Creature Feature Novels: Spotlight on Lucas Pederson

Spring has sprung.

I don’t know about the weather in your part of the world, but in my part, the cold winds have turned to warm breezes and the flowers are in bloom. It’s the time of year when I like to sit outside and read, with the birds chirping all around. They call that “leisure reading”, don’t they? When you relax with a good book, an easy-to-digest adventure that whisks you away from reality…

I’m so glad I found the work of Lucas Pederson. You can’t go wrong with a good ol’ creature feature, and creatures are Pederson’s forte. The first of his books I read was The Cabin.

On the surface, this is the story of a diseased Bigfoot gone crazy. But the contrast of the two main characters, Brett and Mandy, is what kept me turning the pages. You’ll want to know what they are thinking, and what they’re going to do next, simply because they’re such an unlikely pair. In the dense wilds of Minnesota’s Chippewa Forest, with a blizzard beating down on them, Mandy and Brett must battle for their lives. Who will win? Man? Nature? Or creature?

After finishing The Cabin, I immediately read Badlands.

Badlands follows a nameless gunslinger referred to only as Bounty Hunter. The Bounty Hunter is not proud of the murders he commits, but the West is a corrupt place, and he’s only trying to send money home for his little girl, Ana. This novel spends a great deal of time following the adventures of Bounty Hunter before any creatures are unveiled. I enjoyed that aspect. By the time our main character is combatting monstrous dinosaurs, we have every reason to root for him. Badlands was a fun ride, and I recommend it for a leisure read on a sunny day.

In Black Water, the Cartel have found a new way to transport drugs: underwater tunnels. When the survivors of a damaged submarine are cast into these dark tunnels, they become prey for a vicious predator. Of course they will fight long and hard for their lives, but is it a futile effort? Will they become just another snack for the creature who swims the black waters?

Now, I’ve given you three suggestions, but the thing is… this guy has a TON of books! Perhaps you should peruse the catalogue and see if anything jumps out at you. Hopefully it’s not a monster.

To find the books I’ve mentioned, plus more, visit Lucas Pederson’s Amazon page by clicking here: LUCAS PEDERSON BOOKS

Thank you for stopping by

Now, go outside and read a book! Preferably HORROR!

Dirty Dozen: Top Twelve New Releases

Fresh new year, same old me. I’m always late to the party. While other, more responsible bloggers have most assuredly checked in with their readers by now, I’m just now straggling through the door to wish you all a Happy New Year! 😂

For my first post of 2023, I’d like to reflect on some newly released horror movies I watched and enjoyed in 2022.

As always, the following list will include 12 items, because that’s how we do it here: by the dirty dozen.


In this deeply disturbing film, Taiwan succumbs to a viral pandemic that transforms peaceful citizens into sadistic maniacs. This gorefest had my jaw hanging open for most of the run time! It’s both hard to watch and impossible not to watch.  Truly sick.


Justin Long stars in yet another horror movie. Will he survive this time? House of Darkness forces its audience into an awkward silence as the main character attempts to bullshit his way into the pants of a pretty lady with a dark secret and repeatedly fumbles his way further into harm’s way. I honestly don’t know if I would have made it to the end of this one if not for how compelling it is to watch Justin Long talk himself into an absolute corner, trying so desperately for a piece of ass. 😂😂


I want to start by saying that Ethan Hawke plays such a convincing villain in this film that my dumbass didn’t even realize it was him until after I’d watched the entire thing! Didn’t question it at all. Now that’s great acting. I loved The Black Phone. The story is tight–no plot holes to speak of. The protagonists (both of them) are relatable and realistic kids you find yourself rooting for over and over again, and frankly, this is a movie that shouldn’t be missed by any horror fan. Really, really good stuff.


Sigh. How did I get here? I never thought I’d be reviewing a movie about a restroom glory hole. But here I am, and it was so good! I’ve been a fan of Ryan Kwanten since season 1 of True Blood back in 2008, and a fan of JK Simmons since even before that when he starred as Vernon Schillingeron on HBO’s Oz. Glorious was surprisingly entertaining. For a film that takes place at a desserted rest stop, this one had me hooked from start to finish.


Antlers came out at the tail end of 2021, and it’s a kick-ass little film I feel was largely overlooked. Plot: A little boy hides a dangerous secret to protect his family, and when his teacher gets involved out of concern for his wellfare, she may be the only one who can save him as his secret grows out of control.


You either love Art the Clown, or you don’t. I eagerly awaited this sequel, and loved it, but the Terrifier films are not for the squeamish viewers among us. Prepare yourself for copious guts, gore, and torture. David Howard Thornton is an instant horror icon without uttering a word of dialogue in this no-holds-barred romp through Hell.


A vampire’s loner lifestyle is thrown into disarray when a teenager shows up claiming to be his daughter, and she’s got the fangs to prove it. A fun flick.


A bit cheesy and sprinkled with cliches throughout, Barbarian was still a wild ride worth watching, and definitely worth mentioning here.


I got to watch Alicia Silverstone fist fight more than one shark, so I was a satisfied viewer. The graphics feel realistic during the storm that sweeps the couple out to sea in the opening scenes, and the suspense builds from there. It’s a campy movie, and an overdone topic, but somehow The Requin is an enthralling ride you’ll want to see through to the end.


This movie was fun because it didn’t need mature content to achieve a good scare. It’s safe to watch with family. I watched it with my 11-year-old son. The story centers on two teens who must stop a terrifying internet meme brought to life by the hysteria of their parents.


This horror comedy was super cute and funny. It had an 80s vibe and interesting characters. Two thumbs up.


This one was overhyped, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. I had no complaints. Plot: After witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, Dr. Rose Cotter starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. As an overwhelming terror begins taking over her life, Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality.

Conversations With Dead Serial Killers


I just finished Ashley R. Lister’s novel, Conversations With Dead Serial Killers, and I don’t believe I could have read this book at a more relevant time. The internet is rife with controversy over the recent Dahmer series. In the newly released horror movie, Terrifier 2, there’s a dinner table conversation in which the sister scolds her brother for dressing as a real-life murderer for Halloween. Every year at this time, as we embrace the “spooky season” vibe, we also ponder that fine line between tragedy and entertainment. Our Halloween traditions are a balancing act between honoring the dead and celebrating the monsters who hunt and kill them.

In Ashley Lister’s horror novel, Conversations With Dead Serial Killers, this same moral struggle is presented as we follow two con-artist brothers who exploit the deceased for profit. Derek and Clive Turner are not the most likeable guys, but a dastardly duo who’ll keep those pages turning! While Derek feigns psychic abilities and pretends to communicate with the dead, pocketing undeserved money from their surviving loved ones, Clive’s obsession with serial killers escalates to fatal proportions. This book is unique in that we’re not rooting for the main characters to overcome adversity or rise above. We are rooting for their demise. Even as antiheroes go, these siblings are a couple of bad apples who don’t inspire much empathy on the part of the reader. That’s not to say this book isn’t inspiring. It is a thought-provoking concept; the pace was 100% perfect for me, personally, and Lister understands how to use blood and gore without losing the plot to it.

There are a handful of interesting characters who play a lesser role in this depraved downward spiral of a plot, and honestly, they felt pretty real. That tells me they were written well, no matter how small their individual parts. My favorite was Sam (and I imagine a fan favorite as well), a ghost who’s come back from the dead to haunt these assholes and set them straight!

Conversations with Dead Serial Killers is sprinkled with so many fun facts about serial killers that even if you think you know it all, you’ll find a brand new nugget of trivia somewhere in these pages. Most importantly, though, it tries hard to remind us that these murderers and their victims were fact, not fiction. It makes the reader question why we put these scuzzbuckets in the limelight… while simultaneously putting them in the limelight. Seriously… horror fam, true crime fam, what is wrong with us? Lol.

I really enjoyed reading Conversations With Dead Serial Killers. I don’t have a rating system, but since it’s Halloween, I’ll give it 5 out of 5 pumpkins. Please, do check this book out for yourself! And before you go, get to know the author below!

Until next time, stay safe out there, boils and ghouls!

Ashley Lister is a prolific writer of fiction across a broad range of genres. He’s written more than one hundred short stories, articles and academic papers, and is currently working on his 63rd full length novel. Aside from regularly blogging about writing and reading, Ashley also teaches creative writing in the North West of England. He has completed a PhD in creative writing where he looked at the relationship between plot and genre in short fiction. Ashley’s current writing is an exploration of the horror genre which includes his series of novellas exploring his own interpretation of Lovecraft’s Innsmouth, the highly acclaimed Raven & Skull, a study in the horror of working in an office, and Conversations with Dead Serial Killers, a story about society’s obsession with the darkest souls.





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YouTube Horror Binges

With the cost of streaming services climbing every year, I thought I’d share some horror shows I binge watch on YouTube for free. This won’t be a “Dirty Dozen” countdown. It’s a “Dirty Half-Dozen” list of awesome free shows.

Monster (1988-1990)

This show had cameos from actors such as Linda Blair, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Jerry Stiller, Adrienne Barbeau, Kevin Nealon, Matt LeBlanc, Tony Shalhoub, and Pam Grier. You can binge at at:

Tales From The Crypt (1989-1996)

I don’t think this show needs any introduction. Love, love, love it! I found a decent YouTube channel here:

Twilight Zone (1980s)

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably seen every single episode of the original Twilight Zone more than once, but you haven’t seen every episode of the 1980s version. There are brand new plots and reboots / sequels of old ones.

Nightmares & Dreamscapes (2006)


Bring Human (2011)

If you’ve never watched Being Human, now’s the time to start. A werewolf, a ghost, and a vampire co-exist in a home together. Make sure to watch these in order!

Tales from the Cryptkeeper (1993)

Want to watch a horror show with your kids? This animated series is wicked fun for all little boils and ghouls!

I hope my YouTube playlist recommendations bring a new horror binge into the lives of all you serial ki-… uh… serial bingers out there.

Until next time!

Read the rest of this entry

Dirty Dozen: Top Twelve Scream Queens

Hey, there! I love, love, love these Top Twelve countdowns. This blog entry I pay tribute to the ladies of horror. Mind you, these are MY top twelve, so feel free to comment with your own. I’m a hetero female, so I don’t give a rat’s booty who shows the most titty (I’m looking at YOU, Linnea Quigley!) I chose these 12 women because they are some truly badass babes of blood!

12) Adrienne Barbeau

Adrienne Barbeau starred in tons of horror movies, such as Swamp Thing and John Carpenter’s The Fog, but my favorite of her roles was as Henry’s bitchy wife in “The Crate” on the first Creepshow movie. Although it made me cringe that her character is sipping a mixture of milk and whiskey, it made me smile that she gets her just desserts.

11) Katharine Isabelle

Katharine Isabelle is in some great flicks, from her powerful role as teenage werewolf in Ginger Snaps, to her gory descent into underground surgery in American Mary, it’s hard to look away when this scream queen is on the screen. Even her more mundane roles, like run-of-the-mill teenager in Freddy Vs. Jason, are not without a certain charm. Katharine is too darn cute.

10) Denise Crosby

Denise Crosby plays horror so well. She can play a damsel in distress as easily as a sinister monster. You might remember her as Mary (leader of Terminus) from Walking Dead, who enjoys cannibalizing zombie apocalypse survivors, but I first came across her at age six, when she scared the **absolute fucking bejesus out of me** as she told the story of her dead sister, Zelda, in the original 1989 Pet Sematary.

9) Linnea Quigley

It simply wouldn’t be right to leave Linnea Quigley off ANY scream queen list. What would the 80s have been without her? If this girl wasn’t being impaled on the antlers of a dead animal, she was shoving tubes of lipstick into her nipple or dancing naked on tombstones. Linnea always kept things interesting in the horror genre.

8) Naomi Watts

Okay, the first time I saw The Ring, I said, “That was the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. Let’s watch it again!” So of course Noami Watts made my list. But this talented beauty also stars in my favorite depiction of King Kong, as the classic character Ann Darrow, an actress who comes to realize that the humans who traveled with her to Kong Island to enslave “the monster” are–in fact–the true monsters. Let’s not overlook the movie Funny Games, either. If you haven’t seen it, please do, but brace yourself. Brace yourself HARD.

7) Christina Ricci

Some of Ricci’s horror titles include Sleepy Hollow (1999), in which she starred alongside our beloved Johnny Depp, Cursed (2005), and Afterlife (2009), but come on… everyone knows her TRUE masterpiece was as Wednesday Addams. The only pre-teen us bitter adults can relate to!

6) Kathy Bates

Bates’s performance as Annie Wilkes in Stephen King’s Misery marked her Hollywood breakthrough, winning her the Academy Award for Best Actress. But her various disturbing characters on American Horror Story are what landed her on my countdown. She ALWAYS steals the show, no matter which season.

5) Virginia Madsen

I enjoyed The Haunting (1999) and The Haunting in Connecticut (2009), both films equally “haunting” in their own right, but Virginia Madsen’s portrayal of Helen Lyle alongside charismatic Tony Todd in Candyman, was nothing less than stunning. Tragedy meets urban legend in this storyline, and the result is ultra-spooky. Don’t believe me? Say her name five times into the mirror.

4) Barbara Crampton

I. Love. This. Woman. I’m a SUCKER for campy 80s horror, and Barbara Crampton was in some of the campiest! Re-Animator, Chopping Mall, Frankenhooker, Castle Freak, and From Beyond are all personal favorites of this blogger. In more recent years, I fell for those soft blue eyes again during her performance in the film We Are Still Here.

3) Dee Wallace

She was spot-on in The Howling and Cujo, and I really enjoyed her portrayal of rough prison guard, Greta, in 3 From Hell and her performance in Red Christmas (2017). There’s been talk of her joining the cast of the upcoming Munsters movie, and that sounds super fun!

2) Chloë Grace Moretz

I watched this girl grow up. I remember her early performances in the Amityville Horror remake and Wicked Little Things. She went on to hit films such as Let Me In and Carrie (2013). And this child star didn’t burn out. She’s still rocking the horror world. Chloë Grace Moretz could be crowned the Horror Remake Scream Queen because in addition to Amityville and Carrie, the new Suspiria wasn’t half bad either!

1) Lin Shaye

I don’t know about you, but my choice for number one is, hands down, Lin Shaye. Best known for James Wan’s Insidious series, Lin has been in other movies such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Critters, 2001 Maniacs, Snakes on a Plane, Dead End, and The Final Wish that earned her a spot right here at #1. She has this moxie that lights up every role she takes on. I love her!

So there you have it. My Dirty Dozen Top Twelve Scream Queens. Who are YOUR favorites?

Dirty Dozen Top 12 Subterranean Horror Movies

I have such fun with the Dirty Dozen countdowns!

Today I’d like to discuss underground films. No, not indie underground. Subterranean horror! I’m counting down my favorite movies that take place under the surface of the earth.

12) THE CATACOMBS (2007)

Vic, who is visiting her sister in Paris, ends up at a party in the catacombs. If you don’t know, that’s basically a giant labyrinth of bones under the city. To me, throwing a rave in the catacombs seems equal parts awesome and morbid. Naturally, since a reckless crowd of young adult party-goers is disrespecting a mass grave, an evil presence begins to pick them off. Main character Vic becomes lost in the Paris catacombs, instantly trapped in a game of Life and Death.


I’m a huge fan of Clive Barker’s written work, but the films are hit and miss. This one is compelling to watch, quite cringey, and layered with gory misadventures.

10) CREEP (2004)

Not to be confused with a more recent horror film of the same title, Creep follows a young woman who awakes in a London tube station to find it locked up and deserted. She’s forced to navigate her way through the vacant tunnels, pursued by an unseen attacker. This one will make you realize how dreadful it can feel to be all alone in a bad situation.

9) HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES (2003)

Most of House of 1000 Corpses takes place above ground, but the weirdest, and–arguably–most out of place scene, is the ending, when our heroine descends into the subterranean realm of Dr. Satan.


The Pyramid (2014) provides its audience some good scares. To be honest, I don’t remember how it ends, but I’m pretty sure it had a confusing ending, which I hate in a movie! Hm… I’ll have to re-watch it now. I’ve always loved anything to do with Ancient Egypt, though, and I *do* recall some creepy moments. That’s why this one is #8.


Two generations of a murderous family, mutated by radiation, terrorize a National Guard platoon by forcing them into their lair–the abandoned mines beneath the desert sand. This movie was well done, surprisingly so for a sequel. I identified with the characters and rooted for their escape. The gory scenes looked realistic, causing me to empathize with the victims. Good stuff, all around.


A group of cave-divers and scientists become trapped while exploring a cave system in Romania, and encounter a pack of deadly creatures. This movie combines subterranean horror with aquatic horror, as there are plenty of water scenes that will make your toes curl.

5) MIMIC (1997)

Entomologist Dr. Susan Tyler genetically creates an insect to kill cockroaches that are carrying a virulent disease, a hybrid between a mantis and a termite that releases an enzyme which accelerates the roaches’ metabolism, causing the disease-carrying pests to starve to death. Three years later, a new breed of insect is discovered infesting the subway tunnels below town, and it is out to destroy mankind. Mimic is one of those movies, like Jurassic Park, in which scientists should leave nature well enough alone.

4) THE DESCENT 2 (2009)

All right, if you saw the first one, it will drive you CRAZY that she is RETURNING to the caves where she narrowly escaped death, but the writers imply it’s from memory loss, which is plausible, so…. buckle up, buttercups, it’s back to the deep dark caves! Pretty scary. A good enough movie to make the #4 spot.

3) AS ABOVE, SO BELOW (2014)

I don’t usually go for the “found footage” style of filming, but this one gave me the heebie jeebies! The French catacombs are the perfect setting to send goosebumps down the back of your neck.


You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who’s watched The Descent and not given it raving reviews. This gruesome survival situation feels like a true story as it unfolds. You can almost picture this happening in real life! Admittedly, this movie is a huge reason why I’ll never be convinced to go on a cave-exploring adventure! No way!


TREMORS (1990)

If you’ve somehow managed to miss Tremors because you’ve been living under a rock since 1990, don’t feel bad. Graboids live under rocks, too, and they have a whole series of movies modeled after them! What is a “graboid”, you ask? Good god, go watch Tremors immediately!

So there you have it, my picks for the Dirty Dozen Top 12 Subterranean Horror Movies.

Which ones did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

Necromancing Dirty Little Horror

Dirty Little Horror is back from the dead!

Contact me if you’re a creator of horror films and/ or fiction. I’d love to work with you.

Man, I MISSED doing my Dirty Dozen countdowns these past few years. It is SO much fun! So I give you…

The Dirty Dozen: Top Twelve Creepshow Episodes

12) Sibling Rivalry

“Sibling Rivalry” stars rising actress, Maddie Nichols, whose performance I really enjoyed in the true crime film, A Murder to Remember. There’s something downright likeable about the girl. The chemistry with co-actor, Andrew Brodeur, brings their roles as brother and sister to life as they deal with some horrific decision making.

11) Bad Wolf Down

I always say that anything starring Jeffrey Combs is bound to be good, and this episode was no exception. It’s difficult to put a new spin on old monsters, but sometimes all you need is a solid storyline and a good supporting cast.

10) A Dead Girl Named Sue

In a post-apocalyptic world, Police Chief, Kevin Foster, delivers his own brand of justice to the town menace, whose been getting away with his misdeeds for too long.

9) Night of the Living Late Show

I love Justin Long. Don’t you? Doesn’t everyone? Don’t miss the chance to see him “co-star” with horror legend, Christopher Lee. Okay, okay, he’s superimposed into an already-existing Christopher Lee film. Still great! This story was an hour long, deviating from Creepshow’s usual half-hour back-to-back stories, but you’ll barely notice, you’ll be so engrossed.

8) Skeletons in the Closet

“Skeletons in the Closet” could be any horror fan’s wet dream, if “wet dreams” meant like…. really, really bloody. Our favorite icons of horror get a mention, and there’s a good balance between the comedy and horror here.

7) All Hallow’s Eve

“All Hallow’s Eve” has a cozy nostalgia that reminds me of my favorite show as a kid, Are You Afraid Of The Dark. Hardcore horror nerds might be able to make accurate predictions early on in the plot, but that doesn’t stop this storyline from hitting hard when it hits.

6) Drug Traffic


I’m not going to ruin this episode by telling you much about it, other than two things: 1) Michael Rooker is in it, and 2) My husband and I sat with our jaws literally dropped as this story played out.

5) Skincrawlers

Being overweight is hard enough. But imagine if EVERYONE around you seemed to be shedding pounds due to a breakthrough new diet plan. Would you feel like a freak, being the only one left with some bulges? As it turns out in this episode, the real freaks are the ones hiding under the so-called “perfect” physique.

4) Public Television of the Dead

OMG. Fan girl freak out. This one is seriously funny and CANNOT be passed over! What would happen if the Necronomicon’s “wretched incantations” were read aloud on live TV? Chaos, of course!

3) Time Out

I probably owe my husband an apology because “Time Out” had me yelling at the TV screen like, “Why are you DOING that??!! Stop doing that!” as the main character, Tim, repeatedly risked his life, health, and family to get ahead in his career. But hey, if protagonists didn’t make bad decisions, I wouldn’t be here writing this.

2) The Finger

DJ Qualls stars as a lonely loser who stumbles upon a severed finger, which he saves, and ends up spawning his new best friend, Bob. Bob is simultaneously deadly and adorable. I had to use a motion GIF above to capture his cuteness. One problem, though, Bob is viciously loyal!

1) The Man In The Suitcase

Some viewers might disagree with my selection of “The Man in the Suitcase” as my favorite episode thus far, but my reasoning is simple. The scariest part of horror–for me– is not the dark and supernatural magic that fuels it, but the ruthlessness of the human beings who are willing to abuse and exploit that magic for their own gain. This story was truly grim, and therefore, it made my #1 slot.

Feel free to comment with YOUR favorites!

New blog at Weird Wide Web dot Org

Hello to all the Dirty Little Horror followers out there. It’s been over 2 years since I posted on this blog. 2 years and 4 months, to be more specific. I still keep this dot com address active, for possible future use, renewing the domain each year. It was a lot of fun, and I’ve considered returning to Dirty Little Horror dot com. But for now, please follow my new blog at:

Sooo… what have I been up to besides starting a new blog? Not much, to be honest, but I hope to start writing more often in coming months. I’ve always had an affinity for short stories, like the one posted below – a YouTube audio story.

Anyway, thanks for following. Sorry I disappeared on ya! You can stay in touch by following me at!

Enjoy this free short story, and take care!

Interview with author James Dorr

How would you describe your writing style?

Mixed-genre perhaps, or a potpourri? That is, my most recent book Tombs: A Chronicle of Latter-Day Times of Earth is a mosaic novel, or novel-in-stories, with elements of horror, dystopic science fiction, science fantasy, and dark romance blended in together, and in a style I think of as baroque – tending toward lush and literary. However, I’ve also had stories in mystery magazines that are more bare-boned, in some cases perhaps even noir. The idea for me is that the type of story will ideally suggest the style, with The Tears of Isis (to drop another title) as a possible example, a collection that begins with a poem, then a stream-of-consciousness story, and so on, ending with its title story in a fairly no-nonsense, straightforward style.

What draws you to dark fiction?

One of my primary interests is character. In my opinion the best fiction, in any genre, is that which makes its reader think, to think about what it means to be human whether in terms of relating to the world, or building new worlds as in science fiction, or intimately with just one other person, or even within the folds of one’s own mind. This last is where I think horror and dark fiction excel, in putting a character under the greatest personal stress and examining how that character then copes, or even just survives. The vampire has bitten, now what does one do? And does its playing out induce the reader to think how he or she might react as well, perhaps not to a vampire bite as such, but to other, hopefully no longer quite as extreme pressures they might be under in everyday life?

Such an eloquent response, it makes me want to sit down and read some James Dorr tonight. Please tell us about your latest release, Tombs: A Chronicle of Latter-Day Times of Earth.

On a far-future, exhausted Earth a ghoul – an eater of corpses – explores the ruins of one of its greatest cities in hopes of discovering the one thing that made its inhabitants truly human. This is the premise, the quest that leads us through the 16 stand-alone chapters, about half in fact already published in various venues as complete short stories, loosely inspired by a pair of quotations from Edgar Allan Poe, of the most poetic subject being the death of a beautiful woman (which also informs, in its way, my previous book The Tears of Isis) and of the boundaries between life and death being “at best shadowy and vague.” If these statements be true, and in an already dying world, can love be a power to even transcend death?

Looking through your Amazon page, I noticed how much you’ve been getting your fiction out there in different anthologies and magazines. Are there any of these publications that stand out in your mind as a particularly memorable experience, whether it was a lot of fun to participate in, or maybe for charity, or a badass theme?

So many things, and where to start? One story that comes to mind is called “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” one originally written for a horror anthology that turned it down, then was rejected by a succession of other horror markets until I switched gears and sent it to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine where it was accepted – the first that I sold there and, at the time, one of my first wholly professional fiction sales. (It is in addition written in a mannered style, which was taking a chance for me back then, but in a sense prefigured the style later used in Tombs.) Then there’s “Moons of Saturn,” a science fantasy story that’s almost a reverie based on an astronomy book I had on the solar system, which went to Algis Budrys’s magazine Tomorrow, another early (and in my opinion, validating) professional sale. For another, “Avoid Seeing a Mouse,” which went to Max Booth III’s alternate history anthology for Dark Moon Books, Zombie Jesus and Other True Stories, and played a role in bringing about The Tears of Isis. And for a fourth, perhaps “King Rat,” written in part as an allegory on world politics and economics, that first appeared in Gothic.Net and was reprinted in Bleed, a charity anthology for The National Children’s Cancer Society.

James, I also had a story in Bleed. It was a terrific book! But now I want to know more about your 2013 collection, The Tears of Isis. It has received some great reviews. How long did it take you to put this collection together, and what do you think has made it so successful?

In that The Tears of Isis was assembled from stories already written, it didn’t take that long at all. Max Booth III had just started Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and, having recently published me in Zombie Jesus, invited me to submit a collection to his new company. For the contents, I was to have a completely free hand as long as it came in within a certain word range, choosing and arranging the stories myself. As it happened, I’d been playing around in my head with a couple of possible collection ideas, so I emailed back suggesting I get back by about Halloween, which would have been two or three weeks, with a definite yes if I thought it feasible, then get a manuscript together by about Thanksgiving – this would be aiming for a publication date for the next spring or summer, in time to be out before that year’s World Horror Convention.

So the dates worked out. Since the stories were already written (which isn’t quite true, I did write one short one to be combined with an existing poem, while one other story was as yet unpublished) it was more a case of compilation and one thing I learned, the process was both a challenge and fun. By analogy to the sculptors in the book’s opening poem and closing story, in choosing materials from an unformed “basket” of stories from which to form a loose theme (in this case of beauty and death; of the artist conferring on his or her model both immortality, and through its objectification, a kind of destruction) and then fitting and arranging them into it, I had the thrill of watching as until-then-unrelated works formed of themselves a cohesive and artistically satisfying whole.


Wow! That sounds like a unique collection of stories, for sure. Do you keep a notebook or file of potential story ideas? If so, how many do you think you actually end up using?

The short answer is “no.” My relationship with the muse is not a sunny one; I have to wrestle her for ideas and, if I get one, I usually try to develop it at least a little bit right away. At that point I’m likely to make some notes on a piece of scrap paper or the back of an envelope, but I’ll still try to get to work with it on the computer within a few days. (One exception: in the case of a series of stories – I have one ongoing, for instance, about the original vampires who allegedly came to New Orleans – or a created world, as in Tombs, I may keep a folder with common information, such as maps or naming conventions.)

You write poetry as well. Who are some of your favorite poets, from any era?

To go to possible extremes, I consider Edgar Allan Poe and Allen Ginsberg to be major influences. To them I might add Byron, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, Chaucer, the Greek tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides (these in translation, of course), any number on up to Kipling (who, after all, even wrote a poem called “The Vampire”).

Where can we find your poetry?

I’ve been lax in marketing poetry lately, though I will have a short poem in the current (Fall 2017) Star*Line. I do have a book of poetry, Vamps (A Retrospective), available from White Cat Publications as well as (although in print only, I think) Alban Lake. Also my early collections Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance and Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret both contain poetry sections. (These latter are technically out of print but can still be found on Amazon, et al.)

Is there any genre you’d like to attempt but haven’t tried yet?

I consider enough of my work to be cross-genre that it’s hard to answer. I’ve never written straight romance or straight westerns (or western romance, for that matter), but if I tried it’s likely that horror elements would sneak in. (Also erotica might be fun, but again. . . .)

What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?

I like watching movies, particularly science fiction and horror, but comedies too and some documentaries. I also lead and play tenor in a Renaissance recorder consort.

Where can we find you on the web?

I recommend that people follow me on my blog at to keep up on my latest doings. Feel free to comment too if the spirit moves. Also I’m on Facebook at and my Amazon Author page (lots of book titles, but most of them are anthologies where I might just have a story or poem) is at


It had been a time when the world needed legends, those years so long past now. Because there was something else legends could offer, or so the Poet believed. He didn’t know quite what — ghouls were not skilled at imagination. Their world was a concrete one, one of stone and flesh. Struggle and survival. Survival predicated on others’ deaths. Far in the future, when our sun grows ever larger, scorching the earth. When seas become poisonous and men are needed to guard the crypts from the scavengers of the dead. A ghoul-poet will share stories of love and loss, death and resurrection. Tombs is a beautifully written examination of the human condition of life, love, and death, through the prism of a dystopian apocalypse.


James Dorr’s latest book is a novel-in-stories published in June 2017 by Elder Signs Press, Tombs: A Chronicle of  Latter-Day Times of Earth. Born in Florida, raised in the New York City area, in college in Cambridge Massachusetts, and currently living in the Midwest, Dorr is a short story writer and poet specializing in dark fantasy and horror, with forays into mystery and science fiction. His The Tears of Isis was a 2014 Bram Stoker Award® finalist for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection, while other books include Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance, Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret, and his all-poetry Vamps (A Retrospective). He has also been a technical writer, an editor on a regional magazine, a full time non-fiction freelancer, and a semi-professional musician, and currently harbors a cat named Triana.

Half A Dozen Devilish Books

Devils and demons are a staple of horror literature, and I adore them in novels, novellas, and short stories. Funny enough, I feel the opposite about demonic possession in films. There are a thousand-and-one possession movies, and all of them use more or less the same plot, same tricks. But the written word is full of possibilities. It doesn’t suffer the restrictions of film and gives us room to examine the idea of demons from varying viewpoints. The loss of control, the loss of one’s self, is so frightening in a horror book.

Lately, I’ve read a lot of novels based around this very idea – possession, the devil, and ancient evil. I enjoyed each title, though no two were alike. Here are some of them – a list I’m calling Half A Dozen Devilish Books.

Come Closer

by: Sara Gran

come closer

I decided to buy this book when someone recommended it in the comments of a Facebook thread. The status asked something like: “What was the last book that genuinely scared you?” I read this book in a day, which is a record for me. I’m normally a slow reader. The story moves along quickly, yet you really get a sense of the narrator’s desperation, her loss of self-control, and her fear. What would you do if you thought you were possessed by a demon? Who could you turn to? Who would listen?

A Head Full of Ghosts

by: Paul Tremblay


Was teenager, Marjorie Barrett, a victim of demonic possession, or was she mentally ill? Years later, her sister looks back on their family’s dark past to unravel a tragic mystery. This book was full of suspense and chills. I absolutely loved it.

The Fisherman

by: John Langan


Some might question my inclusion of The Fisherman here. It’s not about devils, or demons, or Hell. The Fisherman tells the tale an ancient evil capable of possessing humans, and manipulating them through their grief and sadness. Sounds pretty demonic, right? This is a slow-moving, crawl-under-your-skin-and-stay-there sort of book. I had to include it on the list.

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer (Johannes Cabal #1)

by: Jonathan L. Howard


I’ll admit, this book was not exactly my cup of tea. Not every book is going to become a personal favorite. But I see the value of Johannes Cabal for lovers of supernatural fantasy and dark comedy. It’s a lighthearted adventure through Hell and back, and especially if you love a good series, this might be a better match for you than it was for me. It did make me laugh a bit, and I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads. There are several more books to follow this one, including: Johannes Cabal the Detective, Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute, The Brothers Cabal, Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day: And Other Tales of the Necromancer, and The Fall of The House of Cabal.

The #5 title has been removed due to the vile behavior of its author, a true devil in disguise.

Needful Things

by: Stephen King


This is an oldie but a goodie. To be honest, I didn’t read much King in my youth. I didn’t have the patience for his story layers and – let’s face it – the enormous word counts! I’ve been reading him more in my thirties, and so far, this one ranks among my favorites. Store owner, Mr. Gaunt, is everything you could ask for in a Devil. Sly, experienced, charming, mystical, and terrifying. The shop he just opened up in Castle Rock has something for everyone. And I mean everyone. Won’t you step inside?

So there you have it. The six most devilish books I’ve read lately. Feel free to comment with your own devilish suggestions.

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