Today is the first in a series of mythological/paranormal stories that I want to present each month. They’ll be accessible under the new Myths & Legends tab on the site
The world is a wonderfully strange place. When people ask what inspires me when it comes to my writing, it’s stories like the Hollow Earth that have fueled my imagination since I was a wee lad. I loved the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth, never missing that one chance I had each year to watch it (this is in the days before VCRs).
As I got older, I discovered through rare books and magazines that such a fantastical tale was based on stories of a completely different Earth, hundreds if not thousands of feet below us. They call it THE HOLLOW EARTH.
Now, there are many theories out there, but the gist of all of them is that not only is our planet hollow, with access points to enter from one pole, travel through the center of the Earth and exit out the other pole, but it is inhabited by beings both strange and mundane.
Tunnels leading to this amazing world are natural and man-made. As you can see from the map, there are many other entry points all around the globe. The legends are not at all new. You can find ancient civilizations with subterranean myths all the way from Greece to the Native Americans. Many Christians have even believed that the physical hell resides there, way too close to claim our mortal souls for my taste.
The singular supposed factual account that grabbed me by the cerebellum was that of Admiral Byrd, the legendary naval explorer. The man was a hero, as far from a crackpot as you could get. According to diary entries made public after his death, he was given access to this strange world while on an Arctic expedition. His plane was met by flying machines that guided him to an underground world that had its own sun! Once there, he was greeted by ‘elevated’ beings who treated him and his team quite cordially. They were given warnings to bring back to the people above ground to change their ways, lest there be global calamity. Supposedly, some of the clothes worn by these beings bore swastikas! When you hear about Nazis surviving underground, this is the origin of the wild myth. Iron Sky 2 is an over-the-top interpretation of this myth, with Nazis that have relocated from the moon to an underground world the likes of which we’ve never seen.
When I was young, reading Byrd’s own recollection about this incredible experience literally gave me heart palpitations. I mean, if it was true, why weren’t we doing everything we could to go back there??? More on that to come.
So, who is living under our feet, aside from the Boys from Brazil, South? Multitudes, from the lost tribe of Israel to alien races who have parked their craft right under our noses, er, feet, to my favorite, a race of beings called the Dero. The Dero are the product of writer Richard Sharpe Shaver who, in tales published in Amazing Stories, spoke about a prehistoric race of highly developed people who used ancient technology to bedevil us land dwellers. Sounds nutty? Just think, it’s no crazier than the stories spun by his fellow writer at the time, L. Ron Hubbard, he of Scientology infamy. One birthed a fringe myth, the other a fringe religion. Words do have power.
There have been plenty of documentaries on the Hollow Earth, along with parallels between it and the modern UFO/alien invasion. Are they truly from beyond the stars, or the center of our planet? The actions and motivations and cautions are eerily similar.
Now, I love the idea of people and dinosaurs and aliens living in a series of connected subterranean worlds, with their own sun, oceans and ancient knowledge. Do I think any of it is true? Emmmmm, no. Take in case the Admiral Byrd sighting. I have a gut feeling that if he truly had such an encounter, he would have spent the rest of his life exploring it, no matter what threat may have been given. After all, he did have the power of the Navy at his disposal! Plus, no one can prove the authenticity of the diary. It’s a copy of a copy of a copy, yadda yadda yadda.
But logic doesn’t necessarily have a place when it comes to steadfast belief. And you know what, if you believe in the Hollow Earth, more power to you! I hope you’re right. It would make the world a much more interesting place. I’m sure we’d reduce it to a reality show at one point.
If you’ve never heard of the Hollow Earth before, I hope this is a good springboard for your discovery. Click on the links and lose yourself in one of the most complex and intriguing legends you’ll ever come across. Warning, there will be missing time if you dive too deep. I assure you, it won’t mean you’ve been abducted by aliens.
Yes, I have another cover reveal for you, and it’s only early February! All play and no work…
My latest novella with Samhain, I KILL IN PEACE, will be a brand new experience for you, my demented readers. And demented is a good thing.
First, the cover. Nice and clean and hinting at just enough nastiness inside.
Second, here’s the super official blurb…
Killing gets easier…with practice.
Peter Blades is, in every sense of the word, an ordinary man. Hard worker, father, husband, a man content with small-town life. Except for one small fact—he’s slowly being turned into a ruthless killer.
Compelled by mysterious texts to murder, he’s provided a fiery red Mustang and an ancient sword to carry out an ever-growing hit list. His jerkoff boss is victim number one. You always remember your first.
By the time his sword sings through the air to dispatch a would-be school shooter, taking lives is as easy as breathing. And if the world is going to hell around him, all the better. No one wants to burn alone.
I told you it would be different. Word to the wise – do not fuck with Peter Blades. I’ll be honest, I took no prisoners with this one. I was worried that my editor would force me to chop out certain parts. I feared my wife would never look at me the same after she read it. Both concerns were unwarranted, which tells me my editor and wife are sick puppies.
I Kill in Peace comes out in April as an ebook only. You can pre-order a copy starting March 13th.
I have to admit, I was an X Files fan for life right from episode one. The show carried me through the 90s and was a constant source of inspiration when I was starting my writing career. Christ Carter was a guy just like me, a man deeply influenced by Kolchak and The Twilight Zone. I wanted to believe I could be Christ Carter one day!
The TV series lasted 9 years, ushering in the wave of paranormal shows that continue to this day. It spawned two movies, video games, comic books, novels and a lasting legacy with legions of fans who have always wanted more.
Well, sometimes, you get what you ask for.
The X Files returned to our lives for a 6 episode run on Sunday night. As soon as I heard the opening theme song, I was taken back to settling in on Friday nights (before it moved to Sunday) with a scotch and a cigar, phones off the hook so I could savor every episode. I don’t smoke cigars anymore and scotch gives me acid reflux, so this time I had to settle for a water some Skinny Pop popcorn. I made it manlier by getting the pepper popcorn. So there.
The first and last episodes will feature the continuing alien conspiracy, with the four in between being the monster of the week.
Although the first episode wasn’t exactly a barn burner, I was amazed over how easily David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson slipped into their roles as Mulder and Scully. Sure, they’re older, a little wiser, a little jaded, slightly broken. But they’d have to be after everything they’ve been through. Their chemistry is still there, and the look and feel of the show was spot on. All of the alien stuff was confusing, but it always was! It even ended with the Cancer Man (I’m not calling him the Smoking Man). From the sneak peek, it looks like all of the gang is back, and I couldn’t be happier.
Will this lead to another 6 episodes? A movie? A full season? I hear Carter is already prepping more episodes. It’s all going to come down to ratings and the willingness of the stars to commit. So you better get everyone you know to watch!
If I was a betting man, I’d plunk down some dough on more X Files to come. Let’s hope I’m better at seeing the lay of the land than Fox Mulder.
I have to admit, I was watching horror flicks right down to the wire to make sure I got as many as I could in before making my annual top 13 list. There were some I had high hopes for that didn’t make the cut like Let us Prey and, believe it or not, Paranormal Activity – The Ghost Dimension. And then there were the usual pleasant surprises that just had to make the cut. Unlike other years, there was no question about my #1 movie. I love it so much, I’ve made it my favorite movie of the 21st century.
Oddly enough, there are no cryptid movies on the list this time around. Didn’t really see any worth considering, other than Zombeavers. That’s right, I said Zombeavers.
OK, enough of my preamble. Will you join me for the countdown?
#13 – A GIRL WALKS HOME AT NIGHT
Admittedly, I’m not a big vampire guy (though I do love Near Dark!). This Iranian art-house vamp flick may be a little slow for some, but I loved the change of pace. And the fact that it was in black and white gave it huge points in my book. Heavy on atmosphere and subdued performances, I give it two fangs up.
#12 – ORB
You all know I love alien movies. I can’t make a top 13 list without including at least one. Knowing that, I watched just about every alien-esque movie that came out last year. Most were total duds or just plan confusing. Not so with Orb, a neat gem that reminded me a lot of the movie Bug (the Ashley Judd one, not the awesome 1975 drive-in creature feature with Bradford Dillman). Three siblings are confined in a lake house. One of them is a vet who is admittedly crazy, but says he has something captured in the basement. Aliens + paranoia = Hunter bliss.
#11 – BACKCOUNTRY
You like Jaws? How about moving the action to land and substituting the shark for a bear? Yeah, that hits the spot. Based on a collection of camping gone wrong stories, this one literally had me holding my breath. It was one of those Netflix random discoveries that makes my subscription worth it. This city boy is staying the hell out of the woods now.
#10 – GOODNIGHT MOMMY
Ah, those crazy Austrians and their demented children. This subtitled affair is a slow burn of sheer craziness. I figured out the twist early on, but it didn’t matter. The execution makes this a must-see for true horror fans. Kids are creepy – especially twins who collect hissing cockroaches and are left on their own like feral children. TV star mommy with a shrouded face thanks to mucho plastic surgery makes for a very unsettling home in the middle of freaking nowhere. And I love what those boys do with super glue. Bad kinder!
#9 – ALMOST MERCY
You know that weird kid that everyone swears will grow up to be a school shooter? Well, in Almost Mercy, he has a friend – a strange girl, no less – to keep him grounded. Or can she? I can’t get over how good this movie is. It’s bleak, funny, sarcastic, loaded with social commentary and drenched in blood. And if you think you know what it’s about by my description or the blurb on IMDB, try again. Watch this so you can be one of the cool kids.
#8 – THE GREEN INFERNO
Man, a lot of people have dumped all over this cannibal gore fest. I guess I just don’t run with their crowd. The latest movie from Eli Roth, starring his lovely wife, Lorenza Izzo (who was also in Knock Knock – yowza), delivers on what it promises to be – a brutal movie about conservationists getting what they deserve, at least according to Trump. The gore in this one was way over the top for a theatrical release, and for that, I applaud Roth. And you will truly hate the asshole activist leader. Watch it on an empty stomach. Or if you’re truly badass, watch it during a pig roast. Mmmmm, long pig.
#7 – CREEP
2015 was the year for Mark Duplass, who gave us a great indie horror movie like Creep, and a big budget clunker like The Lazarus Effect. Creep is a 2 man show about a dude hired online to film a guy going about his regular day because he’s dying and wants to leave a record of his life behind for his child. Duplass is downright unsettling. You will never be able to get ‘Tubby Time’ or ‘Peach Fuzz’ erased from your brain after watching this. This is part of a series of low budget horror flicks that Duplass is slated to make for Netflix. You have to check it out.
#6 – BONE TOMAHAWK
Of course an author who wrote a horror western (Hell Hole) is going to love a horror western movie. The fact that it stars my hero, Kurt Russell, had me all in from the word git! Part The Searchers and part The Hills Have Eyes, Bone Tomahawk is a dusty ride through dangerous terrain with the ragtagiest bunch of ragtags ever assembled. The spooky race of Trogs that have kidnapped a woman and Russell’s deputy are freaking bizarre. Saddle up and hit the trail!
#5 – WE ARE STILL HERE
Horror movies need more main characters north of 40 (coming from a man living in that altitude). You get better, more believable actors and a sense of gravitas that can’t be found in most tits ‘n zits flicks. Barbara Crampton is one of my all time faves (and yes, I met her last year!), so I had to watch this one. An older couple settle in to a house that is very haunted, but by what? There are several scenes that actually disturbed me and made me jump. And the third act is just bat shit wild. After watching this, I dare you to go into your basement with the lights off. Go on, I triple dog dare you!
#4 – THE VISIT
M. Night Shyamalan is back! The Visit is about the most fun you’ll have with a horror movie. And, it’s found footage done right. The performances by the kids are great and grandma and grandpa are simply off their rockers. If I was staying with them overnight, I’d need a diaper (like grandpa and his dirty diaper shed) and 10 Xanax. This is one I can watch again and again. Naturally, there’s a twist at the end, and the payoff is damn good. Let’s hope M.’s days of The Happening are behind him.
#3 – THE FINAL GIRLS
This wonderfully original premise has a girl who gets reunited with her deceased scream queen mom by transporting into the 80’s slasher flick that gave Mom her start. I loved living in an 80’s slasher movie for an hour and a half, considering I was a teen during that golden decade. The Final Girls is snarky, nostalgic and touching as all get out. My wife actually cried when we watched it. And she’s as jaded a horror fan as I am. It’s a trippy movie with lots of blood, just enough laughs and a few salty tears. This one really took me by surprise.
#2 – SPRING
In any other year, this would be my top movie. Maybe because I’m getting older and soft, but I can’t get Spring out of my head. It’s a horror love story. That’s right, a horror love story. Set in Italy and beautifully shot, the story centers around an American 20-something who stumbles into and falls in love with an exotic, mercurial beauty who just happens to turn into a different creature every night. These are the two best performances of the year, hands down. It was done so well, I was ready to pledge my love for Louise despite her monstrous nature and the possibility she may kill me. I had vivid dreams about this for nights afterward. I haven’t had a movie affect me like that in at least 20 years. Right after it ended, I ordered it on Amazon. This will be one I go to every year.
#1 – IT FOLLOWS
There is nothing I don’t dig about It Follows. First, it’s a totally fresh idea wrapped around familiar territory. From the opening scene of a neighborhood that brought me right back to Halloween to the nerve jangling synth soundtrack, I was smitten. A curse in the form of a shape shifting ghost that will follow you until it catches you and kills you can only be transmitted by sex. That’s right, VD meets an ethereal Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. I posted a full review when I saw it that you can read here. It Follows is my favorite horror movie of the past 30 years. I don’t think I’ve been this jazzed by a movie since The Thing. I’ve watched it several times and it only gets better. I listen to the ass kicking score when I write. I may even tattoo a scene from it on my body one day. Yep, you can count me in as an unapologetic, rabid fan.
If you want another top 13 list that is very different from my own, check out my partner in Monster Men crime’s list. Old Jackie has quite a few great recommendations even I have yet to watch. Between the 2 of us, you definitely have enough movies to keep you busy during a big ass snowstorm!
I’m a pretty lucky guy. Kristopher Rufty is not only my friend, he’s also one of my favorite authors. We share a publisher and an agent, so he can’t shake me even if he wants to. Last year, he floored me with Jagger and Bigfoot Beach. He’s already kicking off 2016 with a new book from Samhain, Desolation. The cover it flipping awesome, and I know the contents will be even better.
Today I hand the wheel over to Krist as he takes you on Desolation’s journey. Ever wondered where writers get their ideas? Well, Hellions, read on. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post. He’s giving away the store. Man, I gotta up my giveaway game.
Highway to Desolation
Desolation has been around for ten years. That’s a long time for an idea to be brewing. But when it was first conceived, it was meant to be my first attempt at writing a novel, but then it was changed into a script that I thought could be shot for a very low budget during a very short shooting schedule. I still think so, actually.
The original idea came to me in a dream. Is that laughter I hear? I’m being serious! In this dream I had way back in 2006, I was watching a movie. The scene that was transpiring on my dream screen was the opening: a man trapped in a car, his injured wife bleeding profusely beside him. He kicks his way out of the car, wanting to find his son. A strange man appears, seemingly out of nowhere, to help him search. As they look, the DVD begins skipping. I didn’t get to see what happened, for the movie jumped ahead several scenes to show me an intruder invading somebody’s home, armed with a crowbar, and using the tool to bash heads. I tried to figure out who was in the home, who the intruder was, and was becoming increasingly frustrated because I had no idea what was going on.
Then I woke up.
It was just after three in the morning, and I was now wide awake. I smoked cigarettes back then and snuck outside to have one. It was the middle of winter, and I was standing on our porch, shivering as I replayed those scenes over and over in my head. I wondered what had caused the accident at the beginning, and why, obviously later in the dream movie, was somebody invading someone’s home.
Before I had finished smoking the cigarette, the entire premise had come together: A man, horribly wronged by another man. This man who caused so much harm is not a bad man. He’s a good person at heart, though he’s made many mistakes and this wrong is something that is felt not only by him, or the other man, but by their families. I wanted it clear that Grant is not evil; he’s not vindictive, though he’s used to getting his way. He’s just a guy, somebody that messed up. But I also wanted it be clear that Dennis is also a good person, driven to deplorable actions by Grant’s mistake.
That premise has stuck with me for a long time. In the original script, I wrote it as a straightforward exploitation-style horror movie. At one point, David Hess (of Last House on the Left fame) had agreed to play Grant and possibly write the music, with Trent Haaga set to play Dennis. The script floated around for years, with many people being attached on as actors, producers, composers, and FX artists.
It came back to me in 2013 for the last time. I decided to just put it in the drawer and leave it be.
A year or so later, I told my agent about the idea. She liked it a lot and told me not to forget about it. I didn’t. With the idea fresh in my brain again, I reread the script, cringing a bit. I still really liked the premise, but not the execution. I thought, If I were to rewrite this, I think this needs to be changed, and this, and this…”
Then another idea hit. I remembered after my father passed away, somebody suggested I write him letters. Just take a blank notebook and write him a letter every day until I felt I didn’t need to do that anymore. They said it would help me in my grieving. I tried. I hated it. It seemed to make me hurt worse, knowing he’d never read them.
And I stopped writing them.
But the idea I had was this: What if Dennis is writing letters to his deceased wife and as we read them, we see his mental wall chipping away a piece at a time. While this is happening, Grant is off trying to take his already crumbled existence, and plaster it all back together. Then the two worlds collide and complete chaos happens.
I had to write the book.
Took ten years, but I finally wrote the novel that I had originally hoped would have been my debut. I’m glad I did not try to write this book all those years ago. And even with the years of disappointment from the movie not being made, I’m very relieved it wasn’t. Had it been, this book would have never been written.
ISBN: 978-1-619233-09-6 Trade Paperback (List: $15.95)
There’s no escaping your past. Especially when it wants revenge.
Grant Marlowe hoped taking his family to their mountain cabin for Christmas would reunite them after his alcoholic past had torn them apart, but it only puts them into a life and death struggle. On Christmas Eve, a stranger from Grant’s past invades the vacation home and takes his wife and children hostage. His agenda is simple—make Grant suffer the same torment that Grant’s drunken antics have caused him. Now Grant must confront his demons head on and fight for his family’s lives. Because this man has nothing left to lose. The only thing keeping him alive is misery—Grant’s misery.
Biography, Kristopher Rufty
Kristopher Rufty lives in North Carolina with his wife, three children, and the zoo they call their pets. He’s written various books, including The Vampire of Plainfield, Jagger, The Lurkers, The Lurking Season, The Skin Show, Pillowface, Proud Parents, and more, plus a slew of horror screenplays. He has also written and directed the independent horror films Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood. If he goes more than two days without writing, he becomes very irritable and hard to be around, which is why he’s sent to his desk without supper often.
Praise for Kristopher Rufty
“Kristopher Rufty is the demented reincarnation of Richard Laymon!” –Jeff Strand
“A Dark Autumn is a wild gender role reversal of ‘I Spit On Your Grave,’ with gonzo nods to Norman Bates and ‘Friday The 13th’ thrown in for good measure. Kristopher Rufty delivers the goods yet again.” –Bryan Smith, author of Kayla Undead and The Late Night Horror Show
“A creepy, gripping tale of horror. And it’s got one of the best death scenes I’ve read in a long time!” –Jeff Strand, author of Pressure and Dweller
“A powerhouse debut novel. Rufty’s prose will suck you in and hold you prisoner!” –Ronald Malfi, author of Floating Staircase and Snow
“An occult thriller with a new twist. Rufty juggles captivating characters, breakneck suspense, and insidious horror in a macabre story that will leave you feeling possessed by the end of it. Next time you think about taking that old Ouija board out…forget it!” –Edward Lee, author of Lucifer’s Lottery and City Infernal
Barnes & Noble
We have a lot of books to giveaway from Krist! We have two audio books, Oak Hollow and Pillowface in one link. In the second link we have a signed print copy of The Lurking Season and two e-books, Vampire of Plainfield and Bigfoot Beach. Winners are chosen random via rafflecopter and are given choice of prize of order pulled. Any questions on raffle, please e-mail Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at email@example.com
Link for audio book giveaway:
Link for print/e-book giveaway:
Howdy there, Hunter’s Hellions! I figured I had to call you all something. I think Hellions fits.
Looking back, I managed to read over 80 books last year. Any time I can get in over 75 books, I’m happy. I’m envious of folks who can speed read books yet still retain everything. I’m no tortoise, but I’m no hare, either.
Coming up with a top 10 horror books list was no easy task because I read so many damn good books. I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting a clunker from a mile off, so if I sit down to read a book, it’s usually good.
Now, some of these books didn’t come out in 2015. All that matters is that I read them in 2015. I’m hoping this can help you discover some titles you might have missed over the past couple of years. So, without further ado, here are my 10 favorite horror reads of last year (in no particular order, because I was fracturing my brain trying to do it), plus some honorable mentions…
10. THE HAUNTED by Bentley Little
Little has always been one of my favorite authors. He takes all of the everyday insanity we’ve surrounded ourselves with in America and injects it with pure evil. The Haunted is one of the best he’s written in years.
The Perry family’s new house is perfect-except for the weird behavior of the neighbors, and that odd smell coming from a dark corner in the basement. Pity no one warned the family about the house. Now it’s too late. Because the darkness at the bottom of the basement stairs is rising.
9. VIDEO NIGHT by Adam Cesare
Oh man, this book reminded me of all the great horror flicks of the 80s. Adam is one of the best new writers out there, and Video Night is a great place to start!
Who knows more about fighting a monster invasion than a group of teenage horror fans?
Billy Rile is smart, adept at Nintendo and has a killer Hi-Fi setup. Life is good. But he has no idea that an alien life form has infected his town, a creature that overtakes and transforms its host.
8. DARKNESS RISING by Brian Moreland
Hands down the best novella of 2015. Brian Moreland always kicks ass…and I mean always. This is now my favorite of his books. Tender yet terrifying.
t’s all fun and games until…Marty Weaver, an emotionally scarred poet, has been bullied his entire life. When he drives out to the lake to tell an old friend that he’s fallen in love with a girl named Jennifer, Marty encounters three sadistic killers who have some twisted games in store for him. But Marty has dark secrets of his own buried deep inside him.
7. LITTLE GIRLS by Ron Malfi
This is classic horror in the vein of Peter Straub and Stephen King at their best. This is sure to go down as a classic. I know it’s one I’ll read again and again. I was extra proud to be his Kensington Publishing brother in 2015.
When Laurie was a little girl, she was forbidden to enter the room at the top of the stairs. It was one of many rules imposed by her cold, distant father. Now, in a final act of desperation, her father has exorcised his demons. But when Laurie returns to claim the estate with her husband and ten-year-old daughter, it’s as if the past refuses to die.
6. THE BORDER by Robert McCammon
The master returns to the genre that he defined! It doesn’t get any better than that. I’ve long said McCammon is the best who ever scribbled a tale of terror. The man hasn’t lost a step.
World Fantasy award-winning, bestselling author Robert McCammon makes a triumphant return to the epic horror and apocalyptic tone reminiscent of his books Swan Song and Stinger in this gripping new novel, The Border, a saga of an Earth devastated by a war between two marauding alien civilizations.
But it is not just the living ships of the monstrous Gorgons or the motion-blurred shock troops of the armored Cyphers that endanger the holdouts in the human bastion of Panther Ridge. The world itself has turned against the handful of survivors, as one by one they succumb to despair and suicide or, even worse, are transformed by otherworldly pollution into hideous Gray Men, cannibalistic mutants driven by insatiable hunger.
5. MR. MERCEDES & FINDERS KEEPERS by Stephen King
I got up to Maine a week after King was signing copies of Finders Keepers. My timing sucks. The first 2 books of his trilogy are as different from one another as they are engaging. I can’t wait for book 3 to come out!
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
4. PRISONER 489 by Joe R Lansdale
Lansdale should be a household name. Every book he writes is gold. Prisoner 489 is a terrific novella that centers around one of my favorite horror tropes. I won’t spoil it for you. Get the book, now!
On an island with a prison for the most evil and powerful criminals in the world, a new prisoner is strapped to the electric chair for execution. After multiple surges of electricity and nearly knocking out power to the entire island, the prisoner is finally dead. The staff buries him in the prison graveyard with a simple marker baring three numbers: 489.
After the body is buried, a violent storm rocks the islands and a staff member goes missing. The crew rushes into the storm, searching for their lost comrade. They find that the burial site of prisoner 489 has been unearthed, and the body that was inside has gone missing.
3. LORDS OF TWILIGHT by Greg Gifune
You all know I’m a sucker for anything that deals with aliens. In fact, another alien book is part of the honorable mention crew. This is one of the most terrifying ones I’ve read in a while. Loved it.
Strange things are happening in the small, isolated town of Edgar, Maine. Mysterious lights dot the night skies. A local farmer is found dead at the summit of a hill with no evidence as to how his body got there. Livestock is disappearing, only to be discovered later, dead and mutilated with precision-like wounds. And despite the coming of an enormous winter storm, odd men identifying themselves simply as ‘federal agents’ have converged on Edgar in government vehicles as if in anticipation of some greater event.
2. JAGGER by Kristopher Rufty
Cujo on meth. That’s the best way I can describe this. Once again, Rufty populates his novel with sketchy characters doing terrible things. I couldn’t put it down.
Other than the trailer park left to her by her deceased daddy, Amy’s favorite treasure is Jagger, her 180-pound bull mastiff. One day while she is away, Clayton, her best friend’s scumbag boyfriend sneaks into her yard and takes the dog. His prize fighting pit bull was killed during its last match, costing a lot of bad people a lot of money. To make up for his dog’s losses, and to save his own life, Clayton enlists the help of a medical student dropout to turn Jagger into a killing machine by pumping him full of experimental drugs and muscle enhancers. Now Jagger is a monster, a beast that can’t feel pain, with an unquenchable thirst for blood. He quickly breaks out of his pen and starts making his way home, tearing apart anyone in his path on his way to the one he feels has betrayed him the most—Amy.
- THE HUNGER SERIES by Jason Brant
I ate this trilogy up like they were White Castle and I was fresh off a 2 day bender. This is a post apocalypse world bursting with beasties that would make the walkers in The Walking Dead shit themselves, if they had working colons. I highly recommend them. The books, not the shitting zombies.
Day One: A series of terrorist attacks spread a cloud of noxious gas over highly populated areas.
Day Two: Higher brain function erodes in those exposed to the gas. Their bodies begin to distort, faces distending, skin sallowing, teeth elongating.
Day Three: The infected disappear into the shadows, fleeing the harsh daylight which has begun to sear their flesh.
Day Four: The world is DEVOURED.
And now for the honorable mentions. All of them could easily have made my top 10. It was that close! Get these books as fast as you can.
Q ISLAND by Russell James (apocalyptic goodness!)
THE PENDLE CURSE by Catherine Caendish (witches & time travel – yes!)
BLOOD AND RAIN by Glenn Rolfe (restored my faith in werewolf tales)
BEHIND THE DARKNESS by Robert Dunn (aliens done right – scary)
GOBLINS by David Bernstein (cryptids – what more can I say?)
OK, there you have it, my top 10 (really 15) horror tales for 2015. I could had added so many more, but I have to get out of the house.
Have you read any of the books I listed? What would make your top 10? What do you think I should be reading in 2016?
Keep flying the horror flag, my Hellions!
It’s a new year, which means it’s time for some new books for all you horror monster fans! First up for 2016 is my sea monster novella, THEY RISE.
The monster fish in They Rise are real, though not as large as I make them out to be. When I was searching for a sea monster to terrorize the ocean, I wanted to find something old and ugly. I knew I found my beastie when I came upon this photo of a chimaera fish –
Talk about a face only a mother could love. Turns out, chimaera fish are an offshoot of the shark family tree. They’re even nicknamed ghost sharks. They’ve been around for hundreds of millions of years. These bottom dwellers have spiny protrusions laced with venom for protection. I know if I pulled one up on a hook, I might throw the pole back into the ocean.
Now, in reality, they’re only a couple of feet long. I had to make my chimaera fish in They Rise much, much larger, so the sea creatures in the book are prehistoric chimaera fish that have been trapped in methane ice for millions of years. Once they get out, they’re mean and ugly and hungry. Kinda like me in the morning.
The book opens with a pair of older brothers out on a fishing party boat off the coast of Miami. The 70+ year-old men, Richie and Eddie, were based on my grandfather and his brother. I used to go fishing with them every summer when I was a kid down at Sheepshead Bay. They’ve been gone 20 years now, but the beauty of being a writer is the power to resurrect the ones you loved and lost, even if only for a chapter or two.
In the book, Eddie’s hooked something awful powerful on his line. His days of fighting big ocean fish are well behind him…at least that’s what he thought. Things are about to get a wee tad intense, as long as Eddie and the ship’s mate can haul in the catch of the day.
Of all the things I’ve written over the past several years, that opening chapter is the one that has meant the most to me. It gave me a chance to fish with Grandpa and Uncle Eddie, or as everyone called him, Okie Dokie, one more time. I’m glad that we only caught fluke and occasional sea robins back in the day. Hell, if I was going to write a fish tale, I had to start it with the men who taught me all about fish tales.
Want a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card? Follow the publicity tour put together by the fab Erin at Hook of a Book Publicity. Sign up for my newsletter to be eligible. You’ll also be part of the giveaway fun I have all throughout the year.
I hope you’re all planning to have an irresponsible…I mean safe and chaste…new year’s eve. For guys like me, you know, north of forty with a family, the amateur nights of NYE hustling from drunken party to drunken party are behind me. Now, I force myself to stay awake just so I can watch the start of The Honeymooners marathon. The day after, I switch between that and The Twilight Zone, sprinkling in some Odd Couple here and there.
This year we’re doing something different. A couple of families are going to an immense indoor water park and resort. I packed my bathing suit and a bottle of Fireball. I think that’s all I need. Looking forward to hitting the water slides.
And speaking of looking forward, this time of year is also about looking backward, which is why you see so many top 10 lists. When I get back, I’ll not only publish my annual Top 13 horror films of 2015, but a top TV shows and top reads of the past year as well.
Until then, here are links to some other top lists. The reason I include these particular lists is because one of my books is on each. I know, sly dog. But there are some incredible books on each list, more than enough to satisfy your thirst for quality horror. So here they be…
I’m sure there are plenty more lists to come. I’d stay and write longer, but I have to get the car ready, stop at the store, and try to wake 2 teenage daughters up. No easy task.
Have a Happy New Year and stay thirsty, my fiends!
Are you all ho-ho-hoed out yet? I know I am. The fat man is back in his icy lair, and things can get back to normal.
Of course, normal for me means being surrounded by all sorts of monsters and beasties and ghosts. With the new year just around the corner, I’m gearing up for my 3 new releases in 2016. I just got the cover to what will be my third Pinnacle novel, THE JERSEY DEVIL, and it’s a doozy. From the Pine Barrens to your eyeballs, with love! The book comes out everywhere on August 30th.
I hope the state of New Jersey lets me in to promote The Jersey Devil next fall. I’d love to find a way to host a special event deep in the Pine Barrens. Luckily, I have 8 months to figure it out.
Hope you all like the cover. More on what’s inside to come. If you loved The Montauk Monster, you’ll really dig The Jersey Devil. No cryptid is safe from me. Any suggestions on which one I should tackle next?
I’m super excited to announce my new home – SEVERED PRESS– along with my first ever sea monster book, THEY RISE! If you think the baddies I created in The Montauk Monster were sinister, you’re in for a wild ride on the open seas this time around.
You know, before I became infatuated with Bigfoot, I was the kid going from library to library searching for every book that dealt with the Loch Ness Monster, giant squids and mysterious beasts from the deep. Needless to say, there wasn’t much out there in the late 1970s, but I did devour each book I managed to get my hands on.
So, when Severed Press approached me about writing a novella about sea creatures gone mad, I jumped at the chance. THEY RISE is just the first of what I hope are many more to come with the wonderful folks at SP.
The book comes out January 4th, but you can pre-order the ebook over at Amazon for just $3.99 – or free for you Prime members. The trade paperback will be available on the release date. Order now and be one of the first to experience a sea tale that’ll make you reconsider that cruise you’ve been dreaming about.
Here’s the synopsis for THEY RISE –
Some call them ghost sharks, the oldest and strangest looking creatures in the sea.
Marine biologist Brad Whitley has studied chimaera fish all his life. He thought he knew everything about them. He was wrong. Warming ocean temperatures free legions of prehistoric chimaera fish from their methane ice suspended animation. Now, in a corner of the Bermuda Triangle, the ocean waters run red. The 400 million year old massive killing machines know no mercy, destroying everything in their path. It will take Whitley, his climatologist ex-wife and the entire US Navy to stop them in the bloodiest battle ever seen on the high seas.
I’ve always felt that the novella format is the best for horror, and THEY RISE fits that mold. The fun is packing as much action and terror into a tiny package as possible (though it’s not sooo tiny at 151 pages).
So grab your fishing gear and a bazooka and join me in the Atlantic Ocean for a hell of a trip!