Category Archives: writing

Spotlight on Burning Willow Press

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It’s always exciting to see an indie publisher grow, expand, and achieve new successes. Today I will spotlight just a handful of the titles over at www.burningwillowpressllc.com, not only to let readers in on some great fiction, but also because owners Edd & Kindra are amazing people who work hard to give their authors the best. Dedicated, creative people are what drive Burning Willow Press to meet its full potential. 

If you see a book that interests you, consider picking up a copy. Pretty please??

 

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Hell Gate: Book One, by Josh Matthews

Sixteen-year-old Jason McCreary is living a nightmare within a nightmare. Not only is he trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by demons from Hell, he also shoulders the burden for humanity’s fate as it was his mother who opened the gates in a scientific experiment gone wrong. In a last ditch effort to redeem his family name and erase his guilt, Jason joins a squad whose mission is to travel to Paris and close the Hell Gate. Once there, they discover an environment more frightening than anything they could imagine and demons more terrifying than they had ever encountered before. Time is now against them. Can Jason gain his redemption along with the respect of his peers, or will a new web of lies threaten to rip apart his world and jeopardize his team’s only chance for success?

Buy it on Amazon

 

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Edging, by Michael Schutz

Intenze is the newest designer drug. Take it, and nightmares come alive. “Edging” is a better rush than the Tower of Terror. It’s a fraction of the price of a Six Flags admission. And it’s the most addictive high that the tiny suburb of New London has ever known.

For Rick Carlson, the junkies roaming the streets don’t even scratch the surface of what worries him. He’s trying to win back his cheating wife. He’s trying to protect his residents at Belmont Assistant Living from their own drug-addled grandchildren. And he’s trying to save his twin boy and girl from their mother’s murderous paranoia.

But he can’t save them all.

The fears of all those who edge summon the Thirst—a living miasma that thrives on terror. It is bringing a storm. And time is running out.

Buy it on Amazon

 

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Skin Deep/ Ordinary Monsters, by Frank Martin

What happens when an overbearing family drives a teenage girl into the arms of a mysterious, pale stranger? How can a high school junior explain having strange dreams of a Nazi concentration camp after being bitten by his neighbor’s monstrous dog? And who will win when two iconic creatures of the night clash on a desolate WWI battlefield? Dive into a world of werewolves and vampires with SKIN DEEP and ORDINARY MONSTERS, two standalone stories featured in a dual novella from author Frank Martin. And don’t forget to check out the bonus comic short HORRORS OF WAR found in both ends of this double-sided work of pulp and terror.

Buy it on Amazon

 

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Coma Hell, by Kevin Wimer

(Kevin has a short story with Burning Willow Press and is eager to have a longer work published with them. Here’s a glimpse at his current book, though not published with Burning Willow. He is one of their anthology authors, so I said, “That counts!” Lol.)

Jack Roberts awakens from what he was told would be nothing more than a routine sinus surgery. There is never anything routine with any surgery. Jack never gave that a thought and he should have. Jack might have changed his life and been a better man.

The panic beeping sound of alarms echoed with a flurry of activity around Jack’s hospital bed. The scream of a nurse calling for a doctor. The voice of a doctor yelling we are losing him and for everyone to stand back.

The bright flashing red hot light seared through Jack’s body as the world around him spun out of control. The voice of the doctor now tense with anger as his words echoed through Jack’s head. The only word that Jack could make out was coma.

Jack was now lost in the darkened world that would become his very own private hell.

Buy it on Amazon

 

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A Mighty Rolling Thunder, by Kerry Alan Denney

The end of the world is just the beginning of the terror…

Spring 2024: Two spirit hordes break through from another dimension, and half the world’s population vanishes. The spirits possess the survivors, dividing them into two groups: those who fight to retain their humanity, and marauders who destroy everything in their paths.

Artist Livi DeSilva is fleeing from possessed killers when she meets Conor McLain, a man suffering from amnesia. Outnumbered and outgunned, Livi and Conor team up and fight off homicidal lunatics and ruthless gangs, only to end up cornered by their deadliest foe: billionaire Victor van Danz, a psychopath who commands the new world’s dark forces. Victor craves immortality, and kidnaps Livi. He believes that when he kills Livi in front of her collection of canvases and absorbs her life energy, he will transform into a god.

With only Conor, two amazing dogs, and a band of plucky children to aid her, Livi must harness the power of the spirits inside her and use it to defeat Victor–or die in the clutches of a madman.

“Kerry Alan Denney has created the perfect blend of King’s The Stand and Koontz’s famous dogs. A Mighty Rolling Thunder is a well-written thrill ride of a story you won’t want to miss. A must-read for all post-apocalyptic genre fans!” – Monique Lewis Happy, critically acclaimed Managing/ Acquisitions Editor at Winlock Press

Buy it on Amazon

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Secrets of the Slain, by Lindsey Goddard

Secrets of the Slain A collection of poetry and short stories created to tantalize your senses and wreak havoc on your mind, each tale further challenging your perception of what reality is and what it is not. Be prepared to see inside of the soul of Lindsey Goddard and share in her “Secrets of the Slain”.

Buy in on Amazon

 

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Choice Cuts, by David Owen Hughes

Choice Cuts: A collection of one of the finest splatter-fuelled horror the genre holds, an unflinching set of short stories that will stay with you, horrors that set root into the back of your psyche & taunt your sanity to its limits.

Here lies fourteen tales of all that is baneful & bloodthirsty from David Owain Hughes, an author with an unflinching love for all things close-to-the-bone, grim & grotesque. Once you delve into these pages you will come face to face with an unstoppable force of pure gore. Readers of a delicate disposition may want to put this tome back on the shelf, while those of you who feel ready to be dragged along into the minds of the deranged & disturbed, the murderous & malignant who watch & wait…

Packed with fast-paced thrills & many, many spills. You’ll come face to face with what lies beneath the surface of the mundane & ordinary, step foot into the maze of murder, mania & madness…just be sure to come out in one piece, not just another choice cut.

We had the disquieting dioramas of stealth-like shocks & spills of Laymon…now we present you with Hughes’ own approach towards the antagonistic execution in the realms of the fear & mayhem that can strike when you least expect it. If you’re a fan of Laymon & Lee, you’ll devour Choice Cuts.

Buy it on Amazon

 

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WIHM Interview – Sheri Williams

It’s still Women in Horror month, so please take a few minutes and get to know author Sheri Williams. I already knew she is a fun, amazing person and a talented writer, but there were a few things I didn’t know. Let’s find out…

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How long have you been writing?

Um….since second grade? No. I really started writing about 4 years ago.

What draws you to horror?

I like to kill people. Sounds horrible, but it’s true. I’m a super optimistic person and I try to be happy, so the anger has to go somewhere. Every annoying parent at school drop off…..they all die horribly in my stories.

Do you write any other genres?

Oh yeah. Romance. Fantasy. And middle grade under a pen name 😁

Is there a genre you’d like to attempt but haven’t?

Ummm. I’ve sorta tried a bunch, in different variations. I really love Gothic stuff so would love to play around with that more.

Do you think women horror authors have a hard time getting acknowledged?

Definitely.  It just doesn’t seem to be as recognized.  Although, the real fans are rabid!

What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever written and why?

My first book. Fairy tale romance. It’s still the book I’m most proud of.

Who are some amazing female authors (from any genre, any style, any time-period)?

Misti Murphy, she’s my wifey. She writes dead sexy contemporary romance. I’m a huge P. Mattern fan. Quenby Olsen writes fantastic books. Huge fan. Can’t forget Lindsey Goddard, that chick is awesome. And then there’s Anne Rice and Anne McCaffrey….my heroes.

Besides writing, what brings a smile to your face?

My daughters. My hubs. Books. Doctor Who. Geeky stuff in general. And donuts.

Did you have a favorite book as a child?

Alice in Wonderland.  Still my favorite to this day.

Here’s a tough one: What’s your favorite color?

Blue, color of my hair and the Tardis.

What are you working on now, and where do you see yourself in the future?

A middle grade alternative history, magical realism. And a paranormal (occult) thriller with a horror aspect.

Where can we find you on the web?

Everywhere.

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www.thesheriwilliams.com

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WIHM Interview – L Bachman

Today we chat with L Bachman – artist, author, and woman in horror. She makes wicked cool book covers in addition to penning her own tales. Let’s find out more…

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How long have you been writing?

I have indeed! I’ve been writing since I was young, but it was only a few years ago that I began taking it seriously after forcing myself to throw caution to the wind and take the leap.

What draws you to horror?

I struggled with the genre I was writing in. I couldn’t understand genres; still have trouble from time to time honestly. The way I thought was if it’s not something that frightens me, it probably wasn’t horror, never considering that some people may be frightened by the things I wasn’t frightened by. I felt perhaps my writing wasn’t ‘scary enough’ when I read it back so it mustn’t be horror.

After I understood what I was creating, it made sense to me like someone shining a light in the dark room of my understanding of genres. I enjoy writing horror more now that I understand it. Horror, scaring others, isn’t what I intend when I write, my focus is just getting the story out before I implode, but there is appreciation in why I do what I do for at least me.

Facing fears can be cathartic, relieving even, but until the story ends, the thrill and intensity taps into something deeply rooted in all beings. That is why I’m drawn to it, facing down ‘bad guys’ or ‘bad situations’ and overcoming the fight or flight that we all deal with when dealing with the adrenaline rush we can get when reading.

Do you write any other genres?

At this moment, dark fantasy is the only one that any of my work can fall into.

 

 

Is there a genre you’d like to attempt but haven’t?

I’m working on some branching out stories from horror and dark fantasy, not a complete genre hopping, but casting out a twig to touch into those pools.

Do you think women horror authors have a hard time getting acknowledged?

I don’t think as much so now, but I can see how the history of women in horror was. There was a time when it was difficult to gain respect, for any woman writer. Many historic women writers took pen names that were either neutral or sounded more masculine.

What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever written and why?

The Painting of Martel was difficult; originally it was included in an anthology with a theme of killer clowns. I had never thought I’d write a story involving this theme and so it came hard to me, but I met my deadline. It’s been a year since it was in that anthology and after taking it, revamping it a bit, and working it into something more than it was I can say confidently that it will find a shelf space in being published on its own. May 1st, 2017 is when it goes live. Right now it’s for pre-order.

Who are some amazing female authors (from any genre, any style, any time-period)?

Personally, I find Mary Shelly and Anne Rice to be amazing writers.

Besides writing, what brings a smile to your face?

My family; my son makes me very happy, he’s so smart, and I could gush over my pride of all that he has accomplished. Family makes me truly happy beyond writing.

Did you have a favorite book as a child?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.

Here’s a tough one: What’s your favorite color?

Black.

What are you working on now, and where do you see yourself in the future?

Right now I’m working on several things at once. I’m writing The Burning Man, Mercy, and Necessary Evil. That’s the three I’m working on seriously, but I always have something in the works just put on simmer on the back burner.

Where can we find you on the web?

Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/writerbachman

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/authorlbachman

Facebook Fanclub:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/bachmanblasphemer

Website for Writing:
http://lbachman.wixsite.com/lbachman

Website for Design:
http://lbachman.wixsite.com/bachmandesigns

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Ashes of Another Life – a horror novella

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When Tara Jane Brewer leaves her polygamous community behind after her family dies in a tragic house fire, she is plagued by ghastly images of death. Hunted by a member of the church who plans to bring her home to Sweet Springs at any cost, Tara Jane must fight to keep her freedom. But everywhere she goes, she sees the charred faces of her burned family, watching her, following her, all thirty-four of them, waiting for her to come home and resume her place in the family.

NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON from author Lindsey Goddard:author

 

“Lindsey Goddard has an impressive talent for getting inside the minds of her characters — both innocent and malevolent — which makes her scenes of horror all the more disturbing.”

-Graham Masterton, author of Charnel House

“Lindsey Goddard is a fine writer and if you appreciate such a wordsmith, I want to highly recommend her work. This story is heart wrenching and horrifying all at once. It’s not so much about a cult as it is about being hostage to unyielding ideas. It’s about loss, love, and the cruelty family members do to one another. There is raw pain, deep understanding, and a deft hand telling the story. Watch this writer in the future. She’s got what it takes.”

-Billie Sue Mosiman, author of Edgar-nominated Night Cruise and the new thriller, The Grey Matter

KINDLE: https://www.amazon.com/Ashes-Another-Life-Lindsey-Goddard-ebook/dp/B01KDD4ZCC/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472084771&sr=8-1&keywords=ashes+of+another+life

PRINT: https://www.amazon.com/Ashes-Another-Life-Lindsey-Goddard/dp/0997971703/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1472084771&sr=8-2&keywords=ashes+of+another+life

Interview with author Mark Sheldon

Crystal Lake Publishing just released Sarah Killian: Serial Killer (For Hire!) and I had to know more about this book, so I tracked down author Mark Sheldon for an interview. Here’s what he had to say…

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How long have you been writing?

Pretty much ever since I could. As early as Kindergarten I was writing little stories and making booklets out of construction paper and drawings. Before that, I’m sure I was making stories up and telling them, though I naturally don’t have too much recollection of that period of story making.

 

What draws you to dark fiction?

I think I’ve always had something of a morbid fascination. Earliest memory, I used to watch Murder She Wrote with my parents every Sunday night, and then act out the murders afterwards with my stuffed animals. That was definitely a hint that I was either destined to be a sociopath and/or a horror writer. And then I watched Jaws with my dad in the third or fourth grade – that was definitely a major turning point in my addiction to the macabre.

 

In your latest book, Sarah Killian: Serial Killer – For Hire, you take the reader into the secret world of assassins for hire. Was it fun writing an anti-hero novel?

It was fun – and very challenging, too. I’ve always loved the anti-hero stories that take the stereotypical villain and turn them into the good guy. Wicked, Dr. Horrible, etc. So that part was very fun. Normally, once I start writing I don’t stop until it’s done (other than to eat, sleep, and go to my day job, of course). Sarah, however, was a very difficult person to live inside the head of for too long a period, and the fact that the book is told from the first person made that connection to her brain even more visceral. As such, I had to take frequent breaks after writing a chapter or two, to work on something else for a while before going back to Sarah. That was a very unusual process for me.

 

What is your favorite personality trait of main character, Sarah Killian?

Her sarcasm. Definitely her sarcasm. That’s the part that I think allows us to look past her rather significant emotional character flaws and accept her as a human, and not just a psychotic sociopath. Also, she would probably murder me if she knew that I said this, but she’s something of a closet geek, which is just cute considering she murders people for a living.

 

Where can we pick up a copy of Sarah Killian: Serial Killer – For Hire?

It is available on Amazon and other online retailers, and also through your local book stores (though you’ll probably have to specially request it at this point!)

http://buff.ly/2aC0Y2S

 
In what ways have you grown as an author since deciding to become one?

As with life in general, growth like that is difficult to measure. With every sentence you write, you improve a little bit upon the one before it. The hardest thing is not going back and re-attacking the stuff I wrote ten years ago and just letting it be what it is.

 

Do your personal experiences affect your characters?

Definitely. Sarah a little less so, what with being a female and a sociopathic serial killer, but I definitely still managed to work myself into her character. Her mutilation of the Barney doll in the opening of the book was very therapeutic for me.

 

Recently you’ve been writing a 12-part series, The Noricin Chronicles. Wow. 12 parts! Please tell us more about this series.

This was actually my first series, and is all done now – I published the last book back in 2013. It wasn’t a horror/thriller series like Sarah Killian, more of a sci-fi/fantasy adventure. In a nutshell, I would describe it as Harry Potter meets the X-Men and The DaVinci Code. It tells the story of Dan Regal, a 12 year-old boy who finds out that he is a member of a secret race of humans with super powers, and goes to a school to learn how to harness and control those powers.

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Which authors do you read for personal pleasure?

JK Rowling, Rick Riordan, Dean Koontz, Dan Brown, and Michael Crichton (currently re-reading Jurassic Park) to name a very few.

 

Are you working on any projects we haven’t discussed?

I have a sci-fi space thriller that is currently in the sketch phase. Sort of a mash-up of Lost, Aliens, and the game Doom. And then of course I will be starting on book 2 of Sarah Killian hopefully soon.

 

Where can we find you on the web?

My Facebook page is www.facebook.com/Author-Mark-Sheldon-237502636284937, and the page for Sarah Killian is: www.facebook.com/SarahKillianSKForHire

Now that I have something other than The Noricin Chronicles published, I will be working on getting a more generic website for myself up and running, but in the meantime my non-Facebook home base is the Noricin homepage, at noricin.webs.com

 

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Interview with William Gorman, author of Blackwater Val

Blackwater Val is William Gorman’s first novel, but I never would have guessed that while reading. Keeping a steady pace, chock-full of enthralling plot layers and a strong, believable cast, this book reads like the author is a well-seasoned pro. Set in the year 2000, main character Richard Franklin must return to his hometown in Blackwater Valley, Illinois after a hit-and-run accident takes the life of his beloved wife and leaves him to raise their daughter, Katie, all alone. Little Katie, who sees and hears and knows things the rest of us cannot. Little Katie, whose dark curse and innocence left me pondering… If all the abused, mistreated, and murdered humans could speak to us long after death, we might never get a moment of peace. But in this darkness, there is a light, a strength that might hold hope for a small town, sinking into madness in the grips of something very old and very evil. Blackwater Val delivers on every emotional level: depth, compassion, suspense, mystery, fear, revulsion, and action. I highly recommend this book for all lovers of dark fiction.

William Gorman was kind enough to answer some interview questions for me, so without further ado, let’s meet the author. And consider grabbing a copy of Blackwater Val while you’re here: https://www.amazon.com/Blackwater-Val-William-Gorman-ebook/dp/B01ETZ73H4?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

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How long have you been writing?

Since I was in grade school, scribbling out ghost stories and vampire and werewolf stories in my loose-leaf notebook for certain unlucky classmates to read—the teachers loved that. I started getting stories published in the various small press magazines that were around in the ’80s and ’90s, then I put out Ghost Whispers: Tales from Haunted Midway, a collection of weird legends and ghostlore from my Illinois hometown. The local library there approached me shortly after about doing some bus tours and spooky cemetery walks, and they’ve been running ever since. The events all used to be free, but I hear they’re charging people now . . . so someone is making money. Sure isn’t me!

What draws you to dark fiction?

The imagery, I guess. The danger involved. In dark fiction there’s always something lurking just out of the light, something that when done correctly should haunt you long after you’re done reading it. A dark, supernatural side of our own reality. But for me it has to have characters that I care about; there also has to be some kind of justice in the end. The villains have to get their comeuppance, or else it’s too much like real life, where people get away with heinous deeds all the time.

Did you encounter any rough patches while penning your first novel? If so, how did you overcome them?

The ending was difficult. Pulling everything together and tying it up in a way that satisfied me and answered the questions. Mostly plain old procrastination is the hardest thing to overcome—it’s the true enemy. Just working through and actually getting the writing done each day. It’s tough, with all of today’s distractions.

In what ways have you grown as an author since deciding to become one?

I had to grow before I could even write Blackwater Val. I learned that I wasn’t ready to tell this story in my 20s or 30s, when I first tried writing it. I wasn’t mature enough. I hadn’t lived through enough yet to really know what the book was all about. Only later on, after I’d grown and found my own voice as an author, was I able to tell the story I wanted to tell.

What is your greatest achievement?

I’m not sure I have one. Finishing the novel ranks high, getting it published by Crystal Lake and actually getting it out there. Hmm . . . does making it through the ’80s alive count? I don’t know.

Do your personal experiences tend to affect your characters?

Yes, absolutely. The characters are all fictitious, but they are greatly influenced by things that have happened to me. So yes, my experiences affect the way my characters think and speak and how they act in any given situation.

Which authors do you most like to read for personal pleasure?

I’m always reading things by Stephen King, of course. I love going back and rereading his classics. Lovecraft and Bradbury, too. I like the old Sherlock Holmes tales by Conan Doyle. And every summer I make sure to read T.E.D. Klein’s The Ceremonies—I just heard he’s finally going to finish a book he started decades ago, so that should be fun. If it happens!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently writing the follow-up to Blackwater Val, the sequel to it. It’s called The Rose Glass, and within the pages we get to see how Katie has grown into a young woman. And how much her powers have grown, as well.

Where can we find you on the web?

You can find me at  http://williamgorman.weebly.com/ for right now. The site has links to my Amazon page and to Crystal Lake Publishing, my blog and other interviews, and I’ll be upgrading and adding to it as times goes on.

You can pick up a copy of the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Blackwater-Val-William-Gorman-ebook/dp/B01ETZ73H4?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

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More Regrets Than Glories, by Rick Powell

A collection of dark poetry just hit the market, written by friend and talented author, Rick Powell. You may remember Rick from his guest appearance on April 3rd, 2015, when he shared a few poems from his book, My Soul Stained, My Seed Sour. A little over a year later, Rick is back with his new book, More Regrets Than Glories, and another poem to share. If you enjoy what you read, consider picking up a copy of the book, please.

KINDLE: https://www.amazon.com/More-Regrets-Than-Glories-collection-ebook/dp/B01GANL3U6?ie=UTF8&keywords=more+regrets+than+glories&qid=1464492710&ref_=sr_1_1&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

PRINT: http://www.lulu.com/shop/rick-powell/more-regrets-than-glories/paperback/product-22694866.html

 

The Coachman

The dark coachman stopped at my house this Autumn night,
I was hesitant as I stepped up to the cold seat to sit at his side,
His countenance was in shadow from the hood of his aged cloak,
We started on without a word as through the forest we did ride.

I then wrapped the thick wool blanket around my thin, pale form,
Ma said I have had the chills for days and nothing could cure my ill,
Pa had no money since this year the crops were bad all around,
I asked “Where are we going?” but the coachman’s voice was silent still.

I looked back to my home and at the windows dark as the blackest pitch,
The forest beyond my house was even more dark and silent in the night,
My memories of the last days were muddled and I hope to be well soon,
I hope that this fever will pass and I will be better by the morning light.

I remember my parents talking about the Doc at the edge of the other town,
They were most frantic as my Ma kept a cool rag on my burning head,
I passed in and out of the blackness as I heard them arguing about what to do,
I felt my skin was braised by the fires of Hell, even though cold sweat filled my bed.

Why would they send me with this coachman, when my health was most dire?
Why did they not come with me, my only family that I have ever known?
Why does this dark horse that pulls us seem to be a beast out of a nightmare?
Why do I see a deathly grin of the coachman, when the Autumn moon is shown?

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“Damaged Goods” nominated for best horror short story in the P & E Polls

Hi, all. Can I ask a wee favor? My short story “Damaged Goods” (which appeared in Issue 1 of Girls Rock Horror Harder e-zine) has been nominated for “Best horror story published in 2015” over at the Preditors and Editors poll. If you have read the story, or if you are a fan of my writing, please stop by and cast a vote for me!

HERE’S THE LINK: http://critters.org/predpoll/shortstoryh.shtml

Girls Rock Horror Harder author Sheri Williams has also been nominated for her story “The Piano” which appeared in Issue 2! Seeing either of these stories make it into the Top 5 would be amazing.

Here’s a little background on the e-zine. It features an all female line-up of kick ass horror writers, and it’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and e-book retailers. I have appeared in 3 different issues, but the story nominated in the Preditors and Editors polls – Damaged Goods – appeared in Issue 1. (That’s me on the cover right behind the word “girls”.)

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So, please, show your support by casting a vote. It would be much appreciated! http://critters.org/predpoll/shortstoryh.shtml

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VOTE NOW at http://critters.org/predpoll/shortstoryh.shtml!!!!!!

Interview with horror author Shaun Meeks

I’m participating in Blood Moon Rising – a month long tour of horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy authors hopping from blog to blog. 🙂 Today we’ll get to know writer Shaun Meeks and learn about the horrors he’s created. Shaun was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. He owns his own company and is a former semi-pro skateboarder, but penning tales of terror is his true passion. Let’s pick his brain, shall we?

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Hi, Shaun. Thank you for joining us. I guess I’d like to start by asking: Why do you love the horror genre?

One of the main things I’ve always loved about horror, whether it’s watching it or reading it, is how good horror gets you right at the core and has a tendency to linger. We’re all afraid of something, and being able to tap into that primal fear is what I love to do. It’s also something I love to experience. Sitting in bed and reading a great story and feeling the need to put it down because it struck a nerve is something that most books just don’t do for me. A great example of that was when I read The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. I actually needed to stop and take breathers during it because I felt overwhelmed by what I’d just read. Not an easy thing to do.

Your novel, Shutdown, concerns one of my favorite topics: genetic experimentation! Can you explain a little about it?

Without giving too much away, the story starts with a dig in Egypt where a forgotten tomb is found. In it, there is something that is not fully human, but there are traces of what could be a man or woman there. A genetics company, GenCross takes the body and tries to replicate the DNA and give birth to a living specimen of the mummified corpse. In a way, using genetic experiments in a story is a way to play with the themes found in books like Frankenstein and many by H.P. Lovecraft, not to mention Stan Lee. The idea of how we “play God” and try to bring a new lifeform, find some missing key to evolution can be done in so many different ways, I think there are always fresh ways to build on the theme.

Your short stories are everywhere! Congrats. If you had to pick a short story to be read by someone who’s never read your work, which one would you choose?

My first thought is always to suggest Taut. It first appeared in Zippered Flesh 2 and is one of those stories that people really gravitated towards. Even Ellen Datlow added it to her list of honorable mentions in Best Horror of the Year 6. It’s pretty good at showing what I tend to do in stories, which is go inside the character’s head and draw out emotional as well as physical pain.

In the end though, it depends on what it is you like. For YA stories, there’s Angel in the High Tower, if you like ghosts, Despair. For people who like Victorian Steampunk I’d say Miriam and for war story lovers, The Soldier.

What is the hardest part about writing a novel?

Editing. I take as much time as I can with the editing process, but I tend to be the type of person who can go over and over a story and change it each time. Even if I read it ten times over, I will want to add and cut things.

What scares you?

That’s a tough one. I’ve spent my life trying to face many of my fears as best I can so they aren’t there, but if I’m sitting around and look over and see a bug crawling on my arm, you’d see a less than cool and calm Shaun freaking out to get the damn thing off. I think that is part of why the scene in Taut is so accurate. I know how parts of it feel.

As far as any other fears, I guess the idea of isolation to a point (as an introvert, a big part of me always seeks isolation, but not too far), failure and drowning. When I was a kid, I nearly died in Lake Ontario. I was three or four, and can still see it now. I managed to get my stubby legs tangled in seaweed, tripped and couldn’t get back up. I fought and fought and after swallowing four disgusting mouthfuls of water, I stood up. My parents didn’t even notice it, but I never forgot it.

Some of the “future works” listed on your website include screenplays. As an author, I’d love to discuss this with you because I, too, have an interest in writing screenplays. What drew you to the idea? Do you have any specific plans for the production of your scripts once they’re complete?

Sometimes, when I come up with an idea and start to play with it and see what is the best medium to use to make it come out right. Sometimes it’s a short story, a novella or a novel. Other times it might be a graphic novel. A few times, it’s been screenplays. I wrote my first screenplay back in 1992. It wasn’t a horror piece, but more of an ode to Hong Kong action flicks. A big shoot ‘em piece. Not sure what happened to it, but it was fun to write and I always promised myself I would write another one day. The one that I currently have partial done, is a horror-comedy. The idea is something more akin to Troma or old school 80’s horror and the only way it would work, in my eyes, was as a movie. I’ve been writing it to keep a low budget in mind so I could produce it myself, or with some friends. There are some truly insane scenes in this that I would love to see come to life and I think it would be one of the first times people would see the sense of humor I have, so fingers crossed.

What are your favorite horror movies?

That’s one of the harder questions. I grew up watching horror movies in the 80’s, so I’m always drawn to them. I loved the serious toned ones, the funnier ones and just bizarre movies. For that era, I’d have to say some of my favorites are Brain Damage, From Beyond, Night of the Creeps, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Fright Night, Nightbreed and Dead Alive (aka Brain Dead).

A lot of people hate on the new horror out, but I can think of some real gems over the last few years. I’ve tended to look at more foreign horror as well, since there seems to be some real gold coming from all over the world. I think some other favorites would be Clive Barker’s Dread, Martyrs, Ichi the Killer, The Babadook, Oculus, May, Three Extremes, The Descent, and if I keep going, this would go on forever.

Favorite authors?

This is another list that could go on and on, but over the years I’ve always tried to keep it to a list of ten. One of the best things about this list though, is how it’s always changing. Depending on what I’ve been reading as of late and the mood I’m in, the list can vary. For right now I think it would be as follows: Stephen King, Clive Barker, H.P. Lovecraft, Elmore Leonard, Joe R. Lansdale, Tim Lebbon, Edward Lee, Jack Ketchum, Ray Bradbury and Caitlin R. Kiernan. I’ve had it pointed out that Elmore Leonard seems to be an odd choice in the group, but I’ve learned a lot from him as a writer and he has played a role in how I’ve developed my own style.

I have to mention the anthology Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror because you and I both have stories in it! I really enjoyed yours, entitled “Perfection Through Silence”, and one part in particular made my toes curl because I could almost feel the character’s pain from his injuries. The story had a nice balance between gore and suspense. My question is: Do you decide beforehand how much gore a story will have (a lot, a little), or do you just let the bloody details work themselves out?

Thanks for the mention of Perfection Through Silence. That was a fun one to write and is a great example of the process I go through. When I’m writing a story, much of the details like gore, violence, suspense and even how it ends, never come into play until I’m writing. I tend to be one of those people that will start off with an idea or just an opening sentence and I go from there. I explained that to a friend once and he thought it was strange, told me it sounded too much like the story writes itself, and in a way, he was right. I think if you go into something, meaning to make it over the top and super gory, it could backfire. At least that’s how it is with my process. Everyone is different. I tried to write a bizarro piece for a magazine, the only idea was to make it really over the top and it just didn’t come out that way at all. I learned a long time ago to just let things go the way they want, to let the blood run free.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever written?

That is actually an easy one. Whenever someone mentions my story Treats from At the Gates of Madness, they usually add in “what the hell were you thinking/smoking/drinking?”. To be honest, it was a story that got away from me. Originally, it was only supposed to be about a lonely man on Halloween night, watching humans disguised as monsters running the street when in the end he was a monster disguised as a human, hiding in his house and memories. Somewhere along the way, I decided to go down another road and there was Treats. If you’ve never read it, it’s not an easy one to get through as there is some very strange, disturbing and disgusting subject matter in it. That’s all I can say on it, hate to be one to spoil it for anyone curious.

What are you working on at the moment?

Right now I’m working on the edits of a new novel called Maymon. It’s a crime/occult/end of days horror novel full of monsters, demons, zombies, killers of the human kind and mayhem. Should be fun.

I also just started the second novel in the Dillon the Monster Dick series. This one, Earthbound and Down is a follow up to the soon to be released The Gate at Lake Drive and continues the story-line of Dillon, a monster/demon hunter.

On top of all that, I’m putting the finishing touches on Dark Reaches, my third short story collection due out in August, and seven different short stories. I tend to write 3000-5000 words a day and go back and forth between projects to keep it all as fresh as I can.

Where can we find you on the web?

My website is www.shaunmeeks.com
I can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Shaun-Meeks/106128562748355
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShaunMeeks
On Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100357493474555506507/posts
On Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5818641.Shaun_Meeks
On Amazon: www.amazon.com/Shaun-Meeks/e/B007X5KZLO/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1430468112&sr=8-2-ent
On Tumblr: http://shaunmeeks.tumblr.com

Thanks so much for the great questions. This was a blast!

My pleasure, Shaun. I look forward to reading more of your work.

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Dark Poetry by Alistair Cross

As promised, this blog will focus on a variety of entertainment, so long as it’s plenty horrific! Today, I bring you poetry.

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies. By the age of 8, he began writing his own stories. Fast forward to 2012 – that’s when his first novel was published by Damnation Books, and he’s been busy cranking out dark tales and poetry for his readers ever since.

Alistair hosts a live radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE, and you can find his website at: AlistairCross.com. The two poems we’ve chosen to share with you are dark and clever and evocatively disturbing. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

The Beautiful Girl

I woke up with a girl

Who was dead as could be

This a most macabre scenario

That made no sense to me

~

I couldn’t recollect her

From the night before

But there she was with cold blue flesh

In a dress made of velour

~

Her sightless eyes were watching me

Her mouth agape in fear

And down her cheek a tell-tale streak

Of a single dried up tear

~

And for weeks now I have wondered

How she came to be

This beautiful, decaying girl

Who keeps me company

***

A Book of Morbid Methods

I met her in the pages

Of an old dust-covered book

A book of misadventure

And the sad wife of a crook

~

She married into money

That was her belief

But she recently discovered

She’d been married to a thief

~

She was written to be pretty

She had diamond rings and furs

And she said it was all mine

If I’d trade my world for hers

~

She was angry at her writer

For her husband’s cons and lies

For her life of sins and secrets

And her pseudo-human guise

~

But I told her it was dull

Here on the other side

That over here, life’s dismal

And ruled by greed and pride

~

I declined her proposition

But she said, “Just look at me…

I have everything I want

I am glamorous and free…”

~

For a moment, I considered

What did I have to lose?

The world might have more meaning

If viewed from in her shoes

~

She watched me as I pondered

But she sensed my hesitation

Then a tear fell from her eye

And she said in desperation…

~

“My husband is suspicious

That I know what’s going on

He’s a man of morbid methods

I’ll be sorry before long.”

~

And this I did consider

What was I to do?

Maybe if I tried

I could rewrite a page or two

~

And so I traded places

With my newfound fiction friend

But what I didn’t realize

Was the book was at its end

~

For, just moments after stepping

Into the pages of this book

By way of strangulation

I was murdered by the crook

tandc

Visit the author:

ac

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