By nature, I’m not a big Christmas guy, but I’ve learned to embrace the season by watching it through the eyes of my family. So, while I’m surrounded by Christmas lights, dazzling garland, Christmas specials on TV and 24 hour Christmas music on not 1, but 2 stations in New York (pray for the DJs), I have to find my subversion in books.
I first read Santa Steps Out about 10 years ago and just found it in my mother’s attic while cleaning this weekend. If, as a horror fan, you read one holiday book this season (and I hope to God it’s not a Debbie Macomber or Mary Higgins Clark sapfest), this is it. To say Santa Steps Out is sick, twisted and demented is an understatement. It’s also hysterical. Read it and you’ll never look at Santa, or that sexy Tooth Fairy, the same way again.
And because the holiday season is upon us like a pandemic, I’d like to give away ebooks of Forest of Shadows, Sinister Entity and Swamp Monster Massacre. I’ll give one of each to 3 lucky winners. All you have to do is drop a comment here, tweet this out or comment on my FB fan page.
Ho ho oh where is my spiked egg nog?
It’s been a couple of years since I explored the wonder and mysteries of Catholicism in my book, Evil Eternal, albeit it in a very overly dramatic fashion. I decided to dip my toe back in the holy water with a new short story, Confessional, available exclusively at Pen of the Damned.
Growing up an altar boy and singer in the church choir, the one aspect of my faith as a good Irish Catholic that frightened me was the act of confession. I was always worried that the priest would see me in a different, negative light once he knew I lied to a teacher and took the Lord’s name in vain (thanks to my grandfather for that one – he used ‘goddammit’ with positive flair). The act of confession doesn’t get easier as you get older.
Priests are, after all, only human. Could you look the other way if someone you were close to confessed to abusing a child, or cheating on their spouse with numerous partners, or robbing a liquor store, or even worse, murder? We ask for forgiveness, release our burden, perform our acts of contrition. But just as energy can never be destroyed, perhaps so the weight of sin. Confession is an act of transference, so though you may leave the church with a lighter heart, what happens to the priest?
These are the things nagging at my brain as I wrote Confessional. If you’re curious as to what goes on within its confines, I suggest you bow your head and step inside….
Once you’ve cleansed your sins, post a comment here on or on Twitter using #HunterConfesses and you’re eligible to win a signed copy of Evil Eternal. I’ll announce winners next week.
Most of all, what do you think of confession? What are your experiences?
It’s Thanksgiving, also known as Turkey Armageddon, and I wanted to take this time to give thanks to all of the people who have traveled with me on this strange journey down dark and winding paths. I know I’m going to miss some names, so please forgive me, but here’s the best my addled brain can come up with.
My eternal thanks to…
Norm Hendricks (the man who planted the seed), Mike Chella (friend & artist), Louise Fury (super agent), Don D’Auria (dream editor), Renae Rude (a very special paranormalist), Erin Al-Mehairi (super blogger/reviewer/now first reader), Carolyn Wolstencroft (editor ‘n sis), Nina Darcangela (Pen of the Damned mistress), Joe Pinto (Pen of the Damned dungeon master), Scott Albright (my inside squatch source), Shane Leuis (madman and Evil Eternal character), Jack Campisi (Monster Brother), Analiesje Cady (my favorite ghost hunter), Steve Belz (watch for this guy’s writing!), Anthony Ventarola (radio host & honorary Monster Man), Spicy Pixi (love your post about bullies), Diana Navarro (hostess with the mostest), Robert Stava (check out his books), Jackie Kingon (mmmm, chocolate moons), Emily Hill (fellow ghost lover), Lori Nicolo, MIL, Tim Stanton (Monsignor), Jerry Mulcahy (graphics guru) Nancy Prisco, Anita Morgan, Morgan Stern, Jerry Michelle D’Auria, Tobi Delacruz, Gary Winokur, Tom Wolstencroft, Colin Farmer, Megan Supple, Tim Meyer, Ginger Destefano, Christine Rosenbaum, Jamie Evans, Terence Flanagan (Rabbi), Jimmy Reed, Matt Molgaard, Wayne Salat (Mr. Forest of Shadows lager), Lindsey Loucks, Maura Lynch, James Bassett, Rod Santos, Glenn Rolfe, Anne Marie Burke, Carolyn Solieri, Liz Cozier, Damien Avila Aleman, and, of course, the amazing Samhain authors who have become friends – Brian Moreland, Jonathan Janz, Russell James, Frazer Lee, Mick Ridgewell, Ron Malfi, Kristopher Rufty, Alan Spencer, David Bernstein, Damien Walters, and John Everson.
I wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Now where’s my shotgun and turkey caller?
It looks like a lot of potential inmates are hooked on Asylum Scrawls, my first short story collection packed with 6 original stories and a bonus story by Norm Hendricks. It was truly a labor of sick, sick love.
The feedback on one of my stories, Stoned, has been tremendous. Author Russell James said, “Stoned is one of the best bits of horror I’ve read in a while.” I promise, I didn’t pay Russ a dime for that.
As my way to give thanks (see how I tied that in to the upcomnig holiday? Nifty), I thought I’d give you a preview of Stoned. If you’re hooked, come on over to Amazon and take Asylum Scrawls home for only $1.99. As Alfred E. Neuman would say, “Still cheap!”
OK, take a hit of thorazine, slip on that straightjacket and close your eyes as you travel to rural South Carolina. The sun is high in the summer sky, and the pummel stone sits waiting for today’s lesson….
The smooth surface of the Pummel Stone was ice cold against Kitty’s bare breasts and stomach, and despite the burning slash of the belt on her back and the fevered friction of Ed’s fingers as they worked in and out of her pussy like a trio of funny car pistons, it felt somewhat soothing out here in the blazing South Carolina sun.
God she hated South Carolina. She’d made it out once, all the way to Wyoming. Now there was a place where you didn’t feel like dying come summer, where the heat of the day didn’t hit you like a wet towel fresh from a pot of boiling water. If there was one thing she hated, it was the damn heat and humidity of the deep and nasty south.
He hit her again with the belt. This time, she felt her skin split. When she tried to move away he dropped the belt and used his free hand to grip the back of her neck, pushing her face harder into the rock.
“Where do you think you’re goin’?” he hissed in her ear. His tongue was thick with cheap beer and his breath reeked of day old diapers. “That’s right, bitch. You ain’t leavin’ the Stone until I’m finished up in here.”
Ed’s favorite blasted from the speakers he’d had installed under their covered patio: Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla by Wagner. Lord in heaven did she hate that song. Ed had gotten hooked on Wagner after watching Apocalypse Now one too many times, what with the helicopters and all the bombing and that horrid music blaring in the background. He went out to the music store one day and shuffled through the Nice Price CD box until he found a copy of selected works by Richard Crazy Ass Wagner. There wasn’t much call for regular priced classical CDs in these parts. Kitty thought if the dead composer could see what his music had inspired, he’d approve. All men were bastards that way. Goddamn heathens.
“Hidey-ho, in we go!” Ed shouted, and before she knew it, he was full up inside her, well, at least as far as his needle dick could go. Amazing how much damage that little pecker could do when she wasn’t properly greased. He grunted and rutted like a sick hog. She hitched slightly when his sweat splashed into the wounds on her back.
Thankfully, it was over almost as soon as it had started. He pulled out and away from her in one staggering motion. She slumped down to the base of the stone, resting her cheek against it, willing her tears away.
“Hey, you want me to help you inside?” He was a different person now, all that beastly rage seeping out of him with his semen and into her. He sounded apologetic, which meant she must be bleeding a lot. Ed always got that way when the blood was bad.
“Just…go…away,” she said without opening her eyes. She didn’t want to see his face or his limp dick crawling back into its shell or the belt on the floor or her torn clothes thrown in a pile by the back door. Because Ed killed her baby once upon a fucked up time and she knew for sure he didn’t have the guts to kill her. The only constant in her life was the Pummel Stone and no matter how far she ran or who she ran to, it would always be there, waiting for her.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Okay, it had always been like this, at least as far as she could remember, and probably always would. But damn, Kitty was for-shit-sure that if her ma hadn’t hanged herself from the tree that used to be in the front of the house, that was before her daddy tore the whole thing up, roots and all a week after the funeral, things would have been different. Momma was her protector, and Lord knows she needed protectin’. Her daddy was a ruthless old bastard, penniless, godless and brainless. One of her first memories was seeing him whup on her momma against The Stone. He was hollering at her something fierce and whacking at her with his boot, but ma didn’t make a sound. She took it like the man he could never be and that just made him crazier.
Well, after ma died the old man gave The Stone a rest. It was just the two of them now and little Kitty at age seven had to quit school and take care of him and the house. One day the vice principal came to the house to insist Daddy put her back in school. He didn’t even have two sentences out before he was face to face with the wrong end of a shotgun and tearing ass back to his car.
Life sucked worse than a piglet on a teat, but it was about to get worse. When she turned twelve, a timer went off Daddy’s twisted head, like one of those little plastic poppers they put in chickens to tell you when they’re done roasting. Now it was her turn to lay against the Pummel Stone and get her deservins. No infraction was too small for The Stone. That big piece of rock that jutted up in their yard, slate gray and ugly as sin, so damn big they couldn’t even dynamite the thing out, it was kind of the family heirloom. The farm had been in their family for three generations and The Stone right along with it. Turned out, punishing the family for their sins, be they real or imagined, was also a family tradition. Her daddy had told her once that his granddaddy had named it the Pummel Stone, on account of anyone put face to face with the rock was about to get a pummelin’. Except if you were a girl you’d get that and more and Daddy carried that torch with flying colors.
Kitty endured her father’s cruelty until she was eighteen, always staying as quiet as her ma because she knew it drove him crazy. She hoped the bastard would have a stroke but of course he never did. When she turned eighteen she stole out of the house one night and took a bus to Florida.
She spent the next seven years traveling all over from one crappy job and run-down town to another, leaving in her wake a string of ex-boyfriends as useless and mean as the old man. When a girlfriend once asked, “How do these men find you?” after her latest broke her nose, she realized, They ain’t finding me. I’m finding them.
Things changed when she met Ed Blake. He was fresh from the Army and as good looking as a movie star. They met in Troutville, Virginia when she was waiting tables at a truck stop diner. He was smart and sweet and romantic and before she knew it they were happily married and living like a couple of lovebirds.
Then word came from her Aunt Mary that Daddy was dying. Kitty would have been happy to let him die alone but Ed said it was important for her to be there, no matter how bad a man he may have been in the past. That was Ed back then, kinder than a saint and a sight better looking to boot. So off they went to South Carolina, back to the farm and the round patch of brown grass in the front yard where the big dogwood tree used to be.
Daddy was real bad with cancer. She was torn between wanting to hold in her piss and save it for his grave or washing his withered face with a soothing, damp cloth, telling him everything would be all right. It took him a month to die and in that time he responded mostly to Ed. She spied them several times, Ed’s ear close to her daddy’s lips, his words too feeble to carry into the hallway.
Well, the old monster finally died and Kitty surprised herself by crying at the funeral. The house was left to her and Ed insisted they stay. A whole farm, even though it hadn’t produced anything in years, was better than a one-bedroom apartment in Troutville. So they stayed.
And wouldn’t you know it, a year to the day later she found herself back on The Pummel Stone. Ed had taken to drinking on account of not being able to find work. Men were like that. The moment they felt emasculated, in came the booze. One day, decided to give her a spanking against The Stone because she burned their supper. Things progressed, or in this case, regressed, and she wondered just what the hell her father had been feeding Ed while he lay there dying. But then she realized it probably had nothing to do with him.
It was the Stone. It possessed every man who lived by it and damned every woman unlucky enough to be with the abuse-loving fucktard.
Find out what happens to poor, hapless Kitty, as well as the fate of a recent amputee being plagued by his old toys, two couples faced with a ghost that will not leave or speak and six young boys stuck between a sewer creature and the Son of Sam at Asylum Scrawls, only available on Amazon.
Today, I finally have my interview up with Jonathan Moore, author of Redheads, after technical difficulties last week during his launch! I've been dying to share it with you, as I feel Jonathan is a new author who is one to watch! If you like horror, crime, thrillers, serial killer dramas, supernatural twists, or just great literature, this book is one you must read for yourself.
Saturday morning, an hour or so before I start ticking things off my weekend chore list. Since my father passed away, I make it a point to work on my mother’s house every week cleaning things out, doing repairs, and now, raking never ending piles of leaves. Then it’s on to do the shopping, getting the oil changed in the old Jeep and working on my house. Somewhere in there I hope to get some work in on my new book, the sequel to Sinister Entity.
I’ve written about my wife and her health struggles over the past two years. Thankfully, we’ve just about conquered the hanta-like virus that she caught, but discovered she also has lupus. It flared up pretty bad this fall, so she’s back on radiation to beat it back. Looks like she’ll stay on it until the end of the year. Add to that my youngest daughter who’s had mono since September and I’m basically living in a hospital ward. Thank God my oldest daughter is like her dad and can run around with me getting everything done.
I’m very fortunate to have a passion like writing in my life to help keep me sane when things have gone haywire. And I’m very grateful for everyone who has come along with me on this crazy ass journey. 2014 will be a better year. I’ll have 3 novels out next year and plan to attend a number of cons to mix and mingle with my peeps.
One of the bright spots of 2013 has been the success of my twisted little Bigfoot novella, Swamp Monster Massacre. The ebook continues to gain new fans, and I recently learned that the audiobook is a bestseller on The Audio Bookshop. It’s a pretty big honor to be listed beside great writers like Ron Malfi and Tim Lebbon. I love the narration – a dry, good old southern boy, just like the main character, Rooster Murphy. 25% of all royalties from the book will go to the Lupus Foundation of America, so you’ll not only get a fun audiobook, but you’ll also support a great cause to fight a terrible disease.
Try it, you’ll like it. Trust me. I’m not just a horror writer, I’m also the president of the horror nerds society.
In honor of the return of Finding Bigfoot to the airwaves, I figured I’d list 11 (that’s right, mine goes to eleven!) Bigfoot movies for all you squatch lovers. I honestly feel that little show on Animal Planet is responsible for the rash of recent and upcoming Bigfoot movies – and in my book, that’s a good thing.
Even better news for all you movie producers, the definitive Bigfoot movie has yet to be made. Find a writer, quality director and Adam Sandler cash and get to work.
So, here’s the list. Thanks to Amazon, I’ve dropped in a quick synopsis for each followed by a 1 line personal review, because I can’t say no to Bigfoot movies, as well as my Squatch Rating of 1 to 5 Squatch Toes. There are dozens of sasquatch movies out there, the bulk being made in the 70′s and within the last few years. This should be a good place to start your squatch-ucation.
THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK
A 1970s documentary-style drama questions the existence of a hairy 7ft tall Sasquatch-type monster that lives in a swap outside of Fouke, Arkansas. According to the locals the monster walks on two feet, has a characteristic smelly odor and kills chickens.
Hunter : It put the low in low budget but is still a classic despite the terrible music. 2 1/2 Squatch Toes.
CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE
Some fishermen are attacked in the Louisiana swamps. When the word gets out of a mysterious Bigfoot-type creature, two researchers come to a small town to study and hopefully discover what the beast is. Their research from some farmers help the two men to learn that the creature may be a very angry and murderous missing link.
Hunter : Some actual, real life actors in here and though cheesy, has a couple of creepy moments. 3 Squatch Toes.
Scientists mount an expedition to find a Bigfoot-type creature. (Wow, could they spare the words???)
Hunter : Saw this as a kid in the theater and it scared the hell out of me, though I have a feeling I’d be less than impressed now. 2 Squatch Toes.
NOT YOUR TYPICAL BIGFOOT MOVIE
Dallas Gilbert and Wayne Burton, best friends from a dying former steel town in Ohio, are out to convince the world that Bigfoot exists.
Hunter : A wonderful documentary that’s more about two old and broke friends searching for Bigfoot than the hair fella. 4 Squatch Toes.
Based on found footage. A documentary filmmaker and his crew venture up to Siskiyou County to investigate the alleged Bigfoot sightings.
Hunter : Three ass-tards get what they deserve in this dreadful found footage flick. 1 Squatch Toe.
Jim (John Schneider) and his research team study the Canadian Lynx every year. This year, he has to take his rebelling 16 year-old daughter, Emmy (Danielle Chuchran), with him. But the lynx are missing. As Jim and his team–with the help of a local ranger (Jason London)–try to find out why, something stalks them–a predator no prey can escape.
Hunter : Perfect to fall asleep to on a Saturday afternoon after mowing the lawn. 2 Squatch Toes.
BIGFOOT : LOST COAST TAPES
After a Bigfoot Hunter claims to possess the body of a dead Sasquatch, a disgraced journalist stakes his comback and the lives of his documentary crew on proving the finding to be a hoax.
Hunter : Oddly strange yet effective found footage movie with the most bizarre ending any squatcher could conceive. 4 Squatch Toes.
SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED
What is the grisly, hides secret of the murdering white yeti? A group of college students finds out when they venture to a mysterious island. Low budget and REALLY awful in places, but at times chillingly effective. A Shostokovich type score much like that used in THE BRAIN EATERS.
Hunter : Considered by some to be an underground classic, but they’re all high. 2 Squatch Toes.
THE BIGFOOT HUNTER : STILL SEARCHING
In the summer of 2006, two Sasquatch hunters led a group of curious, young paranormal investigators into the hills of southern New York on a quest for evidence of the legendary beast known as Bigfoot.
Hunter : This documentary surprised the hell out of me and is a a must watch for squatchers. 3 1/2 Squatch Toes.
THE LEGEND OF BIGFOOT
Wildlife chronicler Ivan Marx became one of the world’s most notorious Bigfoot researchers. This film documents his journey, with plenty of raw footage and unique insight. Marx’s quest takes the viewer throughout the wilds of Northern US and Canada, where we follow the trail of ravaged farm animals and stunned eyewitnesses that Bigfoot is leaving in his wake. Not to mention some of the most famous footage ever shot of the elusive creature!
Hunter : A horribly shot nature flick that will bore you to no end. 1 Squatch Toe.
Everything you know about Bigfoot is about to change. Follow the travels of the world renowned Bigfoot hunter, Tom Biscardi, and his Searching for Bigfoot team. You will follow the team as they search the country from Montana to New York in search of the world’s most elusive and mysterious beast. Tom Biscardi has been in search of Bigfoot for close to 34 years and you will see what he has discovered! Journey further and deeper into the world of Bigfoot then ever before in this award-winning documentary.
Hunter : Find out why Tom Biscardi has been totally discredited by the Bigfoot community. No Squatch Toes.
And there you have it, 11 Bigfoot movies that should keep you busy through November. And if you’re looking for some squatchy reading material, you can always pick up a copy of Swamp Monster Massacre, where skunk apes get real.
I’ve taken horror to the old west with my next full length novel for Samhain, HELL HOLE. I’ve been sitting on the cover for a while now, waiting for the right time to show it to you.
Set in the turn of the 20th century in real life mining ghost town, Hecla, Wyoming, Hell Hole has a posse full of terror. What can you expect to find? How about this :
Nat Blackburn, an aging cowboy, former Rough Rider and current New York City cop on a mission for his war pal, President Teddy Roosevelt. There are rumors of riches in the abandoned mines, but everyone who has gone to look for it has disappeared, including the entire town.
Teta Delacruz, Dominican gun-for-hire and Nat’s right hand man. He’ll happily fight to the death for the man who saved his life on the battlefield.
When they arrive in the dusty remains of Hecla, all hell breaks loose. From savage wild men to eerie black eyed children, vengeful Djinn and tortured souls chained to the land, there’s more to the mines of Hecla than flecks of gold.
It’s a gunman’s last chance for glory, and maybe, the end of the world.
Hell Hole will be out in ebook and trade paperback summer, 2014. Stick close to this blog and chain for more details as we get closer!
I hope you’re excited as I am. What do you think of the cover?
OK, this Halloween nearly did me in! And that’s a good thing. I once again achieved my goal of watching a horror movie every day (my favorite new flicks – new to me – being Rites of Spring and Revenge of the Creature). I read all of the books on my Horrortober reading list. Kudos to Kealan Patrick Burke for making my stomach turn with Kin. Awesome stuff.
On Halloween night, we had over 300 costumed kiddies come to the house. After canceling Halloween last year due to super storm Sandy, they had to make up for lost time. Yes, I and my twisted children dressed up to scare those kids who only wanted some candy. What was I? I have no clue. I was something no one else was likely to see that night. You be the judge.
In the dark, with my hooded black jacket, it was effective enough to make trick or treaters pause. Heh heh heh.
The 99 cent sale for my first short story collection, ASYLUM SCRAWLS, is over, but it didn’t go up much. You can download a copy now for just $1.99. I noticed that quite a few folks have already checked into the asylum. How about you? A little thorazine, three hots and a cot, get some rest.
Congratulations to Lindsey Loucks who won a signed copy of SINISTER ENTITY. Thank you for playing along with my madness.
We’ve made some updates to the Monster Men website, adding a podcast archive so you can catch all the episodes you’ve missed.
I have some exciting announcements to make over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.
Oh, and thank you all for making SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE an audiobook bestseller. It’s an honor to be beside the likes of Tim Lebbon and Ron Malfi. I’m telling you, those skunk apes are gonna rule the world one day.