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.

 

 

 

Odds and Dead Ends: A maze inside the mind / Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, The Shining, is my favourite horror film of all time. For those that (somehow) aren’t familiar with the film, it is the story of the new caretaker (Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson) and his family at the remote Overlook Hotel over the winter, where ghostly apparitions send him spiraling into madness. Based on the novel by Stephen King, a major feature of the movie which wasn’t in the book is the hedge maze on the hotel grounds. In this article, I’m going to look at this maze, and how it acts as a kind of middle-ground representation of Jack’s ever-twisted mind, as it is changed by the hotel.

Please bear in mind that, as with everything I write for HorrorAddicts.net, in a short article such as this, there’s no way I’m able to cover the wealth of interpretations and analysis and ideas on this film. This is a starting point, where hopefully you can springboard yourself into your own thoughts.

It has been well documented that the layout of the Overlook Hotel is deliberately impossible. Doors lead to nowhere, rooms move, furniture shifts position; everything possible is done to very subtly disorient the viewer. For example, in the first scene of Danny on his tricycle, we pass an exit stairwell leading down, and doors that would appear to go through the thin wall and open up onto the stairwell itself. It is, in fact, a maze of dead ends and double-backs.

Even furniture subtly moves between shots. Rob Ager has documented all this extensively, and his articles and analysis on the subject can be found at his site, which I’ll put a link to at the end of this article. One example is the appearing and disappearing chair behind Jack when Wendy interrupts his writing. Needless to say, with someone like Kubrick, this kind of mismatching wasn’t just sloppy but done deliberately. It is a visual representation of the chaos and insanity that it will try to bring Jack into.

The hotel slowly ratchets up its presence and ghostly manifestations in order to slowly drive Jack mad. This is helped by subtly-suggested alcohol issues (a carry-over from the novel which isn’t nearly as prevalent but still present), and flares of temper. Aided by the claustrophobia of the hotel (‘“what the old-timers used to call ‘cabin fever’”’), and the irritations at being unable to write (‘“Lots of ideas, no good ones though,”’) it all provides the perfect platform for the Overlook Hotel to begin to exert its influence on Jack. The reasons for the Overlook’s attempt to drive Jack to madness are as heavily disputed and debated as almost anything else in the history of fan-theories, and they won’t be discussed here, purely for length reasons.

With the Overlook trying to get a hold on its caretaker, Kubrick wants to give us a middle-ground, to understand that the links between Jack and the hotel go beyond the surface level. Here he presents us with the iconic hedge maze. As I’ve already said, the hotel is a maze in itself, full of twists and turns, and what’s interesting is that almost no two shots of the maze are the same. The map outside the entrance doesn’t match the way Wendy and Danny walk, and the model Jack looks down on doesn’t correspond with either of these. Even the entrance Ullman takes them to in the film’s beginning is on a completely different side of the maze to when Danny runs into at the finale.

There seem to be strong indicators, then, that just like the hotel, the maze changes shape and form. Wendy even says in the kitchen with Halloran that ‘“This place is such an enormous maze I feel like I’ll have to leave a trail of breadcrumbs every time I come in,”’ so if you’re wanting verbal confirmation of this connection, then there it is. But how do we link the maze to Jack?

Firstly, the exterior shots of the Overlook at the beginning of the film don’t show a maze at all. It isn’t present until the whole family are exploring the grounds; when Jack has arrived. Additionally, when Wendy and Danny are exploring it on their own, Jack walks over to the model version in the foyer. We then switch to a top-down view showing a miniature Danny and Wendy walking around the central section. Because, as discussed before, the model and the actual maze don’t add up, we have to assume that this isn’t actually a top-down view of the real maze, but a subjective view of Jack imagining his wife and son in the maze.

By switching to a subjective viewpoint, Kubrick suggests a linking between Jack’s mind (his imagination), and the hedge maze. This doesn’t mean very much throughout the film as, for a large portion of the film, the maze fades into the background. However, right at the very end, it makes a reappearance as Jack chases Danny inside. Surely, as the maze is intrinsically linked with Jack’s mind, this makes sense for the finale to play out there. This is the point where everything combines, hallucination and reality, the Overlook and Jack. In a way, this is almost a proving ground, an arena that the Overlook has provided for their caretaker to show that he can follow out their wishes; that he ‘has the belly for it.’

Ironically, Jack eventually ends up following Danny’s footsteps, just like the trail of breadcrumbs Wendy mentioned at the beginning of the film. He follows Danny in the same way as he followed them through the model before. He has descended into a manifestation of his chaotic mind, distressed by all the factors that enabled the Overlook to push him into pliable madness.

In the end, however, Jack is eventually outsmarted by Danny and stumbles around blindly inside. Whether you believe the ghosts are real or all just a hallucination is irrelevant, because everyone can see that Jack has slipped into madness at this point. Jack is unable to find his way out of the maze, out of his mind. He never recovers, even for a moment as King’s original character does in the novel, and so he freezes to death unredeemed and forever trapped inside the Overlook’s testing ground.

In the end, there really is a simple formula to understand this discussion: Jack Torrance + Overlook Hotel = Hedge Maze. It’s a simple concept, but one probably overlooked by many people watching for the first time, especially by those who aren’t accustomed to looking out for these kinds of interpretations in popular cinema. The Shining is a deeply layered text, and the idea presented is very much a theory, which probably disagrees with 50% of fan theories and analysis of the film, but that’s the way it works with The Shining; everyone has their own idea. In any case, I hope it piques your interest in re-examining the film, and re-watching it, of course. You could do worse things than re-watching one of the greatest films the genre has ever produced; just don’t let it get into your head too much.

-Article by Kieran Judge

-Twitter: @KJudgeMental

-A link to Rob Ager’s site, which I highly encourage anyone interested in film analysis to check out: http://www.collativelearning.com/

-check out my other articles at HorrorAddicts.net if you like this kind of analysis; I’m sure there’ll be something for you to enjoy: https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/author/kjudgeimaginarium/

 

Guest Blog: A First Time For Everything by John C Adams

A First Time for Everything

by John C Adams

From the age of eleven onwards, there’s pretty much a steady stream of things you’ll be doing for the first time. In all types of society, the public role of the rite of passage is an important sociological aspect of the transition to adulthood. Yet it still remains the case that most of the more interesting rites of passage involve sneaking around behind your parents’ backs…

Sometimes, the rite of passage occurs in early puberty rather than when we stand on the cusp of adulthood. And they don’t always have to be traumatic. They can be about connecting with your true self.

In Richard Matheson’s delightful little short story Blood Son Jules has always been certain that he doesn’t belong. That’s because he has a strong personal certainty that he fits in somewhere else entirely. His difficulties are that his parents and schoolteacher just can’t understand. Sound familiar? Well to many of us it probably is but Jules is a plucky little lad and as time moves on he just becomes more determined to find a path to those he can call his own. Good for him!

“One Saturday when he was twelve, Jules went to the movies. He saw Dracula.

When the show was over he walked, a throbbing nerve mass, through the little girl- and -boy ranks. He went home and locked himself in the bathroom for two hours.

His parents pounded on the door and threatened but he wouldn’t come out.

Finally, he unlocked the door and sat down at the supper table. He had a badge on his thumb and a satisfied look on his face.”

It takes a few more years until Jules finds a bat at the zoo and begins to see a way through to making the identity he longs for, and strongly associates with, reality. In Jules’s case his rite of passage is the time-honoured first bite.

Most of us can recognise the importance of the rite of passage in forming our sense of belonging to the group. But thinks that sometimes we have to step outside the mainstream to find that sense of belonging.

The onset of puberty involves first times for girls too. In Stephen King’s novel Carrie, Carrie White doesn’t get a visit from the curse until she’s sixteen. That’s very late and theories abound as to why puberty was delayed so long. What could there be in her upbringing to explain her physical rejection of womanhood? It’s right there in the form of her appalling mother, of course. As soon as Carrie realises that she isn’t bleeding to death after all her first thought is one of anger at everything and everyone who has singled her out and made her different. In Carrie’s case her primary defence mechanism to deal with the pain of her mother’s behaviour is to embrace the darkness:

“She thought of imps and familiars and witches (am i a witch momma the devil’s whore) riding through the night, souring milk, overturning butter churns, blighting crops while They huddled inside their houses with hex signs on Their doors.”

Carrie White is a master class in how anger can spill over when an individual is rejected not just by their mother but then by society as a whole. It’s no surprise that the ensuing prom night doesn’t end well.

The real danger lurks for society whenever the emerging adult is denied a sense of belonging to the tribe and that this lies beneath the importance we attach to rites of passage ceremonies.

In some cases, the choice to belong or not (the fundamental ability to fit in) isn’t ours to make. Sometimes, an uneventful transition to college and the adulthood that lies beyond just isn’t meant to be. In Stephen King’s novel Christine, Arnie Cunningham and his best buddy Dennis are working their way through high school. All’s right in their world: Dennis is a football star set for college. Arnie is keen on mechanics and hopes to persuade his university-lecturer parents to let him skip college and do something vocational instead. Both Arnie and Dennis have part-time jobs that pay well and are saving hard for the usual things – college and a first car. It’s all going so well until they drive past a broken-down 1958 Plymouth Fury with a For Sale sign. From the outset the car seems to cast something like a lovespell on Arnie, as Dennis is well aware:

“I thought about LeBay saying, Her name is Christine. And somehow, Arnie had picked up on that. When we were little kids we had scooters and then bikes, and I named mine but Arnie never named his – he said names were for dogs and cats and guppies. But that was then and this was now. Now he was calling that Plymouth Christine, and what was somehow worse it was always ‘her’ and ‘she’ instead of ‘it’.”

Dennis’s share of the tale is shot through with the pain of watching his best friend’s life implode. Central to that is watching the subversion of many ‘first time’ rites of passage by the dark force that is Christine: buying your first car and doing it up, asking a girl out, taking things all the way. Stuff that Dennis is still able to enjoy but from which Christine is able to exclude Arnie.

It is natural, bearing in mind the importance of getting rites of passage right, that we are afraid of being unable to take charge of our own transition to adulthood. Isn’t that what growing up is all about, after all?

Rituals appear in all forms of society and feature in human lives for thousands of years. The details may differ but the purpose remains the same at every point in history. Ignore them at your peril!


John C Adams is a Contributing Editor for the Aeon Award and Albedo One Magazine, and a Reviewer with Schlock! Webzine.

You can read John’s short fiction in anthologies from Horrified Press, Lycan Valley Press and many others. A non-binary gendered writer, John has also had fiction published in The Horror Zine, Devolution Z magazine and many other smaller magazines.

John’s fantasy novel Aspatria is available to read for free on Smashwords, and on Amazon. John’s futuristic horror novel ‘Souls for the Master’ also is available on Amazon.

John lives in rural Northumberland, UK, and is a non-practising solicitor.

http://johncadams.wix.com/johnadamssf

 

 

Interview with Artist Luke Spooner


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Carrion House is the online domain of England artist and illustrator Luke Spooner, whose work has appeared in projects featuring stories by horror masters Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, and Stephen King.

“I have a First Class degree in illustration from the University of Portsmouth,” Spooner says on his website. “My current projects and commissions include illustrations and covers for books, magazines, graphic novels, books aimed at children, conceptual design and business branding.”

Spooner’s projects include the interior artwork for Crystal Lake Publishing anthology “Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories” and the interior artwork for Bram Stoker Award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing anthology “Behold: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders.” Both feature stories by horror masters Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, and Ramsey Campbell.

Spooner’s illustrations are also featured in the anthology “You, Human,” which includes the short story “I Am the Doorway” by Stephen King, and in “The Dead Song Legend Dodecology” by Jay Wilburn.

 

In an exclusive interview with HorrorAddicts.net, Spooner discusses his career.

 


THE INTERVIEW

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HORROR ADDICTS: Where did your artistic eye and talent originate? Any artists, books, or movies inspire your style?

SPOONER: I was doodling from the moment I discovered pencils and things to scribble on. In those early formative years, it was just a way of emulating what I loved; I used to draw my favourite characters from television shows, books – even imaginary characters that I’d make up and try to explain to others and write stories about. In hindsight; the desire to communicate ideas through visual means actually developed earlier than my attempts at communicating through spoken language. I’m not saying I was any good at it – I’m just saying it was my first port of call once I realized there were things I needed to get out of my head, but gradually, over time, it became a tap – a leaky faucet that you really had to put your back into if you were to have any hope of turning off. It never occurred to me that some people just didn’t do it. It seemed so important and instinctive but as with most things in life; once you arrive at school and find peers of your own age staring back at you, you notice people and they notice you, the things that separate you from them start to become clearer and more definitive.

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HA: How long have you been a cover designer? What compelled you to start your own business in this field?

SPOONER: When I reached the age of 18 I had gathered enough understanding of the world to know that there was a chance I could do something creative, something that involved creating images to convey meaning, for a living – a way of making money to allow me to create images for as long as possible with no interruptions. It was suggested by my art teacher that I undertake a Foundation Degree at the Wimbledon College of Art in London.  Following this suggestion and applying myself to getting accepted was a confirmation that I was indeed going to do something creative as a profession; I’d sat across tables from other students with artistic prowess far greater than my own for years by this point and despite this I still felt very strongly that I could find a niche for myself that they couldn’t fit into. That degree, in total, lasted a year and was essentially, what became known in retrospect, as an ‘options year,’ a term suitably vague and confusing. I ended up in a scary umbrella option called ‘visual communication,’ which basically meant commercial imagery in the broadest and (sadly) vaguest sense. I was trapped in a room, right on the edge of Wimbledon like a dirty secret, shoulder to shoulder with photographers, graphic designers, typographers, traditional illustrators, children’s book illustrators and even a couple of fine artists who had severely lost their way but decided that it couldn’t have possibly been there fault. I barely made it out of that year purely through the department’s constant need to try and cover every discipline’s needs on a daily basis. We were essentially a broth with too many chefs and I lost any sort of direction or idea of what I truly wanted to be. However, I did survive it and based on the few tethers I’d managed to grasp over the course of a year under the degree’s instruction I decided to sign up to The University of Portsmouth’s illustration degree.

When I got to Portsmouth everything was confirmed. I was reminded of what I truly enjoyed and what I wanted to do more of in the future. The degree provided the perfect platform for me to start from and presented the bare bones truth of what the world I was trying to install myself into was and would be like, so any second thoughts I would have had were put aside fairly early on. The unofficial mantra that got passed down by the lecturers, and made frequent appearances in our group tutorials like a support meetings code of conduct was “what you put in – you will get out,” and while that obviously sounds like common sense, I can assure you that you’d be amazed at how many people decided to sit back, put in minimum effort and just assume the work would find them both during University and out in the big wide world of work. I heard from one of my friends at a London based art degree while I was Portsmouth that her department’s stock phrase was “nobody wants you,” which although incredibly depressing is an unfortunate truth.

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When I left University in 2012 I had finished my illustration degree; handed in work, filled 14 sketchbooks, written a dissertation on film noir, even wall mounted my work for an exhibition to be looked over by a horde of complete strangers – all over the course of the final third year. What I didn’t realise was that we although the work was handed in on 11tth May – we didn’t officially graduate until the 23rd July. This meant that we effectively had two whole months of not having a clue who we were supposed to be; were we students? Were we graduates? Could we start working without knowing whether we’d passed or not? The list of open-ended questions goes on and on but when you’re talking about a department full of potential freelancers you knew you weren’t going to get any answers – even the lecturers gave the impression that they now saw you as competition as opposed to the subordinates they were teaching a week previous.

There was absolutely no hope of turning to your fellow artists and finding out what they had planned because competition was verging on blood thirsty, so rather than dwelling on it I decided that I didn’t need to know what grade I got, or even whether I’d passed, to be a practicing freelancer. I had a portfolio to my name and a desire to work and seek out potential projects so, for those two months, I emailed and searched, rinsed and repeated, sending upwards of fifty emails a day until eventually one client, just as fresh and new to ‘the game’ as I was, said they wanted me on board for their new project and were willing to pay me actual money in return for my services. That was six years ago, and I haven’t stopped since

HA: You call your online domain, CARRION HOUSE. Why that name? Does it have a special meaning?

SPOONER: I didn’t actually live in the city I studied in when I was at University. I lived forty miles away and was working two part-time jobs, so I didn’t really socialise much with other students outside of the formal lessons and group tutorials attended at the University. I used to commute via bus and train and when you couple that with the fact that our schedule, especially towards the end of the course, was pretty lax it meant that not a lot of people actually knew me beyond being able to recognise me in passing me in a corridor. However, during the second year of the course there was a big emphasis placed on creating an online identity for ourselves as prospective illustrators through online portfolios, social media, blogs etc. We were encouraged to represent ourselves as more of a brand than a person, where possible, and so for two weeks I went through all sorts of names that I thought would highlight the dark work I was creating, and hoping to create, for other people.

There were some truly awful names amongst the list of potentials and some downright laughable, so I eventually decided to take stock of how people already viewed me within the course as they were, to a point, pretty unbiased and probably a good indicator of how people would view my work having not really known me personally. In the first year we had done a project where we were set the task of researching and illustrating an animal of our choice over the course of a month and producing some sort of ‘end result’ based on our research and development. I had chosen a crow as my subject and had jumped head first into my research almost gratuitously. The end result was a series of illustrations based on ‘The Crow’ by Ted Hughes and when it came time to present the research and final product to my teachers, alongside everyone else, the other students were slightly taken aback by how ‘into it’ I had become when they saw the bulging sketchbooks and development folders. Subsequently people started referring to me as ‘the crow guy,’ not in a negative capacity (as far as I know) but simply as a convenient moniker based on simple fact — I did nothing to dissuade this.

So, knowing that I was already known as ‘the crow guy’ I took the word ‘Carrion’ and coupled it with the word ‘House,’ because I liked the idea of appearing as a professional house, or style of illustration as opposed to just some guy who could colour in really well and that’s how the name came about. It may also interest you to know that I also work on children’s books under the name of ‘Hoodwink House,’ a name chosen because I don’t feel that the child friendly style of illustration I utilise under that name is an honest representation of my artistic self, therefore I feel like I’m tricking/hoodwinking both customers and myself when I put on that particular hat style.

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HA: I read your website where you have worked on projects that include works by Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, and Stephen King. That’s impressive. Can you talk about how those projects developed for you? Do you feel more pressure when creating covers for high-profile projects with big-name talent attached?

SPOONER: All of those stories have come to me as parts of anthologies, so they are packaged alongside other stories, by other authors and therefore it diffuses that pressure by normalising those particular names and reminding the elated fan in you that they are just people. I try to make a point of going through anthologies avoiding any knowledge as to who has authored what as it’s the story I’m illustrating – not the writer. It also prevents me from trying to mimic any sort of aesthetic that they or their publications are synonymous with and in turn raise the chance of me coming up with something genuinely original and honest.

HA: In the age of Amazon and ebook readers, are covers as important in this digital age as they were in the days when hardcovers and paperbacks ruled?

SPOONER: Yes, of course. Covers are very important for conveying a theme or the essence of a book, ultimately providing an insight into what you might stand to gain or experience should you decide to have a look inside. On a simpler level; humans are sensory creatures so if you can appeal to someone’s imagination simply through the power of sight and image then you’ve already enriched their experience of a publication before they’ve even opened it. I would almost suggest that ebook covers need to be more illustrative than that of a physical copy as they are at a sensory disadvantage by not having that physicality and appeal to touch that humans enjoy so much.

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HA: What’s the key to a successful collaboration with authors and publishers in creating cover designs? Do most authors and publishers have a specific cover in mind or do they give you a lot of latitude in your design?

SPOONER: I think a successful collaboration comes from a mutual understanding and respect between the client and the illustrator. The writer should never see themselves as some sort of divine benefactor that has stooped to the illustrator’s level and offered them work that they are lucky to get – even if that is the case, and the illustrator should never be tempted to hold their skills to ransom and demand inordinate sums of compensation. Writer’s should realize that illustrators are a key part to making their body of work, not just a marketable and interesting package, but a complete and fully realized one with multiple layers. Illustrators should also realize that; yes, they are artists, they should never work for free because it undermines the entire profession, but they should also be open to the needs of the writer and understand that just because they are talented does not mean they are entirely right when it comes to understanding a writer or publishers’ vision. Working in tandem with each other towards the same goal, making all criticism fair and constructive from both parties – they seem like common sense things to keep in check, but they are often the first things to suffer when a collaborative effort starts to break down.

HA: I see your art incorporates visceral colors but also you have black-and-white illustrations. Which do you prefer and why?

SPOONER: I genuinely don’t know. I spent a long time simply sketching in standard pencil, sticks of charcoal and standard black ink so colour rarely made an appearance in my work during my infant to early teenage years. Around seventeen/eighteen years of age I had access to my A Level college’s entire art department, pretty much whenever I wanted, so I took the opportunity to explore the use of colour in my free time (lunch breaks etc.) and did so quite sporadically. The result was that colour would tend to explode within my images, as if the fact they were no longer repressed was reflecting a sort of violent display of annoyance at me personally through the very paper or canvas I’d set myself to. So I don’t know which of the two I prefer but I’m very happy that they are both present and hope I treat both equally well.

HA: On your website, you have a section for your illustration work. You also have a section titled “Self Directed Work.” What is the difference?

SPOONER: That simply refers to the work I make out of sheer impulse and self direction. None of it is commissioned by a third-party, they are simply the things I create because I have to create. Therefore, there are a few slightly weird pieces up there as well as a few canvas pieces, which is a medium I don’t advertise as a service to anyone. As you can probably imagine; there is a massive amount of work that I’ve produced for myself that isn’t on that page and is instead going completely unseen by anyone other than me.

Spooner 7.jpg

HA: What scares you?

SPOONER: The idea of not being able to create or be creative in my pursuits or hobbies scares me tremendously. Once, while in a group tutorial at University, after summer holidays through which we’d been told to maintain a visual diary, a teacher asked to see what I’d amassed. Upon opening my book and flicking through it she went very quiet, looked back over everything and asked me if I had produced as much as I had because I was perhaps scared of not being able to one day. That question caught me completely off guard with how direct it had been but also provided me with the quickest, most uninhibited ‘yes’ I had ever given in my life.

FRIGHTENING FLIX by Kbatz: Tales from the Darkside Season 1

The Tales from the Darkside Debut Still Has Memorable Frights

by Kristin Battestella

 

The late George A. Romero produced the 1984-85 syndicated debut of Tales from the Darkside, a twenty-three episode anthology of original and short story adaptations with familiar faces and plenty of memorable half-hour frights. The Complete Series DVD set, however, begins with the original 1983 “Trick or Treat” pilot written by Romero and starring Bernard Hughes (The Lost Boys) as a Scrooge-like lender profiting from the ruin of others with his to the penny bookkeeping. His wealth is in money bags instead of banks, and come Halloween, he hides the IOUs from his desperate share croppers for their children to find and thus absolve their family’s debt. Parents drum up their scared children to brave the annual house of horrors and the devilish wizard behind the curtain orchestration. Justly, the turnabout on this modern Dickensian spin is fair play when real horrors best our miser at his own game. More businessmen are smoking cigars and offered scotch to celebrate the latest deal in “The New Man.” Unfortunately, when a little boy shows up at the office telling his father to come home, the man doesn’t recognize him – unlike his wife and older son, who are appalled by dad’s mistake and refer to an alcoholic history of repeated moves and lost jobs. His life spirals back to the bottle in a surreal mix of horror and addiction, and though confusing with distorted timelines and resets, the real life consequences remain relatable. More cocktails, limousines, bribery, and homicide anchor “I’ll Give You a Million” as two sophisticated old gentlemen play billiards and raise the stakes to a million dollars for one’s soul. Is it tomfoolery to bet on a nonexistent property or is there something to a bad liver, senile behavior, and foul play clauses in the contract? A terminal diagnosis, however, changes the with interest and buy back offers on the deal as storms, power outages, and fatal phone calls set off the Marley-esque visitations. Likewise doctor Farley Grainger (Strangers on a Train) has a radical solution to a laid up husband’s back problem in “Pain Killer.” Muscle relaxers, two weeks off from work, and acupuncture are to no avail – but maybe its his nagging wife that’s really the constant pain…

Some Tales from the Darkside episodes have similar financial bargains and devilish killers, however such pay it forward macabre creates a connective undercurrent for the anthology, and a mysterious man in a white suit breaks the bookies with his lucky streak in “The Odds.” The back booth seedy and congested, smoky mood forgive the colloquial betting talk as the ticking clock counts down when the fatal stakes are due. In “Slippage,” a graphic artist loses his birth certificate, paycheck, and portfolio. His reunion invitation never comes either, and it’s almost as if he doesn’t exist at all when his yearbook photo disappears. No one, not even his wife, remembers him – but is it a set up or the supernatural? Horror make up artist turned director Tom Savini (Dawn of the Dead) brings the creepy hands, terrible eyes, and ghoulish reveal for “Inside the Closet” as taxidermy and a small locked closet in a rented room live up to the Tales from the Darkside name alongside skeleton keys, mouse traps, and spooky dolls. Slide protectors, atmospheric music, under the bed shadows, and swift editing for the creature attacks elevate this warped twist. Meek out of work writer Bruce Davidson (X2) wishes his late genius nephew was his in fellow Creepshow collaborator Stephen King’s “The Word Processor of the Gods,” and the boy’s custom built word processor has an execute button convenient for creating Spanish doubloons – as well as one big red delete key that comes in really handy. Retro text, warning phone calls, fearful confrontations, and fiery overloads accent the consequences while Bibles and organ music set the funeral scene in Robert Bloch’s (Psycho) “A Case of the Stubborns.” Unfortunately for young Christian Slater (Mr. Robot) and Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), grandpa Eddie Bracken (Hail the Conquering Hero) doesn’t recollect being dead and is too stubborn to admit it despite no heartbeat and a death certificate. The too much rouge becomes pasty skin peeling and the Board of Health doesn’t like the smell, but the local voodoo woman offers a solution – pepper.

 

Tarot readings for a deceptive old lady swapping the card decks spells doom for Dorothy Lyman (Mama’s Family) in “In the Cards.” The desperation increases as thrown away cards reappear and even setting the deck on fire can’t prevent the tellings foretold. Are these predictions coming true a gift or a curse? Disbelievers and rival madams combine here for a mystical meets real world darkness. At least nagging wife Alice Ghostley (Bewitched) knows the way to her husband’s heart is his favorite stew in “Anniversary Dinner.” It’s the empty nesters’ twenty-fifth, and they take in a young hiker, offering her a celebratory sherry in their hidden room with a hot tub and some taxidermy. Sure, this one is obvious, but Tales from the Darkside serves up a twisted good time nonetheless when a drunken teacher tells off the headmaster because he’s going to win the lottery in “Snip, Snip” thanks to the perfect number – 666. Unfortunately, 667 rewards hairdresser Carol Kane (Taxi), and a talkative parakeet named Lucifer interrupts an attempt to steal her winning ticket. Appearances, however, are deceiving, and the tense but sardonic banter questions which spirits truly have the answers – astrology or distilled. Then again, a little horseshoe phone never looked so ominous as in one of my Tales from the Darkside favorites “Answer Me,” where subletting Jean Marsh (Upstairs, Downstairs) hears the incessant ringing of her neighbor’s telephone. The apartment’s been empty since the last tenant died, and the casual, effortless talking to oneself turns into frantic chatter as the noise next door won’t stop. Increasingly dark rooms, scary shadows, and twisted telephone cords live up to the series name in this taut one woman play. For “Madness Room,” an older man, his younger wife, and their handsome lawyer uncover tales of murder and treasure maps via a Ouija board, and the sophisticated puzzle builds with a little drywall demolition, secret doors, a one hundred year old diary, and some ghostly gun play on the comeuppance. Likewise “If the Shoes Fit…” puts a political candidate in an eerie hotel on his latest campaign stop where his tactic is to gain votes by making people smile. The charm, of course, is all for show, and he admits the pomp and circumstance is all so the best actor can win. Ironically, this circus commentary on politics, clown suit and all, remains a surprisingly relevant farce.

Though seemingly hokey with carnival magicians and harmless tricks, “Levitation” has a few surprises up its sleeve with fatal magic and foolish teens wanting to know all the behind the scenes secrets. There’s a sorrow amid the throwing knives, applause, and slight of hand – but our heckler gets what he wishes for when a little ‘Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board’ goes awry. The very expensive laundry service in “It All Comes Out in the Wash” guarantees the rinsing of a customer’s sin and guilt, leaving pleased with themselves clientele free to divorce or order vendettas while waiting on the latest laundry delivery. Unfortunately, when the prices triple and the order is late, one’s soul may be the final cost for services rendered. Quitting smoking has also never been tougher than in “Bigalow’s Last Smoke.” This high tech cage has bars on the windows, a television watching you, and punishments for striking a match. The only way out of the full proof program is to stop smoking – making for another memorable and psychologically chilling Tales from the Darkside parable via the most common addiction concepts. “Grandma’s Last Wish” also tackles the horrors of reality with ungratefulness, aging, and ageism. When this obnoxious family ignores Grandma, they learn what it’s like to be old in this witty turnabout. The bus station at Christmas is filled with superstitious warnings, almost walking under a ladder, tea leaves, and horoscopes in “The False Prophet” season finale. A fortune telling machine predicts a gullible Ronee Blakley (A Nightmare on Elm Street) will meet the love of her life on this trip. However a newer, futuristic male voiced machine wants her to get touchy feely for his advice, warning her to beware of false prophets when a flashy minister arrives with all the platitudes. Which one should she believe? Eerie lighting, personality, and wolf in sheep’s clothing subtext top off the unlucky deceptions.

Of course in this lengthy season of old Tales from the Darkside has a lot of hours to fill, and a few meh plots stray into the offbeat or weird rather than fitting the series’ spooky theme. The eponymous boy and girl twins of “Mookie and Pookie” address newfangled computer ghost in the machine fears with Justine Bateman (Family Ties) and Tippi Hedron (The Birds) the same way The Twilight Zone addressed spaceflight paranoia. However, the giant old PC, radical programs putting the brother in the network, and a dad not down with the tech times are totally hokey today. Colleen Camp (Clue) and all-star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also can’t save Harlan Ellison’s (Star Trek’s “The City on the Edge of Forever”) “Djinn, No Chaser.” The straight jacket asides and to the screen therapy confessions compete with the flashback recounting a genie lamp, disembodied voices, and silly objects flying about the room. What could have been a cautionary wish fulfillment tale stalls with flat humor bordering on the ridiculous. “All a Clone by the Telephone” boasts agent Dick Miller (Night of the Creeps) and down on his luck writer Harry Anderson (Night Court), but the too cool for school little answering machine with a better life of its own takes itself too seriously to be avante garde bizarre. Likewise, perpetually emotional Jessica Harper (Suspiria) meets the mysterious Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow) who can capture her teardrops with his ancient Chinese wisdoms in “The Tear Collector.” The glass swan vessels, tear trophy rooms, and consequences for breaking the collection seem to build toward something, but all the ominous tears and broken glass just end up…happy? Boo, hiss! Fortunately, dark lighting, green hues, and shadow schemes do fit the eerie alongside nostalgic animatronics, old school prosthetics, and classic horror make up. Without a huge budget or today’s film making technology, Tales from the Darkside does a lot with less – and the series didn’t need anything beyond those smoke and mirrors, thunderstorms, and distorted voice effects creating its sinister mood. Sure, some obvious sets may be cramped or barren, but that lends to a stage-like parable and other episodes make the most of outdoor scenes. Several entries may have a period or old fashioned setting, but the slightly earlier seventies feeling makes it tough to tell what’s past or present and no dates are given to break the warped reality. Then again, the boob tubes, rabbit ears, Walkmans, waterbeds, VCRs, and Ma Bell accent the prophetic talk of computers being the way of the future. Forget the diskettes, typewriters, retro kitchens, and dated patterns! I’ll take some of those vintage hundred dollar bills though, and look at those eighties yuppies talking a stroll down memory lane with their 1965 yearbook!

While some of the Seasonal DVD releases have music rights issues and the Complete Series set is packaged somewhat plainly, there is a commentary from Romero included with “Trick or Treat,” and Tales from the Darkside is also currently available on Shudder. The series may not be super famous to younger horror fans, but mention Tales from the Darkside to us of a certain age and you hear tell of an opening theme that terrified youngins back in the day. Its pretty sunshine, happy trees, and rustic imagery turn black, white, and red – a negative image with sinister notes to match narrator Paul Sparer’s warning of the dark underworld therein where we must doubt all we believe. Such bleak is immediately immersive compared to the dark comedy or more fantastic comic book tone of Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt. This debut is dated, often weird, usually unexplained, and not without hiccups. It hurts the series that audiences today have seen it all and may find the twists boring. However, Tales from the Darkside’s First Season makes the most of its old school effects and vintage style for heaps of atmosphere and memorable harbingers.

 

Chilling Chat Episode 160 Michele Roger

Michele Roger is an author and harpist living and working in Detroit. Her previous novel, The Conservatory, was published in 2014. Her second book, Eternal Kingdom: A Vampire Novel, was published in 2015 and made into a film script. Dedicated to furthering the reach of women in speculative fiction, she is a founding member of, “The Wicked Women Writer’s Group.” Her short stories have been published in anthologies in both the US and UK. As a harpist, she is the founder of the Michigan Conservatory. She was a Detroit Music Awards Finalist for best classical composer in 2015.

Michele is an innovative and artistic woman. We spoke of music, the creative process, and her advice for the burgeoning female writer.

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Michele! Thank you so much for chatting with me.

MR: I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you for the invite!

NTK: You’re an accomplished musician. How does your background in music influence your writing?

MR: That’s a great question. In reality, there isn’t an easy answer. The two creative outlets sometimes inspire one another. That’s when it feels like a blessing. I can be writing a conversation between two people falling for one another and the music will start to play in my head. The epiphany will hit me that it’s not a song I’ve heard before. Then, I stop writing words and start writing notes on a music paper. Sometimes, the two outlets compete for my attention. I can wake up at 3 am with a story and the theme music and the entire movie score in my head. Then, it feels like a curse. Which do you act upon first? Honestly, it’s a good problem to have.

NTK: Do you find inspiration in dreams?

MR: My biggest inspiration is walking. But, dreams do come into play. If I set a story and its characters aside to do my day job teaching music or playing Harp concerts, the characters sneak into my dreams. It’s always the same dream to start. I’m asleep in bed inside of a glass box. The characters come and gently knock on the box while I’m sleeping. The characters return each night, knocking louder and eventually pounding on the glass until I finally start to write their story. Then, the dreams end.

NTK: Did The Harpist come to you in this way?

MR: Yes. The ghost in the story, Emma, came to see me first, as I was out for a walk. That night, I dreamed of her outside the glass box. She scared the hell out of me. But as a paranormal writer, that’s an advantage, I suppose. Elizabeth and Detective Flannery came to me the next day.

NTK: That’s a fascinating process. What is the difference between paranormal and horror?

MR: Paranormal, by my definition, is like a flavor of a story. There are elements that are scary or ghostly but those elements are just tools for telling a story. The Harpist is definitely paranormal. I’ve written two horror novels. The entire story builds and builds becoming more frightening at every turn.

Paranormal uses scary elements to tell a great story. Horror uses a story to convey something really scary.

NTK: Are your stories character driven? Or, plot driven?

MR: Depends on the story. My sci-fi book, Dark Matter was definitely plot driven. So was [ ETERNAL KINGDOM: A VAMPIRE NOVEL Paperback ] Roger, Michele ( AUTHOR ) Jul - 20 - 2014 [ Paperback ]my horror novel, Eternal Kingdom. But my latest shorts, like Addicted to Love and now this new novel, The Harpist, is far more driven by the characters.

I think, as I get older, the more I like how beautiful it is when characters are vulnerable.

NTK: How much control do you exert over your characters after they come to you? Do they retain their free will? Do they come to you with vulnerabilities?

MR: They come to me dragging their huge amounts of baggage. It’s just my job to spoon their personality and flaws out to the readers as needed.

NTK: What writers have influenced you most?

MR: My first love of literature bloomed after reading F. Scott Fitzgerald. When I read that Hunter S. Thompson said he wrote passages from The Great Gatsby over and over again to learn how to write well, I tried it. That’s when I knew I wanted to write. I didn’t realize I wanted to write speculative fiction, sci-fi, and horror/paranormal until I devoured Stephen King’s short, Thinner. Then, The Visitor series in the 80s and finally, Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last, had me writing in the genre and never looking back.

NTK: Were you a reader as a child?

MR: I loved to read. It was always my escape.

NTK: What got you into horror?

MR: In 8th grade, a friend gave me a copy of Stephen King’s, The Eyes of the Dragon. It was a fantasy story he wrote for his daughter. I was already reading all the sci-fi and fantasy I could get my hands on secretly (my mom thought I should read romance) so King’s fantasy novel became my gateway drug into his other stories.

NTK: What do your parents think of your writing? Have they encouraged you?

MR: Before my dad passed away, he came to every signing and author event I had; often buying a copy of books he already had just to show his support. My mom is supportive of all my creative endeavors.

NTK: You said your mom wanted you to read romance. Do you like to write romantic scenes in your books?

MR: The first romantic scene I ever had to write, I was so nervous, I had to have a cocktail to get through it. Now, I have become much closer friends with my characters. I adore helping them find their loves. Maybe, that’s the difference between writing my first love scene in my early thirties and writing now at 46. I’m more comfortable with my own sexuality and hence, I’m more comfortable with the romance scenes of my characters.

NTK: That’s great! Do you enjoy horror movies and television shows? If so, which are your favorites?

MR: Hmm. I love Stranger Things but really, I don’t watch much TV or movies. I’m a print junkie.

NTK: What do you like about Stranger Things?

MR: I love the duality of worlds; one we can see, one only a select few can see. I also adore how much they’ve embraced the deliciousness of the 80s, right down to the plaid flannel shirts. Seeing the story through the eyes of kids is one of the best parts.

NTK: You’re a founding member of The Wicked Women Writer’s Group. Could you tell the Addicts how that came about?

MR: Early on in my writing, a publisher told me that it would be hard for him to market my work if I used my real name. Horror and sci-fi readers didn’t buy work written by women (or so he thought.) I didn’t want to hide behind a male pen name. Instead, I started a group for women who wrote speculative fiction. I wanted it to be a positive place for female horror writers to support one another. It’s become so much more and I couldn’t be more proud of all the members and our collaborations.

NTK: Very cool! Thank you for starting this group and giving women writers a place to get together. What advice would you like to give prospective women writers out there?

MR: Just this week, The Guardian published an interview with Phillip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials series, and president of a UK author society. He said that the publishing world isn’t supporting authors. Less than 30% of authors can make a living by writing solely as a career. For women, the percentage is even lower. Hence, my advice is this: 1. Buy the work of all authors you love. As a woman and a writer, we appreciate the grueling art form. Particularly, buy the work of female authors. Show appreciation with our dollars. 2. If monetary support is out of reach, support women’s writing by posting great reviews of their work. 3. Never give up on your dream.

NTK: Wonderful words! Michele, as you know, Season 13 of HorrorAddicts is CURSED! Do you have a favorite curse? If so, what is it?

MR: Curses are definitely a powerful female tool. My favorite thing about them is that they’re more frightening than a threat. A curse actually feels possible. My favorite curse? “I hope you have a kid just like you!” That curse came true in my two kids. And, I couldn’t be more proud.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What books, stories, and music do HorrorAddicts have to look forward to?

MR: The Harpist (Cursed) will be released this fall 2018. A short holiday story with Elizabeth and Flannery is in the works and the sequel to The Harpist is already outlined and taking shape. As for music, I’m working on another Celtic harp album which will hopefully be released in the spring of 2019.

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Michele. It’s been fun.

MR: Thank you so much for the interview.

Addicts, you can find Michele on Twitter.

Classic Horror Summer Reading – A Video Recommendation

 

Hello, Horror Addicts! Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz here again on video, braving the sunshine poolside to chat about why you should be revisiting some Classic Horror Reads this Summer!

 

Press play for some thoughts on Dracula, Anne Rice, Shakespeare, Stephen King, The Bronte Sisters, and more!

Don’t forget you can be part of the conversation – By Horror Addicts, for Horror Addicts! – on our Facebook Group. Tell us what kind of videos, media, and Horror coverage you’d like to see and what scary stories you’re reading!

Nightmare Fuel – The Tulpa

NightmareFuel

Hello Addicts,

Have you ever heard of a being born of a thought?  I’m not talking about in a birds and bees kind of way, but literally, an entity created from a person’s mind?  For this episode of Nightmare Fuel, we take a look at tulpas.

A tulpa is an entity created by your mind and imagination that can sometimes gain a physical form with intelligence and sentience.   Tibetan Buddhists believe that by concentrating on a thought hard enough can make it become a real person, animal, or object.  The more you focus on the thought form, the stronger and more tangible it becomes.  Some say that a tulpa only exists in your mind, but there are some stories where they took on a physical form.

One of the more famous tulpa stories is about Alexandra David-Neel, a woman who created one in the form of a jolly monk.  She raised it like a child until it evolved into a separate entity.  Eventually, it became evil and needed to be destroyed.  David-Neel considered that the monk existed only in her mind, but some people claimed to have also seen him.  The Philip Experiment, previously covered in an installment of Nightmare Fuel, is another possible tulpa case.

The tulpa also plays a role in the world of fiction, especially in horror and fantasy tales.  Stephen King’s novel “The Dark Half” is a story about a writer’s pseudonym that comes to life in a murderous way when the author attempts to “bury” him.  Other examples are the entire cartoon series of “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” and an episode of Power Puff Girls, “Imaginary Friend,” where an imaginary friend begins being able to affect the real world, causing the girls to create a tulpa of their own to fight him.  Stories involving tulpas have also appeared in episodes of The X-Files, Supernatural, Dr. Who, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as in other mediums.

So, the next time something gets broken or taken, and they blame it on their imaginary friend, don’t be so quick to think of them diverting the blame.  It is a probability that they don’t want to get into trouble for doing something they knew shouldn’t, but there is also the possibility that they are telling the truth.  They may, through their powerful gift of imagination, have created a tulpa.

Until next time Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

 

 

An Interview with Valarie Kinney

Our Featured author for episode 131 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast is Valarie Kinney. Valarie is a writer, fiber artist and Renaissance Festival junkie with a wicked caffeine addiction.  Recently she talked to us about her work:

What will you be reading for episode 131?

25848622I will be reading an excerpt from my novel SlitherSlither follows the story of Zari, who is on the run from her family of snake-god worshipers. She has run away, gotten married, started a business, and thinks she is safe. Suddenly, her family and Slither are back in her life, threatening to harm her husband if she doesn’t submit to their will.
Zari’s husband, Emmett, has a past as dark as her own. He is ready and willing to stand between Zari and Slither, but first she has to be honest about the threat that is coming for them.

When did you start writing?

I wrote a lot in junior high and high school, took a pause for a time while raising a family, and came back to it about six years ago.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

My favorite things to write about are difficult topics, such as pain, addiction, struggle, and heartbreak. I really enjoy digging down beneath the surface to find the reason people act the way they do in a given situation.

Could you tell us a little about your book Kapow?28176119

KAPOW (Kick Ass Powerfully Original Women) is a collection of stories about super chicks presented in literary form. This is the first book in a dual anthology, and shows us the “bad girls” who get into some trouble. KAPOW 2 is when the “good girls” come in to save the day (we hope.) My bad girl super chick is Copper, a nearly seven-foot-tall redhead with a talent for breathing golden lightning. One thing you don’t want to do is make her mad. All the authors for these collections are female.

What is Dragons of Faith?

Dragons of Faith is a collection of short stories revolving around dragons who all have different belief systems. When the fate of the world is at risk, they must learn to work together to save the world. I didn’t write a story for Dragons, but I wrote the poetry at the beginning of each story.

Who or what inspires you?

I am often inspired by authors who write about difficult or uncomfortable topics. Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Diana Gabaldon all come to mind.

What fascinates you about the horror genre?

28495292My favorite thing about writing horror is that it is such a departure from my everyday life. In real life, I work from home, have four kids, and spend a lot of time washing dishes and doing laundry. When I write horror, I can live in a world where evil, talking snakes are real; where I can murder a character and describe the scene in detail; where the creepiest of monsters might be your next door neighbor. Often, the stories I write are just plain weird and often gross, and that’s what I enjoy writing the most. It’s fun.

What are some of the other books you have available?

My first book, Just Hold On, is a drama/romance.

https://www.amazon.com/Just-Hold-Valarie-Savage-Kinney-ebook/dp/B00JLUHRD8?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

My latest release, Heckled, is a psychological thriller.

https://www.amazon.com/Heckled-Valarie-Kinney-ebook/dp/B01ADXRSCQ?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

Where can we find you online?

On Twitter and Instagram @kinneychaos

My blog https://organizingchaosandothermisadventures.wordpress.com/

FB https://www.facebook.com/ValarieSavageKinney/

http://www.amazon.com/Valarie-Savage-Kinney/e/B00KIQE17E

I’m also on Wattpad and Pinterest

 

 

 

 

An Interview With A. Craig Newman

Our featured author for Epispde 128 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast is A. Craig Newman. He grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and was raised on the works of Stephen King. Recently A. Craig Newman answered a few questions about his writing:

What is your story for episode 128 about?

3ab6fea455b8b4fedce5461374d4672ab6bd6b19“Randall’s Visit” is about a man who is talking to his therapist while being plagued by the spirit of a little girl.

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since 1984 when I was 10. I was telling my dad a story one day and he told me to write it down so he could get some sleep. Been writing ever since.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

Insanity is a frequent feature in many of my stories. I also like to explore sex, religion, power, and the abuse of all three. I like twist endings that makes the reader want to go back and see what clues they missed. Hence, I say my stories are written to be read twice.

Who or what inspires you?

I draw a lot of inspiration from my life. I’ve been the guy on their therapist’s couch working out his demons. I hope to help the reader escape from their reality for brief moments and enjoy a trip down the rabbit hole.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?e7586778cd932d0101b886dfa1b6cbbe8f758800

Horror seems to be a warped take on many concepts found in faith and religion. As a man who grew up in the church and even wanted to be a minister at one point, I find it fascinating to explore the flip side of belief.

What are some of the books you have available?

Burn” is about a man in pain who takes drugs to relieve his suffering. But he isn’t careful and with this relief comes new consequences for his actions.
“Dierste Hamelin and the Pied Piper” is my update to the old fairy tale. Dierste hires Piper to take care of a pest. All goes well until she has to pay.
“Wages of Sin” is about a future were the punishments for certain crimes are more creative than today. The reader sees two women punished for the crime of loving each other

Soon to be available ( hopefully by the time this airs) is my first published full length novel, “The Apocalypse Plan”. Michael and Liz are FBI agents on the task force investigating the destruction of the United Nations building. As they follow the trail, they come face to face with their own demons and secrets and End Times Prophecy .

Where can we find you online?

Here, my books can be purchased and more information about me can be found. https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ACraigNewman

http://www.acraignewman.com/

Morbid Meals – Tribute to Misery – Tomato Bisque

MorbidMeals2

EXAMINATION

Misery is probably my favorite of the movies based on Stephen King’s novels. It is a taut thriller with no supernatural elements, which is uncommon for his adaptations. My favorite scene is the one where Annie serves Paul some soup as she discusses his latest manuscript. When she gets overwrought over the book’s profanity and spills a little soup on him, it makes a powerful bit of bloody red foreshadowing that always gives me chills.

Warming up a can of soup can do wonders for fending off the chill of a long winter’s night, but I always imagined that Annie, knowing how much she admired her best-selling author she was nursing back to health, would cook no ordinary tomato soup. Rather she’d serve him up a hearty tomato bisque.

Traditionally, tomato bisque tends to be tomato soup that was cooked with ham and cream added. I think most people who eat tomato soup or bisque would prefer a vegetarian version, so I adapted some recipes to this one below.

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ANALYSIS

Servings: 4

Ingredients

2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cups vegetable stock
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (with liquid)
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream, or coconut cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Apparatus

  • Large soup pot
  • Immersion stick blender or regular blender

Procedure

  1. In a large pot, add the oil and onions and cook over medium-high heat until the onions soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, cornstarch, seasoned salt, and smoked paprika. Stir to evenly cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add the broth and tomatoes. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly to break down any lumps that might form from the cornstarch.
  4. When it reaches a boil, bring the heat down to low. Stir in the whole herbs. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the herbs and puree the soup with your blender.
  6. Stir in the cream and add salt and pepper to taste.

DISSECTION

We found a can of fire-roasted tomatoes that gave a wonderful flavor to the soup. We recommend it if you can find it.

If you’d rather use fresh tomatoes, you will need 5 or 6 medium-sized ripe tomatoes. Boil them for about 1 minute, let them cool then peel and chop them.

POST-MORTEM

This is a delicious, hearty soup that will instantly warm you up on a cold night. Share some with your family or your favorite author tonight. Just try not to get so worked up about things while serving it.

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: Sara Lundberg

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a ScreamRemember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well, they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Sara Lundberg and she recently talked to us about her writing:

OnceUponAScreamFrontWhat is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?
My story is called “Curse of the Elves.” It’s about Jenna and Frank, a couple who own a butcher shop that’s about to go bankrupt. A single act of kindness leads to them being “blessed” by a mysterious benefactor, where each morning they wake up to a stock of delicious meat pies to sell. Frank is ecstatic, but Jenna is too much of a cynic to trust the miracle and decides to look the metaphorical gift horse in the mouth. What she discovers is horrifying, and the blessing suddenly seems more like a curse. A curse she can’t seem to get rid of.

What inspired the idea?
I write short stories for a website called The Confabulator Café. Every month they have a different writing prompt, and I wrote this for a fairytale retelling prompt. I chose to modernize “Shoemaker and the Elves” and give it a horror twist.

When did you start writing?
I remember writing silly stories with friends all the time as a kid, but I didn’t really take it seriously until my eight grade English teacher told me that he was sure he’d see me in print soon. Unfortunately, it took nearly twenty years for his encouragement to sink in and result in my first short story publication. He passed away a year before that happened, though, so he never did get to see it.16004757

What are your favorite topics to write about?
I like to write about the fantastical (and sometimes horrific) things that I’m sure are (lurking) just around the corner. Does anyone else half-expect to find the TARDIS waiting for them one of these days? I just have to keep looking for the right corner…

What are some of your influences?
I absorbed high fantasy when I was a child—Terry Brooks, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Jordan—and as I got older, discovered Michael Crichton, Clive Barker, and Stephen King. Throw in some Joss Whedon, and you end up with my weird mix of fantasy and horror.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?
What people are capable of in their very worst moment—good and bad alike. Also, the twist. Whatever I’m reading or watching or playing, I love trying to predict when the twist will come or who the betrayer will be. I’ll be honest, though. Joss Whedon still gets me every time. Every. Time.

27308048What are some of the works you have available?
Just small stuff right now. A piece of horror flash fiction called “Who’s for Dinner” was published in the Shadows of the Mind anthology, and a dark fantasy piece titled “The Heart of Stone Monsters” was included in the recent Misunderstood anthology. I also have several short stories I’m very proud of at the Confabulator Café, but I’m hoping to get a novel out before too long.

What are you currently working on?
I’m writing an urban fantasy trilogy right now. Working to get the first book out into the world while I write book two. And still trying to write a short story every month for the Café. Keeps me in shape.

Where can we find you online?
I live at a few places across the internet. I have a Facebook author page where I announce stuff like publications and Café stories, a Twitter that I mostly use during National Novel Writing Month, and a writing blog where I try to keep myself accountable on this crazy writing journey (and sometimes post pictures of my puppy).

Master of Horror L.A. Banks and her contribution to Horror

Black Women in Horror:

 Master of Horror L.A. Banks and her contribution to Horror.

“If my soul got jacked, where is it?”L.A. Banks

Happy Black History Month! I want to start this out in saying, yes, this blog post will be long and peppered in fangirl moments. I will drone on about the awesomeness of author L.A. Banks and her extraordinary writing skills in horror/thrillers. I will gawk at the idea that she is not praised as much as she should be, and I will tear up at the reality that this author’s incredible gifts have been lost to us in the literary world. This is my respectful tribute to her…it is what it is. -smile-

banks6In the world of Horror, in link with black women, there are only two names that comes to mind for me that have been cultural innovators and pop icons in this area of literature. And today I’m choosing to speak on the one that I was lead to deeply admire, Leslie Esdaile Banks. Better known as L.A. Banks. When you think of horror, the greats who founded it, and those who followed in their footsteps, oftentimes many people don’t equate women in that class.

People always are quick to name the greats, Horace Walpole, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, and contemporaries, Clive Barker and Stephen King as the masters of horror. I take nothing away from them. However, women were also at the forefront of horror. They were the literal foundation that inspired many past and current male horror authors that we so fondly idolize.

“Humans have been telling scary stories of great danger, defeat, and triumph since we built campfires outside the caves while the wolves were howling in the hills near us.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

Women of horror helped craft a culture within the medium that added character to how many male horror writers developed their own stories. A level of maturity, audaciousness, sensuality, and political/social commentary between the pages of great stories that scared us senseless. Who were the women that influenced horror? These founding women were: Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelly, and more. Later they would influence and shaped the pens of contemporary women horror writers such as Carrie Vaughn, Anne Rice, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Charlaine Harris. However, it is black women writers such as Tananarive Due and L.A. Banks who chose to elevate the medium and bring with them a fresh flair to the foundation that has sorely been missed, the reality of the black voice and everyday man/woman.

banks5L.A. Banks contribution to horror was shaped around where she came from and the no-holds bar realities of her life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“L.A. Banks’s career was born out of tragedy. Years ago, her six-month-old daughter was severely burned, she was going through a divorce, she lost her job when she took time off to be with her daughter, and she was broke. Yet somehow, in the midst of all the grief, she turned to writing – creating page after page of entertainment that kept her girlfriends so entranced they submitted the complete manuscript to publishers without telling her.” – Janice Gable Bashman via Wild River Review 2011

I’m very sure if you look at the lives of the founding women writers in horror, that they too began writing due to specifics in their lives that mandated them taking pen to paper. Culture shifts, frustrations with status, political views, a sense of advocacy in the world. Horror provided the appropriate medium for these women writers to showcase our most feared secret places in our psyche and spirit. L.A. Banks had a gift for doing the same thing. Before ‘Black Lives Matter’ was shouted, L.A. Banks characters in her well-loved and known horror/thriller/pararomance series, The Vampire Huntress Series and Crimson Moon Series, were actively in the streets kicking ass, and taking names later in the same branch of protest and demand for justice. Black Lives Mattered in all her works.

“Fear, hatred, oppression – that’s pure evil and it never lasts. Love endures.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks4         L.A. Banks was proud of being a woman writer in horror, paranormal fantasy and more. She was proud of her place as a black woman in the literary world as well. This is why she was ahead of her time. She created a culture where young and old could come together for a cause in saving ourselves from the pains of the streets and the political strife in our governments. Her characters bucked the system of global oppression without batting an eye.

Bloodshed, hearts being snatched out, fangs tearing into necks, demon possessions, werewolves and jaguars, naughty sensual sex. L.A. Banks world was intense and oh so good. What is masked as vampires and demons, monsters snatching people from their beds or in the streets, was a well-written allegory for issues such as police brutality, martial law, government cover-ups, drugs and poverty in our communities. Her works were even crafted as a way to speak about the disconnect between young and old in how we all viewed the lens of civil rights and social rights.

Again, L.A. Banks was ahead of her time.

“The vampire represents a lot of what we see in society. They’re scarier because of that; because the vampire can be anybody. He just blends in and looks perfectly normal. Like serial killers often look like normal people… the fear factor is that they’re among us.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

Her grasp of writing to reach those of us not only in the Black community but also in the Latino, and even white community was something that not many authors today can effectively balance. Listen, when you have a supernatural team of people tasked to save us from the apocalypse, and these characters come from every walk of life. Young, old, street kids, Jews, Latino priests, bikers gangs, southern folks, and more? You then have a mix for how we should be coming together to build ourselves up before we fall into destruction and also shows that on a human level, we all should be able to come together without issue. It makes reading her books immensely relatable. This is why L.A. Banks works resonated well with her fans.

“The more I know what is going on in the world, the more it effects my choices, how I vote, how I spend my money, how I relate to others. I am empowered by what I know, laid bare and ignorant by what I don’t know.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks3As a means to reach us all, L.A. Banks used her medium of scaring the hell out of you, while educating you without being preachy unless needed to be. Her style was deftly smooth and gripping, that in my opinion it influenced not only her readers but Hollywood as well. Case-in-point, before her passing L.A. Banks had been featured as a commentary for the behind-the-scenes look at HBO’s True Blood as it was premiered. Like many writers, we research our craft to create our worlds.

Not only did the writers do the same in shaping author Charlaine Harris popular book, but they also used the influences of many other writers to make it a richer environment. Once such influence was L.A. Banks slang and flair. “Dropping Fang” came from her works and found a way in the language of True Blood.

“…Vampires had taken the mantle as the perfectly dangerous lover – the forbidden, kinky, deep dark sensualist. Move over, vamps, somebody in pop culture let the dogs out. So we now have the phenomena where injustice, rage, plus the phase of the moon, means that the otherwise mild-mannered individual who is playing by the rules of society just gets fed up and rips your face off.”– L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks2L.A. Banks had a powerful influential gift for writing. Had we not lost her, I believe that she and her works would have continued to not only help in our current climate today, but also changed the diversity of Hollywood.

As she stated back in 2011, “There is always a mentor, a Yoda, a Sensei, a learned master that helps the young initiate along their path of trials and tribulations until they emerge victorious.” Mama Banks you were our mentor, and master in the world of Horror, paranormal speculative fiction and more. August 2, 2011 is the day L.A. Banks parted from this world. It still saddens me that she is not celebrated more, because to me, she is right there in the ranks of Octavia Butler. Women in Horror have been overlooked and oftentimes ignored, especially with fellow women writers like myself. One day this will change.

We women are proud to take on the task of holding up the mantel of women horror writers like I’ve mentioned previously. It’s now up to the readers to turn a willing eye our way and step into our creepy, sinister, maliciously evil works and join us on our journey into greatness. Besides, we’ve been the inspiration for many male writers already. Why not continue the ride?

“Knowledge is Power.” – Carlos Rivera (VHL series)

L.A. Banks, also known as Mama Banks (to us fans), we miss you dearly. Thank you for being a beacon of light for myself as a writer and many others. I only hope that I become the same way as you were for me because when no one else will speak your name, I will. This is your right of honor as is your place at the Queen’s table for us black women writers. Thank you again and happy Black History Month!

 

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Born in Iowa, but later relocating and raised in Alton, IL and St. Louis, MO, Kai Leakes was an imaginative Midwestern child, who gained an addiction to books at an early age. The art of imagination was the very start of Kai’s path of writing which lead her to creating the Sin Eaters: Devotion Books Series and continuing works. Since a young childScreenshot_2016-01-31-15-02-55-1-1-1, her love for creating, vibrant romance and fantasy driven mystical tales, continues to be a major part of her very DNA. With the goal of sharing tales that entertain and add color to a gray literary world, Kai Leakes hopes to continue to reach out to those who love the same fantasy, paranormal, romantic, sci/fi, and soon, steampunk-driven worlds that shaped her unique multi-faceted and diverse vision. You can find Kai Leakes at: www.kwhp5f.wix.com/kai-leakes

l.a.banks
Read more of L.A. Banks interview with Wild River Review here: http://www.wildriverreview.com/Interview/L.A._Banks/From_Tragedy_to_triumph/bashman/October_09

 

Book Review: BirdBox by Josh Malerman

Bird Box by Josh Malerman was given to me to read when he was nominated for the Bram Stoker’s award. So I did not purchase it, initially. When I finished it, I bought the book because it was that amazing.

I really like Orson Welles, and Alfred Hitchcock stories like The Birds, Vertigo, etc. Bird Box easily fit into the chair right next to these masters. There was just enough pull of tension and “sh*t! What the (bleep) is out there!” to keep me strung through to the very end. Not once did I skim through to rush the story. The pace was even and consistent. The imagery was beautiful and dreary. The suspense was killer (no pun intended).

As a book cover designer, this cover is also worthy of a 5 skull rating. Beautiful, enjoyable book all around.

If I could give this higher than 5 skulls I would, it is that good.

Synopsis: Written with the narrative tension of The Road and the exquisite terror of classic Stephen King, Bird Box is a propulsive, edge-of-your-seat horror thriller, set in an apocalyptic near-future world—a masterpiece of suspense from the brilliantly imaginative Josh Malerman.

Something is out there . . .

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

 

An interview with Dario Ciriello

Our featured author for episode 122 of the horror addicts podcast is Dario Ciriello. Dario recently answered a few questions for us about his work:

When did you start writing?

18710085 When I was eight or so! I actually have my first short story, a one-page effort called “The Anti”, written on my Dad’s typewriter (he was a journalist, so I had a model right there).  It’s a fraught little piece, full of foreboding and strange events. Though the editor in me sees a few issues, I was clearly already channeling Poe and Conrad. But I only really became semi-serious about my writing in the early oughts and published my first book, Aegean Dream, in 2011.

What do you like to write about?

 Ordinary people faced with strange and challenging situations. I started off writing straight-up Science Fiction short stories, which I’ve always loved; but in recent years I’ve moved towards suspense novels. Still, I can’t do “straight” reality: my work is always going to have an element of the fantastic or supernatural, because that’s really how I see life—the known is always shadowed and underpinned by strangeness and the unknown.

Who are some of your influences?

I’ve always been a style and language junkie, so really terrific prose artists who also know how to keep a reader turning pages—authors like John LeCarre, Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny, PD James, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, Joseph Conrad, Robert Graves—have always been favourites; and though his excesses are many, Lovecraft does hold a special place in my heart. I’m also a terrific fan of Stephen King, whom I consider one of the all-round best authors of our time in every way. He really gets character, and is incredibly good at psychological depth and getting under the reader’s skin. There aren’t many authors who can hold my attention for 60 pages, never mind 600 or more.

Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction? 7085919

 Nonfiction is in many ways easier for me, as no invention is really required. My first book, Aegean Dream, a nonfiction travel memoir, is my longest work, yet it was the fastest to write—the first draft reeled itself off in just three months or so. But there’s a whole added dimension of satisfaction and achievement to crafting a long work of fiction in which you spin characters and sometimes entire worlds from whole cloth.

Can you tell us a little about Panverse publishing? 

 I founded Panverse in 2009 to edit and publish a series of original Science Fiction novella anthologies—novellas are my favourite story length for SF, and yet the one there are fewest markets for. In 2011, after publishing three annual anthologies (Panverse One, Two, and Three), I published my own first book, Aegean Dream, and it did very well. I expanded the company and in 2013-2014 began to publish novels by other authors, as well as my own thriller/suspense novel, Sutherland’s Rules. But the workload was horrifying and my own writing was suffering. So at the end of 2014 I returned the rights to our authors, and kept Panverse as an indie publisher/imprint solely for my own work.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

8492651 The exploration of the subconscious and the more shadowed, ancient parts of our psyche. I like psychological rather than graphic, in-your-face horror full of gore and shock images. Getting back to King’s work, I find the novels Gerald’s Game and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon infinitely more scary (and interesting) than, say, Carrie, Cell, or Salem’s Lot. I do find the idea of possession—and there’s a strong element of that in my forthcoming novel, Black Easter—genuinely terrifying. We’re an ancient race, and parts of our wiring go back to pre-rational days. We’re hardcoded for correspondences and symbolism, for instance, at a level we can’t easily access consciously…but we sense it. At some level we know that the everyday world is just a construct, an agreed model, a fiction of sorts, and that there’s an awful lot of what’s out there that goes unseen, and for very good reasons. The best horror fiction and film taps into those pre- and subconscious levels where we’re aware of the hidden and occult realms, and it scares the shit out of us. And I do believe that there is such a thing as real, true evil in the world.

What will you be reading for episode 122 of the podcast?

 I’ll be reading an excerpt from my new novel, Black Easter, which releases on December 5. What’s it about? Well, there’s black magic, human sacrifice, a severely traumatized Nazi colonel, love, sex, possession, an idyllic island in the sun-drenched head shot2014Aegean, and a whole new theory of Hell.  It’s Mamma Mia meets The Exorcist, with a side of Inglorious Basterds.

Where can you we find you online?

 Thanks for asking, and I do love to hear from readers. I’m in quite a few places, including:

My author blog:    www.dariospeaks.wordpress.com

My indie press:      www.panversepublishing.com

Facebook:              http://facebook.com/dario.ciriello

Twitter:                 @Dario_Ciriello

Amazon page:       http://viewauthor.at/DarioCiriello (no “www”)

You also can pre-order some of my books at:

www.panversepublishing.com/black-easter

And finally, I write a monthly Thursday guest post for the Indie Author Series over at Janice Hardy’s excellent Fiction University (blog.janicehardy.com)

 

Book Review: A Head Full Of Ghosts

Title: A Head Full of Ghosts
Author: Paul Tremblay
Publisher: William Morrow
Review by Lisa Vasquez

unnamedSynopsis: Merry Barette are your average suburban family – until mom and dad find themselves faced with a layoff, financial problems and Merry’s teenage sister Marjorie who seems to be having issues that go beyond your typical pubescent problems.

When Marjorie stops eating and starts sneaking into Merry’s room at night, things start taking a wild turn into a dark tale reminiscent of Amityville Horror and The Exorcist. When seeing a psychologist doesn’t help matters, Mr. Barette turns to his faith by seeking out the priest of their local parish.

This book was on Stephen King’s recommended list and he said it “scared the Hell out of him”. Being the horror addict that I am, Ihad to snag this book and read it! It should be noted that when the “King of Horror” says something scares him, you go in with high expectation. It is with a disappointed heart that I tell you that I was let down.

The writing was OK and the story held my interest but I kept getting this build-up only to be left hanging. There were a couple of scenes that were creepy, and there was of course the obligatory “creepy wall walking” scene, but overall? I just kept sighing and thinking, “C’mon with the scary stuff!”

I have to say that I’m not a huge fan of “live footage” movies or “reality” television, so when Paul Tremblay added this element, I felt like it gave the reader the feeling of being staged. Which is really what The Amityville story was even though I know that deep down inside all of us were hoping for proof of a real demonic entity. And we were all pretty pissed when it turned out to be a sham.

As much as I want to give the ending away and save you all the time it took to read the book, I won’t. Not because the ending is what you’ll expect (unless you’re like me and you figure things out right away) but because the book isn’t a bad read. If you get creeped out easily, you might even enjoy it. To the writer’s credit, there are a couple of thrills dispersed throughout but I personally found the main character, Merry, to be irritating and distracting. Tremblay adds the element of Merry’s blog which was typical of a freshman’s Facebook page timeline complete with annoying caps lock and excessive exclamation points.

Did it scare the Hell out of me? No. In fact, I read it before bed every night and slept just fine.

Could it be that I hyped this book up because Stephen King was scared to death by it? Most likely. And for that, I apologize to Peter Tremblay because that’s a whole lot of pressure.

SCORE: 3 out of 5 skulls

http://www.amazon.com/Head-Full-Ghosts-Novel/dp/0062363239

Lisa Vasquez currently resides in Houston, Tx with her Brady Bunch sized family and menagerie of pets. She works for the Horror Writer’s Association as the Publisher’s Liason, Burning Willow Press as the Head of the Graphic Design Department, has her own magazine debuting in November 2015 (Inked Muse Press Magazine) and moonlights by day as an Executive Assistant.

Editor-in-Chief – Inked Muse Press Magazine
www.inkedmuse.com
Author of The Unsaintly Series
www.facebook.com/unsaintlyhalo
www.unsaintly.com
Publishers Liaison – Horror Writer’s Association
www.horror.org
Creative Design Director – Burning Willow Press
www.burningwillowpress.com

HorrorAddicts.net 120, Chantal Noordeloos

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 120

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

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chantal noordeloos | madalice | found footage

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

54 days till halloween

chantal noordeloos, babymetal, gimme chocolate, wes craven, a.d. vick, nightmare on elm street, horror news, vampire squirrel, vampire ride, 16 slices, ghost golf, daryn coleman, stephen king, carrie, christine, the stand, phantom of the opera, don post, mask maker, dead babies, alex s. johnson, books, david watson, crystal connor, the darkness, the end is now, IMDB, chris jackson, kbatz, dress your dreams, fashion, d.j. pitsiladis, nightmare fuel, elisa lam, elevators, castle, american horror story, morbid meals, dan shaurette, queen of hearts tarts!, alice in wonderland, lewis carroll, best band season 9, murder weapons, madalice, dawn wood, bless the bitch, midnight syndicate, christmas album, yuletide, jesse orr, grant me serenity, missy, black jack, movies, the taking of deborah logan, found footage, the quiet ones, blair witch, shaky camera, ghost scent tour, scent kit, los angeles, marc vale, advice, stephanie, santa fe, new mexico, self-surgery, dr.frankenstein, chantal noordeloos, angel manor, deeply twisted

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

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An Interview with Jaq Hawkins

Our featured author for episode 119 of the horroraddicts.net podcast is Jaq Hawkins. Jaq has written several non fiction and fiction books, recently Jaq told us a little about her writing:

When did you start writing?

Well, it depends on where you want to start counting. I started my first autobiography at age 6, in pencil on notepaper. I wrote short stories through high school and decided then that I wanted to be a writer. I started getting non-fiction (occult) books published in 1996, but finished my first novel in 2005, which was Dance of the Goblins.

What do you like to write about?

newgoblinI’ve always been a Fantasy reader (Traditinal, not Romance) and love making up imaginary worlds or adaptations of the real world. Like in The Wake of the Dragon, my Steampunk novel. Most of it is based in a properly researched Victorian world, but with airships.

Who are some of your influences?

Marion Zimmer Bradley, Roger Zelazny, Anne McCaffrey and Mary Stewart stand out, although I have great admiration for Stephen King as well.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?13601727

Horror was a natural progression from Fantasy that kept getting darker. As someone who has studied and written about the occult, the scope for extrapolating the Fantasy worlds into scary landscapes has a natural appeal. I lean towards entities like ghosts and before they got sparkly, vampires and werewolves in my tastes for Horror. I’ve enjoyed films made from Lovecraftian stories, especially those with unseen creatures that become visible under special conditions. As a child I loved films and stories with odd creatures, like in From Hell It Came, which has a tree-like monster. My brother and I watched that film every time it came on television.

Could you tell us what inspired the Goblin series you have written?

What inspired the story was a polical situation, which has a certain irony because I hate politics. W. Bush was about to get elected for the second time in the U.S. and I had been 13635472in contact with various Anarchist groups and tried to stir a protest movement, only to find that most of these groups were very limited in their smaller agendas. The whole power thing between politicians and mini-oligarchys of protest groups kind of culminated in a line that went through my head, “We are not like you. We do not glory in having power over our own kind, or imaging that we do.”

What are some of the other books you have out?

Dance of the Goblins turned into a series and was followed by Demoniac Dance and Power of the Dance. I’ve also released a combined edition with the full Trilogy. The Wake of the Dragon is my Steampunk book, which will be followed by more in the genre, but I have other projects to finish first.

What will you be reading for episode 119 of the podcast?

An excerpt from Chapter Four of Dance of the Goblins. Writing this chapter is where I learned that I rather like creating dark imagery. I expect that future books will explore this sort of thing further.

Where can you we find you online?

My fiction website is http://jaqdhawkins.com. The occult books are on http://jaqdhawkins.co.uk.
Social networks are:

 

Kbatz: Stephen King ABCs!

 

Stephen King ABCs!

By Kristin Battestella

 

Start your spooky viewing from the beloved horror author off right at the beginning of the alphabet!

 

photo-1__1412697705_186.77.196.237Biography: Stephen King – This 2000 television hour chronicling the best selling horror author details his quiet, poor early life in Maine, the abandonment of his father, awkward school years, and his initial love of reading, making primitive newsletters, and adoring horror movies. Although fans of the man himself probably feel this profile could have been longer – heck, just a full forty-five minutes of talking to King would be delightful – anyone who has delusions of grandeur about being an author can learn something here. Interviews with King, his wife Tabitha, and other family and friends keep the presentation from getting into the entertainment hyperbole style that so many of the more recent Biography episodes unfortunately offer – however some of the New England accents might be amusing or tough to distinguish for broader viewers. Thankfully, the natural, honest conversations and smooth narration focus on King’s efforts as a struggling young writer and family man, and it’s refreshing to see these behind the scenes difficulties discussed so candidly by the man we so often raise as the twisted and macabre industry standard. Newer King readers can have a thoughtful, pensive introduction here along with longtime horror audiences interested in the spooky King craft.

 

Cat’s Eye – I used to love this 1985 spooky and bizarre Stephen King trilogy as a kid. James Woods Cat's_Eye_(poster)(Once Upon A Time in America, John Carpenter’s Vampires), Drew Barrymore (Never Been Kissed, Charlie’s Angels), Robert Hays (Airplane!) and that cute but pesky cat capture the story and suspense wonderfully. However, some of the effects here are a little too dated, silly, and small scale. What used to be so scary then is now merely ironic and just a little too unintentionally comical. Then again, the troll can still seriously scare the youngins, so if you’re into that, go for it!

 

Creepshow – Terror titans George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead) and Stephen King (Carrie) present this 1982 anthology featuring a spooky fun cast including Ted Danson (Cheers), Ed Harris (Apollo 13), Leslie Nielson (The Naked Gun), Adrienne Barbeau (Maude), and Hal Holbrook (The Senator). The expected anthology frame blessedly remains as only opening and closing bookends with a few scary winks, letting the animated transitions, red and blue lighting, and comic book styled backgrounds or cell frame designs accent the scary and carry the pulp homage. While some nods are too obviously placed or too humorous for some, the lighthearted, almost camp and endearing at times tone is in keeping with the creators’ nostalgic Tales from the Crypt creepy of yore feeling. The first “Father’s Day” tale is a little short but has a now dated kitsch and gruesomely bemusing result. “The Creepshow_PlumeLonesome Death of Jordy Verrill,” however, is kind of dead end. It’s surprising that Stephen King can act as the stupid hick so well, but a vegetation meteor run rampant doesn’t have that much impact – no pun intended. Fortunately, the lengthy “Something to Tide You Over” provides pretty but deadly beachy with vengeful tides and a quality, watery comeuppance. “The Crate” has some obnoxiously fun performances to match its hokey, inexplicable monster, and the final “They’re Creeping Up on You” is surely not for people who dislike bugs, namely cockroaches. Lots of cockroaches – many, many cockroaches everywhere! Certainly this can be uneven in scares and brevity as anthologies often are, but all in all, there’s a good, macabre ride here.

 

Creepshow 2 – The lengthy animated opening and frame story for this 1987 anthology sequel feels somewhat out of place and dampens the suspense of George Romero’s writing polish on these Stephen King tales, yet the beginning fifties-esque pleasantries of the “Old Chief Wood’nhead” first tale make for a fine down on its luck, eerie western. George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke) and Dorothy Lamour (Road to Bali) add a delightful charm to this tense blend of Navajo mysticism, hooligans, and quality revenge. While the ending feels a little rushed and the dated backwoods styles might be amusing or annoying to some, the mannequin effects are surprisingly well done. Story Two “The Raft” also offers plenty of dated eighties pot and college motifs with a hint of nudity and stupidity for good measure. People in horror movies never get away when they have the chance! Despite the unexplained killer oil slick and weak globular effects, there’s plenty of suspense here. The final tale “The Hitchhiker” starts with some saucy but leads to crazy, never say die, car chases and pursuits with a touch of humor and an ironic end. Again, the stories and the framing plot don’t exactly tie together, but there’s enough eerie entertainment here to marathon with the original Creepshow.

 

 

You Make the Call

 

Bag of Bones – I want to like this 2011 ghostly family tale for the fine cast, including Pierce Brosnan
bob_movietiein(GoldenEye), Annabeth Gish (The X-Files), and Melissa George (Triangle). The performances are enjoyable along with the rural, upstate setting, water scenery, and cool cabins. Some of the obligatory writing aspects are fun, too. However, even having not read the Stephen King source, one can tell this is poorly adapted, borrowed material that confusingly tries to endear whilst also using scary dreams for shockers, confusion, and audience mistrust. Despite the King of Horror pedigree, the slow pace often takes too long to get to the ghostly shenanigans, and though atmospheric, none of it is horrific. This didn’t need to be two parts, and every scene feels like it has its own unnecessary establishing scene before it. Other films have done this same type of paranormal resolution in a taught ninety minutes, and the plot here is surprisingly similar to the 1981Ghost Story adaptation – a Jazz era indiscretion, a familial curse, a female haunting, and an attempt at bodily appeasement. Prophetic connections aren’t fully explained, and too many questions are left unanswered – did he do the final revisions for his book or not? A few spiritual confrontations are downright laughable, too, like ghosts tossing records to deter people back up the stairs. Hit 007, you possessed tree, smack him with your leafy branches! These action missteps become hokey wastes of time in what should be a straightforward town mystery. King references may be fun for some viewers but too on the nose obvious or annoyingly pointless for others. This is entertaining to watch, even bemusing, but it’s also yelling at the TV frustrating thanks to convenient technological uses and contrived clues. All in all, I remember the bad more than the good, and that’s not the best way to do a memorable adaptation.

HorrorAddicts.net 117, Mike Robinson

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 117

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

mike robinson | pamela moore | penny dreadful

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

97 days till halloween

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

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An interview with Mike Robinson

Our featured author for episode 117 of the Horror Addicts podcast is Mike Robinson. Mike has five books available and a blog where he talks about cryptozoology. Recently Mike answered some questions for us about his writing:

When did you start writing?

17839307My hand has been fused to The Quill (my generic name for any writing instrument, be it a pencil, pen or keyboard) since I was about 7 years old. I don’t remember any particular moment when I decided to write — I simply wanted to spin the kind of stories I was reading, or that were being read to me. It was my brain’s way of going to the bathroom. As my first Big Ambition was to be a baseball player, I naturally started writing about sports. Gradually, with the help of authors like Bruce Coville, Mark Twain, R.L. Stine, Gary Paulsen, Stephen King, Michael Crichton, etc., I started transitioning into the realm of the horrific and the fantastic. To this day, I remain lost in that delicious labyrinth.

What do you like to write about?

The horrific and fantastic. (*wink*) Like a lot of my shadow-dwelling peers, I’ve always been fascinated with humankind’s ongoing relationship to, and reconciliation with, the Unknown. The human reaction to a monster, or a strange phenomenon, interests me more than the monster or phenomenon itself (though of course I have Fortean love for those, too). So I often infuse my classifiably “speculative fiction” tales with more “literary fiction” hallmarks such psychological analysis, metaphysical exploration and introspection. Spaceships, vampires and elves are not really my thing. Contemporary people confronting something whose very21795163 existence their minds, and our world, has barely even begun to conceptualize — now, that’s my thing.

What interests you about cryptozoology?

More or less the same thing that interests me about speculative fiction (the umbrella term for all things science fiction, fantasy and horror): the search for and celebration of the Unknown. Whatever its spotty reputation, at its heart cryptozoology recognizes that we still live in a wide, weird cosmos. Globalization may be shrinking the human world, but I’m confident the greater world’s many nooks and crannies still await with untold wonders. I also appreciate cryptozoology’s inherent rejection that the natural sciences have virtually checked off everything “big”, an assertion that has always given off an unpleasant whiff of Ahab-ian arrogance.

What are some of the books you have out?

My first was Skunk Ape Semester, which I call “On the Road” meets “The X-Files”, and which touches on real-life phenomena such as Bigfoot (or, the titular Skunk Ape), Sedona vortices and UFOs, the Dover Demon, the lake monster Champ, etc.
17364665Next came The Green-Eyed Monster, a supernatural murder mystery with a strong philosophical bent, and which shares space with my surreal thriller Negative Space in a non-linear trilogy called The Enigma of Twilight Falls, the final of which,Waking Gods, will be released in January 2016 (I call it a ‘non-linear trilogy’ because the books can theoretically be read in any order).
There’s also The Prince of Earth, a metaphysical horror novel set alternately 20 years ago in the Scottish Highlands and in modern-day Los Angeles, and which I call a cross between H.P. Lovecraft and the films of David Lynch. Last but not least is the sampler platter Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray: A Collection of Weird Fiction, which is a pool of horror, metaphysics, sci-fi, and “other.”
What will you be reading for episode 117 of the podcast?
My short story “High Stakes” from the aforementioned collection, Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray. It’s a Twilight Zone-y meditation on fate and theology, tinged with dark humor and horror.
Where can you we find you online?

Horror Addicts Guide to Life Author Spotlight: Catt Dahman

24520262Catt Dahman has written several horror novels including Circle Jerk. For Horror Addicts Guide To Life  Catt wrote an essay called “Writing Extreme Horror.” In it Catt talks about being a horror author and the trends she sees in horror. To read Catt’s article along with several other articles on living the horror lifestyle, pick up a copy of Horror Addicts Guide To LifeRecently Catt was nice enough to tell us what he likes about horror:

What do you like about the horror genre?

The versatility. I can write about romance or anything within horror because it supports the theme. I think I haven’t even scratched the surface of all there is in horror because “horror” can be in so many forms.

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

I am a Richard Laymon fan. I like Ira Levin and Stephen King as well but too many to name.

In what way do you live the horror lifestyle?

In my house, discussions about cannibals is normal. A ‘relaxing” show is found on crime t.v. We embrace my persona and everything is “She’s a horror writer” as if that is a reason for anything at all. Spilled milk? Blame the need for a particular horror scene and call in inspiration.

What are you currently working on?

I finished some nasty monsters and a Gothic horror novel and am working on a few projects that cover themes such as cannibals (always!), the Donner party with a friend, D.A. Roberts, monsters in a cave, and an apoc-book. I generally write (begin) 3-4 at a time and then focus on one until it is finished.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me at www.cattd.com or http://www.jellingtonashton.com/

HorrorAddicts.net 114, H.E. Roulo

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 114

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

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

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

174 days till halloween

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

 

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Baycon.org

 

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s t a f f

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

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life Author Spotlight: J. Malcom Stewart

13798345J. Malcom Stewart is an author and journalist who has written several articles about horror movies. For Horror Addicts Guide To Life  J. Malcom wrote an article called Horror Movie Marathon which gets into what horror movies you should watch on Halloween night. To read J. Malcom’s article along with several other articles on living the horror lifestyle, pick up a copy of Horror Addicts Guide To LifeRecently J. Malcom was nice enough to tell us what he likes about horror:

What do you like about the horror genre?

I’ve been a fan since I was a little kid, starting with the less scary monster movies and then eventually graduating to classic horror. From there, I started in with horror books, horror comics and short stories and the interest kind of grew up with me. I like horror as a format to tell stories because I find it tells the truth more often than other genres. Fantasy, SF and other formats tend to want to talk about the world and people in a wishful thinking or idealised fashion. Horror takes people and things as they are: the good, the bad and especially, the ugly. No sugarcoating.

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

Oooh, narrowing things down is hard. I wrote a whole book, Look Back in Horror, on the films and TV that were23200641 formative for me. If pressed, I will cite films like Poltergeist, Alien and Evil Dead as seminal influences. Along with that would be the work of Stephen King, Clive Barker and Peter Straub. Horror comics probably had more impact than anything else. The EC Comics’ Tales from the Crypt and those books, Warren Comics’ Eerie and Creepy, work from 70’s and 80’s DC and Marvel Comics by Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson, Marv Wolfman, Alan Moore, etc…

In what way do you live the horror lifestyle?

The lifestyle thing is subtle for me these days. I don’t know if there’s anything outwardly horrific about me, but if I see a kindred spirit, then it’s hard to shut me up on the topic. I can talk till the cows come home and are drained by the vampire bats about horror…

What are you currently working on?

Too many things! I am currently working on the follow-up to my full length novel, The Eyes of the Stars, and prepping to start writing my second essay collection, Look Back in Horror II: Life After Dead (yes, that’s how it should read. LOL)

Where can we find you online?

and I’m also at Twitter @sabbathsoldier
Come by and say hi! ( or is that “Boo!”)
My stuff is available on Amazon and at Double-Dragon-ebooks.com

HorrorAddicts.net 112, Horror Addicts Guide to Life

ha-tagHorror Addicts Episode# 112

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

writer’s workshop winner | lacuna coil | frankenstein: the true story

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

 

201 days till halloween

malcolm stewart, jesse orr, kathy bates, misery, stephen king, american horror story, hotel,  addict on the street, the walking dead, talking dead, salem, izombie, dan shaurette, lady gaga, poltergeist, jurassic world, mad max, fury road, unfriended, kbatz, kristin battestella, frankenstein: the true story, horror addicts guide to life, baycon, once upon a scream, laurel anne hill, j malcolm stewart, sumiko saulson, heather roulo, david watson, the undying, ethan reid, zombie, plague, top five, mimielle, makeup, vids, dj pitsiladis, nightmare fuel, werewolves, wisconsin, morbid meals, dan shaurette, berry fool, april fools, free fiction friday, emerian rich, dark soul, dawn wood, music corner, lacuna coil, swamped, jesse orr, grant me serenity, black jack, dead mail, nadine, writing, james, how to get on the show, sandra, zombie movies, scared of the dark, marc vale, advice, horror writer, inspiration, murderer, victim, jesse orr, genesis

 

 

FinalFrontCoverHorror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
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Baycon.org

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

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HorrorAddicts.net 111, Horror Addicts Guide to Life

Horror Addicts Episode# 111

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

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horror addicts guide to life | xy beautiful | the twilight zone

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

 

216 days till halloween

valentine wolfe, catch up, new staff, lillian, don, jesse, other contributors, crystal connor, killion slade, voodoo lynn, what are you watching, dead filed, z nation,citynewsnetpodcast.com, artistic license, zombie cruise, wicked women writers challenge, master of macabre contest, tarot, books, somnalia, sumiko saulson, horror addicts guide to cats, david watson, it came from the library, dean farnell, kings of horror, touched by death, forbidden fiction, voodoo lynn, nightbreed, phillip tomasso2, madness, mimielle, stephen king, the golden notebook, emilie autumn, morbid meals, dan shaurette, carne adovada, serpentine delights, lillian csernica, nightmare fuel, d.j. pitsiladis, rawhead, old betty, xy beautiful, dawn wood, jesse orr, black jack, dead mail, advice from marc, marc vale, kbatz, twilight zone, horror tv shows, the munsters, twilight zone, alfred hitchcock, horror addicts guide to life, david watson, killion slade, j. malcolm stewart, ron vitale, h.e. roulo, james newman, eden royce, chris ringler, sumiko saulson

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life
https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/horror-addicts-guide-to-life/

Horror Addicts Guide to LifeDo you love the horror genre? Do you look at horror as a lifestyle?

Do the “norms” not understand your love of the macabre?

 

Despair no longer, my friend, for within your grasp is a book written

by those who look at horror as a way of life, just like you. This is

your guide to living a horrifying existence. Featuring interviews with

Midnight Syndicate, Valentine Wolfe, and The Gothic Tea Society.

 

Authors: Kristin Battestella, Mimielle, Emerian Rich, Dan Shaurette,

Steven Rose Jr., Garth von Buchholz, H.E. Roulo, Sparky Lee

Anderson, Mary Abshire, Chantal Boudreau, Jeff Carlson, Catt

Dahman, Dean Farnell, Sandra Harris, Willo Hausman, Laurel

Anne Hill, Sapphire Neal, James Newman, Loren Rhoads, Chris

Ringler, Jessica Robinson, Eden Royce, Sumiko Saulson, Patricia

Santos Marcantonio, J. Malcolm Stewart, Stoneslide Corrective, Mimi

A.Williams, and Ron Vitale. With art by Carmen Masloski and Lnoir.

 

 

———————–

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

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————————

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Emerian Rich

s t a f f

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

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This Darkness Light review by D.J. Pitsiladis

unnamedHello Horror Addicts! This is D.J. Pitsiladis with a review of “This Darkness Light” by Michaelbrent Collings. It is a story about an apocalypse at the outset, one in which normal everyday people are turned into horrific creatures for a short period of time before they die off. The story starts out with a man waking from a coma without any memories of who he is, how he got to the hospital, or even why he is there. A glance at his chart lists his injuries as multiple gunshot wounds, but doesn’t feel as bad as he should after a trauma like that. He’s vaguely able to recall that he has a mission, and that he needs to go to Kansas immediately. He doesn’t know anything else except that it is important for his mission. As an assassin enters the man’s room and stares in shock at the John Doe in the bed before he aims a silenced gun at him. As this is going on, a nurse arrives for her shift and discovers every one of her co-workers on her floor executed. She enters John Doe’s room and provides enough of a distraction for the injured man to subdue and kill the assassin. They escape the hospital, but are just as quickly hunted by an assassin named Isaiah, a former priest, who is blackmailed into chasing them by a shadow organization within the government in order to save the world.

I found this a very hard book to put down. It started like it might be a zombie style story, but just as quickly changed to a mixture of Stephen King’s “The Mist” and the 1989 movie “Leviathan”. The priest’s story was well-played out as the man who believes he is so unworthy that he tries to make things right by eliminating people who he knows for sure are abusive to other people. The back story on why is a well told story and very believable. The way John Doe’s character is painted keeps up just enough of a mystery to keep you wondering who he is and what his mission is. The nurse is a tag along who helps John in a couple of instances, but feels more like just a damsel in distress to be rescued. It read through good and very enthralling, but the ending just felt a bit anti-climactic. Up to that point, I thought it was a great read. My ranking is 3.75 out of 5.

Until next time, fellow addicts…

 

How did you start reading?

Did you all get books, eBooks, or audiobooks for holiday gifts? I did and can’t wait to rip into them, which got me thinking about how I started reading.

I always loved to read, I was good at it and it was one school subject I could always excel in. I don’t think I would have got into the habit of reading so many books if my parents didn’t start a contest where I would get a penny for every book I read in a year. I remember always striving for a 100 so I would get a dollar. I usually surpassed it, but they quickly put a cap of $1.00 on it. I also remember in Alaska, I had access to a thrift store and was allowed to get any five books I wanted and then switch  them back out when I finished them. Being a poor kid, this was a definite perk! I would stay up late reading because it was light all night during a lot of the year. We had these thick shades over the windows to keep out the light, but I kept mine cracked open a little so I could read all night. I remember being so sad when winter started and it started getting dark all day cause then I would have to try and sneak a flashlight!

The_Outsiders_book

That Was Then This is Now

I don’t remember the name of my first book love, but it was a gothic romance with a picture of a stormy sea, lighthouse, and haunting woman on a cliff. Even though I wasn’t a horror addict then, that sort of dark romance was always a draw to me. I do, however, remember my favorite adolescent series was by S. E. Hinton. The Outsiders; That was Then, This is Now; and Rumblefish were my favorite books in junior high. I wanted to know kids like Ponyboy and Sodapop. I think Ponyboy was my first crush – even though he was just a book character. I didn’t see the movie until I was an adult and even though I enjoyed it, it didn’t come close to the feeling I had reading the book for the first time. The fact that the books had character cross-over was a plus.

728541n11862This love affair with books continued and I have been so wrapped up in a book storyline that I think of it while I’m not reading. Some of my favorite characters feel more like family members or friends rather than fictitious people. In college, I connected with many of Anne Rice’s characters, but when Marcel’s heart gets ripped out by his father’s betrayal in Feast of all Saints, I felt like it was my heart breaking.  Her Cry to Heaven actually had me crying on a city bus as I read. Andrew Neiderman’s Bloodchild entertained me to no end and Poppy Z. Brite’s Drawing Blood made me have the most glorious nightmares. These are just pinpoints in my life that have been changed by authors.

I asked how our Horror Addicts started reading, and here are some of the answers:

David Watson: I remember my mom taking me to library story time as a kid and always having a stack of books for me when it was done. The books I was drawn to the most were always horror, baseball, and superheroes. I’m pretty sure the first adult horror novel I read was Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot.

A.d. Vick: Hmm…I’m not sure what inspired me to start reading, but I do know that I could read a few words before I started school. I don’t remember all the authors I read, but I was into a lot of sci-fi as well as nonfiction.

Kristin Battestella: My dad was building this giant custom entertainment unit, so all the books meant for the future bookshelves were piled in the corner while he worked. There was a set of those big old-fashioned leather bound volumes of classics, and I used to just make forts out of them and build myself in and pick a book off the top and start reading. Some I remember being so disgruntled with at the time. Like what, Jane Eyre isn’t a scary story after all! Paradise Lost ugh, but The Twain, Shakespeare, Poe, Dickens, wow. But primarily, I had a lot of books to play with. I think that inspired me to a life of readership. I don’t really believe in this new tablets for toddlers stuff. I think children should be surrounded by tangibly intangibly things, if that makes sense, not pressing some buttons.

Murdo Morrison: Family lore has it that I was reading before I went to school. I don’t know if that is true but I have been reading since I was a small child. My father, who was not particularly bookish, did bring me books and comics so he was also an influence. For a working class kid though the public library was a great resource. I think you had to be ten to graduate from the children’s section and I couldn’t wait. I have always been an ecletic (and voracious) reader. I was one of those kids who read under the covers with a flashlight. In the summers, when school was out, if I got interested in a book I might read it until dawn came or I finished it, whichever came first. A lot of what I read back then, old classics, are probably not much read by young people today. Today my interests lie more at the non-fiction end of the spectrum, particularly history and science, but I also like biographies.

Steven Rose Jr.:  When I would check out ghost story anthologies at my grammar school’s library or the public library when I was about 8 or 9.

So how did you start reading? What interested you? What is your favorite memory of reading as a child? What author inspired you to read their whole series? What story did you read years ago that has become a part of your belief system, your way of looking at the world? Please share in the comments below, we want to know.

13 Questions with Laurence Simon

Now here is a name that all you HA listeners out there will know, Laurence Simon, a.k.a the creator of the 100 Word Stories series! That’s right, this week I was able to interview the master of short stories and even catch a glimpse of what goes on inside that head.

Laurence explained to me how his short stories got their start. “A college friend wrote 100 stories 100 words long, so I thought I’d give it a shot and write a few. They were about Abraham Lincoln, inspired by a play written by Woody Allen. Then, a few years later, some other friends created a site called 100 Words Or Les Nessman, where you had to write a 100 word story on a topic or write about the WKRP character. I recorded the stories I wrote for that site and put them on a podcast feed. When the Les Nessman site became unstable, people wanted to keep up the challenge aspect of that site, so I came up with the Weekly Challenge for others to participate in.”

And for those of you, like me, who have been wondering just how many of these stories Simon has written…well, I’ll let him tell you…. “I’ve written at least 1 a day for the past seven and a half years. My queue is stacked up through April of 2014, and there’s many more in the drafts pile. So if it isn’t over 4,000 by now, it’s close to that number.”

Animal lovers everywhere will appreciate what Simon feels is his best work so far, A Night On The Beach, which was written for one of his cats. In fact he cares for them enough that “every night before he goes to bed, he walks by the shelf that his cats’ ashes are on, and tells them that he misses them.” Laurence was also kind enough to share A Night On The Beach with us –

—————-
I wake up and shake the sand from my shoes. This happens every morning.

But I haven’t been to the beach in years.

Only in my dreams.

Sometimes, there’s driftwood in my hand, seaweed wrapped around my ankle.

Salt in my hair from the ocean spray.

On a shelf over my mirror, I’ve put my seashell collection.

All these things, I dream of. And bring back with me.

When I dream of you, take my hand, and let me bring you back.

I will leave my sadness on the sands of my dreams.

To be washed away with the tide.
—————-

Now I’m sure many of you have come across one of Laurence’s many websites, here is a look into his “isfullofcrap” site. “These days [isfullofcrap.com is] just an “About Me” placeholder. I used to run a daily political and current events snark blog called “The Blog Is Full Of Crap” there. And before that, I ran “Amish Tech Support.” But those days are over. My daily blogging is about Second Life, but that’s also fading. I’d rather just enjoy it than get all nitpicky on it, or rail against a privately-held company that develops features and pricing structures for customers that no longer exist and never will again. So, really, http://podcasting.isfullofcrap.com/ is where the real deal is. That’s where the the podcast dwells. (Until I give it its own domain and put isfullofcrap.com out to pasture.)”

Now my addicts, on to the horrifying part of this interview! Just kidding but I am gonna tell you a little bit about Laurence’s love of horror. According to him, “Fear is such a deep and raw emotion. Writers and directors who can manipulate you through it effectively are very rare. Stories that don’t rely on the supernatural or impossible are more powerful than ones that do. The Long Walk by Stephen King is my favorite horror tale. (To me, it’s horror. Deal with it.) But the moment that he wimps out and whips out a haunted demon-car or crazy-assed parallel universes, I want to smack him with the book and run him over with a van. The guy is brilliant without having to rely on that stuff. Okay, so a little magic or impossibility is necessary, but just a touch of it… one little tiny twist or spark. That’s all it takes. Good horror is when you hand someone a shovel, they dig themselves into a hole, can’t get out of it, pass through the drama as they try to get out of it by other means, and then go one step further into the really nasty stuff… the horror stage. If it doesn’t have a touch of hubris, then you’re only a victim to be added to the body count. Misery will always beat Christine in my opinion.”

“The traditional monsters are unbelievable. Give me something human or once-human, because real people are the biggest monsters of all. You’re going to laugh, but Willy Wonka was a horror movie monster to me when I was little. The man was witty, aloof, and bumping off kids one by one. Then, he told Charlie he broke the rules and… and…That’s usually when I had to go to bed. If you think about it, lots of movies are like that.
– Cut off ET when the alien is dead and Elliot is in the science lab.
– Cut off Wizard of Oz when Dorothy is watching Auntie Em in the crystal ball.
– Cut off The Ten Commandments when the Israelites have their backs against the sea.
Try it. (Especially on your kids.)”

And sadly, this brings us to the end of our interview kiddies. BUT fear not, there are more 100 word stories in your future. Here’s some things on the drawing board:

– More 100 word stories

– More 100-word entries for the A is for Avatar series (http://aisforavatar.com/)

– Collections of the stories in Kindle and other e-book reader formats.

– A feed of the stories in image format so people with WiFi picture frames can create slideshows of the stories

– Apple and Droid apps

– New refrigerator magnets of my best stories

For more information on Laurence Simon, you don’t want to miss checking out these websites!
http://twitter.com/isfullofcrap
http://twitter.com/100wordstories
http://www.facebook.com/100wordstories
http://podcasting.isfullofcrap.com/

1970’s books

When I was looking for horror books for the seventies it didn’t take long for me to come up with a list of books to talk about. The seventies and eighties were a great time for horror novels.  One of the most intriguing books I found was one written in 1972 called The Werewolf vs. Vampire Women by Arthur N Scram. This book is supposed to be an adaptation of a movie that was released  under the same name in 1971 but according to what I read, the book doesn’t follow the movie.  The book begins in a morgue where a  man called Waldo who happens to be a werewolf  is lying in a morgue on a table with a  silver bullet in him. The mortician removes the bullet and Waldo springs to life killing the mortician. Waldo the werewolf then goes out into the world and finds two female med students who are doing a masters thesis on a vampire queen named Wandessa de Nadasdy. Waldo hates vampires so he decides with the help of the female med students that he his going to find this queen and kill her. This books sound just corny enough to be entertaining.

Another book I wanted to mention was written in 1979 called The Majorettes by John Russo who was one of the co writers of Night Of The Living Dead.  This book was written at the same time that slasher movies were becoming popular. The story begins when  high school nerd Tommy Harvack who has a crush on a majorette named Nicole Hendricks, goes to meet her in the woods. Unfortunately for them they get murdered while on the rendezvous. The killer is not stopping there though, he has his sites set on killing the whole majorette squad. Can the police stop him in time? The Majorettes was originally meant to be a movie but when Russo could not get funding for it, he made it into a novel instead. A movie was finally released based on The Majorettes in 1987.

The 1970s also brought us a comic book that ran from 1972 to 1979 called Tomb of Dracula. This title was published by Marvel Comics, it was written by Marv Wolfman, drawn be Gene Colan and inked by Tom Palmer. The story for Tomb of Dracula was that Dracula was revived in the present day 1970’s and is being hunted by the decedents of the vampire hunters that once killed him. Tomb of Dracula also marked the first appearance of Blade who had his own comic series, TV series and three movies.

If your going to talk about books of the 1970’s you have to to mention the biggest horror author of all, Stephen King. King’s first novel was released in 1974 called Carrie. Carrie as you probably know tells the story of a shy girl in high school who discovers that she has telekinetic powers and uses them to take revenge on the  classmates that made fun of her.

My favorite Stephen King novel was his second novel which was released in 1975 called Salem’s Lot. Salem’s Lot follows the story of a man named Ben Mears who grew up in Salem’s Lot Massachusetts. He moved away when he was 12 but has now returned to find the town a very different place. The streets are deserted in the daytime, the town has been infected by vampires and only a few town residents are left to stop the vampires from taking over. I don’t feel that I have to say to much about Salem’s Lot here because most people reading this blog probably at least know the story from the 1979 mini series or the 2004 mini series which followed the book closely. Salem’s lot was heavily influenced by Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House which was recently mentioned in this blog.

Sticking with the subject of vampires, I feel I also need to mention Anne Rice’s Interview With A Vampire which was written in 1973 and released in 1976. The story for Interview With A Vampire follows Louis as he tells the story of his life over the last 200 years. Interview With The Vampire spawned 11 sequels that I know of and also had a movie made on it in 1994.

What’s your favorite 1970’s horror novel? Leave a comment and let us know.

1920’s Horror Books

In the 1920s women who were in to jazz and wore short skirts were called flappers. So because the theme here is horror of the 1920’s I found a book combining horror and flapper girls called Lucille and the Healers by Anthony Burns. The story takes place in 1929 London England and follows a woman named Lucy Kitson, a 16 year old flapper who is trying to help her widowed mother make ends meat. Her world changes when she meets and falls in love with a writer from New York who is concealing a secret that makes him a marked man and endangers all that befriend him. The man is part of a cult called the healers and now Lucy is pulled into their supernatural world and must find a way to stop them before they take possession of more souls in London.

Another book I found written in 1929 is The Magic Island by William Seabrook. According to Time magazine this is the book that introduced the word zombie to the American public. The story follows a narrator as he explores ancient 16th century ruins in Hati. While he travels through the dark and mysterious jungle he hears the sound of voodoo drums and finds a group of mindless zombies roaming the island.

This book is written as a travelogue with the narrator describing what he sees in Hati. In addition to the zombies he also talks about seeing natives performing witchcraft, sex dances and sacrifices. Some of the reviews I looked at for this book called it dated and a little slow but its worth reading because it’s the first work of fiction that referred to zombies as mindless walking corpses. Previous to that the word zombie described a voodoo snake god.

Next on my list I want to talk about Moonshine by Alaya Johnson. This book takes place in 1927 in an alternate reality New York City where vampires, faeries and genies exist and a woman named Zephyr Hollis fights for equal rights for them all. One review I read for this book calls it True Blood meets Gangs of New York.

Zephyr Hollis comes from a family of demon hunters but felt her calling was in helping supernatural creatures and not hunting them. This book takes place during prohibition and the vampires, demons and other creatures represent the different immigration populations of the time. The story unfolds through the eyes of Zephyr and gives her point of view on life in the 20’s and tells what vampires have to endure to be considered equal with the living and fight the negative stereotypes associated with being a blood drinker.

Staying in New York in the 1920’s is Out Of Time by Monique Martin. The story follows a man named Simon Cross and his assistant Elizabeth West who have spent their lives searching for evidence of vampires. A freak accident happens and the couple is transported back in time where they find evidence that the undead are walking the earth. Now the name of the game is to survive the mob of vampires that want to kill them and make it back to the present.

The last title  I found was American Vampire which is a DC vertigo comic created by Scott Snyder. This is an ongoing series which is co written by Stephen King. It is set in 1925 and stars an actress named Pearl Jones who believes that she is about to get her big break into acting but instead is left for dead in the desert. Another main character is Skinner Sweet an outlaw in 1880’s Colorado who is on his way to be executed. Both characters become afflicted with a vampiric curse and the comic follows the two  as they deal with being vampires.