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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!

An Interview With Kristopher Rufty On His Dog Gone Bad Novel – JAGGER

I love being a horror writer. Sometimes, it afford little perks, like not only getting to know an awesome writer (and human being) like Kristopher Rufty, but also getting a sneak peek at his latest book.

The book in question this time is JAGGER, a tale about an enormous dog who goes from cuddly to bat crap crazy. When I was done, I actually said, “Cujo who?” out loud. This is one you’ll want to devour in one sitting.

Let me start off by saying I loved your new book, Jagger. Why don’t you tell folks what this nail biter is about?

Thank you so much! I’m happy you enjoyed it. Coming from you, that means a lot. I’m a huge fan of your work as well. Jagger is about a scumbag named Clayton who takes Amy Snider’s mastiff to use in some dogfights. His showpiece pit was killed in a fight and cost some very bad people a lot money. He knows if he doesn’t come up with something quick, he’ll suffer the same fate as others before him. But the problem is Jagger is a domesticated canine, and his size wouldn’t be the only thing that could keep him alive in the fights. So Clayton enlists the help of an old friend named Stan, a medical school graduate who’s turned to developing meth and experimental drugs in his basement for help. Stan has whipped up a special kind of steroid that he sells to beef farmers and they try it out on Jagger. It works. But the side-effects are disastrous. Jagger can no longer feel pain, and he suffers from violent outbursts, rage, and insanity. Take that, and add in an abusive dog trainer, Jagger becomes the Jason Voorhees of dogs. Once he breaks loose from his captors, he goes on a bloody killing spree as he tries to find his way home.

I wrote the first draft of this book in less than six weeks. In the revision process, I changed very little. Though it got a little intense writing certain scenes, I had a good time with this one. It was one of those books I couldn’t stay away from. Being a lover of nature-gone-wrong books and movies, I tried to incorporate some of that with some classic exploitation-style characters and situations. Hopefully I succeeded.


I know you’re a dog owner. Is there a particular dog you had that inspired Jagger?

I based a lot of Jagger’s traits and mannerisms before he goes mad on our dog, Thor. The personality, the huffing and puffing and sagging jowls that make propeller sounds, the unlimited supply of drool, the crawling into bed with you and nuzzling his wet nose into the nook of your neck—all of that came from Thor.

Jagger’s appearance was inspired by a dog I saw at the vet’s office one day. Sitting in the waiting area with Thor, I watched as he took pride in being the biggest dog around. Thor ways close to 135 pounds, so there aren’t many dogs bigger than him at any vet visit. On this day, that changed. A guy entered with this beast of a dog. He had thick brown and black fur, a scrunched up face that sort of resemble a Chow. Thor went to greet this dog and looked like a puppy standing next to its mother in this dog’s presence. I got to talking to with the owner and he told me his dog was a fuzzy mastiff, a form of bullmastiff but with longer hair. I found it slightly humorous how much the dog resembled Mick Jagger. On the way home that day, I kept thinking what would happen if that dog turned on its owner and the seeds for Jagger was planted.

I read up about mastiffs. They’re very gentle in nature, loving, and overly affectionate. So I had to work a bit at coming up with something that might make such a tender animal turn violent.

You’re not just a horror writer, you’re a director, too. Which hat is more difficult to wear? Do you have any future movie making plans?

They can be difficult in their own ways. In movies, I have to be a leader of a team and it’s my duty to make sure the movie is made with this team the best way it possibly can be. I have budgets to adhere to, actors to instruct and care for, and a certain number of scenes have to be filmed on a particular day or I’ll get behind schedule and risk throwing a wrench into all the aforementioned duties. But when it’s over and filming has wrapped, I get to take my footage and cut it together into my creation. That is the best part, seeing the fruit of everyone’s labors. The stress and bad moods of filming become a distant memory as I watch what we worked so hard to accomplish in a finished form. It’s a wonderful feeling that makes the entire process a wonderful experience.

Writing can bring its own stresses at times, but there is something therapeutic about writing stories that can’t be topped by film-making, at least not the kind of film-making I’m used to. Writing is magic, not only are you creating a world to play in, but there’s no budget sheets to worry about, nobody will throw a temper tantrum, nobody can get hurt (other than the characters) and you are completely limitless as to what you can do. It’s amazing. One of the greatest blessings I’ve been given is the chance to write stories.

For future movies, I wish I could say there are things lined up. I’ve been writing book after book, and haven’t had much time to pursue movies since we finished Rags (which will be released this year from Wild Eye Releasing). My dream was to be like Clive Barker—somebody who dabbles in both. And one day I hope that will happen again. But for now, I’m very happy with just writing fiction.

Some of my books have received interest from film-makers and producers. And I have a script that I wrote based on my novella Last One Alive. That movie might be my return to the director’s chair in the near future.

But nothing can take my love away from movies. The passion is still there, a burning sensation in my heart. I still watch all the movies I’ve loved since I was a kid on a regular basis. Roger Corman, H.G. Lewis, AIP classics, and the exploitation greats. Plus the splatter movies that set me on this path to begin with.

You’ve written quite a few books in just several years. How do you keep the writing wheels going?

I keep those wheels lubed! Seriously. There’s material all over that I can find influence in. Like with Jagger, the dog at the vet that day inspired an entire novel with the help of our dog Thor. My son inspired Proud Parents. My stepsister inspired Tracey in Oak Hollow. A close call at my old job inspired Angel Board. I’m sure this happens to you as well, something will just trigger your brain and these massive mortal shells start exploding ideas. Sometimes it can be a conversation you have with someone that just stays with you. My personal fears have inspired a good bit of my writing and still do. I just do a lot of people watching, read a lot of books, magazines, newspapers. I watch a lot of true crime and monster mysteries on TV. Material is everywhere. You know as well as I do that we never take a day off. Sure, we don’t sit down and write once in a while, but our gears are always cranking, always spinning possibilities for stories in our minds, even when we’re sleeping.

What’s one thing you’d like to check off your bucket list this year?

I want to finally read some of King’s The Dark Tower series. I know what you’re thinking, but please don’t beat me! I haven’t read any of those books yet.(We’re both in the same boat. They are some of the only King books I haven’t read!)

My wife swears they’re some of his best. I promised her I would read the first three this year. I’m actually about to start on The Gunslinger here soon and plan to read the following two this summer and fall. We have them all in both paperback and hardback, so they’re waiting on me and I’m excited to start.

I’m going to go opposite on this question – what’s your least favorite horror movie franchise and why?

Probably either the Paranormal Activity series or Zombie’s Halloween movies. I watched the first Paranormal and thought it was pretty well done, but the sequels were just mundane and repetitive. The fourth one was silly.

Zombie’s Halloween saga was just bad for all the wrong reasons. He did something you shouldn’t—tried to explain evil. It can’t be explained. That was what made Myers so scary in the first place. There was no method to his madness, no reason for it. Myers was just evil on two legs as Dr. Loomis stated in the original series. An unstoppable force that slaughtered anything in front of him without provocation, a wildfire that can’t be extinguished as it scorches everything in its wake. But I do give him credit for trying. He has a brass pair for tackling a classic character like Michael Myers and trying to make him his own.

Do you think you could beat Stephen King in an arm wrestling match?

Probably not. I’d be so distracted by being in his company that he’d use it to his advantage for the win. I probably wouldn’t have even noticed I’d lost until he’d left the room and I came down from my King-induced high.

Tell the world what’s coming next and where to find you and your books.

The Lurking Season just came out. It’s a sequel to The Lurkers. Jagger will be released in a couple weeks, with Bigfoot Beach following. The Vampire of Plainfield comes out this summer, and Desolation follows that. Thunderstorm Books are doing limited edition hardcovers of Bigfoot Beach and The Vampire of Plainfield, but they’ll also be available in e-book with a paperback following soon after.

My books can be found in a lot of the usual places, sometimes books stores too. I recently heard that some of my titles are in a few libraries, which I think is amazing. I love libraries and even now I get that same kind of nervous excitement whenever I’m scouring the shelves for something I haven’t read. It’s a feeling we should all get to experience as much as possible.

Thanks a lot, Hunter! I appreciate the chance to visit your blog. It’s always a fun time. Can’t wait to get together again and talk about writing, monsters, and horror movies.

You can follow Krist’s amazing journey at . And if you crave some Jagger, click on the cover copy above.

Guest Author Glenn Rolfe Finds His Inspiration

Glenn Rolfe is the newest addition to the Samhain horror roster and further proof that Samhain is publishing the best new talent around. His book, Abram’s Bridge, comes from a very special place. Read on to discover where…

Abram’s Bridge is my first piece with Samhain Publishing. I wrote it in the fall of 2013 when my writing group, Tuesday Mayhem Society, decided we should each write up a ghost story for the next meeting. I went home and sat down with my notebook. Nothing happened. I knew I wanted to write something really good. I wanted to impress the group, ya know? So, I threw on my headphones and found some Bruce. Bruce Springsteen’s album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, always has a way of getting my mind set right. I’ve listened to the title track a thousand times, but this time, I heard something in it that I’d never noticed before. There’s a line that says, “tell her there’s a spot out ‘neath Abram’s Bridge, and tell her there’s a darkness on the edge of town…” I said, “Whoa…”

I started scribbling.

I set Bruce on repeat and moved to my laptop. The story started to fall from wherever we writers reach to and I just went with it. It felt like real magic. It felt somehow special. Every free moment I got over the next few days, I jumped back in. I couldn’t wait to get back to my computer, to these characters, to their story. I had to know what was going to happen next. Somewhere along the way it became more than a simple ghost story. It outgrew the short story parameters I had originally set it in. I missed my writing group’s meeting and our self-imposed deadline. Something scary happened. A mystery developed and I stopped. I’m normally a pretty fearless writer. I let my characters live and breathe and do whatever the hell they want. I let my stories turn whichever way the like, but I had never written a mystery. Regardless, I knew that’s the way this story wanted to go. So, after an evening of staring at the blinking cursor, I said to hell with it. I reached back in and the rest of the story poured out.

AbramsBridgeWhen I finished, I knew I had something.

Bruce Springsteen, to me, has always been the most inspiring figure in the arts. Listening to his songs, his stories behind those songs and those albums, his reason for creating his art…it’s always moved me, motivated me. Abram’s Bridge is the first piece I thought actually had a touch of the Boss’s magic attached to it. If I’d never sold this story, it would still be special to me. Luckily, Don from Samhain enjoyed it as much as I did, and here we are.

I hope you’ll download a copy of this novella. I hope you’ll take a couple of hours and meet Lil’ Ron Sawyer and Sweet Kate, the girl out ‘neath Abram’s Bridge. I hope you’ll fall into their story and feel the magic like I did. There is darkness, but that’s often where we find our way to the light.




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