Merrill’s Musical Musings : Ro’s Recs June 2020

June is the month we typically celebrate our LGBTQ community, Juneteenth, Father’s Day, Graduations, and the Summer Equinox. This year it’s been a time of reckoning in our nation. This month I want to spotlight Black artists that I love, as well as explore some I haven’t listened to before. As a result, this edition of Ro’s Recs is going to take a deep dive into some incredible offerings by Black artists. It’s important to remember that all of our popular music is influenced by Black music. Without Gospel, Soul and the Blues we would have no rock’n’roll, no hip-hop, and no pop music. So sit back, relax and enjoy some recs to start your summer…

Okay, maybe don’t relax, as this first one will scare the pants off you. As a special treat to my fellow HorrorAddicts, I HAVE to start out with this frenetically creepy band called…get ready…HO99O9. Yes, they are literally called Horror and they have created a blend of punk, electronic, hip-hop and metal with imagery that will make all you HorrorAddicts drool! Check out Street Power:

Their song “Plexiglass” is eerie goose-bumpery that you will love as well. I desperately wanted to go on Slipknot’s Knotfest cruise this summer and getting to see this band would have been EPIC. Alas, there’s no traveling in my near future. Sigh. 

Another artist I’ve recently discovered is Danny Denial from Seattle. His voice has a smooth quality to it that adds weight to his atmospheric indie-rock sound. “Am I Cool Enough For Your Love” and “I’m Not Your Type” are standout tracks. I found Danny Denial after reading this article. Check it out for more recommendations. 

One of my all-time favorite metal bands is Sevendust. Lead singer Lajon Witherspoon has one of the most incredible voices in rock and the band has created a solid sound over the years that is instantly recognizable and groove-worthy. Here’s one of my favorites. 

And I can’t leave Nonpoint off this list. Elias Soriano is an incredible vocalist and frontman and the band’s music has kept me company and inspired me through both good times and bad.

They are high on my bucket list to see in concert as every time I’ve had the opportunity, there’s been a cancellation or I’ve been sick. Someday! 

While watching footage from the recent #BlackLivesMatter protests, I heard a speech from a man called Killer Mike. I was moved by his words so I looked him up. I discovered that he was part of the group Run The Jewels, who were touring with a favorite, Rage Against The Machine, this year. I actually had tickets to see them and had planned to check them out before the world caught on fire back in March. They quickly became one of my repeat-plays on Spotify. I HIGHLY recommend your listen to all of RTJ 3 and RTJ 4 from start to finish!  This video has some cool imagery HorrorAddicts will appreciate. 

There are so many contemporary Black artists that should be on your must-listen list and I could go on forever. Perhaps I’ll have to post a follow-up to this list! In the meantime, remember…one of the most important ways we can support artists is by buying merch, streaming their music, and recommending them to friends. If there are other Black musicians you think I should check out, let me know ESPECIALLY if they are rock ‘n’rollers or have a horror influence! I’m here for it! Post a comment or hit me up at www.facebook.com/rlmerrillauthor and Stay Tuned for more Merrill’s Musings and Ro’s Recs! 

 

 

Merrill’s Musical Musings : Ro’s Recs May 2020

“There’s nothing on TV. I’ve got nothing to read. All the good snacks are gone. I’m BORED.”

Raise your hand if you’ve heard any of those sentiments during this stay-at-home time. Thankfully, my kids know better for the most part because I will either shove a book in their faces or give them chores to do. 

One of the things that have kept me sane while locked down is music, as usual. I’ve been having so much fun with the musicians that are putting themselves out there on social media with new projects, quarantine videos, and special interaction opportunities. On Instagram, I have notifications set up for artists like Tyler Glenn from the band Neon Trees (@tylerinacoma), and Franky Perez (@frankyperezofficial) who has performed with all kinds of folks including the symphonic metal band from Finland, Apocalyptica.

 Both of these artists frequently do acoustic performances on Instagram/IGTV that are tasty morsels. They keep me going when I need a pick me up.

Recording from home when your band is not with you can be a challenge, but several artists have done a great job. The first video I saw that really touched me was twenty-one pilots who put out a new song and video called “Level of Concern.”

 

While they’re not my usual level of heavy for music, I do admire them and I thought this was a super creative way to get around quarantine separation. Twelve Foot Ninja, a metal fusion band from Australia—they are brilliant and have a horror fan’s sense of humor for sure—and they took on the classic Stuck With You by Huey Lewis and the News

Stevic McKay did a Zoom interview with Huey Lewis too where they talked about their cover of the song and Huey was such a sweetheart

 

 I highly recommend you give both the video and the interview a watch, especially if you’re a fan of the film American Psycho. Papa Roach—yes they are still around and continue to put out phenomenal music—embraced the insanity of lockdown with kids and recorded this fantastic video for their latest hit “Feel Like Home”

 But the clincher came for Mother’s Day…Ice Nine Kills—the horror fanatics I have absolutely fallen in love with over the past year—did a parody cover of Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” called “Jason’s Mom” and, well, you have to watch. Best Mother’s Day Gift!

Musicians have also taken to new platforms to engage with their fans. Twitch and Discord, which are usually populated by gamers, have become a place for musicians to stream the creation of new music as well as a place to meet up with other musicians and tell stories from days on the road, etc. Matt Heafy from Trivium, Brandon Saller from Atreyu, Shim Moore, and Rob Ortiz from Escape the Fate are a few that I’ve checked out and they’ve got interesting things going on. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can link your Twitch account and subscribe for free! 

There are plenty of ways to pass the time during this period of shelter-in-place, so tell your kids to quit bothering you so you can check out all this fun music stuff! And if your “kids” have four legs or if it’s actually your spouse, well, good luck. And if you would like to share your music finds during quarantine, I’d love to hear them! Also…I would love for you to follow me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rlmerrillauthor) if you hang out over there, even if it means losing my current count…3,666 followers! How metal/horror is that?

 

Stay Tuned for more Merrill’s Musings…

 

Haunt Jaunts : McKamey Manor

How Long Do You Think You Could Last Before Using the Safe Word?

Are you familiar with McKamey Manor? The first I remember hearing about it was circa 2014. At that time it operated out of a house in San Diego, California, and apparently had been for several years.

However, McKamey Manor’s owner, Russ McKamey, has since moved and brought his house of horrors with him. It’s now open in two locations –Summertown, Tennessee (about an hour south of Nashville) and Huntsville, Alabama. Although, they might be part of the same location. I’m still not sure if you have to survive the Nashville location long enough to be taken to the Huntsville location or if you can opt to go straight to the Huntsville one.

All I do know is that McKamey Manor has become so popular it’s not just open for Halloween anymore. Now it’s open year-round.

It’s often called the most intense Extreme Haunted Attraction/Survival Horror experience imaginable.

Not everyone would want to do this, but of those who do, not everyone is allowed. Unless they meet a host of stringent requirements, including:

  • Completing a Sports Physical
  • Passing a background check
  • Providing proof of medical insurance
  • Passing a portable drug test the day of the show
  • Signing a 40-page waiver –which also requires initialing each clause in the contract

If you make the cut, you’ll endure torturous challenges involving mud, bugs (eating them and maybe them trying to nibble on you), water, fake blood and more. There are even rumors of eels and caimans being part of the deal.

It looks awful –unless you’d like to star in scenes from any of the Saw or Hostel movies, that is.

If you can’t handle it, you can use the safe word to end the experience at any time. The whole experience could last as long as 10 hours, but it never has.

Russ knows what will break a person. He doesn’t hesitate to pull out all the stops to break them as quickly as possible from what I read in a Nashville Scene article about McKamey Manor and the reporter who attempted it. That’s where I learned the average amount of time people last is only eight minutes.

How long do you think it’d take you to use the safe word? I wouldn’t even make it to reading the waiver.

 

Horror Seeker Tribute : Remembering Donald Pleasence

You ask the average person who Donald Pleasence is you might get an answer like; he was one of the villains for James Bond. Those of us in the horror community will always remember him as Dr. Sam Loomis in the Halloween franchise, but with over 200 credits to his name, it’s near impossible to cover all his accomplishments in one article. However, there is so much more to the man that should be talked about in addition to his talents both on stage and screen. Here, we will take a moment to remember the life and career of one of the greats we lost on this February 2, 25 years later.
Born in the U.K. in 1919 Pleasence found out early on in his life that he wanted to be an actor. However, not long into his adult life he volunteered his services to the RAF (Royal Air Force) in 1940 during World War 2 as aircraft wireless operator, in which he flew near 60 raids until he was shot down during an attack and taken as a German POW. Interestingly, during this time it is said he produced and acted in many plays for his fellow captives. I can’t even begin to imagine the will and grace of the man during such a time, but all who’ve seen him on screen can’t help but be drawn in. Ironically, Pleasence would go on to play Himmler in 1976’s The Eagle Has Landed.
After the war and his subsequent release in 1946 Pleasence resumed his acting career in Birmingham and Bristol as a stage actor, but it wasn’t until his role in The Beachcomber in 1954 that he made his big-screen debut. From here he began his long and decorated career, staring in a number of horror films along the way, such and Circus of Horror, and The Flesh and the Fiends. These are two I have yet to see, but indeed are on my list. In researching for this article I am finding so many interesting films I now want to take a look at. If you are a fan of Pleasence’s work, can you recommend anything?
Another prominent role he is known for is the arch Bond villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice. Many might see this portrayal and immediately recognize a certain buffoonish parody throughout the Austin Powers films. While it’s easy to catch that they are based on the Bond series as a whole, it is Pleasence’s performance which gave the template for Dr. Evil.
But now the one we’ve all come to know him as. Every great actor has their signature roll that they are revered for, or at the very least known for even to those who are unfamiliar, and I think it’s no contest that we all remember Pleasence as the quasi-mythic Dr. Sam Loomis. I say this because throughout the Halloween franchise he takes on the position of a Captain Ahab-esk type character forever searching for his White Whale – Michael Myers. It is never mentioned once of any family or friends, that Loomis is forever alone in his journey to stop the “evil”, as he calls it. You might see his mission as somewhat biblical, and his torment is ever-present no matter how close he seems to get.
Halloween was filmed on a shoestring budget at the time, during a period when the modern, well not so much today, but before the slasher craze had begun. There really wasn’t much of a wave for the film to ride to success. Like most great films it was created from original creativity, innovation and very little star power. While Jamie Lee Curtis is indeed the daughter of Psycho’s Janet Lee, it was Donald Pleasence’s involvement that became John Carpenter’s ace in the hole! He was who the people knew, and what a feather in his hat that Pleasence can be seen as one of the pioneers of such a great legacy of horror.
As we’ve seen his career has reached far beyond his own accolades and touched many and inspired even more. This I did not know, but thought was quite funny, that Pleasence had even hosted an episode of SNL in 1981. Below is a clip of this episode. I never knew him as a funny man.

Donald Pleasence has worked beside some of the greatest names including, but not limited to Robert Shaw, Alec Guinness, Peter Cussing, and Robert Duvall in George Lucas’s directorial debut THX 1138. Having seen this, I can’t help but wonder how close were we in having Pleasence in Star Wars? Who would he have played, you think?
We here at HorrorAddicts.net, and The Horror Seeker wish to extend our thanks to Donald Pleasence for everything he has given us both in Military service and performances on screen. Many of us may have grown up only knowing him for one or two roles, perhaps a bit more, but we must always honor the man as a whole! It’s been 25 years since his passing, and to sign off, here is his final appearance on screen in Halloween 6. Sadly, Pleasence had passed away before the film’s completion, but if you want to see a more coherent version, I suggest you find a copy of the Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6.

RIP Donald Pleasence, 1919 – 1995

10iversary Feedback From our Friends

 

“Horror Addicts creates amazing content for authors and readers while also supporting the careers of up-and-coming talent. We’re proud supporters, fans, and colleagues.” 

 Crystal Lake Publishing  

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I was voted Best In Blood for the fourth season of Horror Addicts and it was and remains a huge honor. As an author that has been working at this for a very long time with not a lot of notice it was great to get that recognition and boost and I cannot thank Horror Addicts enough for that opportunity, which lead to me contributing to two of their book releases as well.

Huge honors that I remain grateful for. 

Chris Ringler 

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HorrorAddicts.net kickstarted my writing career with its Next Great Horror Writer Competition, which earned me a novel contract with Crystal Lake Publishing. I’ll forever be in its debt!

Jonathan Fortin – Winner, Next Great Horror Writer Competition

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I’m honored to be a part of the 10 year anniversary celebration! It’s been a few years since I’ve been a part of the HorrorAddicts team. But I will never forget my time as the Blog Editor and Interviewer. Emz is so kind and patient, she put a lot of faith into a high school student to hold such an important role. I enjoyed every minute of it and learned so much from her.

The 13 Questions interview series was an amazing experience. As a naturally curious person, I loved getting to talk to the various authors, musicians, and movie producers about their projects. The HA community is full of wonderful and inspiring personalities, it is no surprise that I am a Horror Addict for life!

Thanks,

Sapphire Neal

Guest Blog: 25 of the Most Metal Films (That Aren’t About Metal)

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The world’s first heavy metal band, Black Sabbath, took their name from Mario Bava’s classic 1963 horror film. In the years since, horror and metal have continued to have an ongoing conversation, from horror-themed metal bands (such as Cradle of Filth, The Great Old Ones, or Carach Angren) to metal-themed horror films.

My short story Requiem in Frost continues this tradition, telling the story of a Norwegian girl who moves into a house haunted by the ghost of a black metal musician.

To coincide with its release, I’ve decided to make a list of movies that, to me, feel “metal.” However, I’m not going to limit this list to horror, and I’m going to avoid films that are specifically about metal. This is because every other list of “Most Metal films of all time” take it literally, all of them focusing exclusively on the same 10 or so movies to have explicit references to the genre. The internet can only withstand so many posts containing Deathgasm, The Gate, The Devil’s Candy, and Lords of Chaos. So instead, I’m going to focus on movies that feel like they capture the essence of metal.

Here’s my criteria: do the images in the movie feel like they could be metal album covers? Could you put metal on the soundtrack and have it feel right? Does the story feel like it could also be that of a metal concept album? Does it feel powerful and meticulously constructed in the way that good metal does?

Obviously, everyone will have their own view on what does and doesn’t belong on this list. These are my choices, and I’m sure that your own are perfectly valid. That’s why these are 25 of the most metal films that aren’t about metal—not the 25 most.

Black SabbathHere we go. Organized by year:

  1. BLACK SABBATH (1963): Let’s just get this shoo-in out of the way. It honestly doesn’t feel that metal to me, but the fact that it inspired what many consider to be the first metal band ever makes it retroactively metal.
  2. WIZARDS (1977): Ralph Bakshi’s animated feature establishes a world in which, following a nuclear apocalypse, humans have all died or become mutants, and fantasy races have taken over in the meantime. An evil wizard uses Nazi propaganda footage to inspire his troops; a robot finds redemption, and fairy tits jiggle. It’s a strange, over-ambitious film, but the subject matter and imagery would feel right at home in a strange, over-ambitious metal concept album. Bakshi’s Fire and Ice might also be a suitable pick, but I haven’t seen it so I can’t put it here.
  3. HEAVY METAL (1981): A token inclusion, this adult animated anthology feature contains aliens on drugs, women with big swords, and copious amounts of sex and violence. It’s rather dated, particularly in the treatment of its female characters, but there’s no denying it is as metal as its name.
  4. CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982): Look, the poster for Conan the Barbarian looks just like a Manowar album. It opens with the forging of a sword. It’s full of Vikings. It has to be on this list.
  5. LEGEND (1985): When you get down to it, a lot of metal is quite geeky, full of fantasy tropes and looming apocalypses—much like Legend. Plus, Tim Curry’s Darkness is such a perfectly iconic heavy metal demon that it would be sinful not to include it.
  6. HELLRAISER (1987): Clive Barker’s squirmfest is undeniably metal, if only for the aesthetic of the cenobites and for the film’s obsession with pain, pleasure, and Hell. Hellraiser was also a huge influence on the band Cradle of Filth, with Pinhead’s actor Doug Bradley making regular appearances on their albums.
  7. EVIL DEAD 2 (1987): The Necronomicon. Ash’s chainsaw hand. The bleeding walls. The soul-swallowing, flesh-possessing demons. Evil Dead 2 is as metal as it gets.
  8. THE CROW (1994): While it’s arguably more of a goth film than a metal film, The Crow is nonetheless filled with such metal-appropriate themes as coming back from the dead to avenge your frigid lover. It’s also one of the rare movies where both the protagonist and antagonist have longer-than-average hair. Kaw, kaw.
  9. DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE (1994): Also known as Cemetery Man, this underrated dark comedy stars Rupert Everett as the keeper of a cemetery where the dead come back to life after burial. It features a romance with a severed head, a zombie on a motorbike, and Death himself, as well as amusingly cynical quotes like “I’d give my life to be dead” and “At a certain point in life, you realize you know more dead people than living.”
  10. VAMPIRE HUNTER D: BLOODLUST (2000): One of the most beautiful animated films of all time, and also one of the darkest. There’s vampires, giant flying manta rays, strange monsters, dark magic, zombies, and more. The first Vampire Hunter D film is good, but Bloodlust just gives the audience one incredibly metal scene after another, and it’s filled with shots that look like they could be metal album covers.
  11. LORD OF THE RINGS (2001 – 2003): Just look at this meme. I think that demonstrates pretty clearly just how metal these films are.
  12. HELLBOY (2004) & HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY (2008): Guillermo del Toro’s fantastic Hellboy films follow a demon who fights Nazis, tentacled Eldritch abominations, faeries, and more. The fact that we have a demon as the hero of the story is pretty significant, but the films’ hellishly lush imagery also demand their inclusion. Particularly metal is the Angel of Death we meet in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
  13. 300 (2006): I’m including Zach Snyder’s divisive “300” here because the whole movie just feels like a mosh pit to me, with its fetishization of big men with big swords fighting in big groups. It has stunning, brutal, beautiful violence, and plenty of images that feel like metal album covers. Lest you think metal can only be from Scandinavia, check out the amazing Greek metal bands Rotting Christ or Septicflesh, and the Mesopotamian metal band Melecesh. All three bands would feel right at home on the 300 soundtrack.
  14. PAN’S LABYRINTH (2006): Another beautiful Guillermo del Toro picture, Pan’s Labyrinth is both a grisly fairy tale and a story of rebellion. The Faun and the Pale Man, both played by the incomparable Doug Jones, are stunningly dark creations, and this list would be incomplete without them.
  15. SILENT HILL (2006): Pyramid Head’s scenes. ‘Nuff said.
  16. MARTYRS (2008): Extreme metal is like extreme horror: enjoyment often requires a process of conditioning and desensitization. Just as you can recommend some extreme metal only to people with the ear for it, you can only really recommend Martyrs to people with the stomach for it. Somewhere out there, a goregrind band is writing lyrics about a woman’s skin being removed in honor of this grueling film.
  17. VALHALLA RISING (2009): Nicolas Refn’s surreal Viking picture stars Mads Mikkelsen as One Eye, a man who resembles Odin and goes on a transcendent journey. It’s bloody, somber, drenched in pagan spirituality and black metal as Hell.
  18. HELLDRIVER (2010): This bonkers Japanese splatterfest contains a car made out of body parts, an eight-armed zombie holding eight assault rifles, a plane made out of zombies, and…look, it’s just nuts, okay? I might have also included similar Japanese bonkers films like Tokyo Gore Police, The Machine Girl, or Robogeisha, but I feel like Helldriver belongs here the most.
  19. DRIVE ANGRY 3D (2011): Nicholas Cage escapes from Hell to take revenge on someMandy evil cultists by driving…angrily…in 3D. While being pursued by a demon accountant…who is also, yes, in 3D. There’s also a sex scene gunfight…which is, you guessed it, also in 3D.
  20. BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC (2012 – 2013): While it isn’t nearly as good as the manga it’s based on, this anime film trilogy is nonetheless quite metal. Set in a medieval fantasy world, Berserk has big swords, big battles, and big demons, culminating with the infamously hellish “Eclipse” sequence. But really, read the manga instead.
  21. KUNG FURY (2015): This 30-minute long Swedish crowd-funded film manages to pack more metal stuff in it than most films can manage in a feature-length. In Kung Fury, a Kung-Fu Cop must fight Hitler, but accidentally goes too far back in time and ends up in the Viking Age, where Viking women ride dinosaurs and fight laser raptors. In other words, it’s amazing. You can watch it for free on YouTube.
  22. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015): This movie contains a man playing a fire-spewing guitar on top of a stage that’s on a moving big rig, and if that’s not metal, then I don’t know what is.
  23. THE WITCH (2015): The Witch kicks off with the ritualistic sacrifice of an infant, and from there only continues to bombard us with Satanic imagery. Of particular note is Black Philip, the sinister goat who apparently terrorized the actors as much as he does the characters in the film.
  24. MANDY (2018): Nicolas Cage makes a bat’leth and fights a shitty cult in this surreal film that’s destined to be a cult favorite. Like some great metal albums, I can think of, Mandy starts off slow and atmospheric, lulling you with hypnotic beauty before exploding into an orgy of batshit violence. Also, like many great metal albums I can think of, it feels like it was conceived while on drugs.
  25. AQUAMAN (2018): Okay, hear me out. James Wan’s Aquaman makes Jason Mamoa’s Aquaman look as metal as possible, and he makes the rest of the film as metal as possible too. The scene where Aquaman bursts from the ground while riding a giant crab? Metal. The Lovecraft references? Metal. The Trench sequence with its creepy fishmen? Metal. Amber Heard’s jellyfish dress? Metal. The fact that Aquaman fights a giant tentacle monster that’s voiced by Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews? Oh, so metal. There’s even a cute scene with the cuddly metalheads at a bar. This movie is a treasure.

 

JonathanFortinAuthorPhoto_SepiaJonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (coming December 2019 from Crystal Lake Publishing) and Nightmarescape (Mocha Memoirs Press). An unashamed lover of spooky Gothic stories, Jonathan was named the “Next Great Horror Writer” in 2017 by HorrorAddicts.net. He attended the Clarion Writing Program in 2012, one year after graduating summa cum laude from San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing program. When not writing, Jonathan enjoys voice acting, dressing like a Victorian gentleman, and indulging in all things odd and macabre in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him online at www.jonathanfortin.com or on Twitter @Jonathan_Fortin.

 

Chilling Chat: Episode 175 | J.D. Horn

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J.D. Horn is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Witching Savannah series (The LineThe SourceThe Void, and Jilo), the Witches of New Orleans Trilogy (The King of Horn_JD-3251-EditBones and AshesThe Book of the UnwindingThe Final Days of Magic), and the standalone Southern Gothic horror tale Shivaree. A world traveler and student of French and Russian literature, Horn also has an MBA in international business and formerly held a career as a financial analyst before turning his talent to crafting chilling stories and unforgettable characters. His novels have received global attention and have been translated into Turkish, Russian, Romanian, Polish, Italian, German, and French. Originally from Tennessee, he currently lives in California with his spouse, Rich, and their rescue Chihuahua, Kirby Seamus.

J.D. is an amazing and talented writer with a wry sense of humor. We spoke of writing, a frightening phobia, and future plans.

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

JDH: Happy to be here. Thanks for having me!

NTK: How old were you when you discovered horror?

JDH: Oh, goodness. I’m going to say three years old. My mother had to spend a couple of weeks in the hospital, and before she left, she forbade me to watch Dark Shadows with my siblings. Needless to say, there was no keeping me away from the television after that.

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

JDH: Well, Dark Shadows is my perennial favorite, but now I am living for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I totally excited to learn, though, that CW is attempting another Dark Shadows reboot, so maybe Sabrina will get a run for her money.

NTK: Maybe, she will. What do you think of reboots?

JDH: Reboots can obviously be hit or miss. Battlestar Galactica was flipping amazing. The Night Stalker? Well, they meant well, didn’t they? If the creators have something new to say and aren’t just mining nostalgia, great. Otherwise, look elsewhere. That being said, I will be over the (full) moon if they land a quality reboot of Dark Shadows.

NTK: Have you seen the reboot of IT? If so, what did you think and how do you feel about Stephen King?

JDH: Okay. I have not seen the reboot of It, because I am truly terrified of clowns. Like panic attack terrified. I live part-time in Palm Springs, and there’s a guy who walks around dressed like a clown. He walked into the restaurant where I was having dinner and totally triggered my fight or flight response. Luckily, I had friends who know my phobia who saw him and escorted me straight out.

King. What can you say about King? He’s a living legend. I still reread The Shining and Salem’s Lot every so often. Cujo really lost me as a King reader, but I guess it’s time for me to suck it up and give his newer works a chance.

NTK: Would you say King is one of your influences? What authors have influenced your darker writings?

JDH: I think King has influenced every contemporary horror writer. Anyone who says he isn’t an influence is, well, I don’t want to say deluded, but come on, get real, his work is seminal. Of course, Anne Rice has been a huge influence on me, but perhaps my greatest influence horror-wise is Michael McDowell. He did paranormal/occult Southern family sagas (as well as writing the screenplay for Beetlejuice.)  I also borrow from the Cthulhu mythology but find much of Lovecraft problematic.

NTK: Do you have any Russian influences? Do you like Dostoevsky?

JDH: My BA was in Comparative World Literature. I studied French in original and Russian in translation. I love Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov more than Crime and Punishment) and Pasternak (I’ve read Doctor Zhivago around six times). My all-time favorite novel is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (hilarious, heartbreaking, and terrifying all at the same time).

ShivareeNTK: Your style is reminiscent of these authors, especially what I’ve seen in Shivaree. What inspired Shivaree and what inspires you in general?

JDH: Funny that you land on Shivaree. I consider it my ugly baby. It seems the readers who like it really like it, and the readers who don’t, well, let’s just say they’re less than enthused. Shivaree is my one book that grew out of a dream, a nightmare, really, though not more than a flash of one. Just an old woman walking through a cornfield at night calling the name Ruby again and again. I woke up covered in a cold sweat and my heart pounding.

Shivaree was supposed to be a novella, but I was having a hard time completing the project I was contracted for and was beginning to panic. I knew I had to keep writing something or I’d freeze up. Jilo, the project I was supposed to be working on wasn’t coming, but Shivaree kept falling into place. I finally called my editor, admitted I was going to miss the deadline on Jilo, but told him I had another book I was, um, sure, ahem, he’d really like (squeaky voice at the end).

Oh, and in general, I love telling stories. Always have.

NTK: Do your characters have free will? Or do you plan their every move?

JDH: Oh, good lord. If I planned everything, I wouldn’t have had so much trouble finishing Jilo. I’m a total pantser, and my best writing comes in collaboration with my characters. I don’t want to say they totally run the show, but, well, okay, they do.

NTK: Love it! Always good to see a writer enjoy a relationship with his characters. Do you like character-driven books? What is your favorite horror novel?

JDH: The Haunting of Hill House. That’s my favorite horror novel. That’s how you get a horror novel done.

I enjoy plot-driven, rip right through the book books, but yes, for me, the books I love, they’re all about character. I’ve recently become obsessed with Liane Moriarty. The plot in Nine Perfect Strangers doesn’t begin until around 85% of the way through. To be able to pull that off? Well, let’s just say when I grow up, I want to be Liane Moriarty.

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror film?

JDH: Favorite horror film? It’s a three-way tie. I know King didn’t like The Shining, but I think Kubrick created magic. (Although I feel terrible about what he is said to have put Shelley Duvall through. Actors know how to act. Ya don’t got to torture them.)

Then there is Rosemary’s Baby, Mia Farrow AND Ruth Gordon. That’s all I got to say. The third is The Fearless Vampire Killers. Of course, both of these were directed by Roman Polanski (speaking of problematic creators).

Oooh! Honorable mention to the original Carnival of Souls.

NTK: Do you have any advice for the budding horror writer?

JDH: Write stories you love. Some readers will adore your stories, some will grab pitchforks and light torches and do their damnedest to storm the castle. Just make sure you’re in love with everything you put out there. It makes climbing out the castle tower at three AM using a rope of made of bedsheets a little easier to take.

NTK: JD, what does the future hold for you? What works do Horror Addicts have to The Final Days of Magiclook forward to?

JDH: I recently came across some pages of a novel I started when I was twenty-seven (more than a minute ago). I am now working on a collaboration with twenty-seven-year-old me. Southern. Gothic. A lot of heart. A touch of horror. Kind of Orpheus meets Something Wicked This Way Comes meets—there it is—The Master and Margarita.

NTK: Wonderful! Thank you for chatting with me today, JD. You’re a gracious guest.

JDH: And you are a fantastic interviewer. This was fun. Thanks again for having me!

Addicts, you can find J.D.’s work on Amazon.

 

 

 

LIVE Twitter Q & A with Jonathan Fortin – Today

RFBANNER

Horror Addicts are in for a treat. Jonathan Fortin, author of Nightmarescape and Requiem in Frost, will be answering your questions LIVE this Thursday, September 26th, at 12:00pm-12:30pm on TWITTER!

WHO: Jonathan Fortin

WHAT: LIVE Q & A

WHEN: Today

TIME: 12:00pm – 12:30pm.

WHERE: Twitter

Be there and Be Spooky!

LIVE Twitter Q & A with Jonathan Fortin

RFBANNER

Horror Addicts are in for a treat. Jonathan Fortin, author of Nightmarescape and Requiem in Frost, will be answering your questions LIVE this Thursday, September 26th, at 12:00pm-12:30pm on TWITTER!

WHO: Jonathan Fortin

WHAT: LIVE Q & A

WHEN: Thursday, September 26th

TIME: 12:00pm – 12:30pm.

WHERE: Twitter

Be there and Be Spooky!

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents – eHorror Bites 4: Requiem in Frost

RFBANNER

On this day of Mabon, HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present the next book in their eHorror Bites series. eHorror Bites 4: Requiem in Frost is the newest work of Next Great RFJFHorror Writer Contest winner, Jonathan Fortin.

BLACK METAL LIVES!

Located in the deep frostbitten woods of Norway, Ingrid’s new home is old, spooky, and possibly haunted. Guttural screams wake Ingrid and her mother nightly. When they discover the shrieks belong to deceased former occupant and extreme metal musician, Skansi Oppegård, Ingrid investigates the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. Hoping to exorcise Skansi’s ghost, she talks her mom into being part of a metal band. Oppegård’s last musical creation awakens forces beyond Ingrid’s understanding and causes Skansi’s murderer to resurface. In the battle between a madman and zombies, metal may be the only weapon she has.

A Peek Inside

REQUIEM IN FROST

When I opened my eyes, it was still dark—probably after midnight. When I took off my headphones, I didn’t hear screaming. However, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.

Someone was standing in the corner of my room.

He was tall and muscular, with long, ragged hair. Smeared skeletal makeup covered his face, mingling with open scars. His torso was splashed with a fresh coat of crimson, dripping all over the floor, but drippiest of all was the huge axe in his hand. As I considered the growing red pool at his feet, I found myself wondering where all that blood had come from…

Is Mom all right?

The thought hit me with the force of a speeding train. If the ghost had hurt Mom, he could hurt me, too. Perhaps it should have been obvious, but I’d never felt threatened until that moment. My heart stopped as I lay there, paralyzed in bed, fearing he would kill me, and that he’d killed Mom already.

The spirit approached my bed, his huge axe dripping a river onto the floor. I tried to muster up the courage to run, but my legs were frozen in place. All too quickly, he was right beside me, raising his axe high.

“Skansi…” It came out before I could stop it, the squeak of a girl much younger than myself.

The spirit halted, surprise in his bulging eyes. Perhaps he hadn’t expected me to know his name.

“Someone killed you, didn’t they?” I asked, my throat dry.

The spirit continued to stare, but he did not lower his axe.

JonathanFortinAuthorPhoto_SepiaJonathan Fortin is the author of Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus (coming December 2019 from Crystal Lake Publishing) and Nightmarescape (Mocha Memoirs Press). An unashamed lover of spooky Gothic stories, Jonathan was named the “Next Great Horror Writer” in 2017 by HorrorAddicts.net. He attended the Clarion Writing Program in 2012, one year after graduating summa cum laude from San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing program. When not writing, Jonathan enjoys voice acting, dressing like a Victorian gentleman, and indulging in all things odd and macabre in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on Twitter.

You can also find Jonathan in HorrorAddicts.net’s Clockwork Wonderland and eHorror Bites 3: #NGHW Editor Picks.

 

 

 

 

#PM2 YouTube Book Trailer Part 3 – Tonight

PM2BANNER

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a teenager in a world overrun by zombies? What would you do to survive? Would you act as bait to lure zombies into a trap? Would PM Rebel Infectionyou create a weapon to combat the hoards? What if you became infected with the plague? What would you do if you lived in the Plague Master Universe?

H.E. Roulo’s Plague Master: Rebel Infection follows the journey of teenager, Trevor Seth, as he returns to his homeworld with a vaccine to cure the zombie infection. Trevor’s celebrity also makes him a dangerous threat to the powerful Founders and revolution is in the air. Trevor is caught in the middle and despite his homeworld’s troubles, a message from a Plague Master forces him to seek reinforcements on other worlds. He hunts for the woman he left behind, and an answer as to why the vaccine is failing.

Trevor and his friends must fight in space stations and worlds overtaken with the infected to discover the terrible truth about his cure.

Tune in to Part 3 of H.E. Roulo’s Book Trailer Miniseries on  H.E. Roulo’s YouTube channel this evening, and get a sneak peek into the life of a typical teenager living in the Plague Master Universe. And be sure to check out Plague Master: Rebel Infection. Available now!

Chilling Chat: Episode 173 | H.E. Roulo

chillingchat

H.E. Roulo’s short stories have appeared in several dozen publications, including Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue. She is the author of the Plague Master series. Fractured Horizon, her science-fiction podcast novel, was a Parsec HE ROULO 1Award Finalist.

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

HER: Happy to be here, Naching. 

NTK:  Could you tell us a little about Plague Master? What is this series about?

HER: Sure! I’ll throw a few buzz-words at you then dig into it a bit more. It’s a dystopian, sci-fi/horror, zombie YA trilogy. The series takes place in a solar system colonized by humans, but there’s a new infection raging on the planets.

There are a couple storylines, but the biggest one is Trevor, who grows up on a downtrodden planet that really didn’t need a zombie infection to make it even worse. There’s also a dome for infected who haven’t become zombies to go to, but of course, nothing is as it seemed.

In the new book, Plague Master: Rebel Infection, Trevor returns to his homeworld with a cure for the infection, except it stops working and he has to find out why. It’s not just politics and secrets, of course. There’s space travel, avalanches, and diving through zombie-filled tunnels.

NTK: Sounds exciting! What inspired you to write about zombies in a space setting?

HER: I’d released a sci-fi book, Fractured Horizon, and was looking to write something that would catch people’s attention. I saw a call for an audio drama and wrote a short, 40-minute script. They loved it (it’s out there in the Omega Road Chronicles.) I wrote a related short story, and that sold. It was obvious that zombies were good sellers and I felt like I had a different enough approach to stand out. I took what I’d learned and wrote the full novel. Plus, writing zombies is fun!

There are a lot of zombie stories out there. Fewer space zombies.

NTK: I have to ask…do you prefer fast zombies or slow ones?

HER: Oh, good question.

I promise I’ll answer that. First, let me say that I didn’t have to choose. In my world, the infected becomes violent and crazed as they first change—so you have the terror of the fast zombie. However, after a while, they slow down and become almost docile unless riled up, so you get your slow zombies.

This allowed people to think zombies could be kept in herds, like sheep.

Anyway, in general, I like the fast ones.

I loved 28 Days Later.

NTK: Are you a fan of George Romero?

HER: I think you have to give him credit when you talk about zombies. I wouldn’t risk calling myself a fan, though. I’m not nearly knowledgeable enough. 

NTK:  How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

HER: Characters always act in ways logical to them, so sometimes they can’t take the path I had planned. Still, I always know the end of a story before I begin and it’s just a matter of steering them where they need to go.

NTK: What’s your writing process like? Do you outline?

HER: Oh, you may be sorry you asked that.

NTK: (Laughs.)

HER: I am a true believer in outlining. I have an entire process, and my most successful blog post ever was on how to outline a book—it gets tons of hits every fall as people gear up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s called, “A Simple Novel Outline – 9 Questions for 25 Chapters.”

I have to know my beginning and end. I need at least two or three scenes I’m really excited about.

Plague Master Sanctuary DomeAfter I have those, I plug them in to a chapter framework and start filling in around them. I used to do it in Word, but I’ve found the Scrivener is especially good for that. However, I usually end up pulling it back out as I get the story more filled in. Then I work in Word again.

Once I have the outlined chapters, I start at the beginning and work from front to back, never going back! I used to rework and rework. Now I just leave myself notes to go back if something changes along the way.

When I’m deep in a novel, I try for 2000 words a day.

I did warn you.

NTK: (Laughs.) You did. What is your favorite horror novel?

HER: Favorite questions are hard for me. I rarely have that kind of loyalty to anything. I like novelty. My favorite things are the stories, songs, and televisions shows I haven’t seen yet and that surprise me. I rarely consume anything twice. Today, I’ll fondly recall the horror of certain stories in the anthology Unaccompanied Sonata by Orson Scott Card.

NTK: Favorite horror movie?

HER: I’m a big fan of anything post-apocalyptic and dystopian. I had to read Cormac McCarthy’s grim and hopeless The Road after seeing the movie. I also love time travel and alternate realities. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind impressed me when it came out. Coherence and the movie Primer kept things interesting.

NTK: What attracts you to Dystopia?

HER: I’ve always loved dystopian stories. The Girl Who Owned a City was one of my first favorites. So was Z for Zacharia. I also loved Island of the Blue Dolphins and My Side of the Mountain. I think it’s about starting over, relying on your abilities to survive, and simplifying things

 

—not that most people think of dystopia as simple, but it does remove superficial troubles for real and basic needs.

So for me, it isn’t about the breakdown of society. I know that Island of the Blue Dolphin isn’t traditionally considered a dystopian story—but it’s about surviving with whatever you find yourself with. Starting over, and being able to build something new. Things get messed up—I’m sure we all look at the world and wish it was simple and basic, and about our own skills and ability—so a reset sounds great.

I wouldn’t actually want that, though. I have a family and comfortable things. (Laughs.)

Structure keeps us safe. These stories are about what happens when that safety net isn’t there.

NTK: Have you read The Stand by Stephen King?

HER: I haven’t. He wasn’t in the boxes of garage sale books my dad brought home each weekend—I’m not sure why. Eventually, I deliberately went back and read a few things by him, like The Long Walk, and was so impressed that I read his book On Writing.

Excellent advice in there, for any writers looking for a book.

NTK: What’s your favorite horror television show?

HER: The Black Mirror series has me hooked.

NTK: You’re a fan of the original Star Trek, do you have a favorite frightening episode from that series?

HER: Oh, that’s a new question!

I am a big fan of Star Trek, TOS, and of Next Generation, too. A lot of the series, actually.

What comes to mind is “The Devil in the Dark”, which is the one with the Horta, who seems like a monster but in the end we realize isn’t. There’s so much that’s fantastic in that episode.

I love creatures that are more than they seem.

I love subverting expectations, actually. I dislike predictable stories—give me something new!

NTK:  What does the future hold for you? What do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

HER: Well, we’re talking about the second book in the Plague Master trilogy, so you know PM Rebel InfectionI have to write the third and final one. I’ve had the series finale in mind for a long time, so I’m thrilled to finally write it.

I have a few other short stories that will no doubt come out. I tend to submit a lot except when I’ve got a book coming out.

And I’d like to sell a novella about a villain superhero called Heart of Marble. It’s dark and funny.

I also have an urban fantasy story that I’ve been trying to finish for about a year. It’s got four or five point of view characters, and bringing them all together for a satisfying ending has been tricky.

I think it’s a novel, but I need about ten more chapters to be sure. (Laughs.)

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Heather.

HER: I had a great time. Thanks!

 

Horror Addicts, you can find Heather on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.

Her new book, Plague Master: Rebel Infection, is available now!

 

#PM2 YouTube Book Trailer Part 2 – Tonight

PM2BANNER

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a teenager in a world overrun by zombies? What would you do to survive? Would you act as bait to lure zombies into a trap? Would PM Rebel Infectionyou create a weapon to combat the hoards? What if you became infected with the plague? What would you do if you lived in the Plague Master Universe?

H.E. Roulo’s Plague Master: Rebel Infection follows the journey of teenager, Trevor Seth, as he returns to his homeworld with a vaccine to cure the zombie infection. Trevor’s celebrity also makes him a dangerous threat to the powerful Founders and revolution is in the air. Trevor is caught in the middle and despite his homeworld’s troubles, a message from a Plague Master forces him to seek reinforcements on other worlds. He hunts for the woman he left behind, and an answer as to why the vaccine is failing.

Trevor and his friends must fight in space stations and worlds overtaken with the infected to discover the terrible truth about his cure.

Tune in to Part 2 of H.E. Roulo’s Book Trailer Miniseries on  H.E. Roulo’s YouTube channel this evening, and get a sneak peek into the life of a typical teenager living in the Plague Master Universe. And be sure to check out Plague Master: Rebel Infection. Available now!

 

PM1AD2

 

#PM2 YouTube Book Trailer Part 1 – Tonight

PM2BANNER

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a teenager in a world overrun by zombies? What would you do to survive? Would you act as bait to lure zombies into a trap? Would PM Rebel Infectionyou create a weapon to combat the hoards? What if you became infected with the plague? What would you do if you lived in the Plague Master Universe?

H.E. Roulo’s Plague Master: Rebel Infection follows the journey of teenager, Trevor Seth, as he returns to his homeworld with a vaccine to cure the zombie infection. Trevor’s celebrity also makes him a dangerous threat to the powerful Founders and revolution is in the air. Trevor is caught in the middle and despite his homeworld’s troubles, a message from a Plague Master forces him to seek reinforcements on other worlds. He hunts for the woman he left behind, and an answer as to why the vaccine is failing.

Trevor and his friends must fight in space stations and worlds overtaken with the infected to discover the terrible truth about his cure.

Tune in to H.E. Roulo’s YouTube channel and get a sneak peek into the life of a typical teenager living in the Plague Master Universe. And be sure to check out Plague Master: Rebel Infection. Available now!

 

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents PLAGUE MASTER: Rebel Infection

H.E. Roulo and HorrorAddicts.net Press proudly present: Plague Master: Rebel Infection.

The dramatic sequel to Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome, and second book in the Plague Master Series, is now available.

Enter the World of PLAGUE MASTER: REBEL INFECTION

PM Rebel InfectionTrevor’s return from the zombie infection makes him unique. It also makes him dangerous.

He’s a hero on his homeworld, celebrated for finding a vaccine against the zombie virus, but the ruling Founders don’t trust him and his low origins. When the revolution comes, Trevor is caught in the middle.

Despite his homeworld’s troubles, a message from a Plague Master forces Trevor to seek reinforcements. He hunts for Kristin, the woman he left behind, and an answer to why the vaccine is failing.

He and his friends must fight on space stations and worlds overtaken with infected to discover the terrible truth about his cure.

New to the Plague Master Series? Find the first book here:

 

PLAGUE MASTER: SANCTUARY DOME

When Samantha’s brother goes missing, the trail leads to Julius Cerberon, the rich philanthropist who built a dome for sufferers of mankind’s newest disease. Can she really accuse the universe’s greatest humanitarian of murder?

Meanwhile, on a downtrodden planet, Trevor has the unenviable job of zombie bait. He saves his dream girl, but she is infected. Her goodbye kiss forces him to escape to the domed utopia where infected are quarantined until they change–but he will never change, isn’t infected, and has to keep kissing the girl to pass the tests. Not a bad deal, until the dome breaks and a planet-worth of zombies invade.

And his girl could change any minute now.

PRAISE FOR
PLAGUE MASTER: SANCTUARY DOME

“A perfect mix of classic sci-fi and zombie horror. Once you start, you are hooked!”
-Jake Bible, author of Little Dead Man.

Sanctuary Dome starts with a bang, is complicated by a kiss, and ends with a promise. This is a YA zombie love story like no other.”
-Jennifer Brozek, author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming

“A smart zombie novel with relatable characters you’ll be rooting for until the end.”
-Emerian Rich, author of Night’s Knights Vampire Series

Sanctuary Dome is fast-paced zombie sci-fi on a prison planet of the dying and the undead.”
-Stephen North, author of Beneath the Mask

“H.E. Roulo transports the reader to an eerie, futuristic environment. Her efficiency of prose will absorb readers of all ages. Macabre, frightening, but always hopeful.”
-Philip E. Carroll, author of Shooting Stars

HE ROULO 1

H.E. Roulo is a Pacific Northwest writer of science-fiction, horror, and fantasy. She earned a BA in English from the University of Idaho and is an SFWA member. Her science-fiction novel Fractured Horizon was a Parsec Award Finalist. She’s had dozens of short stories published in anthologies and magazines and was the winner of the 2009 Wicked Women Writers contest. Recent publications include Fantasy magazine (Women Destroy Fantasy special issue), Nature Futures 2, and Blood Type: An Anthology of Vampire SF on the Cutting Edge. She co-hosted the author interview podcast Podioracket.com from 2009 to 2012.

 

Plague Master: Rebel Infection is now available on Amazon!

Chilling Chat: Episode 171 | Loren Rhoads

chillingchat
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.

Chilling Chat: Episode 169 | Nancy Kilpatrick

chillingchat

Award-winning author Nancy Kilpatrick has published 22 novels, over 220 short stories, seven story collections, and has edited 15 anthologies, plus graphic novels and one non-nancy K.fiction book, The goth Bible: A Compendium for the Darkly Inclined (St. Martin’s Press).

Nancy is an honest and passionate writer. We spoke of inspiration, classic horror, and vampires.

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

NK: It’s my pleasure, Naching! Thank you for inviting me.

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

NK: I was a kid. We had the Saturday Night Chiller-type movies on but they were late and although it was Saturday night, I wasn’t allowed to stay up for those except on rare occasions. Horror films were my favorites and that just continued when I got old enough to watch those films. But before that, when I was in grade school (not sure of my age but likely around 6 or 7) the school visited the big library in downtown Philadelphia, where I lived, and we were each allowed to take one book out. I choose The Little Witch, which says I lot, I guess. Little did I know how famous that book was, in print for 40 years. So, my love of horror goes way back.

NTK: Who are the authors who’ve influenced you most?

NK: In horror, I tend not to mention living authors. I know way too many writers and I don’t want to offend anyone or leave anyone out. And frankly, it’s many dead authors that shaped me. Poe, Lovecraft, Carter, Jackson, Kafka, Shelley, Stoker, Byron, Bloch…even then, there are more than I’ve named. I see myself as shaped and influenced by every book I’ve ever read, even the terrible ones, and in every genre, both fiction and non-fiction. I’m kind of a lit vampire, meaning, I drink in experiences, so besides general life experiences, books and film have played a big role in who I am as a writer and likely who I am as a person.

NTK: Do you find inspiration in the books you’ve read? Where do you find inspiration?

NK: Inspiration is everywhere. I can see something, smell something, a twig on a peculiar taste, hear a sound and so on. I can have a dream and have written two stories from dreams. I daydream a lot. Many avenues lead to a story idea but the ones that lead to actually writing down those ideas in short story or novel form, those are the exceptional ideas. It’s hard to say what inspires them. One avenue for me is that I own and have read thousands of vampire novels and short fiction so I know what has been done and that always leads me to what has not been done before and how that fits into my personal view of the vampire. To a lesser extent, that works with ghosts and zombies for me, werewolves a bit less. If it’s “reality” horror, for example, nothing supernatural, more like a serial killer, there’s plenty of info on those types of killers around and that can inspire a thought. But thoughts have to connect to feeling for me because I’m essentially an emotional writer.

To keep it simple: I’m inspired when a thought or a feeling becomes a spark.

NTK: How did “Root Cellar” come about?

NK:  I lived on a farm for almost a year, 10 miles outside the small town. The house was in exchange for “fixing it up.” It was bought by a well-off Judge who didn’t want to live there but it needed repair so a few friends and I went and painted and sanded and such. When we first arrived, we explored the house. The attic was a crawl space with a peaked roof and slats on the floor. We found some creepy things there, including the coffin and the cards I put into that story. The house was also, as in the story, the “old” part and the “new” part, with all the pickled things in the stairwell down to the basement.

“Root Cellar” was originally a literary story, a story of incest. I had a phase where I tried to force myself to write ‘lit’ fiction. That didn’t last long, though I published a bit. But, I could never get over the idea that lit fic had lost its way in terms of plot. Which is one reason I love horror, because plot is still crucial and that means a story to me. Anyway, I submitted “Root Cellar” to a major newspaper that was having a short fiction contest (yes, that was exceptional!) I was the first runner up and the story was published. As I was reading it in the paper, it struck me how that story was really a vampire story so I rewrote it and published it and it’s been published several times, been in a Best-of antho, up for two awards and so on. Really, it was crucial to see that in print and recognize that what I was trying to force myself to do was not right for me. Generally, I’m pretty aware of when I’m trying to go the “wrong” way because I think it’s the “right” way, and it’s not.

Revenge of the Vampir KingNTK: You’ve written a series called Thrones of Blood. How are your vampires different from others?

NK: Because I’ve read so much vampire material and seen so many movies, and because I’ve written erotica (mainly a series of seven pastiche novels based on horror classics: Dracula; Frankenstein, Jekyll/Hyde, etc. etc.) and because I’ve seen and read erotic vampire novels and movies and wanted to infuse a series with that but not just that, I started thinking about a new series. I began writing these books about 12 or 13 or more years ago, because the idea churned for a few years before I started writing. One year in the winter I was staying alone in Florida for a month and cranked out book one and some of book two and three. Of course, all that had to be revised. I was just having fun and threw in a lot of genres and kitchen sink and had to clean up all the mess and stick to the story. There are other books, of course, with warring vampires and humans but I wanted to show the vampires as somewhat more evolved, while still violent, and that the humans might be even more violent. Ultimately, I wanted to show that because of a long life, the vampires, which are as resistant to change as humans, do have a longer perspective and can alter, at least a little. I wanted all this to come through in each book amidst the violence, the sex, the treachery, betrayals, viciousness, traitorous acts and even love and kindness where least expected.

I have not seen what I’ve done. And frankly, readers need to be a bit smart to read these books because I work with paradox a lot in my writing. It’s awfully hard to hold two opposites at the same time and that’s kind of what I hope readers will do. I also like to shift allegiances a lot. That’s kind of real life too for thoughtful people.

NTK: Do your characters have free will? Or do you plan their every move?

NK: I usually have a kind of plot overview for novels but rarely do a chapter by chapter outline. At the same time, as I write, I kind of know where I’m going. That doesn’t mean the characters want to go there and more times than not they insist on me paying attention to them. As I said, I’m an emotional writer so I have to respect my feelings and if it feels dull, wrong, just a big NO, then it won’t work for me and I have wait until something comes to me as to how to proceed. And as with all creative endeavors, one can go this way and that, both ways pretty obvious. But waiting often leads to a third way that wasn’t envisioned and that’s much better and leads to something much better. So no, I plan a bit, but I’m open to change. If I wasn’t, my characters wouldn’t work with me! (Laughs.)

What I mean by “this way and that” is that in every story, based on the conflict, there are usually two obvious resolutions of that conflict. If you go to either, the reader (who is as smart as the writer) feels bored and cheated because both resolutions are too obvious. This is where a creative solution has to make an appearance.

NTK: What makes good erotica?

NK: I was on an erotic-horror panel once with about eight or nine women and they ranged in age from youngest to oldest. At the oldest end were Nancy Holder and me. Someone asked if we writers were aroused when we wrote erotic-horror. Invariably from the younger end, there were definite and resounding “NO’s” all along and when it got to Nancy Holder, she said, kind of, maybe a little, yes. Then me, who said, “Of course I am aroused! If I can’t feel it, I can’t write it!” (Nancy H., by the way, thought I was so brave to say that, but I didn’t see myself as brave, more just honest because if I can feel the emotion of what I’m writing, I can make it believable for the reader—and that goes for the unsavory emotions too. There’s a huge difference in feeling murderous, which almost everyone has felt at some point, and committing murder. Knowing and feeling the difference is what keeps us all from acting horrifically in a spontaneous, or even a thought-out, moment.)

My seven erotic novels are The Darker Passions: Dracula; Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Fall of the House of Usher, Carmilla, and The Pit and the Pendulum.

NTK: What is your favorite horror movie?

NK: There are soooo many. I’d just be listing them. I’ll say a few. Daughters of Darkness (stylish). The Exorcist (the original, so scary). [REC] (an adrenalin rush for sure!) All of Romero’s zombie movies, especially Night of and Dawn of the Living Dead. 30 Days of Night (great concept and a horrific vampire gang). 28 Days Later (I like fast-moving zombies). Martin (another Romero, this one vampire). And I loved the original The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price, a black and white based on Richard Matheson’s wonderful novel. That, of the three films based on the novel, was very creepy. Train to Busan (from South Korea, a great zombie movie, human, touching. It’s in subtitles. I’ve seen it three times.) It Stains the Sands Red (Wow, what a surprising zombie film. Two coke heads from LA, car stalled in the desert en route to see people, and a zombie comes and does guy in. The woman, seemingly a coke-head, has to “run” from the zombie but they are in the desert. It shifts and is so amazing. I was really blown away by this movie.)

You see, there are so many more I could name. Give me a minute and I can name 100 or more!

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror TV show?

NK: I liked the original Dark Shadows, and even the remake with Ben Cross. Forever Knight was fun. True Blood was incredible. (Kudos to Harris for allowing the adaptation.) There’s a great book called Vampire TV which is incredibly thick and surprisingly stuffed with TV shows of vampires alone. I also liked the old Twilight Zone, Kolchak, those kinds of X Files TV shows. Again, many more than I can name.

NTK: What’s your favorite horror novel?

NK: Again, I can’t name books by living authors so I’ll have to go with early works. And in fact, there’s little horror I’ve read or seen that I haven’t liked, even the bad stuff, because I can see merit in just about everything, sometimes just a drop of merit, but still. So that would Dracula by Stoker, Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, The Picture of Dorian Grey, all of Poe’s work, Robert Louis Stevenson’s work, even the ponderous Varney the Vampire or, The Feast of Blood which predates Dracula by a few decades. There are all sorts of wonderful novels out there and I encourage people to find and read some of what has been done in the past because, for example, the vampire did not start with Anne Rice’s books or Buffy. You’d be surprised by some of the beautiful and intense work that came The goth Biblebefore.

NTK: Nancy, what does the future hold for you? What works do we have to look forward to?

NK: At the moment, I’m working on book five in the Thrones of Blood series: Anguish of the Sapiens Queen. Book six is next up and that should be the end of the series, published in 2020. I also have a science fiction novel just about finished. The former will be out later this year and that latter…no date yet. I’m likely reissuing my horror (non-vampire) collection Cold Comfort. And I am in discussion for a new antho I’ll co-edit. This year I’ll be traveling to a few summer/fall events: Fan Expo in Toronto, and Word on the Street. Possibly Frightmare in the Falls. Early next year I’ll be at Stokercon in England.

By the way, if anyone wants to join my newsletter, which is short and once a month via email, they can go to my website: nancykilpatrick.com. The form to join is at the top.

NTK: Thank you so much for joining me today. It was an honor to interview you.

NK: Thank you, Naching, for having me.

Addicts, you can find Nancy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt

Today is Thursday, HorrorAddicts, and you know what that means? It’s time for the Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt! We invite all Horror Addicts to join in, PLAY the game, and WIN exciting mystery prizes!

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. RULES HAVE CHANGED.

HOW TO PLAY:

1.) HorrorAddicts.net will tweet five clues which lead players to a book on Emerian Rich’s Amazon Page each week.

2.) The clues will come in the form of questions. (i.e. I have touched the vein and caused the crimson stain. What am I?)

3.) When a player finds the picture, they will comment on the Tweet with their answer. (i.e. The Vampire lips on the cover of Kill Switch. Kill Switch is the answer.)

4.) Those with correct answers will have their names entered into a drawing at the end of the day.

5.) The player whose name is drawn will be declared the winner.

6.) HorrorAddicts.net employees may participate in this promotion.

PRIZES:

1.) The winner will receive a mystery prize from HorrorAddicts.net.

2.) If no correct answer is given, no prize is awarded. Instead, it is rolled over to the following week.

No one won last week’s hunt and so the prize has rolled over to this one. This is the final week.

It’s easy as that Horror Addicts! Solve the clues, find the book, comment on the Tweet with the correct answer to enter the drawing, and Stay Spooky!

Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt

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Today is Thursday, HorrorAddicts, and you know what that means? It’s time for the Twitter Tech Thursday Scavenger Hunt! We invite all Horror Addicts to join in, PLAY the game, and WIN exciting mystery prizes!

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. RULES HAVE CHANGED.

HOW TO PLAY:

1.) HorrorAddicts.net will tweet five clues which lead players to a book on Emerian Rich’s Amazon Page each week.

2.) The clues will come in the form of questions. (i.e. I have touched the vein and caused the crimson stain. What am I?)

3.) When a player finds the picture, they will comment on the Tweet with their answer. (i.e. The Vampire lips on the cover of Kill Switch. Kill Switch is the answer.)

4.) Those with correct answers will have their names entered into a drawing at the end of the day.

5.) The player whose name is drawn will be declared the winner.

6.) HorrorAddicts.net employees may participate in this promotion.

PRIZES:

1.) The winner will receive a mystery prize from HorrorAddicts.net.

2.) If no correct answer is given, no prize is awarded. Instead, it is rolled over to the following week.

Last week’s winner was Lionel Green. Congratulations, Lionel!

It’s easy as that Horror Addicts! Solve the clues, find the book, comment on the Tweet with the correct answer to enter the drawing, and Stay Spooky!

Kill Switch Chilling Chat with Tim O’Neal

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Tim O’Neal graduated from UC Berkeley. He served ten months in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and is currently working on a dual Masters in nutritionTim O'Neal science and exercise physiology. When he is not studying, he plays guitar or explores California by bicycle. “REMS” is his first short story.

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was 15 years old.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

Stephen King inspired me to write horror after I read The Shining in high school. I told myself I wanted to write something as well done and scary as that.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “REMS?”

I was bored working at my day job in a gray cubicle beneath the fluorescent lights. I had an idea for remote controlled maggots and how much fun that could be. I scribbled down a few things in a nearby notebook (complete with doodles!). After a few years, those ideas developed into the current story.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I think the best writing happens when you can hypnotize yourself into a state of creative unconscious. The most believable fiction occurs when you take yourself out of the driver’s seat and ride shotgun, letting your characters do what they wish; however good or bad the result.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

I used to listen to music like Green Day while writing. But I outgrew the practice. Now I mostly write in silence. It helps me focus.

6.) Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration just by letting my unconscious mind turn over different thoughts, ideas, images, visuals, sayings; basically anything that happens to me in a day gets churned up and blended together. Sometimes you get a gem.

KSCoverSmall7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. I have so many favorite horror novels. The Shining is up there, of course. So is Justin Cronin’s The Passage. As well as Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box.

8.) Favorite horror movie?

I normally don’t watch horror movies. I prefer comedies.

9.) Favorite horror television show?

Stranger Things!!

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I continue to write every day, writing down ideas, editing old stuff, and putting down new ideas. I hope that, in time, more of my stories will find homes with attentive readers.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 4 Quick Questions with Daphne Strasert, Emerian Rich, and Naching T. Kassa

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 Daphne Strasert is a horror, dark fantasy, and speculative fiction writer from Houston, Texas. She has been published in several anthologies including Crescendo of Darkness and Postcards from the Void. Daphne Strasert

 Emerian Rich is the author of the vampire book series, Night’s Knights, and writes romance under the name Emmy Z. Madrigal. Her romance/horror cross over, Artistic License, is about a woman who inherits a house where anything she paints on the walls comes alive. She’s been published in a handful of anthologies by publishers such as Dragon Moon Press, Hidden Thoughts Press, Hazardous Press, and White Wolf Press. She is the podcast Horror Hostess of HorrorAddicts.net 

Naching T. Kassa is a wife, mother, and horror author. She resides in Eastern Washington State with her husband, Dan, their three children, and their dog. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Head of Publishing for HorrorAddicts.net, and an assistant at Crystal Lake Publishing.

1.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

DS: I like to listen to music while I write. I find that lyrics are good when I’m thinking emz1smallabout my stories, but when I actually write, I prefer instrumental music. Two Steps from Hell is a personal favorite.

ER: It varies depending on what I am writing. I try to find a genre or theme song for the character I am writing and play it when I’m writing an intense scene with them. If I am just writing, in general, it’s either 90’s Goth, big band Jazz, or 80’s.

NTK: I love to listen to KISS, Journey, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Steppenwolf—anything from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. One of my favorite and most inspirational CDs is music by Bernard Herrmann. Herrmann composed music for most of Alfred Hitchcock’s films and it’s terrific for writing horror.

2.) Where do you find inspiration?

DS: I find it helpful to look at art and design concepts. Pinterest has a great platform for artists to post fantasy, science fiction, and horror concept art. I keep several boards of inspirational images and quotes that relate to my stories.IMG_1979

ER: Everywhere. I used to think I had to go to a certain place or see a certain film to create, but really, I am always creating in my head whether my pen is to paper or not.

NTK:  Things just come to me. They just seem to slip through the door between my conscious and unconscious mind.

3.) What is your favorite piece of “Tech” horror?

DS: I really enjoyed Ex Machina. The intersection of technology and humanity has always fascinated me (I have degrees in computer science and psychology).

ER: I really enjoyed some of the Black Mirror episodes. My favorites were about tech that we are just around the corner from like “Fifteen Million Merits” and “Nosedive.”

NTK: Ok. People may disagree with this, but it was scary to me. My favorite piece of “Tech Horror” is the movie, WarGames starring Matthew Broderick and Dabney Coleman. A young guy accidentally hacking into a military computer and initiating WW III? It was really frightening, especially when you’re growing up in the shadow of nuclear war.

4.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

DS: I’m currently working on my second novel, a mystery, that I will be submitting the KSCoverSmallagents and publishers later this year.

ER: Wow. Do any of us know? I hope I will keep writing and become a better writer as I go–which is always my goal. I could wish for cloning to become a thing so that I could be more than one person and write all the millions of ideas in my head, but I’m sure it would inevitably go bad and the world would be overrun by Emz. Now, THAT would be a horror story.

NTK: I have a short story coming out in the anthology, Dark Transitions, published by Thirteen O’clock Press. I’m Editing Dark Divinations for HorrorAddicts.net, and I have a story in a big anthology I’ve been trying to get into for several years. I just about fainted when I found out I was accepted.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Garth von Buchholz

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Garth von Buchholz is an author of dark poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, and drama. His poetry books include Mad Shadows and his fiction has been published in various Garth von Buchholzanthologies. Garth is also the founder of the International Edgar Allan Poe Society. He lives in Canada on Vancouver Island. 

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

Probably about six years old. I had a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, some of which were pretty disturbing for a young mind. But they were so profound and compelling because they spoke the truth about good and evil and death and tragedy, so I loved them. Later I was enamored with some of the classic horror films I saw on TV as well as reruns of old horror shows such as The Twilight Zone.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

Edgar Allan Poe is my muse. I’ve written scholarly articles about Poe’s work, was interviewed about Poe for the Washington Post and was the founder of the International Edgar All Poe Society in 2009, the 200th anniversary of his birthday. But back in college, I realized that I couldn’t just mimic him, I didn’t want to try to write like a 19th-century author—I needed to find my own 20th-century voice.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “HAÜS?”

“HAÜS” is about the coldness and ruthlessness of technology. I’ve been working in digital media since the 1990s. A relative of mine owns a wireless security camera company, and after we talked about his work installing security systems in homes and businesses, I wondered if there would ever be a home security system so diabolically deadly that not even a group of skilled home invaders could penetrate it.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I’m like God—my characters can do what they want while they’re still alive, but ultimately I know when they will die and how.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

I’ve done it before, but the problem is that when I’m playing a good song and I’m really in the fever mode, writing intensely, the song comes to an end and that distracts me. Or, I put something on loop but eventually, the looping starts distracting me too. Usually, Radiohead helps me.

6.) Where do you find inspiration? 

Many times my inspiration is from some news story I’ve read. Fact often converts into fiction very seamlessly.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

How can I decide on one? Legion by William Peter Blatty or The Stand by Stephen King.

KSCoverSmall8.) Favorite horror movie?

The Exorcist III (based on the novel Legion)

9.) Favorite horror television show?

The Stand (miniseries, 1994) And, I’m so excited to see the new TV miniseries being developed.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I’ve started a manuscript for a novella about a freakish wild beast who stalks a mountain near a town. Also, I’m continually writing dark poetry with horror themes. I’d like to write poetry that actually scares people. That’s an ambition.

Addicts, you can find Garth on his new Blog.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Jerry J. Davis

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Jerry J. Davis writes quirky science fiction and fantasy stories often involving gods and goddesses, the true nature of reality, and more often than not, beer.Jerry J. Davis

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I’m more of a sci-fi horror or comedy-horror person, so I’d have to say to me, when I was a young kid, Godzilla and The War of the Worlds movies were horror. I used to have nightmares where I’d hide in the closet from the aliens who were looking for me. Or maybe those were real childhood experiences and I have repressed abductee memories? Hmm. No wonder I drink.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

Philip K. Dick, Tim Powers, and Chuck Palahniuk are my biggest influences. Fight Club and Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk especially.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “Travels?”

The original inspiration was from MTV back when it first came out–when it was 24 hours of non-stop music videos–because it had a very weird and strong hypnotic effect on everyone around me. I could literally walk into a room full of people, do just about anything I wanted, and walk out, and no one would even realize I had been there.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I give my characters goals, and let them loose. It’s like I wind up a bunch of spring-powered toys, aim them, and let them bounce off one another to see where they end up.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

I listen to psychedelic music with either no lyrics or lyrics in languages I don’t understand, so that it sets the mood but doesn’t interfere with my internal dialog.

6.) Where do you find inspiration? 

I find inspiration everywhere. I have a brain wired for story. Sometimes it’s more a curse than a gift. I also can’t spend an hour in a day without imagining some catastrophe or horrible thing happening.

 7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

The Stand by Stephen King.

8.) Favorite horror movie?

KSCoverSmallFavorite horror movie by far is Army of Darkness, followed closely by Alien and Aliens.

9.) Favorite horror television show?

I don’t really watch TV, but I have seen a couple seasons of American Horror Story. My favorite one was about the witch coven and having Stevie Nicks playing herself as the great white witch. That was brilliant.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

The future is a horror story unfolding before our eyes. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Addicts, you can find Jerry’s work on Amazon.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Garrett Rowlan

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Garrett Rowlan is a retired sub teacher for LAUSD. Garrett RowlanHis novel To Die, To Sleep was published by James Ward Kirk.   

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

Around the age of six, I saw Creature from the Black Lagoon and it scared me, and later Blood of Dracula. I viewed many horror movies at the Park Theater on Figueroa Street in Los Angeles. It is now a 99-cent store.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon were two influences in my early 20’s. George Orwell in high school. In later years, I found much to ponder in the work of Jorge Luis Borges.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “Go Gently?”

When I was a kid, we meanly joked that all old people be killed off; now that I’m old, that doesn’t seem so funny.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

In longer fiction, my characters have some free will. In short fiction they are, as Nabakov once said, “galley slaves.”

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

All kinds of music, but ambient isolationism (Thomas Koner, Eno, etc.) is the best.

6.) Where do you find inspiration? 

Riding the bus around LA, going to movies, I find lots to see and ponder.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

Revival by Stephen King is good. Elizabeth Hand is good. Lately, I’ve discovered Paul Tremblay.

8.) Favorite horror movie?

KSCoverSmallThe Haunting, the original black and white. Saw it on the night I graduated from junior high.

9.) Favorite horror television show?

I don’t watch TV much. No cable or streaming access. I used to love The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

My novel, Too Solid Flesh Melts, was just published by Alban Lake and The Vampire Circus is due to be published this year–or next?–by Barking Rain Press. Also, I will have two stories in The Best of The Moon. And, another story will be published in the inaugural issue of All Worlds Wayfarer.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Chantal Boudreau

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Chantal Boudreau is a speculative fiction writer from Sambro, Nova Scotia with a focus in horror and fantasy. She has published in Canada in the anthologies Tesseracts 20, Dead Chantal BoudreauNorth, Clockwork Canada, and Chillers from the Rock, amongst others.  Outside of Canada, she has published more than fifty stories.

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror? 

I was aware of horror from a young age.  I always enjoyed scary stories as a child, and I remember watching Tales of the Unexpected and reading horror comics when I was still in elementary school.  I started reading my sister’s horror novels as a pre-teen, which is also when I got to first see the original Dawn of the Dead.  I was hooked from then on.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

I can’t say it was one author.  When it comes to horror it would be a mixture of Tanith Lee, Stephen King, and Fredric Brown, primarily, but there were many other influences.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “Strange Music?”

Waiting for the bus one day, I heard a familiar birdsong that was just a little “off.”  My imagination grabbed the moment and ran with it.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I start off giving them traits and thoughts, directing them into the plot, but after a certain point they develop to a point of realism where they start doing their own thing.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

Yes-I listen to a lot of alternative rock, Finger Eleven, Linkin Park, 30 Seconds to Mars, etc., and some darker pop-Peter Gabriel, Pink, and Billie Eilish, for example.

6.) Where do you find inspiration? 

Everywhere-things friends or family say, experiences from my past, my own worries and fears, something I see or hear that happens to spark my imagination.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

I’d have to say Stephen King’s It.

KSCoverSmall8.) Favorite horror movie?

That one’s harder.  I love the classics, like George Romero’s zombie movies, and modern horror like Get Out but I’d have to say the one I found the most visceral and sensory was Perfume.

9.) Favorite horror television show?

I was a fan of Z Nation, despite its camp, and sad that it was canceled.  I’d say my favourite right now is Santa Clarita Diet-it is quirky, gross and fun.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I’ll just look into my crystal ball…seriously, I have no clue.  I keep putting something out there and hoping things will stick.  I’ll keep writing and I’ll keep dreaming.

Addicts, you can find Chantal on Facebook and Twitter.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Laurel Anne Hill

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Laurel Anne Hill has authored two award-winning novels, most recently The Engine Woman’s Light (Sand Hill Review Press), a gripping spirits-meet-steampunk tale set in an Laurel Anne Hill Promotional 2015alternate 19th Century California. Laurel’s published short stories total over thirty. She’s a Literary Stage Manager, speaker, anthology editor, and writing contest judge.

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was eight years old when my mom took me to see the scary science fiction movie The Thing from Another World. Afterwards, I had nightmares for weeks. Sometime between age seven and ten, Mom took me to see Dracula (starring Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein (starring Boris Karloff). No nightmares from those two films. I became hooked on classical horror.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

Many authors have influenced me a great deal. If I can only name one, however, I’ll say Ray Bradbury.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “13th Maggot?”

An article in the newspaper about medical maggots caught my attention. Plus, I worked several years in the field of regulatory compliance for a biotechnology startup company.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I give my characters a lot of personal space during the first manuscript draft or two. After that, we generally need to have some serious discussions inside of my brain. Often my point prevails, but not always. For example, in “13th Maggot,” ongoing drafts held complicated conflicts between my main character and the woman she works with in the lab. The complexity detracted from the main story, but it took my protagonist great effort to show me why we needed a change.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

I used to listen to music often when writing, or before sitting down to write. This music connected me to my protagonists’ emotions. The pattern changed during the final years of my husband’s life. David—my beloved—was the co-protagonist in my daily life, our joint story written with each sunrise and sunset. These days, I’m trying to reintroduce music to my writing experience. I concentrate on the same sort of music as before: general classical, world, baroque organ, ballet and opera favorites, 50’s favorites, bagpipes, and other music David and I used to listen to together.

6.) Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! Rain hitting my face. Tulips blooming. The sound of a steam locomotive’s whistle. The early morning taste of coffee. The odor of pine trees. Sunrises and sunsets. Shadows on the bedroom ceiling in the dark.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, of course, tied for first place with several others, such as The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, and Ghost Story by Peter Straub.

8.) Favorite horror movie?

The Shining, without a doubt.

KSCoverSmall9.) Favorite horror television show?

The six o’clock news.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I’m going through the process of finding a freelance fantasy/magical realism editor for my novel-in-progress: Plague of Flies. Sand Hill Review Press has expressed interest in the final product. Plague of Flies is not a horror story, but blends true horrific events with fantasy and magical realism in 1846 Mexican California, during the Bear Flag Rebellion, when the USA stole Alta California from Mexico.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Phillip T. Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens writes and rescues cats in Austin, Texas. He publishes several times a week for Medium. He is a  contributing author to our new anthology, Kill Switch

1.)    How old were you when you first discovered horror?Phillip T. Stephens

Other than life as a Baptist Preacher’s Kid in general? I don’t remember my exact age, but I remember the event. I was in elementary school, and my father insisted I accompany him to a youth retreat for high school students. The facility was creepy, but the moment of crisis occurred when he showed a movie at midnight (don’t laugh) Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. Toward the very end of the movie is a quick shot of the mummy’s bones, which for some reason I can’t explain having watched the movie a dozen times as an adult, scared the living bejeezus out of me. I couldn’t sleep that night.

The next day we went for a hike around the lake. (If you’ve seen Tarkovsky’s Solaris, think of the lake at Kelvin’s parents’ house.) We rounded a bend and I spotted a moss covered stick poking from the water, a stick which, at that moment, I mistook for a human finger.

I couldn’t sleep by myself for months. Instead, I slept on a cot in my sister’s room, which probably contributed more to my adult neuroses than the moments of terror I experienced at the retreat.

2.)    What author has influenced you most?

Walker Percy, but I suspect you mean horror writer. From a literary standpoint, Peter Straub, but from a writer’s standpoint Steven King. I lived for each new release for several years until The Stand, which became the manual for everything I never wanted to do as a writer. I loved the story, but the prose was atrocious. I continued to read him until It when I couldn’t pick up another book.

This doesn’t change my respect for what he’s accomplished, and I faithfully followed his exploits with Joe Bob Briggs (John Bloom), redneck film reviewer as long as Bloom’s column ran.

3.)    What inspired you to write your piece, “Subroutines?”

I was working with a writing group on the topic “passing through a doorway.”

4.)    How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

If I like the direction they’re taking, they’re free to do as they please. If I think they’re interfering with the story, I’ll slap them down in a heartbeat.

5.)    Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

I have, but I also write with the TV on.  Looking back, I’d say my biggest influences are Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, and Brian Eno.

6.)    Where do you find inspiration?

I’ve trained myself to take inspiration from scraps of information and passing thoughts. I often riff off (aka rip-off) strands of conversation. But it could be a reflection in a window, an asshole ordering coffee, or something that passes the corner of my eye.

7.)    What is your favorite horror novel?

William Browning Spencer’s Zod Wallop. Think night terrors wrapped in a meltdown and surrounded by a mind fuck. Spencer is a brilliant writer that few readers know.

KSCoverSmall8.)    Favorite horror movie?

Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Many consider it science fiction, and it is, and others find it tedious, but this movie exemplifies Tarkovsky’s ability to make beauty from debris. The movie explores the premise: what happens when you discover what your heart truly desires?

9.)    Favorite horror television show?

Twin Peaks. Nobody twists angst into terror better than Lynch.

10.)  What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

That depends on the publications to which I submit. My life is in the hand of good editors like you. I’m making the final corrections to the novella version of my #TweetNovel Doublemint Gumshoe which I posted Tweet-by-Tweet for the better part of a year. Think the mob, digital gangs, the tech industry, aliens, nanobots and the dumbest detective who ever lived. We’ll see what happens.

You can find Phillip on Twitter and Instagram.

Chilling Chat: Episode 165 David Leinweber

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David Leinweber is a historian with over 25 years of experience in the college classroom. He has published numerous articles, reviews, essays, and academic reference worksDavid Leinweber (including works on folklore, the occult, mythology, magic, and religion.) Dr. Leinweber is also a lifelong guitarist and pianist whose music has been featured in numerous venues, ranging from festivals and clubs to television, radio, theaters, and art galleries.

David is an amazing professor and an accomplished musician. We spoke of horror, inspiration, and the legacy of Dracula.

NTK:  Welcome to Chilling Chat, David. Thank you for chatting with me today. Could you tell us about A Song of Dracula? What is it about?

DL: A Song of Dracula is a romantic musical, loosely based on the classic 1897 novel by Bram Stoker, and also Jane Eyre.  It features a collection of original spooky songs, along with a few tavern singalongs.

It is about a young girl named Madeleine who arrives as a governess at a great estate in England, like Jane Eyre.  There is a romantic interest with the head of the estate (also like Jane Eyre).  However, witchcraft, vampirism, and a ghost enter into the story.  I really wanted it not to be gory or sensationalistic, however—no hissing or blood.  It’s a romantic story.

NTK: What inspired you to write this musical?

DL: Well, I’ve been a lifelong horror fan, especially of the old Victorian novels like Carmilla and Dracula, as well as the classic horror films.  I wanted this to be a production that evoked the romance and the historical/geographical settings of the old films, especially Hammer Films.  I also wanted it to be something that could range in targeted audiences from adult theater groups to community or high-school productions.

Interestingly, the word vampire does not appear in the story, though it’s obvious that is what is going on.

NTK: How much research went into A Song of Dracula? Did you try to incorporate songs appropriate to the time period?

DL: I would say that the play/musical reflects my long interest in horror, romance and gothic lit, if not flat-out research.  I did try to evoke spooky songs that have the spirit of a gothic estate.  There are also some tavern tunes that would be good for sailors or other port-city type characters right out of central casting (Laughs.)  However, I think the songs could be interpreted in a number of different ways.  I mostly envision them as spooky, romantic ballads.  But several could be done in a range of styles, including a few that could be hard-rock with electric guitar, and a light show.  I think a lot would depend on the director’s ideas.  For me, though, it’s a romantic Victorian gothic story, first and foremost.

NTK:  What do you think the attraction to Dracula is? Why does he have such a lasting legacy?

Bela LugosiDL: Great question.  I certainly think one could point to the classic psychological themes, like the fear of death, or subliminal sexual desires.  I also think that a good vampire story often has a folklore quality to it, and evokes a sense of being bound in time.  I sometimes think the classic elements of the Dracula tale don’t appear as much in vampire stories of the present-day when so many film studios want to update the classic elements.  Call it cliche if you want, but some of the classic horror tropes were very powerful and we should try to transmit them to the next generation.

NTK:  How did you discover horror? How old were you?

DL: Pretty young.  There was a guy on TV in Detroit when I was a kid called Sir Graves Ghastly—a Saturday matinee movie host who came out of a coffin hosted old horror movies, told bad horror jokes, read kids’ birthday cards, and all that.  I used to watch him every Saturday.  I remember all the “House of” horror movies he showed, which were truly classics, among many others.  I also was a big Dark Shadows fan, though pretty young at the time.

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror film?

DL: Another great question.  Hard to answer though (Laughs.)  I actually like some of the quiet, spooky films like Let’s Scare Jessica to Death.  But I think the Hammer films are my favorite, especially the three horror films they did that were loosely based on CarmillaThe Vampire Lovers, To Love a Vampire.  There was something special about the horror films of the late sixties and early seventies—it was still the hippie era, with all the creativity and mood that came out of it.  The fact that there were Drive-in Movies back then also created a big demand for lots of movies.  They weren’t all exactly Citizen Kane or The Godfather, but they were usually pretty fun to watch, and often surprisingly good.  That was also before Star Wars came out, which changed Hollywood into more of a Blockbuster mindset and the tasteful little movies, including B films and Drive-in Movie titles, became less common.

NTK: As a musician, did you find these soundtracks inspiring?

DL: Yes, a lot of those films had fine soundtracks.  The film I mentioned Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, in particular, had a really distinct soundtrack— quiet piano and flutes and guitar lines that really created that sense of loneliness, haunted locales, and, towards the end, isolation and fear.  That soundtrack really gave that sense of going back in time.  The Hammer Film, Lust for a Vampire, also had a really strange, very ‘sixties’ sounding tune—“Strange Love.”  It’s almost comical to watch it today because it can seem dated and out of place in the film, but it was actually a pretty eerie musical effect.

NTK: Who do you think portrayed the best Dracula?

DL: Of course, I like the Lugosi and Lee Draculas.  But Lon Chaney also did a good job and John Carradine.  But a sometimes underrated and/or less noted version was the Frank Langella 1979 Dracula, a very fine production.

NTK:  Do you have a favorite horror novel?

DL: Well, I guess the obvious choices would be Dracula and Carmilla.  But beyond those two classics, I remember that Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot really scared the heck out of me when I first read it, along with the 1979 miniseries.  When I was a kid, I used to read a lot of the cheap paperback horror novels, too, though I don’t have time for that anymore and I’m not sure if there is as big a market for them as there used to be.  Horror novels were kind of like horror movies.  They made a lot of them, which meant that there were often some quite good ones mixed in with others that weren’t’ so good, but it was always fun to read through the find the gems.

NTK: Do you think there’s any truth to be found in the folklore surrounding vampires? Do you think there are personalities who could be considered vampiric?

DL: Another great question.  Well, I certainly can see how the folklore had its roots—all the classic fears of premature burial, blood-borne diseases, or wasting away.  I also think the classic vampire motif that mixes terrible fear with desire is very powerful, for everybody.

And yes, I do think there are people who could be considered vampiric.  Not sure I want to give any names (Laughs.)  I think there are people who have a way of draining your energy and vitality.  They get stronger and richer, while you get weaker, more uncertain, and lose your zest for life.  But I guess the most classic vampire is a romantic attraction, and sometimes even kind of tragic and sad in the way they kill what they love.

NTK: David, what does the future hold for A Song of Dracula? Where can Horror Addicts see the musical? And, do you have any other upcoming horror projects?

DL: Well, I’m really hoping to have a good theater production do the musical.  Of course, Dark ShadowsI’d even love to have it turned into a film.  But first and foremost, it’s a theatrical production.  I’m still working on finding the right theater to debut the show, but hopefully soon.  I also enjoy writing ghost songs and am compiling a list of ghost songs to release as a song cycle.  My song “Daphne,” about the Kate Jackson character Daphne Harridge on Dark Shadows, remains my favorite song and it was the ghost song I wrote that got me the most inspired along these musical and storytelling lines.  Kate Jackson loves the song, which was encouraging.

NTK: Thank you so much for joining me, David. It’s not often we gain insight from an awesome educator like yourself.

DL: Thanks again for your interest in my musical and thoughts about horror.

Chilling Chat: Episode 164 Christa Carmen

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Christa Carmen’s work has been featured in myriad anthologies, e-zines, and podcasts, including Fireside Fiction Company, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 2, Outpost 28 HorrorAddictsphoto_Carmen,ChristaIssues 2 & 3, Third Flatiron’s Strange Beasties, and Tales to Terrify. Her debut collection, Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked, is available now from Unnerving, and won the 2018 Indie Horror Book Award for Best Debut Collection.

Christa is an intriguing and intelligent woman. We spoke of writing, inspiration, and influential authors.

NTK: Thank you for joining me today, Christa.

CC: Thank you so much for having me!

NTK: Could you tell the Horror Addicts how you got interested in horror?

CC: Some of the first books I devoured were the ones in the Bunnicula series, as well as the Goosebumps and Fear Street books by R.L. Stine. I actually had a rather bizarre experience when I was in third grade… I went to a friend’s birthday party (I say ‘friend’ lightly, I think she was more of an acquaintance), and it was a slumber party. There was talk that we were going to partake in some mystical thing called a “Double Feature,” but when the movies in question were revealed, my nine-year-old self was horrified. After being subjected to Leprechaun and Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, I walked around in a very Elm Street-esque, sleepless daze for about a week before the memories of those terror-inducing films began to lessen. I steered clear of horror after that for about four years, then gave it another change with Halloween when I was about thirteen. Though I still ruminated long into the night over the chances of Michael Myers making his way into my bedroom, something about this experience must have struck a chord within me, because from that moment on, I was hooked.

NTK: Who are your writing influences?

CC: I’ve split this list between authors who inspired me to first pick up a pen and authors who inspire me to continue writing on a daily basis. That list of authors I grew up reading and wanting to emulate includes R.L. Stine, as well as Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Dean Koontz, Frank M. Robinson, Mary Shelley, Margaret Mitchell, Sarah Waters, Sidney Sheldon, Harper Lee, Edgar Allan Poe, and Dan Simmons.

The authors who inspire me to continue writing, who challenge me to be the best writer I can be, include Carmen Maria Machado, Gwendolyn Kiste, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Jessica McHugh, Nadia Bulkin, Ania Ahlborn, Jac Jemc, Alma Katsu, Christina Sng, Elizabeth Hand, Joyce Carol Oates, Claire C. Holland, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, Renee Miller, Theresa Braun, Seanan McGuire, Kelly Link, Damien Angelica Walters, Lauren Groff, Roxane Gay, Annie Hartnett, Agatha Christie, Jennifer McMahon, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, J.K. Rowling, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen Dobyns, Michael McDowell, Jack Ketchum, Caroline Kepnes, Ruth Ware, Sarah Pinborough, Gillian Flynn, B.A. Paris, Joe Hill, John Palisano, John Langan, Nicholas Kauffman, Grady Hendrix, Sara Tantlinger, Dean Kuhta, and Calvin Demmer. Mind you, this list might seem long, but it is imperfect and ever-growing!

NTK: It’s a great list! Christa, where do you find inspiration? And, what inspired “This Our Angry Train?”

CC: I find inspiration everywhere, as cliche as that may sound. I’ve had stories spring from the strangest of places as well as from the most innocuous ones, from a flock of extremely over-sized turkeys roosting on tree branches that seem destined to collapse beneath their weight to everyday hummingbirds sipping from their plastic feeders, from a cyber attack that led to enigmatic photos appearing on my cell phone to your regular old post or news article scrolled past before bed. In some instances, the inspiration behind a story is a great deal more direct than a reader may anticipate, and in the case of “This Our Angry Train,” the events that led to the story were indeed a matter of life informing art.

In the summer of 2016, I attended an event in Brookline, Massachusetts that featured Joe Hill, Paul Tremblay, Kat Howard, and Thomas Olde Heuvelt. Joe Hill ended up mentioning Kelly Link’s “The Specialist’s Hat” over the course of the discussion, and I spent the train ride back to Westerly reading Link’s bizarre and thoroughly unsettling story. Upon finishing it, I experienced this strange half-waking dream during which I became certain I was no longer on the same train I had boarded.

When I sat down to write my story of a train as an extension of a young woman’s fears that she is not as far removed from the bad decisions of her past as she might have thought, that she may, in fact, be heading backward without even realizing she’d changed direction, my pen couldn’t move across the page fast enough. After completing the first draft, it occurred to me that the story might benefit from an element of connective tissue, some incantation all the characters on this midnight train to madness know and feel the need to recite.

I knew of Joyce Kilmer from his poem, “Trees,” but I simply Googled ‘poems about trains,’ and found “The Twelve-Forty-Five” after a minimal amount of research. In the same way that the excerpts from ‘An Oral History of Eight Chimneys’ are weaved throughout the narrative of “The Specialist’s’ Hat,” the stanzas from “The Twelve-Forty-Five” are meant to break up Lauren’s train ride fever dream, and ultimately contribute to the mounting horror.

Something Borrowed Something BloodsoakedNTK: Where do your characters come from? Do they have free will? Or do you direct their actions?

CC: While I want my stories to be character-driven, I usually come up with the idea for a story first, and the character is contained within that story idea. For example, if I wanted to tell a story that says something about women being routinely disbelieved, and how this is a serious a problem whether it’s within the plot of a horror film or in real life, at, say, a doctor’s office where an M.D. is telling a woman that everything is fine because he believes she is exaggerating her symptoms, or when a woman is kidnapped or killed by her stalker because the police didn’t believe her when she said he was a threat, then I would start to write the draft of that story, and find my protagonist coming to life from one scene to the next, fulfilling the needs of the narrative.

I used to think I directed my characters’ actions pretty much across the board, with occasional surprises where they’ve gone off in a direction I didn’t see coming. With that being said, I’ve found that my characters are acting of their own free will more and more, and I can probably chalk that up to feeling more comfortable with my story-telling abilities the longer that I write.

NTK:  You spoke of Halloween earlier. Is that your favorite horror film? If not, what is your favorite?

CC: I do love the original Halloween (and the remakes that Rob Zombie directed, which might earn me a few groans of disgust from die-hard Carpenter fans), but the 2013 remake of The Evil Dead is my favorite horror film of all time. I love it because, in addition to existing within the Evil Dead universe, it introduces fans to a new protagonist in Mia. Plot-wise, it’s pretty straightforward: Mia is brought to a rundown cabin in the woods by her brother and her friends in order to detox from heroin. That everything this Ash Williams-worthy heroine endures after her arrival is borne while simultaneously going through cold turkey withdrawal, propels this film into territory that, for me, far surpasses a simple supernatural horror film or a wannabe Evil Dead installment heavy on the gore.

The film is like a perfectly constructed layer cake. The death scenes are memorable, the horror is palpable, and yet, there is an entire subplot in which a very real and fleshed-out character is struggling to overcome a very real and highly formidable affliction. Writer/director Fede Álvarez’s decision to have Mia’s addiction provide the foundation for her strength in fighting off the evil that possesses first her, and then her friends, is truly commendable. It gives the Final Girl’s gumption the backstory it deserves.

I’ve always found the final scene to strike such an intensely visceral emotional chord: as the blood-rain pours down, Mia’s evil doppelgänger prophesizes, “You’re gonna die here, you pathetic junkie.” To which Mia responds, like an addict who has crashed to rock bottom and is finally on the verge of change, “I’ve had enough of this shit.”

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror TV show?

CC: Unsurprisingly, my favorite show (although sadly, it was canceled after only three seasons), is Ash vs Evil Dead. With her character, Kelly Maxwell, Dana DeLorenzo does Bruce Campbell AND Jane Levy proud.

NTK: What does the future hold for you, Christa? What works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

CC: I have a fair amount of forthcoming fiction and nonfiction this year, including a Outpost 28 Isue 2.jpgpiece of flash fiction entitled “Shadows” in Issue 4 of Outpost 28, planned for July or August of this year, and a reprint of a story called “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” to air on The Wicked Library podcast (the story originally appeared in Issue 2 of Outpost 28) There have been a few delays in publication, but I have two stories coming out with Chilling Tales for Dark Nights, “Shark Minute” and “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”, the first as part of a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark tribute anthology, the second on The Simply Scary Podcast Network. I’ll have a story appearing in a middle-grade graphic anthology coming out in October of 2019, and I have two other stories coming out in unannounced anthologies, later in the year. My nonfiction essay, “A Ghost is a Wish Your Heart Makes,” will be published in a scholarly anthology of articles on Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House series. I also have a story, “And Sweetest in the Gale is Heard” appearing in the Not All Monsters anthology, edited by Sara Tantlinger and to be released by Strange House Books in the fall of 2020.

After that, I hope to release either the novel I’ve been working on for the past two years, Coming Down Fast, or the new novel I’ve planned for my thesis at Stonecoast (MFA program at the University of Southern Maine), which is a historical horror novel, the details about which I won’t say too much more.

NTK: Congratulations! We’ll look forward to it. Thank you for chatting with me, Christa. You’re a delightful guest.

CC: Thank you so very much, Naching and HorrorAddicts for having me, and for posing such fun and horror-centric questions!!!

 

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Riley Pierce

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Riley J. Pierce lives in Wisconsin with her family, and her growing collection of books. Always fascinated by horror and science fiction, she finds inspiration for the macabre DSCN4277everywhere. When she’s not writing, she can be found binge-watching the latest horror film alone in the dark.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

In second grade, in our school library, we were each assigned a section to keep clean and organized. I was assigned the horror section. I spent hours in that section reading all about the paranormal, haunted civil war battlefields around me, and spooky folklore.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

I’ve always loved to read, so I truly believe that my love of writing came from discovering the writing of Alvin Schwartz.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

I love nautical folklore. I loved that sirens and mermaids were beautifully lethal in some legends, and I wanted to take that, but look at it a bit differently.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Yes and no. I’m a meticulous planner in my everyday life, so when it comes to a character, I tend to let them have free will only when it suits their chosen path. I would call it more of an implied free will.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

Being challenged to write in so many different formats with various word limits and themes taught me to step out of the puzzlebox (hi, Hellraiser fans) a little bit more than I would have on my own.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I would most definitely do it again. I believe next time around I would allow myself the time and space to brainstorm more before choosing the first or second idea.

7) What is your favorite horror novel?

Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

                                                                      8) Favorite horror movie?

NGHWEdPSmThis is a tough one! I would probably say Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but that’s on a masterpiece classic level. For my favorite villain, Nightmare on Elm Street. For something that’s a fun watch, I’d choose Hereditary, Drag Me to Hell, or Hellraiser.

9) Favorite horror television show?

Masters of Horror.

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I’m still working on a few projects, but to share my love of writing with others, I’ve been leading workshops at my local library on creative writing, novel outlining, and blogging.

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Timothy G. Huguenin

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Timothy G. Huguenin lives in the dark Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. He is the author of the Appalachian horror novels When the Watcher Shakes and Little One. His tghugueninshort fiction has appeared in various places including Hinnom Magazine, Beneath the Waves: Tales From the Deep, and Horror Tales Podcast. Timothy is an active member of the Horror Writers Association.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was in middle school, I think, when my parents bought me a collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories for Christmas. I loved it! I still go back to Poe often. I get the feeling that he is more often talked about than actually read. His work is still unique and effective today.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

If you judge this based on the most books I’ve read by any one horror writer, I suppose you would say Stephen King wins. I’m constantly amazed at his ability to make characters that I absolutely buy into. Even the ones who are mostly just exaggerated stereotypes are somehow still so lifelike and believable. This talent allows him to take the whackiest idea and turn it into a compelling story. However, over the last couple years, I’ve been turning more toward the weirder side of horror. Authors like Robert Aickman and Thomas Ligotti have been very influential on my recent writing. Lastly, I want to mention Michael Wehunt. I think his work is fabulous, and more people need to read Greener Pastures.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

It happened and kinda freaked me out. My wife explained to me what was really going on, but it was a very strange experience when I didn’t understand it.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Generally speaking, I have a basic framework for how a character will react to things, and their personality and actions grow out of that as I write and continue to develop/get to know them. I try not to be too forceful. I am mostly a “pantser.” There is something about it, especially when the story is going smoothly and quickly, that feels as if the characters have their own will, even though I am the one creating them. I suppose it depends on how you define “free will.” Everyone’s will is limited to some degree by something. So “free” must always be relative, whether you are talking in terms of writing fiction or in terms of philosophy.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

The contest forced me to try some things I normally wouldn’t do and write a few more things that I might not have written otherwise. One of the short stories I wrote for the contest was my first conscious attempt at pure cosmic horror (not a requirement for the prompt, btw, just how it turned out). It did not score well with the judges, but I consider it one of my best pieces. Agree to disagree, right?

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I probably could not do it again, at least in the foreseeable future. I just don’t have the time or the mental space for it. I have enough writing projects I need to focus on, as well as other things I need to work on in life, like work, school, and my marriage. I am not a good multitasker.

7) What is your favorite horror novel?

That is a tough one. Just off the top of my head, I’m going to say Revival by Stephen King. But Dracula really made a great impression on me. It often depends on the mood I am when I read something, and the environment. These things greatly shape our feelings toward a book, more than we probably realize. I read a great deal of Dracula in a small tent during a violent thunderstorm in the Cherokee National Forest. I’m not sure if I will feel the same way about it next time I read it. One of my favorite books of all time, which I have read many times and always loved, is 1984 by George Orwell. Few people would consider it a horror novel (especially those outside our little camp), but it captures that creeping sense of dread that I look for better than almost any other book that claims to be horror.

8) Favorite horror movie?

I’m not sure if it is my favorite or not, but I finally got around to watching Carnival of Souls and really loved it. Though I’m not sure it totally made sense.

9) Favorite horror television show?

NGHWEdPSmOK, maybe I’ll disappoint some people with this because there’s a lot of really better polished and very popular horror TV shows that have been made since then, but I really love The X Files, which wasn’t always horror but did have plenty of monsters.

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

You’ll probably see some more of my short fiction being published this year. I have a novel manuscript that I’m trying to find a good fit for. As far as works in progress, I am about 5,000 words into a new novel, but most of the writing I’ve done this year has been on a short story that turned into a novelette and may even keep growing to novella length. Not sure what’s going to happen with it. We’ll see.

 

You can find Timothy on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.

 

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Cat Voleur

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Cat Voleur is a horror blogger and writer of dark speculative fiction. She is following up her traditional education with studies in linguistics and parapsychology. When she is notMe at work or school, she’s enjoying a nice book or stressful video game in the company of her many feline friends.

1)  How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was about 8 when I acknowledged that horror was a genre, but I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawn to it. I grew up loving scary stories and some of my first favorite movies were the black and white horror classics.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

My favorite author would be Joe Hill. He consistently amazes me with his work, and has written some of my favorite novels and short stories. I’d say Stephen King is one of my strongest influences, for better and worse, because reading him taught me to include a lot of detail – much of which has to be edited out later. Some of my more recent influences would be Clive Barker and Max Lobdell.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

The piece I have included in the collection is actually nonfiction. When I read that prompt, it was just the event that I was taken back to and I tried to write it as faithfully as I could remember.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I think a lot of that depends on the project. The longer a piece is the more the characters control me, but I feel like I have a certain level of authority when writing something a little more structured, like flash fiction.

I remember recently I was trying to explain my writing process to a friend, and I described myself as a sort of “Jigsaw” in regards to my less polished ideas. I set up these really dark scenarios based off of my assumption that I know the characters who will be experiencing them, but sometimes they surprise me with their will to survive or think outside the box.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

I learned a lot of things about myself participating in the contest, a lot of personal things regarding my limits as a creator and my writing process.

The most important thing that I learned about writing horror though, would be how connected it is to other genres. I think one of the hardest aspects for me was that it required the contestants to write in many different tones for many different mediums that I would never have expected from a horror contest. The challenge I found most difficult was the comedy commercial script. Some of my favorite horror films are the self-referential slashers that rely very heavily on dark comedy, but I had never considered writing comedy as something I should try to improve on until this contest.

It was difficult, but learning about all the things that tie into horror made me a  better writer.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I would absolutely do it again.

The one thing I’d do differently is I’d stick it out to the end. At the time I was participating in the contest, there were just so many personal things going on in my life that felt out of my control. I ended up switching jobs, moving across the country, there was a lot of my drama with my extended family, and I was struggling with a relationship that I didn’t realize was very unhealthy and actually harmful to me. When I also fell ill, it felt like one thing too many, and I just wasn’t turning out the quality of work I wanted to be submitting, so I dropped out.

That might have been the right thing at the time because I got worse before I got better, but I’ve learned a lot since then. I have more control over my life than I realized, so if I got another opportunity to compete in something I feel this passionately about, I’d feel confident in prioritizing it higher than I did last time around.

7)What is your favorite horror novel?

My favorite horror novel is The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker.

Aside from being an intimately disturbing read, I’ve never found a horror novel that reads quite so poetically. It’s some of the most beautiful body horror ever written.

8) Favorite horror movie?

My favorite horror movie is Cabin in the Woods because it’s got a little bit of everything. It’s funny, it’s scary, it’s emotional, and it’s so intelligently written. It pokes fun at the genre while simultaneously expressing a deep love for it, explaining tropes along the way. You can enjoy it as a casual fan, or watch it over and over to pick up every last horror movie reference they squeezed in. It’s been my favorite movie since I saw it in theater, and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

9) Favorite horror television show?

NGHWEdPSmThe Haunting of Hill House, hands down.

I’ve been a Mike Flanagan fan for years now, but he handled the source material so brilliantly that I don’t even have to worry about being biased; the show’s just good. It’s scary, it’s gorgeous, and there are always new things to discover if you are in the mood to watch it again.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

Now that I’ve had plenty of time to recover and get my life back on track, I feel confident in saying that the future holds more horror writing for me.

I have a few very dark, experimental short stories under consideration right now and am about to start querying for my first two longer projects. Of course, I’m still blogging about the genre whenever I can find the time.

You can find Cat on Twitter and please, check out her Portfolio Site.

 

 

 

 

 

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Abi Kirk-Thomas

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Abi Kirk-Thomas lives in the UK and studied as a theoretical archaeologist in Wales. She lives with her husband and 2-year old chocolate Lab called Adam. She’s currently studying AEKirkmassage therapy. She loves reading horror and dabbles from time to time in poetry.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was 18 when I discovered horror.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

Andy McDermott is my favourite author, he’s more sci-fi/action but I’ve always had some action in my horror stories to keep up the pace.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

I hardly write poems but I always thought that if there was a zombie apocalypse and there was a vampire left in the world what would happen to them. It was pure chance I came up with the poem, I wanted to mix in comedy with romance and sadness.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters?

All my characters have free will, but I do find if I’m writing something that is shocking for readers, I do cackle like a witch.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

I learned that, sadly, writing isn’t for me. It’s a hobby but it’s fun. I would not participate in any further contests.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I do write but it’s only for fun. I would not participate in the contest. I found I like free reign on what I write. Contests take the fun out of writing what you want.

7) What is your favorite horror novel?

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill.

NGHWEdPSm8.) Favorite horror movie?

Battle Royale.

9) Favorite horror television show?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer but it wasn’t scary.

10)  What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

As I’m not writing, I’m starting up my massage business. But, I wish all those the best of luck publishing their works.

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Feind Gottes

 

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Feind Gottes [Fee-nd Gotz] is a horror nut, metal lover, and an award-winning horror author. He resides near Omaha, NE with his girlfriend and one crazy cat.  Feind has Feind Gottes author photostories appearing in seven anthologies with several more to be published in 2019, and is currently editing his debut novel.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

For me, I was probably about 4 years old. The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz absolutely terrified me. I got over it, of course, only to have my older sister torment me with The Amityville Horror (1979) until I forced myself to watch it. Once I did I was hooked. I think I was about 9 or 10 years old at the time.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

My favorite author without question is Clive Barker. I’ve never read anyone else whose prose affects me the way his does. As for influences I have many since I was an avid reader for about thirty years before I began writing myself. A few of the major ones would be Stephen King, JRR Tolkien, Frank L Baum, John Grisham and, of course, the absolute master of the macabre Edgar Allan Poe.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

I like to think I write horror for fans of horror which means I write with the expectation that my readers already have some horror background. My essay was the first time I have written anything that was expected to be humorous so I tried to throw in a few references for horror fans like Ash (Bruce Campbell) from The Evil Dead, Dr. West (Jeffrey Combs) from Re-animator, and Dr. Satan from House of a 1,000 Corpses. Some may not get these references and that’s ok. I did that simply as a wink and a nod to horror fans who do know.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I think I try to balance the two. I control the actions of my characters but as I write and develop a character how they enact those actions or react to them may differ from my initial plan. That is part of the fun of the process in bringing a character to life. Sometimes you have to change your plan on the fly which is why I don’t make a rigid plot outline before I begin a new work.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

The biggest thing I learned from the NGHW contest was writing in styles completely out of my comfort zone. I had never even attempted anything humorous, I hadn’t written a serious poem in years and I had never attempted writing an advertisement script. Whether I write any of those specific styles again matters little, doing it forced me to grow as a writer. Having to meet all the deadlines didn’t hurt either.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I would absolutely do it again if I had the time. I’d do nothing differently though, everything I write is the best thing I can write in that moment. The contacts and friendships formed from participating in this contest are absolutely invaluable. I didn’t look at the other participants as my competition but simply as fellow writers struggling to have their voices heard. Writing is not a competitive sport despite this being a contest. I don’t think anyone who participated lost anything. We all gained knowledge which is more important than anything else.

7) What is your favorite horror novel?

I have to say It by Stephen King since the category is “horror novel” but my favorite novel is Imajica by Clive Barker. Both are absolute masterpieces.

8) Favorite horror movie?

Tough one for me as I’ve seen literally hundreds, if not thousands from the Universal Monsters to Cannibal Holocaust. I usually give one of two answers to this one so either High Tension (2003 – Alexander Aja’s 1st film) or Phantasm (1979).

9) Favorite horror television show?

Hands down it’s Ash vs Evil Dead. Bruce Campbell is simply the best!

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

nghwedpsmThe truth is VERY MUCH! In fact, people may get sick of seeing my name this year. As of today, I’ve had one anthology released, 100 Word Horrors: Part 2, (I get to share pages with some truly great authors in this one) and I have 9 more anthologies scheduled for release this year (including NGHW: Editor’s Picks!) with another half dozen pending. Also if I can kick my butt in gear my debut novel, Piece It All Back Together, will be unleashed by Stitched Smile Publications before the end of the year. I’m not looking for any pats on the back, these publications are the result of a few years of writing my butt off non-stop. If you want to be successful you have to work hard, plain and simple.

I’ve also been contributing some horror movie reviews to a friend’s website, Machine Mean, and recently launched my own website, Feind’s Fiends, to try keeping everyone (including myself) updated on what I have in the works. All while now working 45 hours/week at the day job, gotta pay those dang bills! Regardless of what success I achieve, or do not, I will be writing terrible things until I have faded into the void. I’ve adopted the motto… Stay Positive & Make Good Art!

You can find Feind on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter

 

 

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Adele Marie Park

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Growing up on an Orcadian island, surrounded by folk tales and the sea helped Adele Marie Park become a writer.  She believes horror is paranormal. It is as solid as your Adele picheartbeat when you’re home alone and the floorboards creak upstairs.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

My family had a farm on the Orkney island of Rousay. Around five years old I can remember the authentic folklore of Orkney being explained to me as very much alive. There was a field next to the house that had a knowe, that’s Norse for mound, and it was not only a trow, (troll) house but also where they had burned a witch. So, whether true or not that’s when I got my first taste of horror.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

I have several favourites, but Stephen King has influenced me and so has Poppy Z Brite and of course I cannot leave out Anne Rice. Those three have influenced me greatly.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

Japanese culture and music, especially Visual Kei, is a favorite and as the piece prompt was about horrific musical instruments, what better than to combine Japanese Yokai with music.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Most of my characters tell me what they are doing. However, if it goes against the plot then I can reign them in.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

It was a sharp learning curve which brought my writing under criticism, the harshest critic being myself. I plunged down into darkness and rose again to the light. I found my writing voice and that is priceless.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

If my workload was less than it is now, then yes, I would do it again and this time around, I know my style has improved. Also, I would have an assistant to read the questions for me as having dyspraxia meant for at least two of the challenges I scored low because I didn’t understand the questions and thought I did.

nghwedpsm7) What is your favourite horror novel?

Just one? Okay, Christine by Stephen King

8) Favourite horror movie?

The Conjuring directed by the master, James Wan.

9) Favourite horror television show?

Supernatural just keeps on giving.

10)What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I have just been signed by Black Wolf publishing for my horror novel Wolfe Manor and will also have a horror short story in the next publication of Dan Alatorre’s award-winning anthology. The 2nd book of my fantasy series, Wisp, will be published this year and I plan to work on an illustrated companion book to go with the trilogy. I can’t stop writing, there are too many stories in my head. Wait a moment, that’s a great idea for a horror story.

You can find Adele on Facebook.

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Sumiko Saulson

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Sumiko Saulson is a cartoonist, horror writer, editor of Black Magic Women – on the 2019 Stoker’s Recommended Reads List – and 100 Black Women in Horror Fiction. Author of MauskaveliSolitude, Warmth, Moon Cried Blood, Happiness and Other Diseases. Comics Mauskaveli, Dooky, Dreamworlds, and Agrippa. She writes for SEARCH Magazine.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

My parents were both big horror fans, and I was watching horror movies in the theater when I was 4 or 5 years old. My mom told me dad took her to see Rosemary’s Baby when she was pregnant with me, but of course, I don’t remember that. I do remember watching Dark Shadows with Mom, Outer Limits and Twilight Zone with Dad, and going to see It’s Alive, the first horror movie I actually remember, when I was about 5 years old. It was about a horrible monster baby who ate people. I loved it! The first horror novel I read was Peter Straub’s Ghost Story when I was 11. I was also reading a lot of horror shorts among the sci-fi shorts in Asimov’s Science Fiction.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

My favorite writer changes a lot and at the moment it is Toni Morrison, who isn’t even a horror writer but is one of my most-read writers nonetheless. My influences are all pretty mainstream. I picked up The Talisman when I was 12 and added Stephen King to my favorite writer’s list along with Edgar Allen Poe. Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, Christopher Rice, Susan Cooper, Frank Herbert. I have ingested so many books by a few favorites that I am sure my writing style has been affected. I am also a huge fan of anthologies and sci-fi, horror, and fantasy magazines where you can gain exposure to lots of different writers in small tastes, and see who you like. I read a lot of Weird Sisters and other horror tale magazines as a teen. Those affected me. Mythologies have affected me a lot. I read a lot of Greek, Roman and Norse mythology as a kid, and as an adult, I casually read both historical mythologies and created mythologies. I should have listed CS Lewis because the created mythology in Chronicles of Narnia impacted me heavily as an adolescent.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

The song’s title “Under the Water” is from the song of that name by the artist Jewel from the movie The Craft. The story I wrote is about a ship that is being seduced by a giant cephalopod (squid or octopus) type sea monster such as a Kracken who wants her to become a ghost ship. Both the ship and the monster are female. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was definitely an inspiration, as were Greek and Roman myths about sea monsters such as the Kraken and the Charybdis – a monster whose mouth created whirlpools to drag ships to the bottom of the ocean. The ship would have to sacrifice her human cargo to the monster, so they would become part of a ghost ship. As the ship is dragged deeper into the depths by the cephalopod, she begins to doubt the sincerity of the sea creature because she sees lots of dead seamen from the past and torn up ships. Then, the monster starts talking to her like Armand in The Theater of Vampires did to the woman he drained on stage, about how even if she’s being lied to it would be a glorious noble death so she wins either way. That part of the story was inspired by my former fiance’s battle with drugs, which ultimately ended his life, not long after. I had written a lot of sea stories the year prior about the drowning man sort of feeling being dragged down into the depths of addiction gives one. So this is sort of an allegory. Drugs are seductive and so is the sea creature.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Some of my characters have more free will than others. It depends on whether the story is world-driven or character-driven. The vast majority of my stories are character-driven, which means that about a third of the way into the story, the world is built, the scene is set, and the characters sort of begin to write themselves. The more free will the characters have, the less technical and more moving the writing is.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

I do my best work short story when I have more time than was allotted during the contest. I have great story ideas, but my ability to follow through and edit them on such tight deadlines is severely inhibited. I’m good at taking, absorbing, and responding to criticism but I dislike it. I am very absent-minded, probably due to having post-traumatic stress disorder. Greg – my ex-fiance – overdosed May 26, 2017, and I could have pulled out of the contest, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to. I am a very determined person. I found out I am tougher than I think I am. I found out I CAN work on those tight deadlines, even if it isn’t my forte. And sixth place out of hundreds who applied and I think 15 or so who competed is not too bad. I also learned that it is really important to have clever story titles. And that I need someone else to proofread my work before I send it in.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I don’t regret doing it so I absolutely would. I regret not asking for help after Greg died. I literally sent in the wrong manuscript, and I lost 10 points for not reaching the right word count and dropped from 4th place to 9th place overnight because I made a mistake and sent in the wrong file. It makes me want to cry when I think about it to this day. I had a version of the story that was completed, and I could have sent it in and I definitely would have placed higher – maybe 4th place, if I hadn’t slipped up. I can’t prevent people from dying, but I can ask for support when I need it from my family and friends. On the bright side, I did get the story accepted for Loren Rhoads’ charity anthology, Tales from the Campfire. She said it was her favorite one in the whole anthology! Of course, I edited it twice – once for an anthology Dan Shaurette was working on called Not Today  – he rejected it – and then for a Mary Shelley work honoring anthology of some kind that rejected it. Getting rejected and doing re-writes seems to be a part of the business. And I finally took the judges’ advice and changed the damned story title! It was called Experiment IV, it is now called Unheard Music from the Dank Underground. The advice about avoiding dull story titles was some of the most memorable from the contest. I would say it was an educational experience and that I notice the people who were in the top five are all popping up all over the place and quickly moving ahead in their careers so I think it’s educational, and good experience and people should go for it!

nghwedpsm7) What is your favorite horror novel?

         The Vines by Christopher Rice

8) Favorite horror movie?

        Candyman

9) Favorite horror television show?

        Supernatural

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

As you may know, I am the only black author who completed the contest, and even though I made it in sixth, not first place, that alone makes me a winner just because I decided to stick it out and to represent. I totally hate it when I am watching Face/Off or some other horror related contest and the black guy gets voted off in the first or third episode, so I was very determined to stick it out.

I got a lot of interest from black anthologies and people who are interested in horror authors of African heritage. I got three stories in Scierogenous II which is edited by Valjeanne Jeffers and Quinton Neal. I also edited Black Magic Women, a horror anthology on Mocha Memoirs Press. It ended up being on the Bram Stoker’s Recommended Reads list in 2018 and did quite well critically and in terms of sales. I edited Crystal Connor’s YA horror story My 1st Nightmare. I am editing my second anthology, Wickedly Abled, a collection of stories horror, dark fantasy and dark sci-fi by and about disabled people. I am working on Akmani, the fourth book in the Happiness and Other Diseases series and Disillusionment, the second in the Solitude series. I am starting to appear at conventions nationally and not just locally. I’m still churning out short stories and getting into more and more anthologies.

Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Jonathan Fortin

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Jonathan Fortin was named the Next Great Horror Writer by HorrorAddicts.net and is a graduate of the Clarion Writing Program. His novel Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus is a JonathanFortinAuthorPhoto_Sepiaforthcoming release from Crystal Lake Publishing.

1) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I remember getting into horror as early as first grade when I started reading the Goosebumps books. Then in middle school, I became obsessed with Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow and wrote a trilogy of short vampire novels. However, I was an anxious, easily-terrified child, so I didn’t fully embrace horror until later in life. Now, I’d always been drawn into darkly magical worlds, even in the video games I adored (American McGee’s Alice, Planescape: Torment, Vampire the Masquerade, etc.) But because I was so sensitive, it was rare for me to watch horror movies in my youth. That changed when I went to college, and began trying to face my fears and challenge my limits. I realized then that I’d been a horror fan all along–I had just been too scared to accept it.

2) Who is your favorite author? Who has influenced you?

My favorite author is Neil Gaiman. Not always horror, but certainly dark. Other authors who have influenced me include China Mieville, Alan Moore, H.P. Lovecraft, Holly Black, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Carlton Mellick III, Dan Simmons, Clive Barker, Patrick Rothfuss, Haruki Murakami, and Junji Ito. Lately, I’ve been digging the work of Joe Hill and N.K. Jemisin.

3) What inspired you to write your piece?

“Consumption” is about the anxiety of losing your identity in a homogenized office culture. For my day job, I work in a call center. Environments like that make it difficult for people to be authentically themselves, as you can easily be judged by coworkers if they learn that you’re different from them in some way. For work to run smoothly, you must conform to a larger whole–losing your identity in the process. I’ve always been highly individualistic, and struggle to conform to social expectations, so I’ve never liked the idea of being consumed into something larger than myself. I didn’t get to explore this theme as deeply as I wanted because of the length requirements, but that was the fear that drove me to write this story.

4) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Generally, I develop characters so that their behavior will naturally drive them into the stories that I want to tell, but I love it when they surprise me by doing things I don’t expect or react to each other in ways I never planned. In the past I’ve tried to force characters to act in ways that didn’t feel authentic to me, but as any writer will tell you, that just doesn’t work. So in my experience, characters NEED free will if you want the story to feel real. That doesn’t mean I won’t carefully manipulate the world around them, though.

5) What did you learn from participating in the contest?

You never know whether you’re really all that into a story idea until you try to write the damn thing.

6) Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

Since I won, I don’t really see the point in doing it again. I’m too busy trying to live up to the title, haha. But if I were to do it again, I would try harder to strengthen my nonfiction submissions (articles, interviews, etc.).

nghwedpsm7) What is your favorite horror novel?

Hard to choose, but a few that have stuck with me are Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Caitlin R. Kiernan’s Silk, and Dan Simmons’ Drood. If I could include graphic novels, Black Hole by Charles Burns and Providence by Alan Moore would also be serious contenders.

8) Favorite horror movie?

Crimson Peak, Oldboy, The Thing (1982), and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, among many others.

9) Favorite horror television show?

There seems to be a pattern of four here, so I’ll say Carnivale, Hannibal, Penny Dreadful, and Stranger Things.

10) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

At some point, my novel Lilitu: The Memoirs of a Succubus will be released from Crystal Lake Publishing. HorrorAddicts is also putting out my short story Requiem in Frost, from the contest’s musical challenge. I’m working on a few other novel projects right now, and have a completed (if rough) first draft of one that I’m very excited about. My hope is to complete a polished, publishable draft of my second novel and then find an agent for it.

You can follow Jonathan on Facebook and Twitter.

MOVIE NEWS: The Unseen

MOVIE NEWS

La Vergne, Tennessee – The Unseen is an upcoming invisible man film from director Geoff Redknap (Cabin in the Woods). This title had its World Premiere at Montreal’s Fantasia Film Festival, this past Summer. Now, The Unseen is set to show on DVD and Digital, through United States’ film distributor Monarch Home Entertainment.

The Unseen stars Aden Young (“Rectify,” 2013) as Bob Langmore. He has a strange condition, in which his body is slowly disappearing. Dissolving away, Bob reaches out to his family with time running out. However, his former wife, Darlene (Camille Sullivan) tells him that Eva (Julia Sarah Stone) is missing, leading to Bob’s desperate search for a reunion.

Monarch Home Entertainment will begin the film’s launch later this month. On February 26th, The Unseen will be available in the U.S., on DVD; this release has not been rated. The Unseen will also be available in a widescreen format, for film fans. And, director Redknap says that his influences include H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man: “I did take some ideas from….H.G. Wells’…work” and some of those influences can be seen in the film’s official release trailer, found here.

 

Press Release: TAG Updates

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MUSIC NEWS

Dark electronic act LUDOVICO TECHNIQUE has released the official music video for their single, “Absence.”


Legendary Misfits Guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein will be launching the As We Die World Abomination Tour 2018this Spring. Beginning February 21st in Clifton, NJ, the tour winds through North America before crossing to the UK March 26th in Birmingham, England, and will later move through Russia before finishing up April 9th in St. Petersburg, Russia; KILLUS and DeadXll will be joining on the UK and Russia run. Upon his stateside return, Doyle will also be performing at the 20th annual New England Metal & Hardcore Fest on April 21st at The Palladium in Worcester, MA.


“America’s Most Dangerous Kult” hits the road again this April 2018 for Part 2 of their 30 Anniversary Show – a 14 city North American tour commencing April 10th at Trixie’s in Louisville, KY.

To commemorate the milestone, the band turns back time to perform their first two iconic albums on Wax Trax! Records – 1988’s I See Good Spirits And I See Bad Spirits and Confessions Of A Knife (1990), along with other TKK club favorites from that era.

Joining founding gurus Groovie Mann (vocals) and Buzz McCoy (keys, production) will be veteran performers Mimi Star on bass, drummer Justin Thyme, and “Bomb Gang Girl” Arena Rock (vocals).
MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT 30th ANNIVERSARY SHOW 2018 Dates
04/10 @ Trixie’s – Louisville, KY
04/11 @Exit/In – Nashville, TN
04/12 @ Southgate House – Newport, KY
04/13 @ Token Lounge – Westland, MI
04/14 @ Musica – Akron, OH
04/15 @ Mohawk Place – Buffalo, NY
04/17 @ Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA
04/18 @ Knitting Factory – Brooklyn, NY
04/19 @ Stanhope House – Stanhope, NJ
04/20 @ PhilaMOCA – Philadelphia, PA
04/21 @ Fish Head Cantina – Baltimore, MD
04/23 @ Pour House Music Hall – Raleigh, NC
04/25 @ Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
04/28 @ Wire – Berwyn, IL
Tour Info


Dark Electronic Pop act A DARKER COLOR BRIGHT(ADCB) has taken on the iconic Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and re-imagined it as a melancholy instrumental, made even more so with black and white imagery of human destruction and carnage. War, poverty, and nuclear terror fill the screen in frightening and heartbreaking reminders of moments in history, all of which directly reflect many issues and concerns in today’s society. Consistent with the artist’s generally foreboding tone, ADCB says of the release, “I’m just getting started.” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is yet another entirely self made video by ADCB, raising the question: How much can one person, single handedly, actually do? ADCBs’ multiple singles and releases of different genres and styles, while somehow keeping an underlined tone, make it apparent that you really can’t predict which direction this project is going.

Syracuse rock band The Alpha Fire has released the official music video for their single, “Trail of Tears.” Filmed by Wade Spencer(Imagen Records) at the abandoned Seneca Army Depot in Upstate NY, “Trail of Tears” is a third person narrative which journeys inside the mindset of a lost soul. It is a dark and brooding representation of the seriousness of the current mental health crisis in America “‘Trail of Tears’ is the debut single from the The Alpha Fire. The song itself is a representation of the struggles that we face every day, and the strength and determination that it takes to overcome them. ” – The Alpha Fire


Perth based Australian progressive metal band Nucleust have dropped a new and hard hitting video for The Symphony Of Revenge, warning – it’s pretty graphic!

This track comes from the bands debut album Terra Cerebral which was released July last year.

“The instrumental of the track was written by guitarist Max Palizban with the story in mind, and vocalist Shannon Marston and Max wrote the lyrics together that tells the story of a fictional girl who is raped and her life is affected dramatically by this awful event. Her father who is unhappy with the result of an investigation decides to take matters into his own hands resulting in the demise of the rapist only to find that his vigilante justice, although momentarily satisfying did not remove the pain from his daughter’s life. This changed all their lives forever not necessarily for the better. Some wounds will never heal.” – Nucleust


American Power Trio PRONG has announced the continuation of their ZERO DAYS TOUR with a series of West Coast dates alongside POWERFLO. After a solid year of touring with the likes of Testament, Obituary, Sepultura, and Exodus, as well as filling key slots on the European Summer Festival Circuit, the band now brings it back home to the states, including a highly coveted, co-headlining run with HELMET.

Pioneers of the alternative metal genre, PRONG have continued to re-invent themselves by challenging the status quo every step they take, as seen on their 2017 release, Zero Days.

Distilling hip-hop, heavy metal, punk, and rock into a potent sonic strain, POWERFLO lives up to its name. The vision of GRAMMY Award-nominated Cypress Hill spitter Sen Dog, downset. guitarist Rogelio “Ray” Lozano, Biohazard vocalist and guitarist Billy Graziadei and ex-Fear Factory bassist Cristian Olde Wolbers, the band draws on thie powerhouse pedigree to collectively smash boundaries with their 2017 self-titled debut.

“Prong is absolutely ecstatic about this upcoming, quick West Coast run with POWERFLO. We are very happy to announce this run of shows with these guys. It really makes a lot of sense: two hard hitting bands whose members have a great history together! It seems to me that the shows are going to be high energy and intense!” – Tommy Victor

PRONG with POWERFLO & Special Guests:

03/29 @ Club Red – Phoenix, AZ

03/30 @ Slidebar – Fullerton, CA

03/31 @ Slims – San Francisco, CA

04/02 @ The Ritz – San Jose, CA

04/03 @ Studio Seven – Seattle, WA

04/04 @ Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR

04/07 @ Backstage Bar – Las Vegas, NV

04/08 @ Brick By Brick – San Diego, CA


Director and Musician Drew Fortier has announced his latest film project, a documentary about the late Faith No More / Bad Brains / Cement / Primitive Race Chuck Mosley. The film was initially conceived as a narrative on the legendary singer and musician’s then burgeoning comeback, and Chuck originally agreed to the project through a typically irreverent voicemail.

Drew Fortier (Bang Tango, Zen From Mars) will return to a familiar spot behind the camera in 2018 to direct Thanks. And Sorry: The Chuck Mosley Movie.

While playing a handful of shows on guitar for Chuck Mosley (Faith No More, Bad Brains, Indoria, Primitive Race) in 2017, Drew and Chuck discussed the framework of a documentary about the singer/songwriter’s life and his reemergence on the scene.

“I am incredibly excited to tell Chuck’s story,” said Drew, who also directed 2015’s Attack of Life: The Bang Tango Movie, “I believe everyone will be able to get something positive out of the finished project of what will be Chuck’s film.”

Chuck passed away unexpectedly on November 9th 2017, a couple days after leaving a voicemail for Drew… in his best Bane impression.

“I’ve decided to go ahead with the video…I mean, not the video, but the documentary on this one, Chuck Mosley. He seems like a pretty expansive and explosive character. I think he would be perfect for the part of himself…”

Mosley had recently completed sixty-plus dates on his Reintroduce Yourself tour and recorded a solo record with producer Matt Wallace (Maroon Five, Deftones, The Replacements). On November 3rd 2017 his band, Primitive Race, released their sophomore effort Soul Pretender, currently rising up the NACC Radio 200 chart.


These press releases presented by TAG Publicity.
For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/TAGPublicity/

#NGHW News: Episode 148

Hello, my Horror Fiends!

This week I’m filling in for your favorite news reporter Adelise since she will be gone for a few weeks. Nicole Kurtz is this week’s guest judge. She is the publisher of Mocha Memoirs Press.   The contest for our horror contestants this week was to write a horror story about an original monster of their creation. The stories this week were fantastic. With just a little tweaking, these stories could be perfect.

Nicole Kurtz is this week’s guest judge. She is from Mocha Memoirs Press. She has brought great personality to the judging of this contest and I can honestly agree with her choices this week.

Nicole’s top three favorites this week, in no particular order, were:

The Guardian – Naching T Kassa. The judges loved the originality of the story. The poem as well was just beautiful. They did think that the story ran a little long.

Whiskey Noir – Daphne Strasert. They loved the story, it was scary and gritty, noir done right. The judges did wish that the main character kicked butt without depending on the guy.

Nightmarescape – Jonathan Fortin. They thought the story was beautiful and poignant. It was very imaginative and a great adventure. The voice wasn’t as much loved because they didn’t like the person. But, to be fair, first person is great when done right.

Another top contender was Jess Landry – Nessling. They loved the main character and the tree monster. It didn’t quite make the top three, but it was amazing.

All of the contestants this week got a breakdown of their strengths with their writing from previous contests as well as their weaknesses.  They received advice on how to further their writing by digging deeper, taking these critiques, and pushing it out into their writing. It can be hard to take critiques but if you can learn to take them and mold them into something great.

The countdown has begun! This was the last challenge before the semi-finals. All nine contestants did such an amazing job this year. This boot camp was horrendously hard and I am so proud of each and every one of them. The top nine contestants are as follows:

Ninth Place – Jacee Martinez

Eighth Place – Fien Gots

Seventh Place – Adele Marie Park

Sixth Place – Sumiko Saulson

Fifth Place – Harry Husbands

Fourth Place – Jess Landry

DRUMROLL PLEASE: The top three contestants who will be moving on to the semi-finals to battle it out for a published novel through Crystal Lake Publishing are:

The top three, in no particular order, are: Naching T Casa, Jonathan Fortin, Daphne Strassert!

Great job writers. I have loved each and every submission you guys have worked on. It’s been a hard year and I can honestly say that this years contestants did phenomenal.

Until next time, stay scared!

  • Kenzie

 

 

#NGHW News 137

Hello Addicts!

I tell you what, I thought I was excited before but now, that I have seen what our fearsome 15 are capable of, I am just about imploding with dark delight.

The stories we experienced this week were the words that won our 15 a spot in this comp and it is easy to see why they got in. Some stories made me laugh (maniacally, because my sense of humor is a little messed up) I even got a little teary-eyed. And of course the goose bumps…

And isn’t that one of the best parts about horror?

That moment that turns your skin to gooseflesh, sending a shiver over your body, creeping you out and possibly (if you are so lucky) making you a little skittish.

This is what these authors managed to do in just 100 words.

It takes a lot of talent to write a great 100-word story and our fearsome 15 just nailed it. I’m totally glad I am not on the judging panel because that would be bloody hard.

We also got to learn a bit more about our 15, which was cool. You can learn more about them and even connect with your favs by going here and following them up on the social media. I have spoken to the authors and have a few messages for all you addicts out there…

“I loved listening to all our stories. It felt amazing and I’m still smiling now. I’m enjoying the contest and the challenges set, so far, lol, I’m grateful that I was picked to participate. I’m just so happy about it. I’d like to wish us all good luck in the coming months and a huge thank you to all who arranged the contest and judges and everyone behind the scenes. A big thank you to you as well” -Adele Marie Park

“I’m feeling proud to hear something I’ve written read out on such a well-produced podcast. I’m proud that I’m competing alongside such great horror writers and I’ve really got my work cut out for me.

I just want to say how awesome it is that horror has incredible writers to keep the genre alive and that this contest is doing such a great job of showcasing them. I loved everyone’s stories and it only makes me more excited to see what everyone can produce as the contest develops.” -Harry Husbands

“I am enjoying myself very much, I am writing, and I hope we (as in the addicts) can keep reading the beautiful stories that all the contestants write. I think success is that, to just “make good art” … as Neil Gaiman would say.” -JC Martinez

This week, Emz and Dan also discussed the reasons why these 15 were chosen and why you, if you entered, may have been passed over. So if you entered but are not a chosen one, don’t be disheartened and sit there in the corner screaming “WHY!?” Take a listen, they shed some light and some of the things that they talk about are super important for aspiring writers.

At the moment, all of our 15 are on a level playing field, but that will all change next week … Only the 3 stories will air on the show next week. But only one of them will win that challenge and take home that weeks mini prize.

So, who will you follow? Perhaps you will be on #teamcat – the Dothraki speaking goth – or #teamtimothy – our West Virginian Stephen King – or #teamjess – the girl-next-door who appears sweet on the outside but is creepy on the inside. Let us know in the comments or on the social media.

Stay spooky!

Hugs xxx

Adelise M Cullens

 

February Theme: Black Horror History Month

Hey Addicts!

This month is one of my favorite: African American Horror History month!

I have had the pleasure of working with some authors that we saw last year this year and a couple of new ones! This is going to be a great month of horror and the African Americans that contribute to it.

Movie reviews by Crystal Connor is back! We have missed her, and I feel her new format brings more of the action to our blog. So great to see her back!

Books!! books! We have reviews of African American Authors and even a special blog post from one I personally got to review. Don’t miss out on Jeff Carroll’s contribution and my review of his books.

In the middle of the month, we have a week of kidnapped blogs from Siren Calls Publication. The author Maynard Blackoak kidnaps HorrorAddicts to talk about his new anthology Eerie Trails…

of the Wild Weird West. This will be a fun week as well when we get to know him, and his works.

 

James Goodridge is back with a few contributions and one woman I have not heard of.. be sure to stick around for this and more from Goodridge. He always has some awesome personal experience to share with us!

 

J. Malcolm Stewart is back with some great insight on movies and pop culture… I loved it, and I hope you do too!

 

So, we have as Emz would call “old blood” and “new blood” this year… but we have great surprises and quality reads this month. Watch for these and more this month. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

As always, let us know by commenting or emailing us at horroraddicts@gmail.com we love hearing from you!

 

Until March, try to get some good sleep as we will have some Disheveled Dreams on tap for you…

 

Stacy Rich

HorrorAddicts Blog Editor

R.I.P. Aleister Tennyson Hobbs of Dead Sea Surfers

Our condolences go out to the family, friends, and fellow fans of Aleister Tennyson Hobbs of Dead Sea Surfers. Aleister lost his battle with cancer and passed away on October 11, 2011.

After being diagnosed with diabetes in 1999 and dealing with organ failures as a result, Aleister rallied back and turned to music with a vengeance. In November of 2010 however he was diagnosed with throat and neck cancer and chose radiation and chemotherapy over surgery.

In May of 2011 we featured Dead Sea Surfers on Episode #60, and we will miss Aleister and his music.

His funeral was held on Thursday, October 13th at the Akard Funeral Home. He is survived by his wife Beverly.

Inside Horror Music with Claus Larsen & Leaether Strip

Unless you have been living under a rock since the 80’s, you have no doubt heard of Leaether Strip. HorrorAddicts had a chance to catch up with Claus Larsen, the man behind the machine and speak with him about his newest project “Dark Passages” and some other things as well.

SM: First, let me say that I am actually a big fan of Leaether Strip. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. And Happy Birthday! I know it’s a little late. Let’s jump right in: “Dark Passages” is your first foray into writing soundtracks, etc. How did you like this experience? Would you do it again?

CL: Thanks so much. It has actually been a dream of mine to compose music for films, even before Leæther Strip was started back in 1988.  John Carpenter’s soundtracks made me start to collect soundtracks, and his music has been a big inspiration for me. So getting the “job” to write music for “Dark Passages” was a dream come true, and I hope that it will open doors to that world of films. I would do it again for sure if I got the offer.

SM: How did it come about that you collaborated with director Cesar Cruz to do “Dark Passages?” Did he approach you? Had you worked together before?

CL:  I had never heard of  Cesar before. He asked me about 2 years ago if  I would be interested in writing the title theme song for his movie- I needed to read the script first to see if it inspired me of course. It was a very intense story and I said yes right away. Problem was that I was so full of ideas that one song wouldn’t do it for me, so a few months after I began I had over 60 minutes of music. Normally composers only get a few weeks to complete a soundtrack, so having all the time in the world, plus, only to have the script to inspire me was amazing for me. I bet all soundtrack composers would kill to have that amount of time and freedom.

SM: Was it in any way easier to write music based around a defined plot or subject matter? Was it in any way more difficult? How would you say it is different from the way you normally write songs, if at all?

CL: I approached this project in the same way I do with my “normal” work.. I read the script 2 times. Placed it in a drawer and then started on the title song. It was in a way kind of relaxing to do cause normally my lyrics are very personal and its not always easy to turn yourself inside out and being as honest as I am.  You would think that it was easier to write about other peoples stories, but  it’s not.. As soon as I started I was right there with the people in the story and the whole process quickly became as personal as a “normal” Leæther Strip song.

SM: What would you say is the overall theme or tone of the album?

CL: I think it’s the darkest album I have ever done. I might not be as harsh sounding, but I really moved around in the darkest places of my thoughts while writing this. I had some really “fun” nightmares while recording it too. I was also told that the actors in the movie listened to the soundtrack to get prepared to act the scenes out. I am very happy with the result, and I hope this is the start of something for me, and for Cesar, because he’s a huge talent, both visually and as a writer. He’s going places and I hope he’ll take me with him.

SM: Who would you say are the biggest influences in your work?

CL: There are many, but to pick the most important ones I would have to name Fad Gadget, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, John Carpenter , Gary Numan and Skinny Puppy.

SM: If you had to pick a favorite piece of your own work, could you do it and if so, what would it be?

CL:  The album that have had the biggest impact on my life is “Solitary Confinement” from 1992. It was my breakthrough and it has opened many doors for me and I still get messages and questions from listeners concerning that album. But for me they are all favorites.

SM: You have played live MANY places. What has been your favorite live show so far?

CL: Yes, after my stage “come back” I have been really lucky to get to play a lot of shows. It’s been amazing to get out there to meet the people again, and I never thought that would happen again after my back problem started to get nasty in 93. The most fun gigs I played were in Dessau, Budapest , Philadelphia and London, and that doesn’t mean that the others were bad. I have actually been lucky so there haven’t really been any negative gigs.  I have met open arms and kindness at every show so far. I like the club gigs best because I get to play my full 90 minute set and there is time for the sound check and not so much stress before and after the shows. Another show that also meant the world to me, was the concert I played with Skinny Puppy last summer here in Denmark.

SM: What remix are you the most proud of or do you think turned out the best?

CL:  For me the best one is a new on that’s not released yet, but will be out soon I hope. An old 80s Song by Wang Chung called “To live and die in LA”, from the movie with the same title. The original  is one of best songs ever written if you ask me. They asked me to remix a new song of theirs and I did that, and took a chance to ask if  they would let me fiddle with that old song.  I was also just asked by Frontline Assembly to remix a song for them so I cant wait to get started on that.

SM: As a fellow musician, I know that sometimes it can be difficult to smash your music into a category or genre. That being said, what genre would you say YOU think Leaether Strip fits into, if any?

CL: I think that Dark Electro fit’s my sound pretty much, but for me personally its still “just” songs.

SM: Are there any artists you would like to work with that you have not had a chance to work with yet?

CL: I love working with other people so sure, there are many. It’s very inspiring for me to remix for others or having guest’s on one of  my songs. Dirk Ivens just said yes to do a guest vocal for a song on my coming Klutæ album. And I plan to ask Gary Numan, Ogre, Marc Almond and Darrin Huss in the near future for a guest vocal, but they don’t know it yet. After I asked and got a “yes” from Andy Sex Gang for the guest vocal on “What have I done” from the “Mental Slavery” album, I found the guts to ask some more. If I get a no then at least I asked.

SM: What direction do you see Leaether Strip going in as you move forward? Has this changed at all since you started?

CL: I have no idea. I always just go where the music is taking me. Evolution doesn’t happen when we think about it, it usually comes like a thief in the night.. Also, the devoted listeners knows that I move around in all sorts of genres, so they are hard to shock. I do have a wish to maybe record a 2nd Serenade for the dead. But right now my time is devoted fully to the new Klutæ album “Electro Punks Unite”.

SM: What would be the main thing you hope to achieve or get across to people with your music?

CL: The same as we all dream about. To have an impact on other peoples life’s. If I can help one person somewhere with my music as much it has helped myself, then nothing has been in vain.

SM:  What is next for Leaether Strip and you?

CL: I already got a lot of bookings for concerts for next year, and I expect to have the coming Klutæ album ready for release next spring. Then I start working on “Retention no4”, which will be for “Underneath the Laughter”.  I also got some new Leæther Strip songs in the works.  I also made my first Christmas song ever, for a compilation titled “Black Snow 2”.  It’s a tragic song about John Blacksmith titled “It happened on Christmas Day.”

(read about the release here:

http://emmo.jgs-media.de/(mmrzkqbak0bo0aejhvacff55)/content/shop/details.aspx?ProduktID=15872&KategorieID=32&keyword=black%20snow

You can check the confirmed concert dates on my Myspace site or my Facebook site.

www.myspace.com/leaetherstrip

www.facebook.com/leaetherstrip.clauslarsen

Claus is very excited about his newest projects and we are too! We are definitely looking forward to what this awesome band brings to the table. They always deliver. Can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Inside Horror Music with Saints of Ruin

Saints Of Ruin

Saints of Ruin has taken the Goth/dark rock world by storm. Already popular internationally, the release of their first full-length album “Nightmare” has garnered them some very well-earned respect and praise in the United States. I had a chance to speak with Ruby Ruin, lead vocalist for SOR and ask her some questions about Saints of Ruin and what drives their music.

SM: First of all, your music is awesome. The fans here at HorrorAddicts dig you guys BIG TIME. The first thing that really hits me about the bio on your website is that Tommy Dark, singer and bass player for what became Saints of Ruin journeyed to California from New York when he found you. What is the story behind that? How did you guys meet across a country and what were you doing before that?

RR: Oh, it is a great story: Tommy Dark was in a band on tour here in San Francisco and played a show with my band. We became big fans of each other’s talents (and were mutually attracted as well). It took three years for us to finally come together and he moved to SF in 2006. We started the band, got married and the rest is history. Funny how love at first sight can work out.

SM: How has Saints of Ruin evolved over time, sound-wise and as a whole band?

RR: I think the sound has not changed dramatically except in that our writing has changed as we get to know our market (audience) better. We have learned what our fans like and strive to do more of the same rather than just to write and preform whatever comes out. Also, our lineup has changed and now the synth sound and harmony vocals have evolved to be more cohesive with the material.

SM: The Industrial and Goth genres are full of A LOT of subcategories and as a fellow Industrial musician, I know it can be difficult sometimes to decide where you should place your music to get the best reception from listeners, especially when you don‘t really WANT to categorize and label your stuff. Which niche or category do you think Saints of Ruin fit in the best and why?

RR: Our record label categorizes us as “Classic Goth Rock” but I think we have very little “Classic Goth” in our sound. We are rarely “new-wavey” and not death-rock but more epic like European bands such as HIM, Lacuna Coil and Tiamat. However we do have a touch of Cult, Sisters of Mercy and Concrete Blond in our sound. We are really a dark rock band in Goth clothing with a touch of horror-slash-vampy sexuality.

SM: Which Saints of Ruin album would you say is your favorite so far (if you had to choose) and why?

RR: We only have our debut 5-song EP “Fairytale” and our first full-length CD “Nightmare” so far, so it would have to be “Nightmare” because it is a maturing of our concepts and writing skills. It also showcases our diversity while sticking with a theme.

SM: What do you think is the biggest inspiration for the music for you personally (as in, what inspires you to write a song)?

RR: In my case it is actually dreams. I often wake with a hook in my head and get up in a daze to write it down. When Tommy writes he is usually practicing when he stumbles upon something catchy. Then we flesh our the ideas together.

SM: The SOR song “Halloween” is the theme on HorrorAddicts right now. What is the story behind that one?

RR: That is an anomaly of our writing style. I told Tommy that I wanted to write a song that embraces the concept of Goth culture. He wrote the lyrics in an hour while the rest of the music took a month. It came out reminiscent of Voltaire’s
cabaret style. It is fun to perform and anthemic.

SM: I saw video of SOR playing The New Orleans Vampire Lestat Ball last October and you guys were great! How was it?

RR: The whole experience was epic! That was probably my favorite show we have ever played: a Thousand decked-out Vampire fans at a gorgeous venue all centered in the mysterious City of the Night. New Orleans is crawling with Vampire freaks throughout Halloween weekend. This year the whole thing is being called Undead-Con filled with music and costume events, book signings, vendors, etc. We will be playing again this year and the theme is “Memnoch’s Resurrection.” Check out Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club, or ARVLFC and Endless Night. It is an unforgettable experience.

SM: Who would you name as SOR biggest inspirations musically (as far as sound)?

RR: We don’t necessarily sound like them, but some of our favorites are Rammstein, Type O Negative, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Sex Pistols, Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains and Led Zeppelin.

SM: Who would you name as your own personal musical inspirations, like vocalists you admire, etc.?

RR: My favorite vocalists are PJ Harvey, Robert Plant, Amanda Palmer and recently Mona Mur. We just got back from a partial tour with Slick Idiot (original members of KMFDM) and Mona Mur has been collaborating and performing with EN Esch for quite some time. She is amazing. My new heroine.

SM: I see that you guys are passionate about animal welfare and animal rights [‘Murder of Crows’]. As a HUGE advocate of animal rights myself, I commend you for that. Would you say there is any one message you want to get across to people with your music, or a message you want to come across the strongest?

RR: No, there is not one message, Tommy is particularly sensitive towards animals, though we are all animal lovers. I think we all just recognize that humans are pretty fucked up. There is a lot of injustice in the world and suffering is a part of the human experience. I think we will always write songs that touch on depressing subjects to some extent. That said, we do write love songs and violent songs as well.

SM: You guys have gotten a lot of recognition lately. Has that changed anything in your lives?

RR: Not so much except that we are sometimes recognized in public. And we were recently asked to endorse a cosmetics company. Not only are they using a photo of me advertising Black Magic Mascara in Gothic Beauty Mag next month, they also have created our own line of dark nail lacquers after Saints Of Ruin. I even have my own color named after me! That is pretty cool. We don’t quite make a living off of our music yet but we hope to tour Europe next summer. It is great that our name recognition is taking root in both the horror and Goth communities.

SM: What’s next for Saints of Ruin?

RR: We are just finishing our summer shows here in California and plan to get working on all of the new material that is in the pipeline. We will begin tracking new songs this fall and will hopefully release a new album at the beginning of 2011. We will play a few shows around Halloween here in San Fran and in New Orleans. We are shooting our first video next month so check our website in early September: http://www.saintsofruin.com. We plan to have a few new bone-chilling tunes ready for horror fans real soon.

So there you have it: Inside Horror Music with Saints of Ruin. Thank you to Ruby for being so gracious and forthcoming. We are looking forward to their new album!