Did you miss this great interview with horror writer, Michele Roger?
Did you miss this great interview with horror writer, Michele Roger?
Michele Roger is a speculative fiction writer living in the Detroit area with her spouse and her evil cat named Monster. She also writes paranormal romance under the pen name M. M. Genet. You can listen to her most recent, free podcast, Agent For the Orchestra wherever you get your podcasts or on iTunes. When Michele isn’t writing, she is a harpist and a music composer for podcasts. Michele appeared on Season 1 Episode 9 with “Taste of the Dead,” Season 2 Episode 13 “Santa Claws,” Season 3 Episode 25 “The Conservatory,” Episode 31, Season 4 Episode 43, and Season 13 Episode 160. She is the spark that started the Wicked Women Writers.
1.) How old were you when you first became interested in horror?
My earliest memory of reading horror was with my friend Terry Akerly in the 8th grade. My mom didn’t really approve of a girl reading horror at the time, so Terry shared his Stephen King books with me.
2.) What is your favorite kind of horror? (i.e. Classic, Splatterpunk, Slasher, Gothic, etc.)
Reading is like everything else; one’s tastes change as we get older. While I gravitate towards Classic and Gothic, I’m open to reading just about anything that has a new spin on it; be it paranormal romance or alien horror.
3.) What is your favorite horror novel?
There is a special place in my heart for Thinner by Stephen King. In college, I was studying to be a lawyer. The main character is a slightly unscrupulous lawyer who gets cursed by a gypsy for his dishonesty while presenting a case against her. The curse is so simple and so elegant. I loved that about the story. King took an everyday occurrence with an average guy and turned it into something that kept me reading well into the night.
4.) What is your favorite horror TV show?
Honestly, I don’t watch enough tv to be able to answer that question.
5.) What is your favorite horror movie?
It probably sounds cheesy, but my favorite horror film (and its tough to choose) would be The Woman in Black. There is so much to love. The main character is young and naive but is a male and a lawyer. (Lawyer theme again. I never realized….ok anyway) So many stories the main character in distress is female. I really enjoy that role reversal. Also, the predator/ghost is female. Also, another trait and role reversal that I enjoy. Add the creepy gothic mansion, a time pressure element of the receding and swelling tide and the primary prey for the predator being children of a village an entire community longs to protect and you have a perfect movie.
6.) How did you first become involved with HorrorAddicts.net?
I wrote a short horror story and a friend of mine encouraged me to send it to HorrorAddicts. That was roughly 2008? I’m guessing. Emz encouraged me to send in more.
7.) What is your most favorite memory of the HorrorAddicts.net Blog? (i.e. favorite blog post written by you or someone else, favorite funny memory, etc.)
HorrorAddicts offered a horror writing contest for just women. The stories that came from that contest were so well written and so well received. I had been writing horror and science fiction for a while, feeling quite alone in Detroit. All the other speculative fiction writers I knew were male. The all women’s writing contest opened a door to other women all over the country who were writing all kinds of horror. Eventually, some of those stories became a book and now we have a writing group for female horror writers. So much good has come from HorrorAddicts.
8.) What is your favorite part of the blog? (i.e. Book Reviews, Movie Reviews, Interviews, Game Reviews, Free Fiction, Crafting, etc.)
Whenever I’m looking for something or someone new to read, I check out the Book Reviews. I also like to read the interviews on my lunch at work.
9.) Why is this part your favorite?
The book reviews are just a handy resource. Sadly, my small, Michigan town outside of Detroit doesn’t have a local bookstore anymore. We have one big chain store but finding someone in there to recommend horror is often like finding a needle in a haystack. HorrorAddicts book reviews and interviews fill that void. I find new and established authors, learn a bit more about them and find new titles to pick up for my next night of reading.
10.) What would you like to see on the HorrorAddicts.net Blog in the future?
There are a lot of people making short horror films. It might be fun to showcase them? A B Horror movie film festival to stream???
Michele Roger is an author and harpist living and working in Detroit. Her previous novel, The Conservatory, was published in 2014. Her second book, Eternal Kingdom: A Vampire Novel, was published in 2015 and made into a film script. Dedicated to furthering the reach of women in speculative fiction, she is a founding member of, “The Wicked Women Writer’s Group.” Her short stories have been published in anthologies in both the US and UK. As a harpist, she is the founder of the Michigan Conservatory. She was a Detroit Music Awards Finalist for best classical composer in 2015.
Michele is an innovative and artistic woman. We spoke of music, the creative process, and her advice for the burgeoning female writer.
NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Michele! Thank you so much for chatting with me.
MR: I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you for the invite!
NTK: You’re an accomplished musician. How does your background in music influence your writing?
MR: That’s a great question. In reality, there isn’t an easy answer. The two creative outlets sometimes inspire one another. That’s when it feels like a blessing. I can be writing a conversation between two people falling for one another and the music will start to play in my head. The epiphany will hit me that it’s not a song I’ve heard before. Then, I stop writing words and start writing notes on a music paper. Sometimes, the two outlets compete for my attention. I can wake up at 3 am with a story and the theme music and the entire movie score in my head. Then, it feels like a curse. Which do you act upon first? Honestly, it’s a good problem to have.
NTK: Do you find inspiration in dreams?
MR: My biggest inspiration is walking. But, dreams do come into play. If I set a story and its characters aside to do my day job teaching music or playing Harp concerts, the characters sneak into my dreams. It’s always the same dream to start. I’m asleep in bed inside of a glass box. The characters come and gently knock on the box while I’m sleeping. The characters return each night, knocking louder and eventually pounding on the glass until I finally start to write their story. Then, the dreams end.
NTK: Did The Harpist come to you in this way?
MR: Yes. The ghost in the story, Emma, came to see me first, as I was out for a walk. That night, I dreamed of her outside the glass box. She scared the hell out of me. But as a paranormal writer, that’s an advantage, I suppose. Elizabeth and Detective Flannery came to me the next day.
NTK: That’s a fascinating process. What is the difference between paranormal and horror?
MR: Paranormal, by my definition, is like a flavor of a story. There are elements that are scary or ghostly but those elements are just tools for telling a story. The Harpist is definitely paranormal. I’ve written two horror novels. The entire story builds and builds becoming more frightening at every turn.
Paranormal uses scary elements to tell a great story. Horror uses a story to convey something really scary.
NTK: Are your stories character driven? Or, plot driven?
MR: Depends on the story. My sci-fi book, Dark Matter was definitely plot driven. So was my horror novel, Eternal Kingdom. But my latest shorts, like Addicted to Love and now this new novel, The Harpist, is far more driven by the characters.
I think, as I get older, the more I like how beautiful it is when characters are vulnerable.
NTK: How much control do you exert over your characters after they come to you? Do they retain their free will? Do they come to you with vulnerabilities?
MR: They come to me dragging their huge amounts of baggage. It’s just my job to spoon their personality and flaws out to the readers as needed.
NTK: What writers have influenced you most?
MR: My first love of literature bloomed after reading F. Scott Fitzgerald. When I read that Hunter S. Thompson said he wrote passages from The Great Gatsby over and over again to learn how to write well, I tried it. That’s when I knew I wanted to write. I didn’t realize I wanted to write speculative fiction, sci-fi, and horror/paranormal until I devoured Stephen King’s short, Thinner. Then, The Visitor series in the 80s and finally, Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last, had me writing in the genre and never looking back.
NTK: Were you a reader as a child?
MR: I loved to read. It was always my escape.
NTK: What got you into horror?
MR: In 8th grade, a friend gave me a copy of Stephen King’s, The Eyes of the Dragon. It was a fantasy story he wrote for his daughter. I was already reading all the sci-fi and fantasy I could get my hands on secretly (my mom thought I should read romance) so King’s fantasy novel became my gateway drug into his other stories.
NTK: What do your parents think of your writing? Have they encouraged you?
MR: Before my dad passed away, he came to every signing and author event I had; often buying a copy of books he already had just to show his support. My mom is supportive of all my creative endeavors.
NTK: You said your mom wanted you to read romance. Do you like to write romantic scenes in your books?
MR: The first romantic scene I ever had to write, I was so nervous, I had to have a cocktail to get through it. Now, I have become much closer friends with my characters. I adore helping them find their loves. Maybe, that’s the difference between writing my first love scene in my early thirties and writing now at 46. I’m more comfortable with my own sexuality and hence, I’m more comfortable with the romance scenes of my characters.
NTK: That’s great! Do you enjoy horror movies and television shows? If so, which are your favorites?
MR: Hmm. I love Stranger Things but really, I don’t watch much TV or movies. I’m a print junkie.
NTK: What do you like about Stranger Things?
MR: I love the duality of worlds; one we can see, one only a select few can see. I also adore how much they’ve embraced the deliciousness of the 80s, right down to the plaid flannel shirts. Seeing the story through the eyes of kids is one of the best parts.
NTK: You’re a founding member of The Wicked Women Writer’s Group. Could you tell the Addicts how that came about?
MR: Early on in my writing, a publisher told me that it would be hard for him to market my work if I used my real name. Horror and sci-fi readers didn’t buy work written by women (or so he thought.) I didn’t want to hide behind a male pen name. Instead, I started a group for women who wrote speculative fiction. I wanted it to be a positive place for female horror writers to support one another. It’s become so much more and I couldn’t be more proud of all the members and our collaborations.
NTK: Very cool! Thank you for starting this group and giving women writers a place to get together. What advice would you like to give prospective women writers out there?
MR: Just this week, The Guardian published an interview with Phillip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials series, and president of a UK author society. He said that the publishing world isn’t supporting authors. Less than 30% of authors can make a living by writing solely as a career. For women, the percentage is even lower. Hence, my advice is this: 1. Buy the work of all authors you love. As a woman and a writer, we appreciate the grueling art form. Particularly, buy the work of female authors. Show appreciation with our dollars. 2. If monetary support is out of reach, support women’s writing by posting great reviews of their work. 3. Never give up on your dream.
NTK: Wonderful words! Michele, as you know, Season 13 of HorrorAddicts is CURSED! Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?
MR: Curses are definitely a powerful female tool. My favorite thing about them is that they’re more frightening than a threat. A curse actually feels possible. My favorite curse? “I hope you have a kid just like you!” That curse came true in my two kids. And, I couldn’t be more proud.
NTK: What does the future hold for you? What books, stories, and music do HorrorAddicts have to look forward to?
MR: The Harpist (Cursed) will be released this fall 2018. A short holiday story with Elizabeth and Flannery is in the works and the sequel to The Harpist is already outlined and taking shape. As for music, I’m working on another Celtic harp album which will hopefully be released in the spring of 2019.
NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Michele. It’s been fun.
MR: Thank you so much for the interview.
Addicts, you can find Michele on Twitter.
Review of Essel Pratts, UnGodly Undoing
by Michele Roger
It is rare to find a book with a fresh, creative delivery. UnGodly Undoing by Essel Pratts does not disappoint. In essence, a collection of stories but brilliantly presented via alternating chapters. The first chapter sets the stage for an ongoing conversation between a bookish, teenage boy and the local, elderly bookstore owner. The next chapter has the old man as narrator, telling a ‘real life’ story of the small town of Mishawaka. The old man in the bookstore explains that not all great stories are found in books and the stories of Mishawaka are of a town deeply cursed. The chapters continue in kind, in an anthology of a cursed town.
“Love Transcends Death,” is a simple story about angst and grief of a local doctor who is mourning the death of his wife. One day, kissing her urn goodbye becomes his undoing. Pratts build up in this particular tale is well timed; revealing an unexpected plot twist.
In the chapter entitled “Damned to Life”, we hear the story of an unlikely step-father and his vampire daughter. Elizabeth is a thirteen-year-old vampire held captive in the basement of her family home. After a vampire raped her mother, Elizabeth was born violently, killing her mother in the process. She lives a life of her father feeding her tainted blood from the local blood bank. Her escape from her prison and the reconciliation between father and daughter keeps the reader guessing until the last moment.
One of my favorite stories is Canopic Servitude. This chapter tells the tale of how the town warehouse contains the preserved remains of cursed, Egyptian royal cats who come back to life. I admit I was reading that chapter with my cat in my lap. By the time I had finished, I obediently went to the kitchen, opened the fridge and made him an offering of vanilla yogurt to my familiar feline. Just in case.
If UnGodly Undoing has one set back, it’s that the stories are told in present tense. All of them. While, as a reader, I like that the conversations between the bibliophile boy and the old bookstore owner are set in present day, it feels strange to read the town’s chilling past in the same tense. For the narration to feel more authentic, I would have liked the actual stories of the strange incidents in Mishawaka to be told in past tense.
All in all, the book is a page-turner with alternating chapters bringing both closure to the previous chapter and baiting the reader to read just one more story in the chapter to follow. Pratts final story in the book, Silence, My Love is chilling and complex. I think that his ability to write psychological horror shines in this closing story. I would hope that he would consider a whole novel in this particular sub-genre. Fighting the demons of the mind, attempting to decipher between fantasy and reality and the complete undoing of a man due to madness makes for excellent horror reading.
Alice in Wonderland: the Bridge Between Reality and Fantasy
It’s a Fine Line
I discovered Lewis Carol and “Alice in Wonderland” later than most children. While many of my friends tell me they read it with parents as a childhood bedtime story, I didn’t read the classic tale until high school. Admittedly, by the time it was assigned to me, I was resentful. Why was an Honors English class reading a kids book?
Thankfully, I was a goody-two-shoes and wanted to impress my teacher. I dug into the story, assuming it would be a quick read, an easy paper and take me that much closer to kicking off my Spring Break. Like so many things in my teenage life, I was wrong. Alice in Wonderland consumed me. It resembled many aspects of my real life and the people in it. Epiphany hit me somewhere in the wee hours of the drive from Michigan to Florida as I sat reading in the car on a family Spring Break trip in April of 1988. I was suffering the microcosm of my dysfunctional family crammed in the confines of a compact Ford Escort for eighteen hours when it hit me. Lewis Carol took the extreme personalities of people he must have met somewhere in his life and turned them into the most fantastic creatures/characters to help tell a story.
I knew people like the caterpillar. I had parents of friends who smoked hash and made it look enlightening. Caterpillar people loved parties, where jazz played softly in the background and martinis, were served in the library or study where guests could check out all of the books they had read. These same people rarely spoke to their kids (my friends), drove expensive cars and paid for things with large wads of cash from their wallet. All the while, they seemed to sit in a lofty leather chair and do nothing. How they made their money was a mystery to me. Caterpillars seemed addicted to the excitement of impending metamorphosis and bragged about their state of great change, telling their children they should aspire to it. In reality, caterpillar people never turned into anything beautiful; much to the disappointment of their children. I, on the other hand, thought they were entertaining.
The rest of that sophomore year and through my first summer job, I decided to find fantasy characters in my own reality. There was no option out with a glass that said, “Drink me”, to avoid driving in a hatchback with my parents, younger sister and two German shepherds to go places. Heading to summer family events certainly felt like I was falling down a rabbit hole at sixteen. I had the same tumbling feeling when I got my first summer job testing water samples and writing mind-numbing reports for the State of Michigan.
Mad Tea Party
The summer of 1988, I met my own personal Cheshire at a beach party. While drinks were flowing under the cover of darkness, I was drunk on a boy. One part bad boy, one part overwhelmingly charming and kind, stunningly handsome one minute, gone the next, not to be seen for weeks; leaving me with the memory of his smile. He was well read but only shared his love of books quietly, unlike the caterpillars. As I waited for him to materialize, I read books in his absence, hoping it would give us a chance to have something to talk about.
With all of the reading of classics and sci-fi, something inside me stirred, I was afraid to leave the safety of summer and high school. Wonderland, Orwell’s versions of earth, the worlds of Omni magazine short stories had become a refuge. Every college application, scholarship essay and step towards graduation, college and looming adulthood threatened to take my fantasy characters and imaginary places away. My parents were pushing hard that I change my major from special education to law. Secretly, I longed to be a writer.
One simply didn’t spring changing my parents well thought plans for my future. They had their hearts set on a family lawyer. I couldn’t just change and be a writer. Suggesting such a thing took cunning and skill. I took an assessment test and had it sent to my mother at home so she would open it. I waited until the weekend when I knew the cocktails would be flowing and pressed her about my results. In reality, the school librarian had already informed me of the results, but I wanted to present my case with hard evidence.
As she stirred her drink, prepping dinner, she told me that she nor my father believed in such tests. It said I should become a writer or a journalist. Everyone knew girls couldn’t make any kind of living doing either of those things. All the big work went to men. I sighed.
Return to the Realm of the Queen of Hearts
It’s fair to say that I didn’t understand the Queen of Hearts and the notion of yelling, “Off with their heads!” until I heard my inner motherhood scream, “if I see that kind of behavior again, young lady, heads will roll.” Fast forward to 2009, I was a mother of young teenagers and unknowingly, I had returned to Wonderland.
As an act of preparation for life, I read Alice in Wonderland to my kids. We had moved into an old farmhouse in the country. It was easy to see the characters that real people could be. Raising teenagers required escape. I began to write, using everything I had learned from my trips down the rabbit hole. Parenthood was the white rabbit, always in a hurry but never the less, magical and maddening and a beautiful chaos. Lines between reality and fantasy were blurred from exhaustion but it made life all the more like Alice’s; adventurous and full of discovery. Three novels and one children’s book later, I am thankful for Lewis Caroll. I would have made a lousy lawyer anyways.
Michele Roger is the author of the Sci-Fi novel, “Dark Matter” (2009), “The Conservatory” (2013) and “Eternal Kingdom: A Vampire Story” (2015). She is also the author of the “Mr. Kiwi” Children’s book series under her pen name, Michele Beresford. When she isn’t writing, she is a harpist; performing and teaching in Detroit.
Review of the Curtis M. Lawson book It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World
By Michele Roger
“Grinning like a school girl, she said a prayer of thanks to God Almighty and pressed a hand against her ribs. The bones should have been broken. They had been earlier when she lay on the snowy cobblestone in Boston alley. Now there was no pain, and breathing came easily. The blade, which bore the seal of Samael, had performed what it had advertised.”
What if eternal youth didn’t come by way of a holy grail, or a fountain? What if it came in the form of a pair of ancient knives? The blades are said to not only take the life of a victim but also transfer the victim’s vitality to their murderer. Such knives are considered the reality behind the mythical powers of Vlad the Impaler and Jack the Ripper, showing up at just the right, or wrong time throughout the world and history, depending on which side of the blade you’re standing.
“It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World” is one part ancient relic mystery, much like the Dan Brown novels. Characters the reader comes to trust suddenly commit acts of betrayal. Villains, (and there are a whole lot of them in this story) come from every different background, backstory and motive. In the race to possess the two knives known as the Fangs of Wallachia, an assassin nun sent by the Vatican, a ninety year old occultist, two terminal cancer patients, a junkie, a gun for hire, a cop, and a pawn dealer, a misspent teenager, an antiques dealer and an aristocrat are all entangled in a dark web.
A little slow to start, Lawson’s book becomes a page turner. His characters are richly written with a plot that quickens its pace with every chapter. One part gore, one part Indiana Jones, it was a thrill ride I would highly recommend.
Seven Feet Under by Matthew Weber
Horror author, Matthew Weber offers seven stories steeped in the urban legends and ancient superstitions of the Deep South. Each story is unique in its own right, with a weaving of tales who’s connection is of hot summer nights and southern culture at its scariest. Characters are multi-layered and many do not live happily ever after; if they live at all.
Weber has clearly done his research, creating a world where the reader is immersed in the supernatural and the macabre. We are schooled in the hard lesson of dabbling carelessly in Voodoo. Then, we experience the tribulations of teenage angst when combined with a quasi-creative writing-telekinesis. In one of my favorite stories, we as readers are on the run from whatever mutant lurks down at the old fishing hole. His descriptions of southern life and backwater people captivated me as a reader and drew me into the minds of his tortured characters.
If I had one thing to improve upon in Seven Feet Under, I would say it was perspective. Readers who are contemplating reading this short story collection all in one sitting should take note. Some of Weber’s stories are written in first person and some in third person. Changing of one’s internal narrator may be required when ending one story and immediately beginning the next. That weak point for me may be a strong point for others. Each story could be read on a lunch hour or two and even better yet, on a flight to the Big Easy.
Seven Feet Under is listed as general horror, but all of its stories are void of extreme scenes, as well as blatant sexual content. So often, I am asked to recommend horror novels to young adults and those copies are few and far between. Alas, Seven Feet Under is one I can recommend safely while simultaneously singing its praises for scare factor and vivid, concise writing for all readers teenage age and up.
Many authors test their chops by way of short story. Fan bases and readership are made from horror anthologies. It is my sincere hope that Matthew Weber gleans an audience for his back country, home-spun horror tales. If we are lucky, perhaps he will delight his readers with a much longer, full length singular tale that will let us get to know the types of characters that I love; simultaneously flawed and heroic, a mixture of good and evil.
As the days get longer and the nights grow colder, new books call to those who love to read. Whether you take Seven Feet Under with you as you crawl under a pile of blankets or you beat the cold by traveling south, this book is a worthy page turner.
For Episode 130 of the Horror Addict podcast we will be highlighting the past winners of our Wicked Women Writer’s challenge and the Masters Of Macabre contest. The Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge started in 2008 by Michele Roger as a distraction to the monotony that can be writing as a woman in a genre dominated by men. It was also meant to bring attention to female horror writers and podcasters. In 2011 Horroraddicts.net started the Master’s Of The Macabre contest to give male horror writers/podcasters a chance to compete. In each contest the participants are given a theme, a place and object with the goal of writing and reading the scariest story. In celebration of both contests here is a little information on each winner and what they are up to now:
In 2009 the first winner of WWW was Heather Roulo the theme was doing away with your spouse. Heather’s story was called Graveyard Shift and was published in The Wickeds: A Wicked Women Writers Anthology (Volume 1). Heather is a writer of science-fiction, horror, and fantasy and has a BA in English from the University of Idaho. Recently she released a new book called Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome.
Our 2010 winner was Rhonda Carpenter. The theme was seven Deadly Sins and Rhonda’s story called Barring Lilith. The Sin in question was lust and gets into what it is like if you are married to the demon of lust Asmodius. Rhonda is the author of the book Mark Of The Druid and was co-host of the podcast Podioracket.
The winner in 2011 was Laurel Anne Hill for her story Flight Of Destiny. Her story stirs steampunk, infidelity, jealously, and a radioactive poison into a delicious hot-pot of horror. Laurel Anne Hill has been published in several anthologies including How Beer Saved the World. She also has a novel available called Heroes Arise
In 2012 Killion Slade won the Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge. Killion was assigned a holiday: Passover, a location: A Seashore and an object: A Garden Rake, she submitted Children of Angels. Killion Slade is a loyal reader of dystopian urban fantasy and has written two books in the World Of Blood series: Exsanguinate and Obfuscate
2013’s winner was Maggie Fiske. In her story called A Quarrel for Jimmy Kills Crow, the theme was the apocalypse and she had to write about solar flares while hunting in the mountains with a crossbow. Maggie had a lot of fun doing the sound effects for her story and made it sound like a professional radio play. Maggie has also written a novella called The Last Man to Die in the Nebraska Electric Chair.
DM Slate won 2014’s contest with her story Photo Finish . Her challenge items were a Dragon, Japanese Night Club, Hairspray and Hallucinations. D.M resides in Colorado and has a business degree from the University Of Northern Colorado. She writes Horror, comedy and mystery. One of her novels is Roots Of Deceit.
2015’s contest got a lot more difficult with each contestant having to do an audio production with more than one voice involved. Jaq Hawkins won with her story The Sun Child. Jaq is a British author in the genres of Steampunk, Fantasy and the occult. She wrote The Goblin Series along with several other books on magic.
2011 was the first year that horroraddicts.net hosted the Masters Of Macabre challenge and the first winner was Shaunessy Ashdown for his story Spectrophobia. Shaunessy is a fan of the Wicked Women Writers Challenge and was happy that he had a chance to compete in a challenge for the men and when he won he compared it to being kissed by Elvira. Shaunessy is an editor for a German school book publisher.
Philip Carroll won in 2012 , the theme was curses and Phillip’s story was The Curse Of The Lottery. Phillip likes to write urban fantasy but took a trip to the darkside with this one. Phillip is an Army trained Certified Orthotist and a master storyteller that has worked on several podcasts. He is also author of the book Flypaper Boy.
The theme for 2013 was haunted houses. Rick Kitagawa included a double wide mobile home and a black and white television for his story Uncle Neal’s House and won the challenge. Rick is a San Francisco-based fine art painter, illustrator, and storyteller who creates paintings, short stories, and illustrations in the horror genre.
2014’s winner was Solomon Archer for his story Surface Tension. The Theme was creature feature and Soloman’s story included New York City, a teddy bear and an Oceanic trench. Solomon is a criminal psychologist by day and writer by night. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies and he is the writer of PsyKu.
In 2015 Rish Outfield won for his story Miss Fortune. Rish is a writer and a podcaster whose main goal is to scare their children into behaving, into going to sleep, or keeping their mouths shut about what they saw take place in the woodshed.
Who’s Afraid of Edwin Pool?
A short story by Michele Roger
“Hello?,” groaned Molly, reluctantly picking up her cell after the fourth ring. She was awake in the sense that a phone to her ear elicited a groggy greeting; but not much more.
“They caught him! I mean, well,” Jasmine was stumbling over her words with excitement. Molly looked at the clock. Eleven-thirty suggested her excitement probably involved a night spent with Prince Vodka. “He’s dead! Your stalker guy. I just saw it on the eleven o’clock news. They just identified him. He tried robbing a liquor store down on Mac Ave. He went from holding the night manager at gun point to pointing the gun at police when they answered the silent alarm. Molly, they shot him!”
Molly sat up trying to wake herself from an exhaustion-induced sleep. Had she heard that right? After two years of changing her phone number, taking short apartment leases, moving every six months and three personal protection orders, could it really be all over? In her sleepy confused state, she looked for the remote to turn on the news. A moment of clarity came as she looked around at her most recent apartment, stacked from floor to ceiling with fresh packing boxes newly delivered by the movers.
“That’s great news, J,” replied Molly.
“What’s wrong with you? That creep ruined your life. You should be celebrating! As a matter of fact, I’m bringing over a bottle of champagne right now.”
“Hold on, hold on,” Molly struggled. “I really appreciate it J, but the movers arrived today and I’m spent.” In actuality, she needed to think. There was no instant relief, no overwhelming sensation of a weight being lifted. Was he really dead? Somehow, this moment wasn’t turning out how she had dreamed it. Something in her voice was pleading and Jasmine recognized the sound of insomnia and fatigue.
“Fine,” Jasmine growled. “But I’m dragging you out for drinks tomorrow. No excuses. We are going to dig through your boxes until we find your hottest outfit. And then you and me are hitting the town to enjoy your new-found freedom!”
“How about dinner at The Bay, instead?” Molly countered. She hadn’t been out without some form of security or a heart pounding sense of fear in two years. Dinner with her best friend sounded like a much more feasible first step towards enjoying her liberation.
“You know you’re the most boring musician on the planet, right?”
“And for your relentless patience and willingness to show your face in public with me, I will let you engrave that on my tomb stone. It will read, ‘Molly Brennan, the world’s most boring musician.’ How does that sound?”
“Prince Charming never kissed a sleeping princess, you know. How can Mr. Right find you unless you’re out there calling for him from some high tower, or beating him in an archery contest? How are you ever going to have a love life eating at The Bay and wearing your faded jeans?” Jasmine asked, hoping to break Molly in her half asleep state of mind.
“I will read Sleeping Beauty to you at dinner. See you then.” Molly hung up. She walked to the box-filled kitchen and looked for anything labelled ‘cups’. No luck. Her tv, radio and lap top were also still somewhere in the post-move heap. Making her way to the bathroom, she stuck her head under the sink and drank. Then, she crawled back into bed and clicked on her phone’s news app. She read the words for herself, “Local man suspected of several stalkings of Metro-area musicians shot dead in altercation with police tonight at a Mac Ave liquor store. Edwin Pool was pronounced dead at Detroit Medical Center…” The article continued but Molly read and re-read the same five words over and over again. “Edwin Pool was pronounced dead.” Dead! She started to laugh and to cry all at the same time and immediately fell into a worry-free sleep that she had not felt in two years.
Molly woke late the next day. She stumbled into the kitchen and prayed to find the coffee maker easily. As she rifled through boxes, opening them by peeling off the tape, rummaging through haphazardly and moving on to the next. By the time she had reached box six, she decided it would be far more productive to just call for delivery. Was there delivery coffee like there was delivery pizza? There must be, she assured herself in a sleepy fog. Molly plopped back on her bed and reached under the pillows to find her phone. It wasn’t there. She flipped over the empty laundry basket working as a makeshift nightstand but nothing. It wasn’t under the bed.
Beginning her search in less likely places, she went into the bathroom. It wasn’t on the counter or in the medicine cabinet. She scanned the hall. Maybe she had dropped it? No sign of the phone. Moving on to the ridiculous, she looked for it in the refrigerator, next she opened each of the kitchen cupboards. Nothing. With a desperate need for coffee and connection to the outside world, she threw cushions off the couch, opens both doors of the washer and dryer and peek in the garbage can. Nothing. Molly sat on a box and replayed the night in her head. A faint knocking sound broke the ticker tape of unlikely spots yet to check. Molly went to the front door. When she opened it, no one was there. Dear God, she thought, I’m loosing it. She laughed out loud. As she stood in the silent apartment, surrounded by stacks of boxes, Molly retraced her steps from the night before. Jasmine had called, she had looked up the news report on her phone. Edwin Pool was confirmed dead. With that thought, a small trace of fear that she couldn’t explain ran down her spine. He’s gone. For good. She had to reassure herself.
The faint knocking started up again. This time, Molly walked slowly, listening to each rap before taking steps to locate its source. Rap, rap, rap. The sound was dulled and yet slightly metallic. Rap, rap, rap. She walked through the kitchen and into the small, box-laden dining room. She waited and listened. Rap, rap, rap. It wasn’t in the living room. She stepped into the hall. Her heart pounded harder and it made a ringing in her ears. Rap, rap, rap. She followed the knocking to the bathroom. Quickly, she threw the switch for the light and held her breath. Everything was normal and empty, just as it had been when she walked through it with the landlord. Her eyes searched every corner, she peeked behind the door. No sound. No mice. Nothing out of the ordinary. She stared at herself in the mirror, searching for visible signs of mental breakdown. The lines around her eyes looked a little deeper. Was her hair a little thinner? She leaned over the sink, closer to the mirror to look in her eyes and the knocking came again. She jumped back, wide eyed. With each rap, the mirror moved ever so slightly, making her reflection minutely blurred for a split second. She went to reach her hand out to touch the mirror when a huge thud made her jump. The sound of Jasmine’s voice immediately followed.
“Molly? Molly are you ok?” Jasmine called out. Without a word, Molly ran through the kitchen and to the front door and wrapped her arms around her puzzled best friend. “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you all morning. Your phone just rings and rings. Did you forget to set up your voicemail for this new number?” She pushed Molly off, detaching herself from her intense strong hold. “Here,” Jasmine handed Molly a paper cup. “I figured you could use a cup, in the event you didn’t find the coffee maker.” Molly stood silently, watching her friend flit like a hummingbird from one thing to the next. “I also got cleaning supplies, a new playlist on my iPod to inspire happy organization and, of course ‘Vogue’, ‘Cosmo’ and to humor you, ‘The New Yorker’.” When she took a breath, Jasmine stood slowly and stared at Molly. Her demeanor changed instantly as she looked at her friend standing stiff and pale. “Oh God, what is it?”
Molly opened her mouth and instead of hearing a voice of reason and logic, she heard herself begin to cry. Her hands began to shake. “I can’t find my phone and I swear I left it on the nightstand after I talked to you last night. And then,” Molly grabbed Jasmine’s hand and the two ran into the bathroom. “Listen,” Molly whispered.
The two women stood silently in the bathroom. Molly stood intently before the mirror, her eyes wide with anticipation. Jasmine, bewildered whispered, “What are we listening for?”
“There’s a knocking sound coming from my mirror.”
Jasmine dropped Molly’s hand. Her normal, indoor tone of voice returned. “What the hell are you talking about? It’s probably the thin walls and the neighbors having sex.”
The neighbors aren’t behind my bathroom wall, my bedroom is,” Molly replied, looking more terrified than ever.
Jasmine snorted. “Well we all know nothing ever happens in your bedroom. It’s gotta be your pipes. Come on, let’s drink some coffee and look for your best Girls Night Out dress. You clearly need a night out.”
“Seriously?” Molly asked incredulously.
“Mol, I love you but look, you’ve been on edge for a long time. Rightfully so, in my opinion. You’ve had a whack job following your every move and it’s enough to make everyone a little paranoid. Your phone is somewhere in all of those boxed chaos known as moving. Your pipes shake when too many tenants take late Saturday morning showers. In a week you’ll be talking to me on your phone laughing about the whole thing. Now come on.” The two drank their coffee while sitting on boxes and staring at the enormity of the job ahead of them.
Jasmine laughed. “Most people unpack their kitchen first. Not my Mol. She unpacks big Bertha and the sheet music. Who needs necessities as long as there is beautiful music.” She waived her hand in the air for added effect.
Molly scowled. “My harp isn’t Bertha. Don’t call her that. You’ll hurt her feelings. Her name is Bellissima. It means ‘most beautiful’ in Italian. For short, I’ve been calling her Bells.”
“Yeah, because naming one musical instrument after a completely different musical instrument isn’t weird or anything.”
“You’ve never liked Bells.”
“I don’t like anything that is even remotely attached to you know who.”
“I know,” Molly said quietly. “It’s not her fault though. Edwin Poll was just the delivery guy. Who knew he used his job in order to meet and stalk women?” The two were quiet, staring at the large floor harp. The sun streamed in from the window, reflecting off its guilder gold column.
Jasmine broke the silence first, saying what they both were thinking. “I’m glad he’s dead.”
“Me too.” The moment was awkward. Molly pushed a box up to the harp and started to play. A huge smile spread across Jasmine’s face. She tried to figure out the song as Molly’s fingers floated over the strings.
“Let me guess,” Jasmine smirked, “Handel? No, uh Rockmoni-something.” They were the only two classical composers she could remember from the program from Molly’s last concert.
Molly giggled, “You Are My Sunshine.” Jasmine burst on laughing. Molly’s giggles turned to a screech as the thick, lower octave string suddenly broke and caught her in the face. The wire breaking under such tension recoiled and cut Molly across the face, just under her eye. She cupped her face and went to the bathroom. Jasmine followed.
“And you wonder why I don’t like her?” Jasmin spat.
“Strings break. Call it a job hazard.”
“They cut you in the face?”
“Well no, that’s never happened, I admit.”
A sick sounding melody, much like that from a broken, worn down music box came lilting from the living room. The two peered around the corner to hear the sick sounding music and watched as each string vibrated and unravelled, breaking one by one. With each pop of the string, the two jumped. Molly began to hyperventilate but Jasmine held her ground.
“I’m calling Jack at the studio and telling him to pick up the harp and repair it there. You and I are going to find the antiseptic, clean you up and unpack this mess. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
In four hours, the two friends had managed to unpack nearly the entire apartment. They had a system down to a science thanks to Molly moving so many times. With nearly everything sorted and put away, they headed into Molly’s room to decide on the outfit for the night. Molly flopped on the bed! in a passive aggressive protest. Jasmine ignored her and slid hanger after hanger from the left to the right. With each swipe of the hanger she passed judgement, “boring, outdated, your mom bought it, boring, boring. God Molly, do you own any evening wear that isn’t black? Go crazy, try green or blue for a change.”
“Orchestra requirement. Besides, what’s wrong with black?”
Before she could answer, Jasmine swiped a dress on its hanger only half way and smiled at the possibility. “Firstly, how about this one? Secondly, how have I never seen this before and stolen it from you? This dress is fabulous.”
Silver and sequined, the dress sparkled making tiny rainbows on Molly’s ceiling. “That’s not mine. I would never, in a million years wear that,” Molly argued. Jasmine started to protest but Molly insisted. “Seriously, that isn’t mine. I wonder if the movers gave me an extra box by mistake.”
“All the rest of your clothes are here. I don’t see anything else that I don’t recognize.” She swiped the clothes again, this time in the opposite direction and much faster. “Weird. All yours but this dress. Sure you don’t want to wear it tonight?”
“More than sure,” Molly insisted.
Jasmine hung the dress back up on a hanger and proceeded her inspection of black dresses. The silver dress fell off its hanger and Jasmine picked it up and put it back on the hanger reflexively. Then, she started again looking through the close. The dress fell off its hanger again. This time, falling outside the closet. Molly sat up and watched as Jasmine replaced it on its hanger again. As Jasmine began to pull out a sleek black semi-formal, the window flew open opposite the closet, letting the wind blow through. Wind swept abruptly through the bedroom and the silver dress was caught up in the air currents and landed in a wad up on Molly’s bed.
The two women stared. Jasmine smoothed out the dress on the bed and saw there was still a tag. She turned over the tag and there, spelled out on the Manila cardboard of the tag was the note written in bold red letters, “To Molly, Love E.”
Furiously, Molly crumpled up the dress and threw it in the trash can in the kitchen. Jasmine was speechless. “When was he ever in your closet? You never told me he sent you clothes. Why would you save that dress if it was from him?”
Molly leaned up against the kitchen counter, her head pounding as she tried to find a logical explanation. “I didn’t save it, J. Today is the first time I’ve ever seen that dress.” She began to cry. “I’m never going to be rid of him.” Jasmine sat next to Molly, rubbing her back. She was beginning to feel strange in the apartment. She didn’t want to leave Molly alone.
“Its been a long day of hard work. How about we order a pizza and have a slumber party? I will look for your phone one more time. Half the fun of a friend who moves all the time is discovering the best pizza place that delivers.”
As Jasmine looked for the phone, Molly stared at the dress in the trash can. She listened for the knocking on the mirror. Had she dreamed it all? She rubbed the cut on her cheek. What logical explanation was there?
“Found it!” Jasmine hollered from the kitchen. “Woo hoo! You left it on the stove. God knows you can’t cook so who knows why it would be there,” she teased. She handed Molly the cell phone. “It says you have one recent photo. Open it, let’s see what pictures you take while sleep walking!”
Molly stared intently at the photo she had opened. Jasmine could have been saying any number of things, but Molly heard none of it. She stared for several very long minutes trying to find a logical explanation. Finally, she slid her thumb over the phone screen. Molly opened her mouth and her voice cracked when she spoke. “The time stamp on this picture is from twelve thirty last night.”
“Hey, you look pretty good, all sleeping and gorgeous. It’s actually a great picture of you. Maybe you could use it on your next album cover or something,” Jasmine smiled. The irony was lost on her.
Molly made the situation clear. ” J, this picture was taken at twelve thirty last night. While. I. Was. Sleeping.”
“So, J, I live alone. I sleep alone, as you so gently reminded me today. Who the hell took this picture?”
by Michele Roger
“I wasn’t afraid of death. If I died, it would be over. My worst fear wasn’t of dying, it was of living. Living, while everyone around me had their flesh savagely torn from their bodies to be shoved into the festering and ever-hungry mouths of zombies. It terrified me, right down to my very core, to be alive while the rest of the world was dead.”
In the midst of the Second Great Depression, twenty-five year old Orissa Penwell doesn’t think things can get any worse. She couldn’t be more wrong. A virus breaks out across the country, leaving the infected crazed, aggressive and very hungry.
Orissa will do anything-no matter if it’s right or wrong- to save the ones she loves. But when she discovers that most of the world is infected or dead, she must decided if those lives are worth saving at all.
In her narrative story telling, Emily Goodwin presents a refreshingly strong female hero in her zombie-infested, survival tale, “Contagious“. Orissa, the lead character is one part hard-drinking, drug looking party girl but one hundred percent butt kicking strategist and survivalist. Upon reading it, I likened Orissa to Ellen Ripley in Alien.
Through Orissa, Goodwin thrusts the reader into new literary territory. While Ripley grappled with her softer maternal instincts, Orissa juggles her command and leadership role against a sharp personal contrasting desire. While saving trapped hospital patients during a zombie plague, her heart wishes to be rescued by the handsome, Irish doctor, Padraic.
A corner-stone to a great zombie story is the element of gore and Goodwin delivers in spades. From intestine chomping little girls found feasting on the newly dead in the hospital basement to lead pipes through zombie skull death blows at the grocery store, there is plenty for the reader to, errr, feast upon. While the male characters do their fair share of “fending off the monsters”, it is the focus on blue jeans and leather jacket clad Orissa and her lead pipe weapon of choice that shines.
Contagious is fast-paced, smart and well written. It’s above-board appeal is its fresh perspective and its gritty narrative. Goodwin has shown that female writers can make flesh crawl, both living and undead just as well as her male peers.
Vampires are becoming reckless and not adapting to new technology. Humans are starting to learn of their existence by catching proof of them with cell phone video and spotting them on security cameras. Some vampires are so afraid of being caught on camera that they are starving themselves and going insane. The vampire council has to do something to keep the vampires hidden from humans and the answer lies in a game of chess.
Back in ancient Rome, humans discovered the existence of vampires because vampires fed on humans out in the open. Humans started hunting vampires to the point of extinction. It was decided that a game of chess would be played in the Roman Colosseum with living pieces. Humans versus vampires, when a piece is taken on either side, a human or vampire gets killed. The winning side got to decide what would be best for humans or vampires. The vampire side won, so the humans stopped hunting them and vampires went back into hiding.
Flash forward to the present day as the same problem is starting . The Vampires decide to have a life or death chess match in an abandoned warehouse in Detroit. If a vampire dies in the game he is killed with solar-powered weapons and if a human is killed he is slaughtered and drank dry by vampires in a dungeon below the life-size chess board. The winning side gets to decide the fate of all vampires.
Eternal Kingdom by Michele Roger is a simple concept with a complex story. There are several vampires and humans involved in the chess match and they all have their own agenda. Some are in the game for vengeance, some for fun, others for love and a few were forced in and just want to survive. The only bad thing about this book is that there was almost to many characters with complex stories. The main story in Eternal Kingdom is excellent but every character has a back story and I wish the book was longer to give more time to each one.
My favorite characters on the human side were Robby and Rose. Robby is a soccer player who had an accident and has found his world turned upside down as he tries to rebuild and Rose is a nurse with terminal cancer who has a lot to gain from a chess match. Both of these characters change throughout the story and they are the most sympathetic in Eternal Kingdom. On the vampire side I liked Ruth and Micah. Both characters come across as evil like you want vampires to be but Micah has issues letting his human side go and it makes him an interesting character.
As a fan of vampire fiction, Eternal Kingdom is the kind of book that screams buy me. This book is part horror with some gruesome death scenes and part urban fantasy with vampires and humans going at each other gladiator style as part of a chess match. I liked the description of the weapons used in battle and the vampires below the arena wanting a taste of blood. People into playing chess will also like this book, I’ve never read a story where a game of chess was showcased and It made me want to learn how to play. Michele Roger has done a good job of creating some great characters in this book and I hope she writes a sequel so I can see more of them.
Review by by Michele Roger
In The Remnant: Into The Collision, P. A. Douglas takes us on thrill ride in an end of days epic tale that reads quickly and plays out like a video game. The story’s main character, Byron is part heart-broken divorcee, part protective father and all vigilantly. As meteors hurtle through space, heading straight for the obliteration of the earth, all of society crumbles.
Media and information collapse with the broadcasted suicide of the last news anchor standing. Corpses line the otherwise vacant streets of his city. Night time brings teenagers with guns, vandalism, robbery and murder. Primal instincts surge up in Byron as he worries for his daughter.
When home is no longer a refuge, Byron heads to his hometown scuba gear factory with its high security system and code protected gate. Byron chooses to survive the apocalypse and the factory seems a formidable strong hold. A small group of ragtag, would-be survivors join him. Unfortunately, Byron soon discovers what from a distance can appear a refuge, can intimately become a personal prison; a hell on earth.
As the deadly meteors penetrate earth’s atmosphere, the planet’s oxygen supply begins to deplete. The factory, with its hundreds of spare oxygen tanks suddenly becomes the only means of possible survival. The characters resort to a dog-eat-dog mentality.
Armed to the teeth with guns, thanks to the small group’s hometown drug dealer, survivors begin to turn on fellow survivors. The military adds to the chaos and approaches the factory in the hopes of stealing vast oxygen supply.
The pages turn as the corpses line the factory floor. Which will last longer, the bullets in the magazine or the last of the oxygen trapped inside the scuba gear factory? Witness the end of days through Byron’s eyes as he fights to stay alive. Will he be earth’s last remnant?
I think P. A. Douglas has introduced us to a part of humanity we might be too afraid to face as a society. He is convincing in his argument that not all of us, in fact, very few of us are innately good when facing the last few days or hours of our time on earth. “Remnant” has the emotional pull of the apocalyptic novel, “The Road” infused with the speed and energy of the film “Mad Max.”
Michele Roger is a Detroit native and a published horror author. Her recent novels include, “The Conservatory” as well as her latest release, “Eternal Kingdom: A Vampire Story.” You can find both for sale through STFU publishing, biblio.com and amazon.com. When Michele isn’t writing, she is a harpist and composer.
Why hello, hello Horror Addicts…are you ready to find out who will be turning your future holiday cheer into holiday nightmares this year? This year’s “Holiday Take Over” contest was kick started by last year’s crowned WWW Laurel Anne Hill. Now then shut off the lights, slide to the edge of your seat and meet The Wicked Women Writers of 2012!
Jaki Idler lives outside Philadelphia where she writes, teaches and raises two beautiful boys.
Jaki Idler is an award winning director and educator. She lives outside Philadelphia with her partner of over fifteen years and their two young sons. Her flash piece “Prenup” was Earthbound Fiction’s Earthbounder of the Month Feb 2012, and she has an upcoming story “Pawn” on Pseudopod. You can follow her writing exploits at idletruths.blogspot.com, facebook.com/Jaki.Idler, or on twitter @jaki_idler.
Jenna M. Pitman is a 20-something year old from the Pacific Northwest where she attends many science fiction/fantasy/horror conventions as a panelist and guest. She has written for a variety of publications and anthologies. Most of these are currently available on Amazon others can be found elsewhere. Recently she took on the responsibility of editing the Iron Maidens charity anthologies.
She has a wonderful dog with horrible tendons named Fenris, a Great Dane named Remus, a cat dubbed Whymer Cathulhu, and the paragon of kitty-ish virtue Zillah. Her house is more than a little hairy.
Michele Roger is author of novels “Dark Matter” and “The Conservatory.” Some of her short stories are published in anthologies as well as in podcasts on iTunes. When she isn’t writing she is performing as a harpist in the Detroit area. You can find her atwww.micheleroger.com.
Killion Slade is normally a wife and husband author team, but for the WWW Challenge, Mrs. Slade holds the reins. Killion primarily focuses in the horror genre, preferring the darker side of humor to guts & gore.
Current Publishing: The Danse Macbre featured Robbie the Ghoulie in Feb 2012
Current Project: A paranormal thriller trilogy series, where a gaming software developer must play wicked clues inside her own online role playing game to rescue her kidnapped sisters before they become breeders for the Dhampir army.
Rebecca Snow lives in Virginia with a small circus of felines. Her short fiction has been published in a number of small press anthologies and online. You can find her lurking at cemeteryflower.blog.com and on Twitter @cemeteryflower.
A receptionist by day and a gothgirl in mind by night. Jeri has been writing horror since childhood. It was in 2008 that she began podcasting her novel Inner Demons and she’s been hooked since. Plans are being made to publish the novel in e-book form as well as podcast the prequel Inner Demons: Turmoil. She can be found at http://www.jeriunselt.com.
Maria Violante is the author of the De la Roca Chronicles, a fantasy trilogy of novellas and novels, and the Shiver Shorts line of horror stories. When not writing, she reviews indie authors on her website, www.mariaviolante.com. Her next major project? Tackling life and a writing career on a semi-truck – wish her luck!
All in all, it was wildly successful. The parking was full, the local bars and taverns benefited as Horror Con patrons slipped from the warmth of the Masonic Temple to that of the pub just a few doors down; dodging the cold, half frozen rain as evening turned to night. It is the sincere hope of this horror writer and Michigan native that the folks at the Horror Con keep up the good work and keep the creative ideas coming. They are on to something uniquely Michigan…..and that’s a very good thing.
Hello, Horror Addicts and welcome back to another installment of 13 Questions. This week’s author is Michele Roger. “She is the creator of the Wicked Women Writer’s group on emzbox.ning.com.” This is Michele’s second time on Horror Addicts. “Emz was very gracious when I first started writing short stories and podcasting. She gave me feedback and hosted my first story, “Taste of the Dead” the first year I started out.”
“Wicked Women’s Writing Group was a group I created because it seemed as if the genre for sci fi and horror was dominated by men. To my suprise there are a boat load of talented women who write horror and have joined. Its a place to network and help one another. Admittedly, I’ve not been working with the group due to fighting some legal battles (writing is intellectual property I discovered). But the group has really taken off and I hope it will be a hub for new talent as well as established writers.”
For Horror Addicts episode 43: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Roger has written a story called Hyde. “It’s meant to be a play on sound like a homonym. It’s a post apocalypse story about the entity of Death. He has evolved along with humanity after surviving WWIII and all of its fall out. He is the reason for a new plague spreading throughout the city of Detroit. Victims are found often screaming “Hide”(Hyde). A famous doctor, Jake Hayle is said to have the cure and that’s where our heroine comes in to seek him out to help her lover who has fallen victim to the sickness.”
Here’s a little sneak-peek into Hyde:
“The average person might think that the sight of the inflicted is what one first notices. But in all actuality, it’s the smell. Since the Third War, heightened senses and the ability to see both real and dark
matter are not the only evolutionary leaps humanity has made. Those victimized by the Madness can survive even though their hearts have literally been torn from their chests by those they love most. The body clings to its genetic past and begins to rot but only up to a point. That’s where the evolutionary leap comes in.
There is a young woman sitting at the pie counter. She’s wearing a black mini skirt and fishnets like most college age girls at Wayne State university wear. Her hair is fashionably tied back in a loose pony tail. She is or rather ‘was’ a beautiful twenty something with the world by the tail. Tonight, the corners of her mouth show the signs of the Madness setting in. The outline of her lips and corners of her mouth have begun to turn black. Her tear ducts are grey and the color is creeping to the lids of her otherwise, sparkling blue eyes. I walk in and sit down next to her, accidentally letting my oversized hand bag bump her. That’s when the seeping starts. Just above the third button hole in her white cotton shirt is the black inky liquid that was once her blood. It soaks a 3 inch diameter spot like breast milk from a new mother. In my haste, I grab nearly half the contents of the chrome napkin holder and hold them to her chest. The slight movement of my hand just above her breast reveals the gaping hole where her heart once beat. All that remains is its empty socket.
“I’m new,” she explains apologetically. “They tell me that my body just hasn’t learned to stop sending my blood back to my heart?.or where I once had a heart.?
I choke back tears as I try to hide the depth of my sympathy and admiration for her. She refuses to give up, dressed in the latest styles, searching for the doctor who might give her the humanity back that she once knew.
“Do you remember anything?”
“One minute I was walking from the bar on Anthony Wayne back to our apartment and the next thing I knew I was in the side alley.”
“Do you remember anything of the attack?”
“It was a man, I remember that much. At least he had the face of a man. He was wearing some kind of long dark coat and a red scarf. Not a winter scarf though, it was more like a silk one, something out of the Victorian era. I saw the flicker of the blade of the knife and started running. Then it comes back to me in flashes. There is the sound of my feet in the puddles as I headed back to the closest street light. Then, the sense of falling overcomes me and I am surprised to land on the top of a garbage can. I tried to get up but his giant hand held me fast down over the can. At
this point, I was sure he was about to rape me. His other hand reached into my blouse. And then,,” the girl chokes a bit and black tears pour down her thin, onion skin like face.
“And then the pain like I’ve never felt before.”
She looks at me and yet she looks past me as she relieves the scenes in her head. Her eyes meet mine again.
“The days that followed, it was clear that I had it. I lived without a heart. And with it, all of the misery that comes with it. I can’t feel anymore. I don’t care for anyone. I struggle just to care enough about myself to keep on living. But each day, I wither away. Everyone I’ve ever loved has given up and I don’t care. My last hope is Dr. Jake Hayle. I need him to cure me if I’m ever going to get my life back.””
I was curious as to how Roger got into horror and became an Horror Addict. “I’ve been a Horror Addict since the time I could read. My mother hated that I read horror. She would buy me teen romance novels. So I didn’t keep hurting her feelings, I cut the covers off of the romance novels and glued them onto my Stephen King, Andrews, Rice and Koontz novels. That solution made us both happy. When I moved out to go to college she discovered my deception and just gave up on me. She likes my writing though now that I’m an adult.”
Michele’s novel, “Dark Matter is her first full length novel. It’s recently been published as a book as well as in digital format for the Kindle. It’s still and always will be a free podcast as well. Dark Matter is the story of a woman who finds herself one of the undead in the world that we as humans cannot see….the world made of anti-matter or rather by its popular name in science, Dark Matter. She gets thrown into the mix with a vampire and a dead librarian in a last ditch effort to save the world from its final end and in the mean time discovers she has a lot more to offer the world than just music lessons. Its cosmology, its sci fi, its horror and its a bit of romance and erotica (sic).”
She is a music teacher who enjoys playing the harp. “Before I was a teacher, I was a parent. I used to make up stories to tell my son when he was in the hospital with asthma problems. Thinking up the plots kept me awake and helped take his mind off of everything that was going on around him.”
“My harp’s name is Aiden. He has a soul all his own. I’m not sure if I was a harpist in another life, but I know Aiden has lived many lifetimes. I’m just a vessel for the stories he has to tell.”
Roger believes that, “[m]usic and writing are completely different avenues and outlets for what’s going on in my life. One does not influence the other. They CAN work together though. I’ve written and recorded some of my won music for my latest work, “The Conservatory”. In Conservatory, the main character is a music teacher who takes a job at a private music school infested, unbenounced (sic) to her with monsters who feed on flesh and are controlled by the headmaster with an evil plan to make the school famous as well as rich. The setting is based on the real haunted school experiences of the Oakland Community College, Highland Lakes campus, not far from where I live.”
When asked which she enjoys more, music or writing, she replied, “They both have a place in my heart. I like writing because I can hide away somewhere and get lost in my own world where I am in complete solitude. I like music because I get lost in the energy of my audience as I play. In both aspects really, I like the exchange of sharing my world whether it be made of notes or words and in return knowing that I’ve taken at least one other person away from the mundane, even if its just for a little while.”
Not only does she write horror stories, but Michele also has a published children’s book titled Winter Solstice and the 1,000 Pancakes. “[It’s] a children’s book that I wrote and illustrated myself. It’s based on a true story of a winter solstice night where people from all kinds of walks of life and religions got stuck in a bad Michigan snow storm and headed to the only light they could see…my old farm house. Everyone who came had different food, different beliefs and it was the best “Christmas” my family and I ever had. The story is told from my dog, Lulu’s perspective so the creative side of this book is that all the illustrations were done from her perspective…meaning I walked on my knees for weeks to get the right angles!”
I wanted to know what differences did Michele notice in writing a children’s book compared to your novel Dark Matter? She told me that, “[w]riting children’s books is way more stressful. You’d think it would be easy but one must think of every word and how it relates to picture without being complicated. With a novel like Dark Matter, I could wear a bunch of different hats, become the characters, write from their perspective and never have to worry about offending anyone. It was great.”
Look forward to Michele’s current projects: “I’m presently finishing The Conservatory for my editoring the hopes that it will come out in print for Halloween. I’m trying to finish a music CD as well over this summer (one I started writing and recording nearly a year ago). Then, in the fall, after the CD and new book are released, I’d like to finish to write a sci fi play called “Portrait” that combines high tech, digital props with a series of inter-connected short stories. There isn’t much live theatre that has horror or sci fi for its audiences. I’d like to change that…and of course, score the music for it while I’m at it.”
For more information on Michele Roger please visit these websites: