown sleeve. Their skin had dried to the color of paper ash. Instead of curled into fists, bones protruded through their outstretched fingertips as if they wore Fagin’s gloves. The image shocked me more than anything else I’d seen. All the other bodies were either complete or defleshed. These amputated limbs looked inexplicably creepy.

(Much later, while researching the details of this essay, I discovered their significance. They represent the Franciscan coat of arms: the bare arm of Christ crossed over the robed arm of Francis of Assisi.)

The final room, called the Crypt of the Three Skeletons, was the most ornate. Complete skeletons of two children lounged over the altar made of pelvises on the back wall. The children reached up toward an adult skull. One child held a short spear like a fishing pole. The other balanced a winged hourglass atop his ribcage.

Another small skeleton lay flat against the ceiling. He held a staff formed of shinbones crested with a blade of scapulae. In his other hand swung a scale whose cups were skullcaps, dangling from chains strung of finger bones. A halo of foot bones and vertebrae encircled him. He was the least threatening death figure I’d ever seen. Even his grin looked wistful.

I turned to look back down the hall and saw an ornate clock above the arched doorway. Hand and finger bones formed its large Roman numerals. A breastbone served as its single hour hand. I read later that the clock symbolized that eternity had no beginning or end.

*

The ultimate sensation I took away from the Capuchin crypts? Joy. I could not interpret the lacy tracery of vertebrae and foot bones and ribs on the vaulted ceilings as anything other than ecstatic. What wonderful creatures we are, how marvelously made! Inside us hide complicated puzzles. Whether you believe in the cosmic clockmaker or rest your faith in evolution, you have to admit that humans — with joints that knit together, tailbones like doilies and shoulder blades like wings, the myriad complicated bones of hands and feet, the inquisitive orbits of our eyes, the cuplike hollows of our pelvises — are miraculous creatures.

Mason pointed out that most of the tourists in the dusty twilight corridor grinned. It was difficult not to get caught up in the joie de vivre of the decorators.

The sole English-language text Mason and I found inside the “cemetery” said that the monks made the place for three reasons: because the body doesn’t matter, to glorify God’s handiwork inside man, but especially because time is so short that one can’t wait to do good works.

We bought a stack of postcards from the little man in blue. Mason threw a larger bill into the collection plate. The caretaker beamed at us and disappeared under the church to find the last brochure they had in English. After he returned, Mason and I slipped out into the Roman sunshine to search out the Pantheon and the Mausoleum of Augustus. Life seemed rich and full. I was in Italy with the man I love and Rome was full of dead people. Carpe diem.

 

 

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It’s part of All you Need is Morbid, which was published on Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/story/19869433-all-you-need-is-morbid
Loren Rhoads is the cemetery columnist at Gothic Beauty. She also blogs about graveyards as vacation destinations at CemeteryTravel.com. Her book 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die will be out in October 2017.

Kidnapped! Automatism Press

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Automatism Press is a two-person operation based in San Francisco. It was started in 1990 by Mason Jones and Loren Rhoads, went dormant for several years after the death of Morbid Curiosity magazine, and has recently returned with the books Lost Angels and Black Light, both published earlier this year.

Horror Addicts: What inspired you to start a press?

Loren Rhoads: When Mason and I first moved to San Francisco, we went to a lecture by Vale and AJ of RE/Search Books. They’d already published the William Burroughs/Brion Gysin/Throbbing Gristle book and the Industrial Culture Handbook, both of which we’d bought in Ann Arbor. At the time of the lecture, they were looking for help with their next book, which turned out to be Modern Primitives. They were very open about how they produced books, from interviewing subjects to design and layout to fulfilling orders. Working for them was a real education.

HA: Tell us about Automatism Press’s first book.

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Loren: It was called Lend the Eye a Terrible Aspect, after the St. Crispin’s Day speech in Shakespeare’s Henry the V. We published it in 1994. It was a collection of stories and essays about North America on the brink of the 21st century: very earnest, very punk rock. In fact, it includes an essay by Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys about legalizing marijuana. One of my favorite essays is about the human need to form tribes by Claudius Reich.

 

HA: What inspired your second book, Death’s Garden: Relationships with Cemeteries?

Loren: My best friend’s husband was dying of AIDS in the early 90s. Blair gave me a bunch of photographs of graveyards he had visited. Originally, I was just going to publish his photos, but the more people I spoke to about the project, the more personal essays I got for it. Death’s Garden has been out of print for years, but I’m still really proud of it.

HA: How did Death’s Garden lead to publishing zines?

Loren: Mason started an indy record label called Charnel Music, which brought a lot of Japanese bands to the US. He hit on the idea of interviewing the bands and reviewing Japanese records, movies, candy – every part of Japanese underground or pop culture – so he started a zine called Ongaku Otaku. He would get the best things in the mail for the zine…and I got jealous. I wanted cool stuff in the mail, too. I realized I needed to publish my own zine.

I’d really enjoyed the process of assembling Death’s Garden, particularly the part where I got true stories from strangers. So I decided I wanted to receive confessional essays from people I didn’t know.

I never considered any other name for the project than Morbid Curiosity.

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HA: Morbid Curiosity magazine was published annually for ten years. What was it like putting it together?

Loren: It was an amazing amount of fun. I was always impressed by the things people would confess to, from deeply personal medical issues to coming in contact with serial killers to adventures that might possibly get them arrested. I never knew what was going to come in the mail next.

Even better were the live events. I started out hosting yearly release parties at Borderlands Bookstore, which brought together hundreds of people. I just adored hearing people confess in front of an audience. Those readings led to open mics at the World Horror Conventions and then on to being on NPR and all kinds of crazy stuff.

HA: Why’d you quit?

Loren: By 2006, the world had changed. Stories that would have come to Morbid Curiosity were going up on Livejournal instead. Tower Records had been one of my biggest distributors, so when it closed down, it was suddenly a whole lot harder for me to sell magazines. I lost thousands of dollars in their collapse. And I had a kid by then, so I didn’t have the time or patience to make the magazine great any more.

Ten issues seemed like a good place to go out: while the magazine was still good, still loved.

HA: What came next?

Loren: Automatism published a couple of chapbooks. The first was Ashes & Rust, which Alan at Borderlands Bookstore recommended I put together after he invited me to read at my first Litcrawl in 2005. Ashes & Rust collected up four of my science fiction stories that had been published in little magazines. I described it as “Sex. Drugs. Rock’n’roll. Space aliens. Demonic possession. Murder. Friendship.” All the best things in life.

After that, we published the Paramental Appreciation Society chapbook. The Paramentals were a writing group that I belonged to for six years. It included Claudius Reich (who had been in both Automatism anthologies and most issues of Morbid Curiosity), Lilah Wild, Seth Lindberg, and A.M. Muffaz, all of whom I’d worked with on Morbid Curiosity. Mason was a member of the group, too, for a while.

The chapbook contains my erotic vampire story set in Golden Gate Park, a witchy fairy tale set in the Tenderloin, a dragon slayer’s adventure set in Lower Pacific Heights, and then explores what the BART trains are really running from.

HA: Then the press went silent for a number of years.

Loren: Yeah, my own writing and editing career took off finally. I sold Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues, a best of Morbid Curiosity book, to Scribner, which led to a collection of my cemetery travel essays called Wish You Were Here on Western Legends, a novel on Black Bed Sheets, a space opera trilogy at Night Shade, and a bunch more short stories published in books and magazines. I was too busy to be a publisher for a while.

HA: What brought you back?

Loren: The contract expired on my succubus novel and I got the rights back. It had always been planned as a two-book series, so I released the first book, Lost Angels, in April with my preferred text and a new cover.

HA: How did you publish the next book?

Loren: I served as a beta reader for Martha Allard’s Black Light. It is an amazing, aching ghost story with psychic vampires set in the rock-n-roll world of the 1980s. Martha had been planning to self-publish it when Mason heard me raving about it. He suggested we do it for her. I can’t say enough good things about the book. It’s beautiful and devastating.

HA: What’s next?

Loren: The second succubus novel was meant to be out this month, but I got offered a big project on a short deadline for a big New York publisher, so Angelus Rose is on hold until that monster is turned in. I’m still waiting on the contract, though, so I can’t announce its name yet.

When the second succubus novel finally does come out, Angelus Rose will complete the story of Lorelei and Azaziel. They burn down most of LA in the process. I’m excited to see it in print finally.

HA: Any plans beyond that?

Loren: I want to update Wish You Were Here, my cemetery travel essays. I’ve been collecting essays for a second volume of Death’s Garden called Death’s Garden Revisited. Emerian Rich has written a lovely piece for that book, actually. I’m hoping to kickstart the funding for that book next summer.deaths-garden-cover001

In addition, I’m going to experiment with putting a dozen of my Alondra short stories out as singles on Amazon. “The Shattered Rose,” from the Paramentals chapbook, is one of them.

But everything is on hold until I get my mystery project written. It’s supposed to come out in October 2017, so time is very, very short.

Lend the Eye:

http://www.charnel.com/automatism/lend.html

Death’s Garden: https://lorenrhoads.com/2016/10/11/deaths-garden-revisited-2/

Morbid Curiosity: https://lorenrhoads.com/editing/morbid-curiosity-magazine/

All the available books on my bookshop: https://lorenrhoads.com/bookshop/

 

HorrorAddicts.net 134, Loren Rhoads

HA tagHorror Addicts Episode# 134
SEASON 11!
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

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loren rhoads, gild the morn, the veil

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

43 days till halloween

scare factor song quiz, win a book, phantoms, halloween decor, costumes, bad alice, cemeteries, statues, loren rhoads, cemeterytravel.com, david watson, scary rooms in movies, underworld blood wars, books, hollow house, greg chapman, the plague pit, alan frewin jones, sarah killian serial killer for hire, mark sheldon, crystal lake publishing, tales from the lake, vol. 3, sumiko saulson, beneath the lake cast, blood of socorro county, sean t. young, through dolls eyes, jesse orr, the artwork, james goodridge, nightmare fuel, dj pitsiladis, phillip experiment, open ghost doors, goth drag king, jean batt, victor/victoria, just one of the guys, morbid meals, dan shaurette, se7en, ants, carbonara, ghastly games, goosebumps, zombie kids, one night ultimate werewolf, one night ultimate vampire, booopoly, vampires of the night, midnight syndicate, zombies board game soundtrack, terror trax, gild the mourn, best band season 10 poll, kbatz, frightening flix, the veil, dead mail, murdo, plague pits, london, carl, office angst, pen, valerie, halloween carol bonus, loren rhoads, lost angels

http://www.Cemeterytravel.com

Scary Rooms – USA Today

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2016/09/05/creepy-horror-movie-rooms-disappointments/89722886/

Underground Plague Pits

http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20160906-plague-pits-the-london-underground-and-crossrail

Halloween Carol Bonus
http://traffic.libsyn.com/horroraddicts/HorrorAddictsBonusHalloweenCarols.mp3

Once Upon a Scream- special edition pack

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/once-upon-a-scream-special-edition-pack/

“Broken Pieces” by Valentine Wolfe

http://valentinewolfe.bandcamp.com/track/broken-pieces

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

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Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Stacy Rich, Dan Shaurette, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick, Lisa Vasquez

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

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An Interview With Loren Rhoads

Our featured author for episode 134 of the Horror Addicts Podcast is Loren Rhoads. Loren had an article in Horror Addicts Guide To Life and has written guest blogs for our blog in the past. Recently we asked Loren a few questions about her writing:

What is your story for episode 134 about?

29741039It comes from my book Lost Angels, which came out earlier this year. The succubus Lorelei sees an angel in her boss’s dance club.  She pursues Azaziel, who inflicts a mortal girl’s soul on her.  Lorelei has to survive Hell’s attacks long enough to find a fallen priest who can exorcise the mortal soul from her infernal body.  The scene I’m reading for the podcast takes place after Lorelei is possessed, when she’s trying to make an alliance with a fiend to protect her until the exorcism.

When did you start writing?

I started writing stories down in junior high, after I discovered the work of Edgar Allan Poe.  My family visited the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia – and Poe’s dorm room at the University of Virginia – and I realized that he was a real person who wrote real stories.  I’m not sure what I thought created books before that, except that they seemed fully formed objects without humans attached.  Once I figured out that people wrote stories, I wanted to do it too.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

That’s a hard question.  Last year I wrote a space opera trilogy.  This year, I’m completing a series about2148570 angels and devils in the real world.  Next, I’m going to finish a book about a witch doing everything she can to prevent the death of someone she loves.  I’ve written a lot of stories about Alondra’s adventures, which have appeared recently in the books Fright Mare: Women Write Horror and nEvermore!: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and the Macabre.  One of my Alondra stories will appear in Best New Horror in 2017.

I guess my favorite topics are women, because I find the ways they think and interact with the world fascinating.  I’m also interested in love, what it is and how it is used. And I’m interested in traveling, how being out of your familiar space shows you who you really are.

Who or what inspires you?

6355365Strangely enough, I find a lot of inspiration on Facebook.  I’m curious every morning to see what we will be angry about each day. All kidding aside, I’m glad to see the discussions of racism and sexism and how people grapple with those issues.  We’re in a place now where people feel they can speak out, which I think is amazing.  Of course there is a lot of turmoil, but it’s leading to growth.  I find it all riveting: challenging, but ultimately positive.  My stories are my attempts to add to those conversations.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

I’m glad to see so many women bringing their stories to the genre now.  When I was growing up, it was all King, Straub, Streiber, then Clive Barker.  The only well-known woman at the time was Anne Rice, but her vampire books weren’t considered “real” horror.  Now we have Gemma Files and Caitlin Kiernan and Dana Fredsti, Maria Alexander and Lisa Lane and Eden Royce … more women than I can name in a paragraph. No one can deny that they are writing real horror, whatever that means.  And they are all writing such different stories.  I can’t wait to discover more of it.

Could you tell us about the As Above, So Below series?

23130135Originally Lost Angels and Angelus Rose were one massive novel. No one would publish it at that length, so I split it into two books. Black Bed Sheet Books originally published the first book in 2013 as As Above, So Below.  When the rights came back, Brian and I decided that it was time to publish the second – more apocalyptic – half of the story.  Angelus Rose will be coming out on Automatism Press in November 2016.

Could you tell us about your nonfiction writing?

In my not-so-secret other life, I write about visiting graveyards.  As I travel, I always stop into local cemeteries to see how they reflect the cultures that surround them, what’s different and what is similar from place to place. I always like to grab a little peace when I travel, so a graveyard is the perfect place.

In August, my parents took me to the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to see a couple of plays.  I snuck off one morning to see St. Mark’s Churchyard, which predates the War of 1812.  One of the large flat grave markers is all gouged up.  Apparently, when the church served as a hospital during the War, that gravestone was where the surgeons performed amputations. The marks of their cleavers striking off limbs is still visible, two centuries later.  Great story, right?

18010009At the moment, I’m publishing other people’s stories on my Cemetery Travel blog.  The goal is to gather a collection of them to be published as Death’s Garden Revisited.  I encourage anyone who has had something special happen to them in a graveyard – whether they took a date there or visited the grave of someone meaningful or stopped in while they were on vacation – to get in touch with me at cemetarytravel.com.  The call for submissions is here: https://cemeterytravel.com/deaths-garden-call-for-submissions/.

What are some of the other books you have available?

The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, my space opera trilogy, have been accused of bringing grimdark to outer space.  The books are about surviving in the galaxy after humanity started – and lost – an interstellar war.  They’re available in paperback, as ebooks, or as audiobooks.

My collection of cemetery travel essays, Wish You Were Here, collects my stories from Morbid Curiosity magazine, my cemetery column at Gothic.Net, and from various literary magazines.  The essays range from London to Paris to Prague to Rome and Tokyo, then across the US from Boston to Maui.  A new edition of the book will be coming out from Automatism Press early next year, but for now, the book is still available from Western Legends Press.

976431Back in the misty past, I edited a magazine called Morbid Curiosity.  It published confessional nonfiction essays about all kinds of things, from adventures in modern medicine to grim travel destinations to encounters with serial killers and much, much more.  A collection of my favorite pieces from the zine came out as Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual.  It’s available online as an ebook, but I still have some copies of it in paperback.

Where can we find you online?

My homepage: www.lorenrhoads.com

My blog: www.lorenrhoads.com/blog

The As Above page: http://lorenrhoads.com/writing/as-above-so-below/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/loren.rhoads.5

Twitter: www.twitter.com/morbidloren

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/morbidloren/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/976431.Loren_Rhoads

Cemetery Travel: https://cemeterytravel.com/

David’s Haunted Library: Kill By Numbers

David's Haunted Library

 

 

24693711

It’s tough to be a human in space. Other races look down on humans because they think of them as violent sociopaths. With the human empire disbanded, they are spread out across the galaxy trying to make a living. This brings us to former assassin Raena  who is trying to get a new start on board the alien space ship,the Veracity. Raena has a complicated past, she was a prisoner as the Templars were wiped out by a genetic plague and the situation has created some bad psychological effects.

Raena is having nightmares of shooting her ex-lover in the head and she has to deal with the fact that the now extinct Templars have left booby-trapped biotechnology throughout the galaxy and her ship is infected. Raena and the pirate crew that she is with must learn to trust each other and figure out how to fix the booby-trapped technology or the galactic economy could collapse.

Kill By Numbers by Loren Rhoads is the second book in the wake of the Templars series and could be best described as a character driven action adventure story. This book starts off slow and gets deep into the character’s personalities before getting into the  story. The thing I really enjoy about Loren Rhoads writing is that she creates characters that seem real and gives a lot of detail on them.  To me the sign of a great character in a book is if you want to read about them even if there is no conflict with them. I love good character development in a story before we get into the action and Kill By Numbers does an excellent job of it.

I love the concept behind this book, Raena is a human on a ship of aliens so Raena doesn’t fit in. Raena is trying to start a new life and escape her past, the crew of the Veracity is trying to help but what they want for her and what she wants for herself are two different things. Everyone on the ship is a different kind of alien but because of her past, Raena is the oddest one. I liked the idea that everyone on the ship was so different making it like a melting pot of races.

Another interesting aspect of this book is how the media is portrayed in this futuristic setting. The crew of the ship gathers at the same time every day to see the news and then talk about the new scandals across the galaxy. The media are a lot like how it is in the present and everything that goes on in the news is seen as truth even if there are no facts to back it up. The media are a small part of the story but I liked how even in the future people are addicted to getting information about other political systems and alien races. The best part of the book is the relationship between Raena and Gavin. Gavin wants to help Raena with her new life but seems to hurt her as he tries to help. Kill By Numbers is like an action packed soap opera in space and the kind of book that hard-core Science Fiction fans will love.

KIDNAPPED BLOG, Loren Rhoads: Where Horror Lies 3

halogokidnappednotdateThis time of year, when the veil is thin, is a great time to make a pilgrimage to thank our forefathers in horror.

RLS grave001Robert Louis Stevenson, Vailima, Upolu, Samoa

The author of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde decided to stay in Samoa in 1899.  In December 1894, when Stevenson died of apoplexy (a brain hemorrhage), he was 44. Local Samoans built him a hardwood coffin and stood guard over his body through the night. The following day, they cut a road through the jungle to his gravesite, which they called the “Road of Loving Hearts.” Working in relays, they carried the coffin to the grave. Stevenson was buried just below the 1560-foot summit of Mount Vaea in a tomb overlooking his family estate Vailima and the ocean.

Bram Stoker, Golders Green Crematorium, London, England

One of the oldest crematories in England, Golders Green may also be the best-known crematorium in the world. Over the years, many famous people have chosen to be cremated there. Some remain there in urns in the columbarium or beneath rosebushes in the garden. The current crematorium was completed in 1939. Its three columbaria contain the ashes of thousands of Londoners. London’s Cemeteries says Golders Green is “the place to go for after-life star-spotting.” My hero Bram Stoker is in one of the columbaria, which can be visited with a guide.

Some of horror’s progenitors have no graves.  After H.G. Wells was cremated at Golders Green, his ashes were scattered over the Dorset Coast.  Shirley Jackson’s son was given her ashes after she died in 1965.  Angela Carter’s ashes aren’t easy to visit either. I can’t seem to find where they ended up.

Any list of graves is likely to be deeply personal.  I’m working through visiting the graves of these writers, who have all inspired me.  Whose graves would you visit?

 

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CIMG0977-headshotLoren Rhoads is the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, the In the Wake of the Templars trilogy published this year by Night Shade Books. She’s also the author of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. You can follow her morbid antics at http://lorenrhoads.com

KIDNAPPED BLOG, Loren Rhoads: Where Horror Lies 2

halogokidnappednotdateThis time of year, when the veil is thin, is a great time to make a pilgrimage to thank our forefathers in horror.

New Jew Kafka002

Franz Kafka, the New Jewish Cemetery, Prague, the Czech Republic

The most famous of the New Jewish Cemetery’s denizens is easy to find, thanks to good signage. Franz Kafka’s monument is a top-heavy six-sided obelisk made of pink-and-gray granite. He died in 1924 of tuberculosis, in agony from his hemorrhaging lungs. All of his novels remained incomplete and unpublished at the time of his death, so only a few friends mourned him. Kafka shares his grave with his mother and hated father. In fact, he predeceased them both. He’s commemorated as Dr. Franz Kafka, in deference to his law degree. An inscription on a marble plaque at the base of the monument remembers his three sisters, who vanished into the Nazi death camps.

Jack London002

Jack London, Jack London State Historic Park, Glen Ellen, California

Jack London was among the most widely read authors of his time. His short story “To Build a Fire” has scarred schoolchildren for almost a century. Four days after his death on November 22, 1916, Charmian London placed her husband’s ashes on a small rise behind the ruin of the house they had been building together in Northern California. She marked the grave only with a large lava rock from the Wolf House ruin. The boulder is strangely shaped: a weird, worn, organic form for a rock. Moss covers it like velvet, softening its broken edges.

Swan Pt lovecraft002H.P. Lovecraft, Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island

Lovely Swan Point’s most famous permanent resident is Howard Pillips Lovecraft. An obelisk labeled Phillips marks the plot belonging to Lovecraft’s grandparents. The back of it holds Lovecraft’s parents’ name and dates. At the bottom, he is remembered as Howard P. Lovecraft, “Their Son.” A smaller stone purchased by Dirk W. Mosig — the leading authority on Lovecraft in the Seventies — was unveiled during a small ceremony in 1977. The low granite marker spells out Howard Phillips Lovecraft, August 20, 1890 — March 15, 1938, with the epitaph, “I am Providence.” Those words came from a letter Lovecraft wrote to his Aunt Lillian, eventually published in 2000 in Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters, edited by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz.

Photo by Mason Jones

Photo by Mason Jones

Edgar Allan Poe, Westminster Hall Burying Ground, Baltimore, Maryland

Westminster Hall’s best-loved resident lies just inside the gates. A large monument marks the grave of Edgar Allan Poe, his wife Virginia, and her mother Maria Clemm. Poe was originally buried in 1849 the plot of his grandfather David Poe, elsewhere in the churchyard. His unkempt grave went unmarked for decades, despite several attempts to provide a suitable monument. Eventually, he was moved to this more prominent plot when his mother-in-law died in November 1875. It took 10 years before his wife was exhumed from her grave in New York and reburied in Baltimore beside him.

 

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CIMG0977-headshotLoren Rhoads is the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, the In the Wake of the Templars trilogy published this year by Night Shade Books. She’s also the author of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. You can follow her morbid antics at http://lorenrhoads.com

KIDNAPPED BLOG, Loren Rhoads: Where Horror Lies 1

halogokidnappednotdateThis time of year, when the veil is thin, is a great time to make a pilgrimage to thank our forefathers in horror.

RayRay Bradbury, Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California

Seeing Stars says, “If you had to choose only one Hollywood cemetery to visit, Westwood Village Memorial Park would be your best bet.” In addition to all the movie stars, Westwood has its share of writers. Author of In Cold Blood  Truman Capote’s ashes are in a niche facing the cemetery entrance. The ashes of Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, are in the Room of Prayer columbarium beyond Marilyn Monroe. Billy Wilder, screenwriter of Sunset Boulevard, has a headstone that reads, “I’m a writer, but then nobody’s perfect.” Near him lies Ray Bradbury, whose headstone remembers him as the author of Fahrenheit 451 but to me, he’s the author of Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Charles Dickens, Westminster Abbey, London, England

Westminster Abbey has served as the site of every British coronation since 1066. The tradition even predates the modern Gothic building, which was begun by Henry III in 1245. The abbey is stuffed nearly to bursting with mortuary sculpture, which is — unfortunately — forbidden to photograph. The abbey’s website says, “Taken as a whole, the tombs and memorials comprise the most significant single collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the United Kingdom.” Charles Dickens — author of A Christmas Carol, the most-filmed ghost story in the English language — was interred here against his will, rather than being buried alongside his family in Highgate Cemetery.

Lafcadio Hearn, Zoshigaya Reien, Tokyo, Japan

In the last half of the 19th century, Harper’s Magazine sent Lafacadio Hearn to Japan. Although he soon parted ways with his editors, he loved the country and wrote book after book describing it to Western readers for the first time. While his tales drift in and out of fashion in the West, he is still revered in Japan. His most famous work is Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, a collection of Japanese ghost tales comparable to the work of the Brothers Grimm. Those stories inspired Akira Kurosawa’s 1964 movie of the same name, which won a Special Jury Prize at Cannes and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film. Hearn is buried under his Japanese name, Koizumi Yakumo.

Washington Irving, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Tarrytown, New York

Walking up the hill from the parking lot between the Old Dutch Church and the Pocantico River, you’ll find the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Just shy of the crest of the hill, Washington Irving rests inside a simple iron gate emblazoned with his family name. A plain marble tablet, streaked green with lichen, marks his grave. According to a bronze plaque placed in 1972 by remaining members of the Irving family, the “graveplot” is now a national historic landmark.

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CIMG0977-headshotLoren Rhoads is the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, the In the Wake of the Templars trilogy published this year by Night Shade Books. She’s also the author of Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. You can follow her morbid antics at http://lorenrhoads.com

HorrorAddicts.net 118, Mercedes Yardley

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 118

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

mercedes yardley | dark matter noise | stephen king movies

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

83 days till halloween

83 days till halloween

la guns, crystal eyes, anne rice, queen akasha, vampires, glam metal, heat, sunburn, seaworld, scarela, mike bennett, h.p. lovecraft, addict on the street: jean batt, live baycon, haunters, drag king,  guillermo del toro, strain books, donny marisue, goth dj neshamah, loren rhoads, the dangerous type, kindle books, wait for books, lasher, anne rice, books, matthew weber, a dark and winding road, d.j. pitsiladis, david watson, serial killers, highwayman, ink, glenn benest, dale pitman, morbid meals, dan shaurette, chicken a la king, dawn wood, dark matter noise, hell’s frozen, grant me serenity, jesse orr, black jack, dan shuarette, stephen king movies, it, storm of the century, stand by me, pet cemetary, the green mile, the shining, salem’s lot, christine, shawshank redemption, the mist, creepshow, misery, graveyard shift, firestarter, maximum overdrive, room 237, langoliers, bag of bones, dead mail, angela, halloween costumes, penny dreadful, the stig, top gear, birthday suit, ursula, mimielle, dyed hair in the pool, swimming cap, ask marc vale, vlad, blood stains, mercedes yardley

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
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Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

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h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

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Claustrophobia and The Dangerous Type

by Loren Rhoads

The first time I went away to sleep-away camp, I was a junior in high school.  Michigan Tech, a university 500 miles north of my home, was hosting a weeklong writing program. I dragged my typewriter into my assigned dorm room and waved goodbye to my parents, excited to be a real writer for a week.

Almost immediately I met another high school girl there for the program. I really liked her at first.  She seemed sunny and competitive and dramatic. I thought we’d provide a good challenge for each other. I looked forward to reading her stories.

I’m not sure what set her off.  She and some of the guys from the program were hanging around in my room when I went into the large walk-in closet to demonstrate how big it was.  Once I was inside, Nicole slammed the door behind me.

I heard giggling.  Nicole enlisted the guys to help her shove the dresser in front of the door so I couldn’t get out.  They talked loudly about going to dinner while I was trapped.  They slammed the dorm room’s door behind them on their way out.

I didn’t have a flashlight. I didn’t know where the light switch was.  With the dresser blocking the door, the closet was very dark inside.  This was long before cell phones were a gleam in some engineer’s eye.  My parents wouldn’t be back for a week.  I wasn’t due in class until morning.  No one would even know I was missing until then.

I sank down onto the floor of the closet, tears burning at the edges of my eyes.  What if there was a fire?  What if I needed to pee?  If I screamed, would anyone hear me?  Were there people on the floors above or below me?  Would my tormentors only laugh at me more if I begged to be let out?

I decided I was too angry to cry. I tried to figure out what had just happened, what I’d done to be tormented like this. I’d only just met Nicole.  I’d even admired her.  I’d thought she seemed like fun, that we might be friends. Why would anyone be so mean to a total stranger?

I never realized I was claustrophobic until I found myself barricaded in that closet. As I sat there in the blackness, I felt the walls shooting away from me into space.  I felt them contract toward me with every panicked breath.  I couldn’t hear anything but my blood pounding in my ears.  My body flushed with heat, then iced with fear.  I understood why people went crazy when locked up alone in the dark. I wondered how long that would take.

I don’t know how long my classmates left me in there.  Eventually one of the boys felt guilty and they crept back into my room to drag the dresser away from the closet door.

I walked out of the closet under my own power.  Nicole laughed at me.  I let my tears fall finally and asked them to leave my room.  Then I locked the door after them and didn’t open the walk-in closet for the rest of the week.

The experience of sitting alone in the dark directly inspired “Claustrophobia,” the first story I published about Raena Zacari.  That story ended with Raena’s imprisonment in an empty tomb on an abandoned planet.  A feature of the weird stone walls of the tomb was that she wouldn’t age and couldn’t die. She would only wait for a savior who would never come, trapped in her tomb until her claustrophobia burned itself out.

Being locked in the dark by strangers isn’t an experience I would wish on any 16-year-old girl.  Still, I suppose I have Nicole to thank for the In the Wake of the Templars trilogy.  Not only did my confinement in that closet lead to that initial short story, but Nicole’s behavior inspired the villain of The Dangerous Type, the first book of the trilogy.

I’ve wondered over the years if Nicole’s lack of empathy led her to abuse others.  It’s hard to believe that I was the only victim she ever singled out.  She really didn’t know me.  At the time, she blamed me for the length of my punishment.  Apparently, she’d stood outside the closet, listening, waiting to hear me scream for help.  When I didn’t satisfy her by begging to be let out, she decided to leave me in there a little longer, since I “appeared to be enjoying” myself. She didn’t apologize afterward, because as far as she could see, I wasn’t actually hurt by the experience. That complete failure to imagine herself in my place led directly to Thallian, the Imperial torturer who lacks empathy to the point that no one in the galaxy – except Raena herself – seems real to him.

I lost touch with Nicole after that week of camp, even though it turned out that we later had friends in common.  I never forgave her for what she’d done.  I also never forgot the lessons she taught me. My novel The Dangerous Type is the story of Raena’s eventual escape from her imprisonment and the vengeance she takes on the man who knew where she was trapped and never came to let her out.

Hopefully, finally, I have exorcised the experience at last.

**********

Loren Rhoads is the author of the In the Wake of the Templars trilogy, published by Night Shade Books. The Dangerous Type is out now, followed by Kill By Numbers on September 1 and the conclusion, No More Heroes, on November 3. She is the co-author (with Brian Thomas) of As Above, So Below and editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two. Spy on her at lorenrhoads.com. 

HorrorAddicts.net 117, Mike Robinson

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 117

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

mike robinson | pamela moore | penny dreadful

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

97 days till halloween

sycamore leaves, aha, bret alexander sweet, backstreet boy n’sync zombie flick?, sharknado, a christmas horror story, will shatner, halloween carols, daniel ford, a.d. vick, tales of dark romance and horror, free fiction friday, lillian csernica, books, david watson, loren rhoads, as above so below, mike robinson, negative space, wicked women writers, masters of macabre, morbid meals, dan shaurette, nightmare fuel, candyman, d.j. pitsiladis, deadly pixy sticks, pamela moore, dawn wood, jesse orr, grant me serenity, black jack, kbatz, horror blogger alliance, penny dreadful, kristin battestella, hbo, deadmail, angela, halloween costumes, jeffery, bullies, goth bashing, pamela, podcast authors, mark eller, mike bennett, rhonda carpenter, marc vale advice, norms, horror movies, zombies, maniacs, vampires, instant death, protect yourself, survival, horror addicts guide to life, mike robinson, cryptozoology, author reads, stephen king, the shining, storm of the century

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
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Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick

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As Above, So Below and Negative Space

20708447As Above, So Below by Loren Rhoads and Brian Thomas is not your average boy meets girl love story. This story is more of an angel meets succubus, they fall in love and both have agendas type story. It all started when the succubus Lorelei goes into a night club in Los Angeles and sees the angel Azaziel. Azaziel has been cast out of heaven and Lorelei has the task of getting Azaziel to become one of Hell’s minions. Lorelei thinks its going to be easy to turn the angel, little does she know that Azaziel has an agenda of his own.

Azaziel has claimed the soul of a young woman named Ashleigh and wants to use Lorelei’s body as a host for Ashleigh so he can show her a night of love in exchange for him being able to save her soul. After Azaziel puts Ashleigh’s soul in an unsuspecting Lorelei, Lorelei flees and tries to find someone to exorcise Ashleigh from her body. If things aren’t already complicated enough,  the city of Los Angeles is swarming with harpies, demons and angels all trying to get Ashleigh’s soul and punish Azaziel and Lorelei.

As Above, So Below is a complex novel that could be called paranormal romance but it also works as horror and erotica even though the sex scenes aren’t over the top like some erotica books I’ve read. The best part of the book was the characters. Since Lorelei is a succubus that has works for Hell, you expect her to be an evil character. In reality she is a sympathetic character that I liked quite a bit. I felt that she was much more compassionate than Azaziel. I would have thought that Azaziel would be the ultimate good but you quickly find that he is more of a shade of grey. None of these characters acts like you think they would act and the lines between good and evil are blurred.

Another thing I liked about the book was the amount of research that had to go into it. This book gets deep into theology and as I read, I found myself thinking this is probably how angels and demons would really act.  The idea of a human possessing a succubus was an original concept and I enjoyed how there were different situations where each one had to take over the body.

It may sound  strange but As Above, So Below reminded me a little of Romeo And Juliet because it’s a forbidden romance and they represent two groups of people who are at war. There were some memorable scenes in this book, in particular at the end where a battle between good and evil takes place in Los Angeles which also seemed like a character in the book. One of my favorite lines in the book was when Lorelei’s demonic master Asmodeus states that “Demons deal in truth, life is painful.” I found myself liking the demons more than the angels in this book. If you enjoy theology and the idea of angels and demons at war among us, you need to check this book out. You won’t be disappointed.

18336919Changing over from Angels and demons to unexplained phenomenon. I also recently read Negative Space by Mike Robinson. The story follows a painter named Max Higgins who is starting to become popular by collecting photos of missing people and putting them in his paintings. He feels he is giving these lost people a home in his art. His impulse to do this comes from dealing with people disappearing from his life as a kid.  Among them was his father. One day someone recognizes a face from one of his paintings and he has to look into his past to find out why his father went missing.

Negative Space starts with a bang, leaving you with a mystery to figure out as you see mother and son try to defend themselves against some unknown attackers. At this point you get the impression that this story is going to have a lot of action. Then Mike Robinson throws you a curve ball and changes directions as he gets into the main character’s search for meaning  after a tragic upbringing.

The characters in this book were great. I liked how it was set during the L.A. riots of 1992. I liked the use of metaphors in the story. A big part of this book is about describing art and the way everything is described in the story, you get the impression that you’re reading a painting. This book seems to really be about looking for a deeper meaning to everything that happens around us and you have to give the book points for originality. This is a good read but short, I felt that it could have been longer in order to explain more of what’s happening. All in all though it was an entertaining read and different from what I’m use to. I found at the end I was curious to see what else Mike Robinson has available.

Come meet us at BayCon 2015!

 Come to the Horror Addicts Guide to Life book release party!

Friday, May 22nd

@ Baycon 2015

8:30 PM in the Stevens Creek

Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA

Freebies at the door and door prizes to boot!

Plus, don’t miss getting all these signatures on your very own copy of the book.

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Come meet Emerian Rich, H.E. Roulo, Laurel Anne Hill,

J. Malcolm Stewart, Loren Rhoads, Sumiko Saulson, and Lillian Csernica at

BayCon 2015

FinalFrontCoverHorror Addicts Guide to Life

Don’t miss the door prizes, favors, and your chance to see all these amazing horror personalities together in one place! 🙂

Books will be on hand for signing and purchase.

Come meet us at BayCon 2015!

 

 

Come to the Horror Addicts Guide to Life book release party!

Friday, May 22nd

@ Baycon 2015

8:30 PM in the Stevens Creek

Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA

Freebies at the door and door prizes to boot!

Plus, don’t miss getting all these signatures on your very own copy of the book.

habayconbanner

Come meet Emerian Rich, H.E. Roulo, Laurel Anne Hill,

J. Malcolm Stewart, Loren Rhoads, Sumiko Saulson, and Lillian Csernica at

BayCon 2015

FinalFrontCoverHorror Addicts Guide to Life

Don’t miss the door prizes, favors, and your chance to see all these amazing horror personalities together in one place! 🙂

Books will be on hand for signing and purchase.

HorrorAddicts.net 114, H.E. Roulo

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 114

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

h.e. roulo | particle son | the walking dead

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

174 days till halloween

richard cheese, down with the sickness, zombies, baycon, book release party, emerian rich, h.e. roulo, j. malcolm stewart, laurel anne hill, sumiko saulson, loren rhoads, lillian csernica, seanan mcguire, earthquakes, horroraddicts on kindle, babadook, netflix, chiller, lifeforce, colin wilson, the space vampires, tobe hooper, texas chainsaw massacre, mathilda may, siren, slasher, stack.com, death note, adam wingard, the woman in black, horror addicts guide to life, sandra harris, ron vitale, david watson, books, plague master: sanctuary dome, zombie dome, slicing bones, kindle buys, morbid meals, dan shaurette, london mess, fox uk, canniburgers, the walking dead recipe, nightmare fuel, japanese fable, slit mouth woman, surgical mask, particle son, revelation, portland band, dawn wood, stephen king, clive barker, grant me serenity, jesse orr, black jack, the country road cover up, the sacred, crystal connor, dracula dead and loving it, kbatz, kristin battestella, c.a.milson, the walking dead, dead mail, candace questions, colette, bees, david, bugs, the watcher in the woods, pembroke, jaws, gremlins, craig, devil, sparkylee, the thing, dogs, kristin, alien, robert, magic, daltha, clowns, pennywise, jaq, creature from the black lagoon, jody, night of the living dead, world book day, interview with a vampire, michael, haunting of hill house, kbatz, frankenstein, dracula, anne rice, jane eyre, sumiko, the stand, lillian,  jim butcher, changes, a.d., exorcist, mimielle, firestarter, bad moon rising, jonathan mayberry, edgar, alabama, alien from la, kathy ireland, ask marc, marc vale, mike, pittsburgh, driver’s test, what would norman bates do?, mother, voices, psycho, h.e. roulo, heather roulo.

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
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———————–

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr.

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

http://www.horroraddicts.net

Come meet us at BayCon 2015!

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Come meet Emerian Rich, H.E. Roulo, Laurel Anne Hill,

J. Malcolm Stewart, Loren Rhoads, Sumiko Saulson, and Lillian Csernica at

BayCon 2015

May 22nd-24th

Hyatt Regency

Santa Clara, CA

Program details coming soon, but don’t wait to buy your tickets.

We will be having a big HorrorAddicts.net BOF and

release party for our book:

FinalFrontCoverHorror Addicts Guide to Life

Don’t miss the door prizes, favors, and your chance to see all these amazing horror personalities together in one place! 🙂

Books will be on hand for signing and purchase.

Horror Addicts Guide to Life – Available now!

FinalFrontCoverHorror Addicts Guide to Life

Available now! 

Cover art by: Masloski Carmen

Editor: David Watson

Do you love the horror genre? Do you look at horror as a lifestyle? Do the “norms” not understand your love of the macabre?

Despair no longer, my friend, for within your grasp is a book written by those who look at horror as a way of life, just like you. This is your guide to living a horrifying existence. Featuring interviews with Midnight Syndicate, Valentine Wolfe, and The Gothic Tea Society.

Authors: Kristin Battestella, Mimielle, Emerian Rich, Dan Shaurette, Steven Rose Jr., Garth von Buchholz, H.E. Roulo, Sparky Lee Anderson, Mary Abshire, Chantal Boudreau, Jeff Carlson, Catt Dahman, Dean Farnell, Sandra Harris, Willo Hausman, Laurel Anne Hill, Sapphire Neal, James Newman, Loren Rhoads, Chris Ringler, Jessica Robinson, Eden Royce, Sumiko Saulson, Patricia Santos Marcantonio, J. Malcolm Stewart, Stoneslide Corrective, Mimi A.Williams, and Ron Vitale. With art by Carmen Masloski and Lnoir.

 

Guest Blog: Touched by a Ghost by Loren Rhoads

Touched by a Ghost

by Loren Rhoads

            After I paid for the first Haunted Mansion retreat, I worried what I’d do if the mansion really was haunted.  I wouldn’t be able to drive to Mount Tamalpais for the long weekend, since I couldn’t leave my family without a car.  If I caught a ride with a stranger, I would be trapped at the mansion.  What if things got really bad and I was afraid to sleep?  I wouldn’t be able to slink out to my car and sleep in it.

            HMP2coveritunesI also couldn’t call my husband — assuming the isolated mansion got cell reception — to come and get me in the middle of the night.  No way could I ask him to get our seven-year-old up, put her in the car seat, drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, and rescue me from the ghosts.  If I went, I had to stick it out.

Probably, I told myself, if it got that bad, someone else would have the sense to want to leave.  I could ride back to the ferry or a bus stop with them.

Of course, I was pretty sure that we wouldn’t face an all-out Poltergeist-style freak out.  As I packed for the weekend, my new worry became that I’d spent a couple hundred dollars to write for a weekend in a haunted mansion — and nothing would happen.  The ghosts would ignore us, or they’d prowl around downstairs while we were all upstairs asleep.  How disappointing would that be?

See, I have a healthy respect for ghosts.  I’ve seen their shadows since I was a kid.  Generally, they don’t do anything more than make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  I feel cold and slightly jittery.  Most of the ghosts I’ve seen were people I knew, or at least people I recognized.  They weren’t trying to scare me.  My body’s reaction to them was scarier than anything they ever did.

Rain hadn’t told us much about the ghosts that she’d encountered in the mansion.  She wanted us to have our own experiences, to form our own opinions.  So I went into it blind, knowing no one other than her.

I met Scott and Eunice for the ride over to Mount Tam.  Eunice had come up from Southern California; Scott would drive the two of us from San Francisco’s Marina District across the Golden Gate.  I was relieved to find them your typical very nice horror writers.  They made me feel comfortable, like I wasn’t making a terrible mistake going away with strangers to a haunted house for the weekend.

We arrived at the Haunted Mansion in the middle of Thursday afternoon. As we carried our bags into the mansion, Rain was standing in the grand staircase.  She offered to give us a tour, so we could pick our rooms for the weekend.  We hurried to move our luggage into the first-floor parlor and followed her up the stairs.

The second floor was a maze of interconnecting rooms that encircled the stairway.  Almost everyone else had come with a friend with whom they planned to share a room.  Since I was solo, I wavered between asking to share someone else’s room or taking a room of my own.  Would the ghosts be more or less likely to mess with me if I slept alone?

There were only eight of us there that first night, rattling around in a house that seemed able to sleep a hundred.  Rain said we would all stay on the second floor, even though that was where she’d had the most intense of her ghostly encounters.  Most of the second-floor rooms were pass-throughs:  each dormitory-style room connecting to the next.  I don’t sleep well at the best of times, so I wasn’t eager to choose a room where people might walk through in the night to use the bathroom.  Since I wander a fair amount when I can’t sleep, I also didn’t want to wake anyone else.

Rain’s tour paused outside a little blue room tucked between a suite — reserved for the one married couple among us — and dead space.  I’m not sure what lay on the other side of the wall: maybe a linen closet?  It wasn’t another guest room, anyway.

The blue room felt very restful to me, very welcoming.  It helped that it only had one door, which faced the bed, and a window that looked out on Mount Tam.  The energy felt inviting.  When I stepped inside and saw the artwork hanging above the vanity — a piece of white silk featuring a bright Chinese phoenix — I had to have that room.  I wear a phoenix tattoo on my left arm.  The room and I shared a kinship.

*

            My little room proved to be a great haven, especially after I set my suitcase in front of the closet.  Not that I thought anything was going to come through there — or that I felt the suitcase provided much of a barricade — but I’ve seen Poltergeist too many times.  You never know with big empty spaces.

I settled into the double bed, feeling safe in a way I wouldn’t have in a room with more doors.  I closed my eyes, exhausted and slightly drunk from Rain’s good Argentinean wine.

Sleep wouldn’t come.

I thought I heard whispering voices, then a man speaking, but Yvonne and Weston had the suite that shared the minuscule balcony outside my spider-guarded window.  I gladly put on my headphones to block the voices out.

As I lay there in the dark, trying to sleep, the light in my room kept changing.  Smudges and smears of light flashed through the well of shadow that lay between the bed and the vanity.  The sliver of light coming in around the door grew wider toward morning, as if the door was inching open, but it wasn’t.  Even so, I didn’t turn my back toward the center of the room.

Finally, about 4:30, I told myself that I really needed to get some sleep.  I rolled onto my stomach, clutched the pillow, felt myself relax.  Sleep was washing over me when someone touched my hair.

Someone touched my hair.  Electricity thrilled through me.  I knew I was still alone in the room, but opened my eyes anyway.  The room remained silent and empty, holding its breath to see what I would do.

It occurred to me that a spider might have fallen from the ceiling on to me. However, the sensation of being touched hadn’t felt like something practically weightless dancing across my head. My hair is just not that sensitive.  Something the size of a hand compressed the hair on the right side of my head.  Without a doubt, someone touched me.

“Hello,” I whispered softly.  “It will be dawn soon.  I’d really like to get some sleep before then.  Can we talk in the morning?”

I waited, but nothing more happened.  Sleep was remarkably easy to find.

 ***

 CIMG0977-headshotThis is an excerpt from an essay I wrote for The Haunted Mansion Project: Year One, published by Damnation Books in 2013.  I served as editor for The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, published by Damnation Books in 2014.  Both books in the series collect fiction and poetry inspired by our retreats at the mansion.  They also include reports of the hauntings we experienced and evidence reports by the GhostGirls.

The third Haunted Mansion Writers Retreat is in the planning stages for September 2015.  You can see the details and register for it here: http://hauntedmansionwriters.blogspot.com/

Loren Rhoads on Horror Writing

Character Generation

by Loren Rhoads

The novel As Above, So Below (co-written with Brian Thomas) is the story of Lorelei, a succubus who sets her sights the angel Azaziel. She can see he’s been cast out of Heaven, but is not yet Fallen, and she vows to do whatever it takes to bring him down.

Aza has plans for Lorelei, too. Together on the streets of LA, they encounter Ashleigh Johnson, one of Azaziel’s mortal charges, who is dying of hepatitis in the street. The angel rescues Ashleigh’s soul from two harpies poised to devour it — then uses it to possess Lorelei.

Taking Ashleigh along for the ride, Lorelei flees. They encounter demons, tempters, fallen angels, and damned mortal boys, while Lorelei keeps trying to swing the angel into her corner. Up All Night Horror Fiction Review said, “As Above, So Below has a creative plot, vivid descriptive imagery, relentless temptation, graphic horror, and fiery, fun sex.”

So where did the character of Lorelei come from? She was inspired by a woman I met at university. Kimmy lived across the hall from me in East Quad. She was beautiful: large very dark eyes made bigger by mascara, long mahogany hair flipped back from her face just so, heart-shaped face. She wasn’t very tall, but she was seriously stacked. I wasn’t surprised to find she’d done catalog modeling in high school.

AS Above coverMostly what I remember about her was her presence. Kimmy was a light. She had a huge laugh. Just by arriving, she made everything more fun. When she came into a room, every head turned toward her, but she wasn’t obnoxious about it. She didn’t seem to crave attention; she just accepted it as normal.

Kimmy had a way of singling out people and drawing them into her circle. During my second day in the dorm, she cornered me as I was about to skulk into my room. She and her roommate were going to play quarters with some other people on the hall so we could all get to know each other. Why didn’t I come?

Which is how I met my husband Mason, who’s been with me pretty much ever since. Kim drew him in, too.

Kimmy was always ready for anything. When Playboy came to town, looking to photograph Girls of the Big 10, she considered it. When she met another girl who had been contacted by a Greek millionaire who was looking for pretty girls to come lounge around on his yacht in their bikinis, she considered it. I think her curiosity about that lifestyle was matched by a small-town naivety that didn’t really guess what that kind of deal would demand in return. In consequence, I felt protective of Kimmy. I didn’t want her trusting nature to lead her into a situation she couldn’t charm her way out of.

Lorelei came directly out of that feeling. I wanted to explore the possibilities laid out in front of Kimmy, but know that Lorelei would survive them. I wanted to give Kimmy a happy ending and a boyfriend she wanted just as much as he wanted her. And I wanted to guarantee she’d never lose her fearlessness or sense of fun.

What inspires your characters? Do they derive from people you know or do you make them up completely out of your imagination?

***

CIMG0977-headshotLoren Rhoads is the author of The Dangerous Type trilogy, coming from Nightshade Books in 2015. She is the editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two and Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual. Her stories about the succubus Lorelei have appeared in the books Sins of the Sirens and Demon Lovers. You can find out more about As Above, So Below at http://lorenrhoads.com/writing/as-above-so-below/.