They say timing is everything.
A day after I posted an article about how wonderful it’s been to work with my editor, Don D’Auria, we learned he was let go by Samhain. The outpouring of anger and disappointment with Samhain and love and admiration for Don has been overwhelming. I tried to follow as much as I could just on Facebook yesterday and couldn’t keep up. Suffice to say, we’re all in Don’s corner. I feel terrible for Don, but I also know that he will find a new home, one that I hope will appreciate his talent.
I could use this space to rant and rave and call people out, but I won’t. Cooler heads must prevail. Let’s just say I was reeling when I heard the news. To work with Don for 5 years only to have the rug pulled out from under me is a blow, for sure. Just have to stay positive that we will ride again some day.
Needless to say, I won’t be submitting future works to Samhain. I just don’t feel that erotica and romance editors will get the horror vibe. Call me crazy. I already work with several other publishers, so I’m not crying that the sky is falling. I promise, you will have new Hunter Shea books in the coming years. Heck, there are 3 slated to come out next year alone.
I do empathize with the authors who have only worked with Samhain who now have to hustle their asses off to find new publishers. And what about those first timers who signed with Samhain and Don whose books have yet to be edited or come out? What the hell are they supposed to think or do? As someone who got accepted by Leisure a month before that place went kerplooey, I know how they feel. Unlike with Leisure, Samhain will still have a horror line, but it won’t have the same cache. Think of a high school football star being signed up by a college with a legendary coach, only to fire the coach before they step on campus. There are other great horror publishers out there, but just so many open slots. Things will be a mess for quite a while.
For those of you who have been following my latest writing project, We Are Always Watching, through #HunterWrites, I wanted to let you know that manuscript is going on the back burner. I was working hard to get it to Don before Christmas. No need to do that now. Instead, I’m going to work on some side projects in a totally different genre that I had promised myself to get to after the new year. I do plan to jump back into We Are Always Watching during the Christmas break. I’ll then restart #HunterWrites and you can stand over my shoulder, so to speak.
Yesterday was a dark day. But like the Dude, we will abide.
We will abide.
I’m a reformed editor stalker. At least that’s what the state shrink has declared in my case.
Actually, following the career of my dream editor, Don D’Auria, turned out to be a pretty smart career move. When I talk to people about writing and getting published, I encourage this kind of behavior. And if you want to be a horror writer, Don is the man you should make a point to follow.
When I was a wanna be writer and tried and true reader, I hoovered horror novels like they were dust bunnies. The 80’s was an absolute horror boom, with tons of great and oodles of bad books, all waiting for my little eyeballs. Things slowed down a bit in the early 90’s. Finding books by authors other than King, Koontz, Barker and Saul was like searching for the holy grail or my last shaker of salt.
And then came Don (you can sing that to the theme from Maude). The first time I spotted a Leisure paperback in the horror section of my local bookstore (yes, there were still shelves dedicated to horror in the mid-90’s), I fell in love. In the front, or back, of all these wonderful books, I saw a common denominator – they all thanked their editor, this mythical dude named Don D’Auria. I wondered, who is this guy who’s bringing me great works by writers like Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, Tim Lebbon, Sephera Giron, Hugh B. Cave, Douglas Clegg, Graham Masterson, John Everson, Bryan Smith, Tim Waggoner and so many more? Talk about an eye for talent! As far as I was concerned, Don had an almost supernatural ability to find the brightest and the best, the old and the new.
When I set out to write my own horror novel, I did so with the express intention to write it for Don and Don only. I sent it to him at Leisure and waited…for years. Eventually, he offered me a contract with Leisure. Alas, the company imploded as I was signing, so I waited (while standing on the ledge of a tall building) until Don moved to Samhain, where he took me along for the ride. It’s been beyond my wildest expectations ever since.
I remember the first time I met Don face to face at a Horrorfind convention. The Samhain authors were making their con debut at a booth right where attendees checked in. Man, was I nervous. I was expecting this imposing Max Perkins character to come waltzing in. I did a lot of dry swallowing waiting for him to show. Turns out, he was one of the most down to earth, unassuming guys I’d ever met. I still couldn’t shake my fan boy apprehension during that con. He was the guy who rescued me from the slush pile. I owed him my entire budding career!
We discovered that we lived close to one another during that con, and made it a point to meet for drinks one night. That was many nights and martinis/beers ago. Don isn’t just my editor. He’s a true friend, a brother from another mother who grew up on Chiller Theatre and Famous Monsters Magazine. We’re two kids who get to play on the same field as the greats who shaped our passion. Sometimes, while we’re talking about Vincent Price movies or getting Barbara Crampton’s autograph, I feel like I have to pinch myself. How many people get to work with their dream editor? And of those, how many can call that person a true friend? I’m one lucky bastard.
As Samhain turns 10 this month, I want to thank Don for all he’s done for not just me, but all the lost boys and girls of the horror line. To show my undying thanks, I even tattooed their logo on my arm. Don’s portrait is next! :)
It’s Halloween, the time when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Ghosts and demons lay in wait for little boys and girls who prefer tricks over treats!
What better way to spend the season than watching great horror movies? Here are what I consider the 5 best haunted house movies of all time. For my money, ghosts are far scarier than monsters because we’re potentially looking at our own destinies. Will you be among the trapped spirits some day, haunting the family living in your former home?
5. THE SENTINEL
The 70s were a treasure trove for horror. This is the decade that gave us true frights like The Exorcist, The Omen, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last House on the Left and Halloween. Lost in the mix is this chilling classic about a NY fashion model who moves into a creepy brownstone apartment. The residents are the most disturbing cast of characters you’ll ever meet. Part ghost story, party possession tale, some scenes in The Sentinel will haunt you for the rest of your life. And it’s loaded with stars, including Christopher Walken, Chris Sarandon, Burgess Meredith, Sylvia Miles, Beverly D’Angelo, Ava Gardner. John Carradine and so much more.
4. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR
This flick needs no introduction. Even if the story the Lutz family told the world is total B.S., this is still a spine tingling movie.This one has it all – evil spirits, bleeding walls, mystery rooms, imaginary friends with bad intentions and a home clouded by the spectre of a mass murder. James Brolin is brooding and terrifying as the spirit of the house drags him down. Almost 40 years later and this one still gives me chills.
3. THE CHANGELING
George C. Scott plays a composer who lost his family in an accident. Trying to put his life back together, he moves into a huge old house that, as we come to find out, is quite haunted. First of all, Scott may be the biggest-name actor in a horror movie – ever. His performance gives a gravitas rarely seen in the genre. As the story unfolds, you’ll find your goosebumps just won’t go away. That’s one haunted house I might skip if invited to spend the night.
2. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
I wasn’t a fan of The Blair Witch Project and the whole found footage dealio, but Paranormal Activity changed my mind. This one actually made my wife and I nervous when we went to sleep that night (it doesn’t help that we live in a haunted house). I can think of better things to film in the bedroom, but I’m glad they concentrated on the demonic spirit here. I just watched it again last week and it’s still unsettling. Find the BluRay with the alternate ending if you can!
Hands down, this is my favorite ghost movie ever. Short on special effects because it doesn’t need them, a college professor gathers willing subjects to live in a haunted mansion in Massachusetts. As the caretaker warns them in the beginning, “No one can hear you scream in the dark. In the night.” Using the twisted history of the house to put your nerves on edge, The Haunting is all about atmosphere and odd sounds and tortured souls. This is a must watch for any true horror fan.
So, what would make your top 5 list? There were so many I could have added here, but I forced myself to whittle it down to the 5 that deeply affected me, long after the end credits.
On the fence about picking up one of my 3 book releases this year? Take a gander at Erik Smith’s Low Budget Review show. He’s one of the few people out there doing video reviews of some of the best horror novels around. I think it’s pretty awesome that he takes the time to do this, with over 100 episodes loaded up on YouTube. I figured this is a great way for you all to get a preview of ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN, TORTURES OF THE DAMNED and THE DOVER DEMON.
Best part is that I never had to pay Erik off for a positive review. :) Subscribe to his channel to get reviews on all of the latest horror has to offer. Erik, take it away, my good man…
TORTURES OF THE DAMNED
“A terrifying read that left me wanting more. I absolutely devoured this book.” – Cemetery Dance
“One of the best novel’s I’ve read this year!” – The Horror Bookshelf
THE DOVER DEMON
“A fantastic monster story! Hunter Shea gets horror, and knows how to make it work.” – 2 Book Lovers Reviews
“This is my favorite monster novel of the year and I can think of few others in recent years that can rival it.” – Examiner.com
ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN
“One of the top 10 books of 2015.” – iHorror
“A deep and great read.” – The Scary Reviews
First, I want to thank Man Crates for coming up with this idea and urging me to part the cobwebs in my brain to come up with this list.It’s a very cool site that packages perfect gift crates for us dudes, pairing booze and man food and other awesome stuff. They even have a zombie survival crate. I’m partial to the personalized pint set that comes in an ammo can. Just in case you’re all wondering what to get me for Christmas.
This particular concept very apropos for Uncle Hunter, and not just because I’m a horror writer and the Halloween season is upon us. When I was a kid, I inhaled horror flicks. Instead of the usual nightmares any normal kid would have, I’d fall asleep imagining myself in the movie and coming up with better ways to beat down the monster. Little Hunter was far from normal.
Now, I don’t want to lug out the usual stuff – a machete, garlic, crucifix, blah blah blah. It’s been done to death (kinda like Hellraiser – just watch the last 4 movies if you don’t believe me). So, in the spirit of creativity and having a young brain warped by Chiller Theatre, here is my official horror movie survival kit
- A Beautiful Woman. That’s right. I’m talking a woman who stops traffic when she crosses the street. She doesn’t need super powers, arcane knowledge of curses or be a closet survivalist. I just need her to dig me, you dig? Which leads to number two…
- Condoms. I’m in a horror movie and pretty soon, I’m going to be fighting or running for my life. I want to spend some quality time with my exceedingly attractive lady friend before I literally piss myself. Plus, I want to be the one guy who has sex and lives! Imagine that!
- Ball Peen Hammer. Aside from the fact that I’ve always liked saying ‘ball peen hammer’, this is an underutilized defensive weapon. The head is fatter than a normal hammer and many times, the handle is thicker, too. That means less chance of it breaking in half at the worst possible moment. Plus, when I bash a baddie’s head in, I get to scream, “It’s hammer time, bitch!”
4. Hand Grenades. Imagine the look on Jason’s face (provided you’ve knocked his hockey mask off) when you drop a grenade on him. It’ll be a lot easier running from parts of Jason than the whole hulking killing machine. In fact, I’m pretty sure most killers and monsters don’t expect you to have military grade weaponry on hand. Take the element of surprise back and save yourself.
5. A Bottle of Macallan 25 Year Old Whiskey. During the inevitable breaks when fighting to survive, a quick jolt of some of the finest whiskey I ever had will keep me going. I mean, who wants to die when there’s more whiskey out there waiting to be drunk? You can also use it for a Molotov cocktail if things get really desperate. And with 25 year old whiskey, we’re talking it’s a flaming bottle or the abyss.
6. A Jet Pack. When all else fails, it would be nice to have a means of jettisoning the hell out of there and finding a safe place to lick your wounds and hide. Some days, you’re just not in the mood to battle evil incarnate. Take off for a nice spa resort and get back in touch with yourself.
I had the distinct pleasure of getting an early crack at my Samhain brother’s werewolf novel, Blood and Rain. Like a hungry wolf on the prowl under a full moon, I devoured it. Glenn Rolfe has created a real popcorn creature feature with a badass of a werewolf. It’s the perfect read for the Halloween season.
Today, I’m happy to turn the controls over to that mohawked dude in Main, Glenn Rolfe. Take it away…
“An unoriginal original? Oh, hell…let’s just keep it real.”
When I started writing Blood and Rain, I’d seen plenty of werewolf movies, but had read only two novels. Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf and Ray Garton’s Ravenous (both excellent pieces). When I decided that the story I was toying with on my computer was going to be my first attempt at a novel, a werewolf novel, I purposely stayed away from any and all werewolf books and film. I didn’t want anything subconsciously sneaking into my book that was someone else’s. I figured my best shot at writing a werewolf story that wouldn’t feel like every other werewolf book was to steer clear of those who came before me. Obviously, if you read the book you’ll see I didn’t stray too far off the legend engrained in all monster lovers: man can only become a werewolf by being bitten by the beast, the beast appears with the cycle of the full moon, and silver is a killer.
I am not going to stand on a soap box and preach nonsense like “my story is the most original of all werewolf tales.” That would be ridiculous and completely false. I placed my novel in a small town in Maine (just about every King novel), I have a flawed sheriff–widowed father to a teenage daughter (who drinks a little more than he should and has many a secret), my teens try to enjoy their summer action at the lake…but where I hoped Blood and Rain would make its mark is with how real the characters seem, how real their problems are, and well I place you or someone like you face-to-face with a number of horrifying situations with the beast. How would you act if this scene or that scene happened in real life? For instance, if your car broke down and you stepped out on a back road in the middle of the blackest night? When the wind and rain force the trees to sway in a rage? Where twigs snapping turn to loud, thick branches breaking? Where grunting quickly turns to a howl? Where your stomach drops to your ankles and your blood gives in to the chill…into the fear…of what shares this moment (your last?) with you?
I can only write as Glenn Rolfe. I couldn’t cop someone else’s style if I tried. I hope you’ll give Blood and Rain a chance. I hope you’ll get sucked into this streamlined wolf story and feel the danger, the unease, the struggle of imperfect people, and the moments of impossible strength they can summon in the face of death.
Join me in the woods, won’t you?
Blood and Rain, Synopsis
The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.
Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen. Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend? One night can-and will-change everything.
Find Glenn Rolfe at: http://glennrolfe.com/ as well as Facebook and Twitter.
Biography, Glenn Rolfe
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.
He is the author the novellas, Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town, and the forthcoming, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain (October 2015). His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will be released in March, 2016.
Ah, October, or #Horrortober to me. 31 days of ghouls and ghosts, tricks or treats, pumpkin ale and comfort food. What’s not to like? I’m going to kick things off in grand style today, so be sure to read this here post from top to bottom. Lots o’ treats (aka giveaways for your trick or treat bags) for everyone.
This year, the Monster Men released our Halloween special a little early so you can gather great movies to watch and books to read. We also try a new pumpkin ale that you might want to stock in your fridge.
If you’re looking for more terrifying books, check out my 2015 Horrortober Reading List.There are some great reads on there by authors like Nick Cutter, Brian Moreland, Catherine Cavendish and more.