OK horror hounds, it’s time for some basic training. I understand there are a lot of new recruits out there, and even some lifers, that need the foundation to become a true horror aficionado. Now, put your chainsaws and machetes down and listen up. I’m going to give you a list of books and authors you must know inside and out. Are you hearing me Private Pyle?
Decades later and I still obssess over Full Metal Jacket. I’m not going to say you look like 50 pounds of chewed bubble gum. I won’t raise my voice. I’m simply here to open your horror eyes a little wider. Shall we begin?
This is what you should read to see how a master works their trade. I’m only leaving out Stephen King because he’s soooo obvious.
Algernon Blackwood. Get your hands on everything he’s ever done. Read it at night and enjoy your nightmares.
M.R. James. I can’t count how many horror writers cite him as an inspiration.
Richard Matheson. He’s the author of I Am Legend, Hell House, the best Twilight Zone episodes and Kolchak, The Night Stalker. “Nuff said.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Maybe the scareist haunted house novel ever written.
The Store by Bentley Little. So close to the truth that it’s terrifying.
The Magic Cottage by James Herbert. I’m always astounded by how many folks in America have never heard of Herbert. He’s only like the Stephen King of the UK. You can’t lose with any of his books, but I highly suggest you start with this one. He just passed away last month, so cherish each book as you tread down the path of discovery.
Curfew by Phil Rickman. Another UK import, Rickman’s books can be hard to find, but when you do, treasure them.
Richar Laymon. He was taken from us way too soon, but thankfully he was prolific. Almost every up and coming horror super star waxes poetic about his books. My favorites are Bite and One Rainy Night.
Ghoul by Brian Keene. Yes, Keene may be responsible for resurrecting the zombie genre, but Ghoul is still my favorite.
Oh no, I’m not stopping at 10. My list goes to 11.
Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. Words can’t express how great this book is.
You have your list, now hit the bookshelves. Hard. Stay tuned for part 2 where I highlight movies.
And if there are any books/authors you feel should be on the list, speak now or forever hold your peace.
Today marks the start of something new for me. Every couple of months, I’m going to post a hodge-podge of places to go and people to see on the internet, all of them horror and paranormal related. These are the locations, people and achievements that have captured my imagination and gratitude. They are wellsprings of inspiration, information, entertainment and mental edification. Find something that interests you and give them a lookey-loo…
Congratulations goes out to Robert Rumery on the publication of his first comic, The Grove, from WhatTheFlux Comics. If you know me, you know I’m a horror comic junkie. Nice job, Robert. I can’t wait to get my grubby little hands on it.
Looking for great horror books at steep discounts…or even free? Author, editor and all around cool dude in a loose mood, Brian James Freeman has started eHorror Bargains, your one-stop-shop for the best in horror. All of your horror deals are right here. Stop by and load up your e-reader!
Book Reviews. I have 2 places where you can go to get tons of book reviews (and if you’re an author, query them to have your book spotlighted). The first is Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK. Super reviewer Erin covers multiple genres as well as author interviews. She is the hardest working book reviewer out there today and a lot of writerly types owe her our gratitude.
Another mega-review site is Matt Molgaard’s Horror Novel Reviews. Matt and his team do an excellent job of reviewing not only new horror works, but classics and older hidden gems. If you need to stock up your horror library, this is the place to go. Then head to eHorror Bargains and see if you can get some of them without busting your budget.
Bigfoot. You know I can’t help myself from throwing something about the hairy fella in here. Huge thanks to Scott Albright who brought this post to my attention (actually, it’s as large as a novella) about Bigfoot and why no one has found their bones or bodies. Author Robert Lindsay did some yeoman’s work putting this together. Must read for all you squatchers!
Ghosts & The Supernatural. The definitive place to get everything you need about the world of the paranormal is Jeff Belanger’s Ghost Village. This is the Bible for everyone interested in what lies beyond the veil. You can also sign up for their free monthly newsletter.
Books. I’m super excited that my book release partner on April 2nd is the uber-talented Jonathan Janz. His new book, The Darkest Lullaby, comes out the same day as my Sinister Entity. Here’s a link to a review of his book. He has one of the coolest cover in the Samhain library.
Podcasts. My newest podcast addiciotn is Darkness Radio, a radio show broadcast out of the Twin Cities. You can listen to their archives online or through iTunes. These guys have a damn good time talking about the world of the strange and the unexplained. Love their take on things.
OK, that about does it for this month. I hope you stop by some or all of these great places and supoprt them. If there are hot spots you think I should know about, send them to me and I’ll include them in future posts.
Today I bring you a guest post by a wonderful author who immediately caught my attention a year ago with her story, The Doll. Her name is J.C. Martin and she is absolutely someone to watch. Her debut novel, Oracle, has just been released and is sure to be a huge success. I’m sure you’ll love her work as much as I do. So little hunters and huntresses, with great pleasure, I bring you J.C. Martin. Take it away…
Although my main genre is crime and thrillers, I adore scary stories, and enjoy dabbling in horror fiction. As a fan of both genres, I find many parallels between crime fiction and psychological horror, and nowhere else are these similarities starker, than when one looks inside the mind of a killer.
In this post, I discuss certain elements of a villain’s psychology—using some mildly clever subtitles—that could be every bit as spooky as one of Poe’s poems.
Eyes without a Face
In my books, I often write a few chapters from the point of view of the antagonist. Oracle is no exception. By getting inside the villain’s mind, readers will gain a different perspective on the crime. To the killer, it’s not just a murder. Depending on their twisted logic, it could mean so much more: personal gratification, retribution, a work of art, divine sacrifice, even an act of heroism for the good of all.
By seeing the world through the killer’s eyes, readers, though they may not agree with his methods, may sympathise with his motivations. We may share the same views as a psychopath. The only difference is that they act on their compulsions.
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
The nature versus nurture debate in behavioural psychology fascinates me. Personally, I believe a psychopath is borne from an unfortunate combination of both: traumatic experiences and difficult circumstances, coupled with and an innate neurological malfunction, could well be the recipe for a serial murderer.
The antagonists in my stories aim to address this question of how a killer came to be. In Oracle, we visit the Oracle’s childhood in an attempt to understand the factors that triggered his psychotic behaviour.
Whilst experiencing past and present events through a madman’s eyes can be a creepy experience in itself, the scariest thing about killers, particularly serial killers, could be this…
They Walk Among Us
Many psychopaths appear to lead completely normal lives: Ted Bundy was a promising law student; Ian Brady was a quiet, unassuming office clerk. Could that nice young man in the cubicle next to yours be a serial killer in training? You may never know…
For me, more unnerving than their twisted psyche and murderous capabilities, the fact that you can’t tell a psychopathic murderer from the average Joe, is the scariest thought of all.
Through writing or reading from the perspective of a psychopath, we get to explore the darkest recesses of the human psyche. This walk on the dark side, together with the knowledge that these real-life monsters are indistinguishable from the everyday man, is what makes writing serial killer fiction so horrifyingly intriguing.
How do you find a serial killer in a crowd? You don’t. They find you.
What compels YOU most about the mind of a killer? In your opinion, who is the scariest serial killer of all, real or fictional?
About J.C. Martin:
J.C. Martin is a butt-kicking bookworm: when she isn’t reading or writing, she teaches martial arts and self-defence to adults and children. A writer of dark mysteries and gripping thrillers with a psychological slant, her short stories have won various prizes, and have been published in several anthologies. Oracle, released by J. Taylor Publishing, is her debut novel.
Born and raised in Malaysia, J.C. now lives in south London with her husband and three dogs.
As the countdown begins, the body count rises.
With London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn’t need a serial killer stalking the streets. They’ve got one anyway.
Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police are no closer to finding their latest murderer than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter’s disability.
Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential next victims.
One of whom could be his own daughter.
Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer’s only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene.
Available wherever e-books are sold. Click on any of J.C.’s links throughout the post to learn more or pick up your copy today!
Back when I was just a guy who loved to read books and hadn’t thought of writing my own, I was blown away by the genre hopping greatness of this Texan dude named Joe R. Lansdale. He could effortlessly go from western to comedy to horror to high drama without missing a beat. I’ve been an ardent fan for decades and thought meeting him 2 years ago was the high point of my fanaticism.
From the publisher :
For the first time collected together, the best weird fiction from Morpheus Tales, the UK’s most controversial weird fiction magazine! Only the very best weird fiction has been hand-picked from the Morpheus Tales archives to create the second collected volume of the magazine Christopher Fowler calls “edgy and dark”. Featuring fiction by K.C. Ball, Skadi medic Beorh, L. R. Bonehill, Tonia Brown, Jesse Click, Tim Eagle, Chris Ewing, Ray Garton, Lee Gimenez, Gail Gray, K.J. Hannah Greenberg, Ian Hunter, Gary Inbinder, Dev Jarrett, Mark Howard Jones, Paul Johnson-Jovanovic, Fred R. Kane, Brian Kutco, Joe R. Lansdale, David Lear, B. Miller, Louise Morgan, Lee Pletzers, Hunter Shea, Fred Venturini, Nathan Wellman, C.E. Zacherl, and A. David Zapata. Established horror best-sellers rub shoulders with rising stars and newcomers in this diverse collection of short weird fiction.
Lovely cover, ain’t it? I’m so thrilled to be a part of this, I feel compelled to find some Lone Star and celebrate!
E-book can be found at Amazon (with print coming soon).
First of all, I want to thank Hunter for hosting me today. His Forest of Shadows and Evil Eternal are an amazing one-two punch, and if you haven’t picked them both up yet, you ought to. Here’s what I had to say about Evil Eternal:
Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and elegant, Evil Eternal is a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare.”
Yep, I guess you can tell I’m a fan.
And speaking of books you should buy…
“Myles Carver is dead. But his estate, Watermere, lives on, waiting for a new Carver to move in. Myles’s wife, Annabel, is dead too, but she is also waiting, lying in her grave in the woods. For nearly half a century she was responsible for a nightmarish reign of terror, and she’s not prepared to stop now. She is hungry to live again…and her unsuspecting nephew, Paul, will be the key.
Julia Merrow has a secret almost as dark as Watermere’s. But when she and Paul fall in love they think their problems might be over. How can they know what Fate—and Annabel—have in store for them? Who could imagine that what was once a moldering corpse in a forest grave is growing stronger every day, eager to take her rightful place amongst the horrors of Watermere?”
So the character not mentioned in that description is the one I’m going to tell you about today.
Pretty logical, huh?
So what makes my sheriff different?
Well, the structure of my novel, for one thing. Like my debut THE SORROWS, HOUSE OF SKIN has the Gothic structure that I love—where a story in the past affects and ultimately merges with the story in the present. Books like Peter Straub‘s Ghost Story and George R.R. Martin‘s Fevre Dream take on an extra resonance because of their use of the frame story and the manner in which those authors use their back-stories to advance their present stories.
HOUSE OF SKIN does that. And Sam Barlow is a central figure in both the past and the present.
In the present he’s a grizzled veteran cop who lives alone and does his best not to hate my protagonist Paul Carver, who has the bad luck to look just like the man who ruined Sam Barlow’s life. Sam also has a special bond with my “co-protagonist” Julia Merrow, which is explained in the “past” story.
Many of the book’s surprises involve Sam and his entanglement with the novel’s two main villains, particularly a woman named Annabel. I’ll write about Annabel at a later date, but I’ll just say now that she’s fearsome and beautiful and absolutely evil. Sam is the man who understands this the most, and he’s determined to prevent her resurrection.
But Annabel has other plans.
The last thing I’ll say about this character before I close is that if HOUSE OF SKIN ever becomes a movie, I’ve got some thoughts about who should play my sheriff. Josh Brolin would be great if he were older. Assuming the movie gets made in the next five years (I’m pretty certain it will—hah!), Brolin would be too young. But he does have that world-weary look that would work well for Sam. Guys like John C. McGinley (one of the Office Space Bobs) and David Morse (Brutal from The Green Mile) would also be great, but my first choice is the man pictured below…
Ash, Elvis, and…Sam Barlow?
Bruce Campbell would kill this role. Then again, Bruce would probably kill any role, but I think he’d do a particularly wonderful job as my sheriff.
So, Mr. Campbell, if you’re reading…my people will call your people soon.
And please don’t threaten my people with your prosthetic chainsaw.