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An Interview With Horror Master, Brian Moreland

I first met Brian Moreland about 4 years ago when we were part of Samhain’s initial horror line. We became instant friends that will last well beyond Samhain. His first book with them, DEAD OF WINTER, just blew me away. He’s since published a host of other kick ass novels, like SHADOWS IN THE MIST, THE WITCHING HOUSE, THE DEVIL’S WOODS, and THE VAGRANTSHis latest novella, DARKNESS RISING, is just phenomenal. Easily the best novella of 2015!

We here at the Monster Men have been trying to get him on the show for a couple of years. Our insane schedules made it almost impossible. Thankfully, we finally got on the same page…or Skype in this case. I was a bit woozy, having lost some blood during my tattoo process, and filling the void with beer. But, we made it! Enjoy this special episode with one of the best horror writers today.

And check out Brian’s Amazon Page to pick up his books.

Follow him on Twitter @BrianMoreland

Like him on Facebook –

Check out Brian’s blogs:

There’s A Bad Moon Rising – Glenn Rolfe’s Blood and Rain Terrifies!

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.

bood and rain

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: as well as Facebook and Twitter.

glenn bw profile

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.
blood rain tour

The #Horrortober Reading List For 2015

As always, I start my Horrortober reading in mid September so I can get to as many dark delicacies as possible. For those of you new to my Horrortober, it’s essentially my total immersion in all things horror from now until Halloween. During this special time, I only read horror and watch at least one horror movie a day.

Yes, there are a lot of Samhain books on here or books by authors who have published with Samhain. What can I say, they’re putting out some of the best new horror around, just like the good old days at Leisure. And yes, I have two, count ’em, two books on the list called The Deep. It’s an ambitious list this time around, but I think I’m up to the task. And of course there will be short stories, mags like Horrorhound, Rue Morgue, Fangoria and more. I’m buckling in as I write.

So, if you’re looking for some great spooky reading, come along with me…

BIGFOOT BEACH by Kristopher Rufty

bf bechA bizarre, brutal murder. A missing woman. And a giant footprint in the sand. Now, the dying beach community known as Seashell Cove finally has a hook to attract the tourists—a Bigfoot on the beach! As the summer season winds down, the tourists go home and the town begins preparing for the colder months.

Soon, more strange footprints are found, other mysterious sightings are reported. Then the deaths begin. Could there really be a Bigfoot running loose in Seashell Cove?

A tracker with a personal agenda, the local sheriff, a hero whose fifteen minutes of fame expired a long time ago, and a female reporter looking for a scoop will team up to find out for sure.

DARKNESS RISING by Brian Moreland

d rising

It’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. And tonight, when all the pain from the past is triggered, when those secrets are revealed, blood will flow and hell will rise.

THE DEEP by Nick Cutter

deep cutterA strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Mariana Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia”’—a universal healer, from initial reports—has been discovered. It may just be the key to eradicating the ’Gets. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But when the station goes incommunicado, a brave few descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.

TRIBESMAN by Adam Cesare


Thirty years ago, cynical sleazeball director Tito Bronze took a tiny cast and crew to a desolate island. His goal: to exploit the local tribes, spray some guts around, cash in on the gore-spattered 80s Italian cannibal craze.

But the pissed-off spirits of the island had other ideas. And before long, guts were squirting behind the scenes, as well. While the camera kept rolling…

TRIBESMEN is Adam Cesare’s blistering tribute to Cannibal Holocaust and Lucio Fulci: a no-bullshit glimpse into grindhouse filmmaking, stuffed inside a rocket of tropical non-stop mayhem.


we are mon

The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum.

He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.

Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.

Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.

BLOOD AND RAIN by Glenn Rolfe

Blood Rain

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.

DARK AVENGING ANGEL by Catherine Cavendish

avengin angel

Don’t hurt Jane. You may live to regret it.

Bullied by her abusive father, Jane always felt different. Then the lonely child found a friend in a mysterious dark lady who offers her protection—a lady she calls her “angel”. But that protection carries a terrible price, one to be paid with the souls of those Jane chooses to suffer a hideous and eternal fate.

When Jane refuses to name another victim, the angel reveals her most terrifying side. Payment must be made in full—one way or the other.

THE DEEP by Michaelbrent Collings

deep mbcThere are places we were never meant to go…
A woman searching for a sister lost at sea. A man bent on finding lost treasure. A mother who has lost all hope. A maniac who believes all life exists for his pleasure. The man who would keep them all safe.Together, they will all seek below the waves for treasures long buried, and riches beyond belief. But those treasures hide something. Something ancient, something dark. A creature that exists only to feed on those that would enter into its realm. A creature… of The Deep.

THE RED HIGHWAY by Robert E. Dunn

the red hwyIn 1992, as Los Angeles begins to simmer in the heat of racial injustices, one dark man appears everywhere, spreading his message of race war. At the same time, Paul Souther, a homeless drunk, joins a strange group of outsiders. Some black and some white, they all carry the weight of broken lives and lost faith. They are all drawn to LA, for the arrival of a child, impossibly carried by Mary Prince, a sterile porn star.
Through back roads and freeways everyone is pulled into LA and Mary’s side just as the baby is born. None of them have any idea that the city is a ticking bomb of anger. As riots explode, the mysterious man reveals himself to be an ancient, dark spirit using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires. He demands Mary’s child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning. It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own hands, to make the impossible choice between the child and the city, and to save the people he has come to care about.

Guest Author Catherine Cavendish Dishes On Revenge And Her Latest Book – Dark Avenging Angel

It’s an honor to host one of my favorite Samhain authors, Catherine Cavendish. Her previous book, The Pendle Curse, blew me away. I can’t wait to dive into her latest, Dark Avenging Angel. It’s so special that I’m saving it for my annual #Horrortober reading list, where I settle in with the best the genre has to offer for the month of October. Patience, my boy, patience!

So please sit back, dim the lights and let Catherine do her best to shiver your timbers…

The Avenging Goddesses


Cat 1

My latest novella – Dark Avenging Angel – is, as its title suggests, concerned with revenge. In this case, revenge of the most demonic kind. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for…” Jane learns the truth of this in graphic ways.

Avenging angels and demons abound in the traditions and folklore of people all over the world. From ancient Greek and Roman legend, we have the three sisters of vengeance known variously as The Furies or The Erinyes.

Though they are known by different names, their characteristics are essentially the same. The Erinyes avenged crimes against the natural order of things, so were particularly keen to avenge murder – especially where that murder occurred within a family. Anyone committing the sin of patricide or matricide could expect to find the curse of the Erinyes visited upon them in the form of a tormenting madness, illness and/or disease, and any nation providing shelter to such a criminal could find the wrath of the Erinyes visited on them too. Pestilence, hunger and disease would all follow.

Cat 2

The sisters’ vengeance did not stop at killing their victim. They would continue their torment long after death, until finally the sinner would show remorse for his crime.

Their particular desire to see murder within families avenged probably stemmed from their own origins. The Erinyes were created when the Titan – Cronos – tore off the genitalia of his father, Uranus, and flung it into the sea. From the blood, the three sisters were formed.

The avenging goddesses were also servants of Hades and Persephone in the underworld, where they oversaw the torture of those criminals doomed forever to dwell in the Dungeons of the Damned.

cat 3

In appearance, the Erinyes were appalling to look at. They had burning breath and poisonous blood dripped from their eyes. Instead of hair, their heads were wreathed with serpents, rather like Medusa. Serpents also entwined around their arms and waists. They are often depicted as winged and clothed in either long black mourning robes or the short skirts and boots of huntresses. They wielded whips.

Anyone unfortunate enough to incur the wrath of the Erinyes would have a near-impossible task of fending them off. The only way would be to perform rites of ritual purification and some task assigned to them for the purposes of atonement.

cat cover


Now, to give you a taste of Dark Avenging Angel, here’s the blurb:


Don’t hurt Jane. You may live to regret it.

Bullied by her abusive father, Jane always felt different. Then the lonely child found a friend in a mysterious dark lady who offers her protection—a lady she calls her “angel”. But that protection carries a terrible price, one to be paid with the souls of those Jane chooses to suffer a hideous and eternal fate.

When Jane refuses to name another victim, the angel reveals her most terrifying side. Payment must be made in full—one way or the other.

And here’s a brief extract:

Something had woken me from a deep sleep troubled by my recurring nightmare in which I was in a wood, being chased by some unimaginable horror. I never saw its face, assuming it even had one. But I knew if I didn’t find sanctuary, it would kill me. I had just made it into the strange little house that always appeared in the clearing, when my eyes opened and I gasped at the white, smiling face looking down at me.

That night, my angel seemed different somehow.

Oh, she looked the same. Same black cloak, but this time it shimmered and I wanted to touch it. I was sure it would feel soft as velvet under my fingers.

She put her finger to her lips and stroked my hair. Her touch was like a gentle breeze in summertime. My eyes wanted to close, but I forced them to stay open.

I knew I mustn’t speak out loud, but I could still whisper. “I wish I knew your name. Who are you? Please will you tell me?”

She continued to smile. Her lips moved, but the answering voice I heard was again in my head.

Do not be afraid, child. It is not yet time, but soon you will have the power to avenge yourself on those who have done you harm. Look for me in the shadows and I will be there, taking account.

I understood nothing of what she said. But, from somewhere, a calm I had never felt before emerged and wrapped itself around me.

I blinked in the darkness as she faded from sight.

Then I closed my eyes and slept. I never had that nightmare again after that night. But what if I’d known what was ahead for me?

Some things are better off left in the dark.

You can find Dark Avenging Angel here:

Samhain Publishing

Barnes and Noble 




cat headshot

About the author:


Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Cat is now the full time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which features in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows.  Her novels, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine are also published by Samhain. Her latest novella – Dark Avenging Angel – will be followed by her next novel – The Devil’s Serenade – in April 2016

You can connect with Cat here:

Catherine Cavendish





Making Monsters With Author Brian Kirk

The sordid rabble at Samhain are damned happy to call Brian Kirk our newest brother. His debut novel, WE ARE MONSTERS, has been the talk of the town. I’m saving it to read on my upcoming vacation so I can thoroughly lose myself within its pages. Brian and I are both monster lovers, but the monsters in his story are far more frightening than a pissed off Bigfoot or Chupacabra.

So let’s train that spotlight on Brian Kirk. The haunted stage is yours…

Hey, Hunter, thanks for having me on your site. I like the dark shadows and fresh scent of coagulated blood.

While your horror spans a wide spectrum, I know you have a special affinity for monsters, both real and supernatural. So that’s what I wanted to discuss here today if that’s okay with you.

Specifically, I wanted to talk about monsters of the human variety. I want to talk about us, and the worst of our kind.

Who are the most dangerous among us? The ones who commit the vilest and most barbaric acts?

Politicians, you say? Oh, you’re killing me!

Seriously, though. If I were to create a list (so saying as I proceed to create a list) of the most heinous of our kind, I’d include the following, in no particular order: pedophiles, serial killers, rapists, and cannibals.

These are the people you definitely don’t want living next door. But who are these people? How did they get this way? What turns an innocent toddler into a monster that feasts on human flesh?

WeAreMonsters_PrintIt’s difficult to say. Some of it’s nature, some of it nurture. Some people are born with abnormal brains, while others have their minds altered through prolonged exposure to trauma or violent environments. One thing that may be safe to say is that no one grows up wanting to become one of these perverted, and violent predators. I don’t think anyone with a normal, healthy brain and upbringing consciously decides to begin engaging in these acts rather than, say… go to dental school.

It’s an innate calling, an urge. An irresistible compulsion that defiles our dream that we’re all basically good. That evil does not exist in this world. That we’re more than hairless monkeys born of violence and blood-thirst.

What do we think when we see violent and heinous acts? When deranged killers walk into elementary schools and gun down innocent children? Evil is what comes to mind, isn’t it? Insane.

But not insane like an illness. Insane like a demonic possession.

I wonder about that. Is insanity more like an evil possession, or more like a disease?

Some may say, “Who cares. What’s the difference? The acts are evil and should be punished.”

While I absolutely agree that people with irresistible pedophiliac urges cannot be allowed to roam freely in society, I wonder what should be done with them. What if, instead of being deviant predators, these people were otherwise normal human beings afflicted with a disease or deformity that could be corrected or cured? What if it was your brother who inexplicably had these urges, or your son?

Let’s say we could identify and diagnose the people with this disease before they ever acted upon its urge. Would we send them to prison? Would we kill them? Or would we quarantine them while we worked to develop a cure? The same way we would treat someone who inadvertently contracted small pox and was now a health hazard to the rest of humanity.

Heck if I know. I’m just intrigued by the question. I’ll tell you this, though. If the urge to harm others is, at times, caused by a “disease” or deformity of the brain, much like how the mutation of a cell can lead to cancer, it is by far one of the worst diseases that can afflict an individual. And its contagion is among the most damaging to society as a whole.

These are difficult questions involving an uncomfortable subject. They are questions that inspired the nature of my debut novel, We Are Monsters.

In We Are Monsters, a troubled, yet brilliant psychiatrist is working to develop a cure for schizophrenia. At first, the drug he creates shows great promise in alleviating his patient’s symptoms. It appears to return schizophrenics to their former selves. But (as you may imagine) something goes wrong. Unforeseen side effects begin to emerge, forcing prior traumas to the surface, setting inner demons free. His medicine may help heal the schizophrenic mind, but it also expands it, and the monsters it releases could be more dangerous than the disease.

This novel asks challenging questions. As the venerable review site, Ginger Nuts of Horror said, “Parts of the story are heartbreaking, parts will make you angry, and the whole story will have you examining the human race as never before.”

But I believe they are questions worth asking. I hope you’ll check it out.

Brian Kirk

Thanks for having me, Hunter! Here’s my contact info in case anyone is interested in forming a virtual friendship.





An Interview With Ron Malfi About His Latest Horror Masterpiece, LITTLE GIRLS

I know it’s only August, but I’m locking in my vote for best horror novel of the year – Ron Malfi‘s haunting tale, LITTLE GIRLS. I’ve been telling anyone who will listen (that number increases when I’m not frothing at the mouth) that if they read one scary book in 2015, this is the one.

The fact that Ron and I are authorly blood brothers, sharing two publishers, should actually work against this. I know the dude. He’s a Tasmanian Devil of nuttiness and talent. Sometimes, the more you know someone, the harder it is to be sucked into their story, separating the man or woman from the tale of terror. Not so with Little Girls. From the first chapter, I knew I was walking wondrous paths carved out by writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King. It’s that good.

You can follow his blog tour by visiting Hook of a Book publicity. Erin has put together a hell of a tour.

So, as a special treat for me and you, I wrestled Ron to the ground long enough to ask him a few questions about his book, process and future plans. Pick up Little Girls right after reading the interview and you can thank me later. And if you see Ron at a con, don’t be alarmed when he shouts at you to buy a book or move on. :)

First, Little Girls was wonderful. As I was reading it, I was constantly reminded of books like Ghost Story, The Haunting of Hill House and Bag o Bones. What were your inspirations when it came time to sit down and write the book. Did you grow up next door to a demented girl?
You’re on the right track. Foremost in my mind was Straub’s novel JULIA, plus some of the other more paced, atmospheric horror books from around that time–Blatty’s THE EXORCIST, Levin’s ROSEMARY’S BABY, books like that. I’ve always loved the feel of those novels, they come across so natural and domestic and simple yet with this pulsing vein of pure horror running through them. Alas, I did not grow up next to a demented girl when I was younger, but the house around which the story is centered is based loosely on one in my current neighborhood, a spectacular brick structure set off one of the main roads and veiled behind trees, complete with the belvedere on the roof, just like in the novel.
Little Girls
What’s the elevator pitch for Little Girls? 
Young girl next door befriends Laurie’s daughter, and the girl is the spitting image of a child who used to torment Laurie when she was younger…a girl who died tragically.
In this day and age, it’s all about being loud and fast and grabbing the reader by the throat, which makes what you’ve done with Little Girls and The Floating Staircase so admirable. What we call quiet horror today was just called damn good story telling not so long ago. Do you find it more difficult to craft a tale and build tension in a ‘quiet horror’ novel? Were there moments when you were tempted to throw in a little madness? 
Each story lives in its own world. I’m not against a more frenetic pace, to spill copious amounts of blood across the page–my novels SNOW and THE NARROWS have some pretty nasty little scenes–but other stories just don’t insist on that style, that treatment. LITTLE GIRLS is perhaps the “quietest” novel I’ve written to date, and I think, given the subject matter and the tone I was going for, it needed to be. For the most part, reader reviews of the novel have been very good, but there are always a handful of readers who will bemoan the slower pace of the novel, or perhaps not understand what I wanted to do with it. I’ll be the first to admit it–if you’re looking for blood and guts, over-the-top supernatural horror, scenes that will make you squirm and jump in your seat, this is not the book for you. You are not my audience for this book, if that’s what you’re looking for. I’m going for the long-term chilling effect, not the jump scare, in other words. Yet ironically, I think this is the darkest novel I’ve ever written, and the revelations at the end of the book, at least to me, are more gut-wrenching than anything gory or supernatural. It’s a quiet novel but it’s a terrible novel in its revelations, something that, in the hands of the right reader, will leave you with more than just a slight sense of discomfort.
When Ron Malfi sits down to write, what do we see in his corner of the house? Is there cigar smoke trailing to the ceiling, whiskey on ice, Madonna playing quietly in the background, dancing elves on the shelves? 
Ha!  You know, my process has changed over the years, particularly after I’ve had kids. Used to be I’d wear my lucky “writing shirt,” sip Dewar’s scotch on ice, and listen to Springsteen on the CD player. I’d write like that for hours, coming up for air only when I was hungry or had to use the bathroom. Now, I lean more toward mugs of coffee instead of scotch, Dave Brubeck or Elmo Hope on the CD player instead of Springsteen (or maybe no music at all, depending on my mood). The walls of my writing office is lined, floor to ceiling, with books, so it’s fairly inspirational to glance up and look around and find yourself surrounded by countless brilliant authors.
How many publishers are you currently working with and what’s coming next? I ask because you and I share a couple and it would be nice to see if we could hit them all before we hang up our laptops.  
At the moment, I’m under contract with Kensington for three books, the first of which is LITTLE GIRLS. Those are my only contractual obligations at this point. I’d had my eyes on Kensington for quite a while, and when I finished LITTLE GIRLS, I knew it would be a good book for them. They’ve got a strong horror and thriller line–as you know, having published a couple of books with them yourself–and I wanted to test out my work with them. I discussed this with my agent and she put me through to an editor there, who read the book and loved it. As for other current publishers, I work with Cemetery Dance, who publishes my limited hardcover editions–DECEMBER PARK was just released from CD in a stunning leather-bound edition and they’ll be releasing the limited edition of LITTLE GIRLS, too. I work with a handful of foreign publishers for the translations, too. I’ve published several novellas with DarkFuse, and will probably continue to do so in the future. I’m not under any specific contract with them, and will send Shane (the publisher) novellas from time to time, whenever I feel I’ve written something worthy of publication. There’s less pressure to produce that way, which means the stuff that I’m getting published through DarkFuse is, at least in my eyes, of high quality. As for what’s coming next, 2016 will see the publication of my novel THE NIGHT PARADE. It’s an end-of-the-world novel, which is something I never actively set out to write or ever thought I would, but at its heart, it’s really about the relationship between a father and his young daughter, who are on the run from the government for mysterious reasons. I’m very excited about it.

You’re A Witch Girl – Catherine Cavendish’s The PENDLE CURSE

I have to admit, my fascination with witches has extended to Witchy-Poo from Bugs Bunny, Hocus Pocus and the TV show, Charmed, mostly because it had Alyssa Milano.

When it came to witches in horror fiction, I hadn’t even dipped my toes in the water until I read Brian Moreland’s THE WITCHING HOUSE, which was so good, I knew in an instant I was hooked on a sub genre. It came just in time, because I was getting pretty damn bored with vampires and zombies.

So imagine my delight when I found out that fellow Samhainer, Catherine Cavendish, came out with her own witch’s brew of horror, THE PENDLE CURSE. It only took two pages for me to realize I was in the capable hands of someone who is at the top of their game, and with that, I settled in for one of the best novels of this very young year.

pendleHere’s the scoop on the story –

Four hundred years ago, ten convicted witches were hanged on Gallows Hill. Now they are back…for vengeance.

Laura Phillips’s grief at her husband’s sudden death shows no sign of passing. Even sleep brings her no peace. She experiences vivid, disturbing dreams of a dark, brooding hill, and a man—somehow out of time—who seems to know her. She discovers that the place she has dreamed about exists. Pendle Hill. And she knows she must go there.

But as soon as she arrives, the dream becomes a nightmare. She is caught up in a web of witchcraft and evil…and a curse that will not die.  

As someone who has a chronically ill wife, my biggest fear is losing her. So right away, I’m completely sympathetic to Laura, a woman trying to cope with the loss of her husband. There’s a little touch of a ghost story here, too, just enough to make you wonder what’s coming next and to feel her pain and curiosity about the strange things happening in her home.

Cavendish expertly takes us on a ride between past and present as Laura is cast under the spell of the Pendle Curse. A simple trip to get away from things and heal turns into an absolute nightmare. She does a fantastic job creating what could have been cookie cutter characters into fully fleshed out human beings with strengths and faults that make you love them one minute and hate them the next. I literally had no idea what was going to happen, and for someone who knows how the sausage is made, this is high praise indeed.

Now, the witches in The Pendle Curse aren’t sporting warts or riding around on brooms, but they are terrifying in their own right. And there’s a little something extra within these pages for fans of classic VC Andrews yarns. I’m not giving away any spoilers, because you have to get the book and read it yourself.

Catherine Cavendish is now on my top 10 list. I give it 5 out of 5 brooms!

The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave – Terror In Teddy Bear Town!

I’ve never been a big fan of Women In Horror Month, and for a very good reason. If you love horror, every month should and can be filled with great books by great writers who just happen to be women. True, horror is a male dominated genre, but you don’t have to look hard or far to find plenty of tales penned by the fairer sex that are just as good if not better than what the male chimps dream up. Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking of some of today’s best in the genre like Mary Sangiovanni, Kelli Owen, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Sephera Giron, Melanie Tem, Catherine Cavendish (who I’ll post about next week), and Kathe Koja. That’s literally the work of about 5 seconds.

Well, you can add one more to the list – J.H. Moncrieff. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of her debut horror novella, THE BEAR WHO WOULDN’T LEAVE, part of Samhain horror’s Childhood Fears series. I was never a teddy bear kid. I did have a three foot tall Bugs Bunny that I literally dragged around everywhere until every stitch came undone. Bugs wasn’t scary at all, even though I watched him daily shoot people with cannons and guns and drop them off cliffs.

The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave is about a disturbing teddy bear named Edgar (right there, you know this plushie just ain’t right) given to young Josh by his bastard of a step-father. When I first saw the title, I thought of the John Belushi SNL skit, The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave, about a piggish house guest that way overstays his welcome. That skit was as funny as Moncrieff’s tale is chilling.

the-bear-who-wouldnt-leaveHere’s a quick synopsis of this tiny tale of terror :

Sometimes evil looks like a fuzzy teddy bear.

Still grieving the untimely death of his dad, ten-year-old Josh Leary is reluctant to accept a well-worn stuffed teddy bear from his new stepfather. He soon learns he was right to be wary. Edgar is no ordinary toy…and he doesn’t like being rejected. When Josh banishes him to the closet, terrible things begin to happen.

Desperate to be rid of the bear, Josh engages the help of a friend. As the boys’ efforts rebound on them with horrifying results, Josh is forced to accept the truth—Edgar will always get even. 

I have to tell you, I had a total blast reading this book. At times brutal, especially with the portrayal of a child terrified and abused by his step-father, and his mother’s inability to stop it, once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Edgar is one freaky teddy bear. I mean, just look at the cover above. You sure as hell don’t want that glaring at you all night. What makes things even worse for Josh is the sense of isolation. Sure, he has a friend that helps him out, but what he needs is an adult to swoop in and save him from this nightmare. It’s that sense of desperation, paired with a killer bear that recalls the glory days of Child’s Play, that makes this a hell of a read.

J.H. Moncrieff has arrived! And I’m so glad she’s part of the Samhain family.

There’s even a trailer for the book if I haven’t convinced you to pick up a copy. Watch it and keep your eyes on that giant bear your man gave you for Valentine’s Day. It just may be out to kill you!


File this one under “How didn’t I think of this first?” Keith Rommel’s latest book. THE DEVIL TREE, is a story so strange and compelling, I can’t believe it flew under my radar! Thankfully, the true story has gotten the full horror treatment by a master at the top of his game.

I mean, Jeez, the name alone is worth the price of admission (or Ebook/print). The fact that the actual tree still stands in Port St. Lucie, Florida, the scars of its sordid history visible on its bark, makes this tale all the more chilling.

Over the past couple of years, Keith Rommel has become a true friend – a friend I’m envious of because he can walk to Mets spring training games. Yes, I can drive 20 minutes to CitiField to see them during the regular season and playoffs (fingers crossed), but spring training is something special. Kinda like Keith, and just like The Devil Tree.

Devil Tree 1So, what is this Devil Tree all about?

Based on the Port St. Lucie Legend …

Back in the 1970s, a series of bizarre incidents occurred at what has since been known as “The Devil Tree.” Beneath this ancient denizen, evil was wrought by a sick serial killer, calling upon forces most evil and dark. People were hung there … and bodies buried there … exhumed by the police. Overcome by superstition, some tried to cut down the tree, to no avail. Since then, it has stood in a remote section of a local park — left to its own devices — quiet in its eerie repose — until now!

Best-selling psychological-thriller author Keith Rommel has imagined the whole tale anew. He’s brought the tree to life and retold the tale with gory detail only possible in a fiction novel. Action-packed, with spine-tingling detail, this thriller is beyond parallel in the ground it uncovers … one author’s explanation of what may have really been said — what may have really happened — under Port St. Lucie’s “Devil Tree.”

Now, I’ve talked to Keith about the writing of this book. Basically, it was like a fever that came over him, and the only prescription was….not more cowbell…but to write until his fingers bled. In just a few weeks, he wove a fictional story around the tapestry of truth, plucking the most sinister aspects of what happened at the Devil Tree and amping up the scares. This is his most visceral book to date, a departure from his previous work, and he nails it.He even includes pictures taken of the tree in its current state. To me, the scariest stories are always the one that contain a kernel of truth. This one has enough kernels to send tiny demons dancing up your spine.

What happens at The Devil Tree is not for the faint of heart. Read the book, then visit the old, twisted tree if you can find it. Just don’t try to bring harm to the tree, and cleanse yourself in holy water when you’re done.

Visit Keith Rommel’s website to learn more and order your copy today!

The Honeys of Hammer Horror In Your Hands

OK, I realize that was a bit of a cheeky title, but it’s true! The Monster Men take a deep dive into a wonderful book about the vixens of Hammer. It’s the ultimate coffee table book for horror fans. We also give some reading recommendations to warm up your cold winter nights.

Crack open a beer, turn down the lights and step into the Monster’s Lair!


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