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High Noon with the Dust Devils – An Interview With Jonathan Janz

Jonathan Janz is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. If you’ve never read his books, you might assume the mind behind the man is as unassuming as a Norman Rockwell painting. Thankfully, you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. This is a man who knows how to spin a twisted, pulse-pounding yarn. He’s been one busy dude since making his Samhain Horror debut a couple of years ago.

I’m both thrilled and honored to interview the man who conjures some of the finest books in the genre. His latest, Dust Devils, is a terrifying tale of Vampires in the old west. Grab a stake, crucifix and some garlic and read on, my children of the night….

 

Speaking as a fellow author who was writing his own western horror the same time as you, what made you decide to set Dust Devils in the old, wild west?

I think—at least at this point in my career—I view most stories through a pretty dark lens. So basically, since I was already a huge fan of western books and films, and I’d been reading a ton of westerns in the past few years, the seeds of the tale began to germinate as those two elements fused together (my dark lens and my western love). Like with most stories, the genesis of Dust Devils was very natural and organic; it was just sort of there in my mind. I wrote the first version of the opening scene maybe six years ago, and then I didn’t do anything with it. But as it is with the best ideas (I’ve heard Stephen King speak about this), the scene stuck with me. Eventually, the characters formed in my mind, and the tale was too powerful to ignore anymore. And Dust Devils was born.

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Knowing you, the vampires in Dust Devils don’t sparkle. How would you best describe your horrific creations and the new twist they give to vampire lore.

In their ferocity, they’re every bit as monstrous as the creatures in 30 Days of Night, so that’s a pretty decent starting place for a modern reader. But the best analogue to my vampires—in fact, the main inspiration for my vampires—is the original Fright Night movie. Chris Sarandon as the lead vampire Jerry Dandridge really terrified me as a child. But he was also the kind of guy you’d want to be friends with (if you didn’t know about his vampirism), or in the case of a woman, he was probably the kind of guy a woman would find attractive and seductive. And those two sides—the bestial and the seductive—weren’t at all mutually exclusive in that character. In fact, one kind of relied on the other for survival. Adam Price, my main vampire, isn’t exactly like Jerry Dandridge, but he’s pretty closely related to him, which shows how impactful Fright Night and Sarandon’s performance were on me.

Do you see western horror as an up-and-coming sub-genre, now that we’ve seemingly exhausted the whole zombie thing?

I do. I think horror can coalesce with the western as well as any other genre (including action and/or romance). In fact, I think the western works best when it’s an amalgam of all the aforementioned genres. The western is such an amazing kind of story, yet it’s really been marginalized for the better part of what, four decades? I think horror novels can help revive the western, and I think the western can help legitimize horror in the minds of many readers who tend to smirk or scoff at horror. But the fact is, in many ways, western stories and horror stories are kindred spirits. They’re both morality tales that stare unflinchingly into the abyss of man’s tendency to do evil, as well as man’s ability to behave nobly.

As for the second part of your question, I agree that zombies as a subgenre have been used a great deal in the past decade and that most of the traditional zombie treatments seem a bit tired at this point. But what I also see—and I’m really excited about this—is that zombies have begun to permeate the realms of horror previously uninfluenced by zombies. And this is a really good thing. I love zombie stories, but I’ve never written a zombie book. However, if you look at my last two novels—both Savage Species and Dust Devils—the creatures in both of those books are influenced by zombies and have zombie-like traits. In Savage Species, the “Children” are firmly entrenched in the tradition of the Wendigo, yet they can return from the dead and are hungry for human flesh. In Dust Devils, a crossbow plays a major role (a nod to Daryl Dixon/Norman Reedus in The Walking Dead), you have a cuckolded husband at the forefront (a Rick Grimes/Andrew Lincoln connection), and a father/son relationship that’s tested in a war with seemingly implacable foes (Rick and Carl vs. the zombies). So even though my novels aren’t zombie novels, they owe a huge debt to the zombie films, books, and television shows I’ve absorbed. Brian Keene’s The Rising is another huge part of what I’ve been doing and thinking. And in that one you have a powerful father-son bond at the heart of the story, just like the father-son bonds at the heart of Dust Devils.

Savage Species

 

If you were living in the wild west, do you see yourself as a white hat or black hat? Or would you be a shade of gray, like Clint Eastwood’s character in Unforgiven? And what would be your cowboy name?

Clint Eastwood, absolutely. The white hats and black hats aren’t as interesting as the grays, because I think most of us, when you get down to it, are a bit gray. At least I am. Would I hurt an innocent person for any reason? No way. But would I bat an eyelash in defending my wife or my children? Would I be willing to fight fire with fire if need be? I’d like to think I would be. And I think many people would be as well. Now, that sounds good, but what about those situations in which there is no easy or obviously right path? Cody Wilson, my protagonist, finds himself in situations like that in Dust Devils. Does he kill a bad person to save himself even though the bad person might not really deserve to die? Does Cody save his new girlfriend or his stepmother? And how does he make that decision? Those are gray situations, and I think Cody responds the way I would to most of them. And he’s definitely a gray guy—good down deep, but certainly not perfect. Light gray, maybe. Oh, and my cowboy name would be Jack Wilson, just like the father in Dust Devils. I love the name Jack.

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What would be your top 3 western movies and western novels?

Ooooh, that’s a great one. Here we go (I only cheated a little)…

Novels: 1. Last Stand at Saber River, Elmore Leonard 2. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry 3. All the Pretty Horses/Cities of the Plain/Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy Movies: 1. 3:10 to Yuma (the remake) 2. The Outlaw Josey Wales 3. Unforgiven

OK, hypothetical, you’re called to a high noon shoot-out with a rogue cowboy vampire (who does some acting on the side). You have a holy water infused bullet with a crucifix carved on the side, so you know it will only take one shot to put him down. You see him an hour before the big event, his back turned to you. Do you draw on him and shoot him in the back?

If it means I’d save my wife or my kids? Absolutely. I guess that makes me a darker gray, but at least I’m honest. Now…if it would just be to save myself? Maybe. I mean, it would be tougher to live with, so I’d definitely have to pause and think. But in the end I think I’d still shoot him. Because he’s a vampire, and vampires kill. I’d be saving others, as well as myself, so I’d kill him and live with what guilt resulted.

Dust Devils is so unlike all of your previous books. Why don’t you tell everyone why they need to read it.

It is different, Hunter; you’re right about that. But maybe more than I ever have in a book, I show my heart in this one. I reveal some of my deeper fears, as well as some of my deepest longings. I mean, on the surface, the tale is a tense thriller with all the elements of great storytelling—strong dialogue, internal conflict, fierce action, life-or-death stakes, romance, friendship, and deep familial bonds. But it also contains a man with many regrets, a severed father-son relationship, a woman who’s been abused and who longs for something better. There’s a very powerful heart in this book that I think readers will respond to. But as I said earlier, there’s also a fast pace and an electricity that’ll sweep the reader along. The three major action set pieces in the story (the opening scene in the valley, the bloodbath in the saloon, and the final shootout/fight at the ranch) offer more action than you’ll find in almost any western I can think of. So I think it’s a crowd-pleaser that’ll stick with audiences long after they’ve read it.

What’s next for you, since I assume you never sleep.

 

Well, if all goes as planned, I’ll have both a novel (my first-ever sequel, Castle of Sorrows) and an unannounced novella coming this summer. In January of 2015, I’ll have The Nightmare Girl, a Joe R. Lansdale-influenced suspense/horror novel that delves into the ancient Irish fire myths. This summer I plan on writing at least two novels, but I can’t talk about those yet for various reasons—I mean, I can talk to you about them, Hunter, but I can’t talk publicly about them.

 

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, my friend. You are without question one of my dearest friends in the business, and a writer whose work I love and deeply admire (even though it makes me jealous sometimes).

Your dudeness, you have nothing to be jealous about. :)

5 Horror Authors You’ll Want to Follow in 2014

Hunter Shea:

For painfully obvious reasons, I just had to reblog this one. Hope I can live up to the hype. :)

Originally posted on Horror Novel Reviews:

Written by: Tim Meyer

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ADAM CESARE

I read plenty of books last year, and I’m lucky one of them was Adam Cesare’s Video Night (Samhain Publishing). There’s something about Adam’s writing that puts me in a spell. This book in particular was a fanboy’s wet dream, referencing everything from Star Wars to Super Mario Brothers. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, believe me—you’ll want to rush this to the top of your “To Be Read” list on Goodreads. I haven’t come across a more refreshing read since.

Sadly, this is the only Adam Cesare novel I’ve read to date, but trust me, I’ll be reading more. Adam’s going to very busy in 2014, as he has numerous books hitting the marketplace. January 7th will see his second full-length novel with Samhain Publishing, entitled The Summer Job. According to Amazon—where the novel is available for pre-order—it’s about…

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Monster Books : The Gateway To Horror

Fellow Monster Man Jack Campisi is back, schooling all you monster dudes and monsterettes on the art of horror. So, turn down the light, sip the mind altering beverage of your choice and read on…

Now that the calendar has turned to October and Halloween season is upon us, it’s time to really dive into horror, and I mean headfirst. There are only 31 days, so let’s not waste any of them. Naturally, there’ll be plenty of scary movies and shows on TV, but it’s also a great time to pick up a good book.

Being good friends with a horror author has some great perks. Not only do I have a blast co-hosting the Monster Men horror podcast, but I also get exposed to a whole world of fantastic horror literature that I may not have found on my own. Reading is such a wonderful way to enjoy the genre. When you find a good book, you get sucked into a new world and your mind becomes your movie screen. You are much more connected with the characters and let’s face it, books can go to so many more places than any movies.

It got me thinking about how important books have been in my journey as a horror fan. When I was a kid, the school library and the public library were treasure troves of monster books. So, before I was even old enough to watch Dracula or Frankenstein, I was devouring books about monsters, ghosts and urban legends like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Here are a few books that helped fuel my imagination and molded me into the Monster Man I am today.

First we have Movie Monsters and Monsters from the Movies by Thomas Aylesworth. These books were in my elementary school library and I made a beeline for them every chance I could get. The photos of Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Wolf Man and all those other wonderful creatures grabbed my imagination and never let go. One of the reasons those books got such a prominent place on the bookshelves was that Aylesworth’s wife happened to be the art teacher at our school. Pretty cool, huh?

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Another book that I owned, and still have today, is Horror Movies: Tales of Terror in the Cinema (The Movie Treasury) by Alan G Frank. This book is amazing. Way before I saw most of the Universal Monster movies or the Hammer horror films, I had this book. It has chapters on vampires, werewolves, mummies and every other kind of fiend you can imagine. There are some terrifying photos, particularly of Christopher Lee, that had me leaving a light on when I went to bed. Then, as I got older, I had a great guidebook for movies to seek out. This book covers everything from Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed to Vampire Circus.

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Of course, as time went by, I graduated to more traditional books like Salem’s Lot and Pet Sematary, but it really all started with monster books like these.

So this Halloween season, I urge to turn off the TV once in a while and curl up with a good, scary book. On the latest episode of Monster Men, Hunter and I suggest a whole pile of excellent horror novels. This includes terrific books by Tim Myer, Brian Moreland, Jonathan Janz, Jamie Evans and Frazer Lee. (And Hunter Shea, of course.) If you have not read these guys yet, you really ought to check them out. Not only will you be supporting some great people, but you’ll also be in for a hell of a read.

Click here to catch the latest Monster Men show

Click here to catch the latest Monster Men show

Happy HORRORTOBER!

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Jack Campisi is the co-host of the Monster Men video podcast, along with Hunter Shea. Follow him on Twitter at @backinjack and join the Monster Men on Facebook for more spooky fun.

Book Review : The Cursed Man – by Keith Rommel

I was recently at Monster Mania Con cruising through the vendor tables, checking out celebs and attending a screening of Frankenhooker when I ran into author Keith Rommel. His booth was tucked away between a couple of others selling tons of horror merch. Now, I’m a huge reader, so when I see books at a horror con, I’m all in. (On a side note, it’s depressing to watch people pay $40 for an autograph of Screech or a dude who played a Jawa, then walk past author tables like they have the plague. The best horror isn’t on screen, it’s in a book!!!)

I digress. At first, maybe because I’d had a few cocktails, his name and book, The Cursed Man, didn’t register. Once we got to talking, we realized we’d both spoken to each other through various social media over the past year. Small world. Keith was kind enough to give me a copy of his book, which is now going to be a major motion picture. Let me tell you, I read it in one day and it was time well spent.

The Cursed Man

Here’s the official description of this amazing book:

      Alister Kunkle believes death is in love with him.  A simple smile from friend or stranger is all it takes to encourage death to kill.
      With his family deceased and a path of destruction behind him, Alister sits inside a mental institution, sworn to silence and separated from the rest of the world, haunted by his inability to escape death’s preferential treatment.
      But when a beautiful psychologist arrives at the institution and starts offering him care, Alister braces himself for more killings.  When none follow, he tries to figure out whether he truly is insane or if death has finally come to him in the form of a woman.

As a reader, I’m always on the lookout for fresh, original ideas. The Cursed Man is all that, a bag of chips and a bottle of grape Nehi. Writing like this is as delicious and hard to find as the favored beverage of my youth.

The Cursed Man is tight, suspenseful and at times, downright terrifying. Death follows Alister Kunkle like a loving shadow. The book flashes between the past and present with perfect transitional timing. The twists and turns in Alister’s story left me dizzy. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen next, to the point where I just sat back and let Rommel take me on a joy ride to hell and back. He does an excellent job sucking us into the mind of a tortured man, to the point where neither he nor the reader can discern what is real and what is fantasy. I don’t want to say too much or give away any spoilers. This book is too special.

The Cursed Man is part one of the Thanatology Series. Rest assured, I’m picking up a copy of the second book, The Lurking Man, right after I finish this post. I’m not saying this just because I met the author. I was truly blown away and can see why Hollywood snapped it up. Do yourself a favor and check it out. You can thank me later.

The Magnificent Seven Horrortober Reading List

As long time readers of my blog and chain know, October – renamed Horrortober by yours truly – is my favorite month of the year. Over the past 11 months, I’ve been stockpiling horror books, movies, mags and places to go, so every day of Terrortober is nothing but horror, horror, horror.

So, what will I be reading? What should you be reading? Here is my complete list with links to purchase, or just plain peruse,  each book. There’s a little bit of everything here by authors old and new. The one thing they have in common – they all kick some serious ass. Guaranteed to creep you out.

Sleep Tight

Bed bugs. They hide in mattresses. They wait till you’re asleep. They rise in the dead of night to feast on our blood. They can multiply by the hundreds in less than a week. They are one of the most loathsome, hellish species to ever grace God’s green earth. Thought to be eradicated decades ago, thanks to global travel they’re back. And with them comes a nightmare beyond imagining. Infected with a plague virus so deadly it makes Ebola look like a summer cold, one bite turns people into homicidal maniacs. Now they’re in Chicago and migrating to al points North, South, East and West. The rest of the world in a matter of time. The U.S Government and the CDC are helpless to stop it. Only one man knows what’s causing the epidemic. And the powers-that-be want him dead.

Girl on Glider

The year is 2009, and the world’s financial and publishing sectors are in chaos. In the midst of this disarray, a burned-out horror writer finds himself haunted by a variety of ghosts, both real and metaphorical. And as the ghosts increase their attacks, his struggle to make a living quickly becomes a fight to hold on to his family – and his very sanity.

Kin

In the spirit of such iconic horror classics as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Deliverance, Kin begins at the end and studies the possible aftermath for the survivors of such traumas upon their return to the real world — the guilt, the grief, the thirst for revenge — and sets them on an unthinkable journey… back into the heart of darkness.


Worm TC

On Pine Street, the houses begin to shake. The earth begins to move. The streets crack open and yards split asunder…and rising from subterranean depths far below, a viscid black muck bubbles up and floods the neighborhood.

In it are a ravenous army of gigantic worms seeking human flesh. They wash into houses, they come up through the sewers, through plumbing, filling toilets and tubs, seeking human prey.

Cut off from the rest of the town, the people of Pine Street must wage a war of survival or they’ll never see morning. As bad as the worms are, there’s something worse—and far larger—waiting to emerge.

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Charly, Sam, Jesse and the others must do battle with the Children in the labyrinthine subterranean world that the creatures call home. But the situation grows bleaker when many of the survivors are captured and borne deeper into the lightless caverns…where a new and even more horrific species awaits.

Meat Camp

In a desperate attempt to save their land from tax foreclosure, Delphus Fraley and his daughter open a camp for at-risk kids, with the goal of building character through experience in the Appalachian Mountain outdoors.

But a strange infection contaminating the camp’s mess hall soon triggers a violent rampage. As the isolated camp turns into a bloodbath, camp counselor Jenny Usher first fights to save the children, and then finds she must fight to save herself.

Because this infection doesn’t just kill, it brings the dead back to life…


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A nightmare made real.

On Christmas Eve, six-year-old Tom McCrae witnessed an unspeakable atrocity that left him orphaned, his childhood in tatters. Now in his mid-thirties, Tom still has terrifying nightmares of that night. When Tom is sent to the remote Scottish village of Douglass to negotiate a land grab for his employer it seems like a golden opportunity for him to start over. But Tom can’t help feeling he’s been to Douglass before, and the terrible dreams from his childhood have begun to spill over into his waking life. As murderous events unfold and Tom’s feverish nightmares escalate, he will discover the hideous truth behind the villagers’ strange pagan ritual of The Jack in the Green.

Season Of The Witch – A Guest Post By Brian Moreland

I’m always happy to hand over my blog and chain to a truly gifted writer, Brian Moreland, who is not only one of my favorite horror writers, but also one of my favorite people in this crazy ass world. Do yourself a favor and pick up everything the man’s ever written. They are treasures to be added to any collection. Before you do, take Brian’s hand as he leads you through The Season Of The Witch…

They come from mythology, folklore and fairytales and go by names such as crone, conjurer, necromancer and witch. Male witches are called warlocks and wizards, although the archetypal figure is predominately depicted as an ugly old woman–the hag. Some live as hermits in hovels in dark forests. Others gather in secret places and form covens. They operate in the realms of magic and have the power to cast spells and charm us. They can tell our fortunes or curse us with the evil eye. Old, wicked, beautiful, seductive–witches of all forms have enchanted our stories since the dawn of storytelling.

In Norse mythology there were the Norns, three immortal women who controlled the fates of gods and men. In Greek mythology, the Graeae were three old crones who shared a single eye. The hero Perseus met these witches on his way to fight the snake-headed gorgon, Medusa. These ancient myths most likely inspired Shakespeare to include three “weird sisters” in Macbeth. Even King Arthur of Camelot had his dealing with witches. One of his greatest enemies was an evil and powerful sorceress, Morgan Le Fay. King Arthur also took counsel from a wizard named Merlin.

As a child I remember witches from bedtime stories and movies like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and my all-time-favorite: the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. In stories, there are good witches who operate in the light–like Oz’s Good Witch of the North–and evil ones who practice black magic, such as the Old Witch in Snow White.

As I got older and started writing historical horror novels, I discovered that history is rich with stories about real witches. In Pagan times, witches honored the sun and moon, the winter solstice and the coming of spring. We owe our holiday of Halloween to the Celtic pagans who celebrated the festival of Samhain on October 31st at the end of the harvest season.

Witches are even warned about in the Bible in Deuteronomy 18:10-12 and Exodus 22:18. Scriptures like “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” gave religious people a reason to believe that all practitioners of magick were evil. In Europe and America from the 1400s through the 1700s, righteous men went on witch hunts and burned men and women at the stake.

These fears of the terrifying witch inspired several horror movies in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties. Films like Season of the Witch (1972), The Wicker Man (1975), Eyes of Fire (1983), Warlock (1991), The Blair Witch Project (1999) and The Lords of Salem (2012) are just a few that come to mind. For the past decade or so, vampires and zombies have dominated books, movies, and TV, but there are signs witches are coming back into the spotlight.

Already in the first half of 2013, there have been a number of witch movies to hit the theaters. Beautiful Creatures, based on the YA novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, is about a family of witches living in a small town in South Carolina and the secrets they keep. In Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, the brother and sister from the famous Brothers Grimm fairytale are all grown up and now hunt evil witches, which are depicted as monstrous hags.

This is also the year that Hollywood did a remake of one of my favorite horror movies of all time, The Evil Dead. It opens with a witch performing a ceremony and involves five friends finding a demon book that’s filled with witchcraft and evil spirits. I counted 13 new witch movies that will release later this year and next, including two that I find intriguing: The Last Witch Hunter and Lords of Magic.

I don’t know if it’s happenstance or if something mystical is at play with all these witches making their way into current books and movies, but last year I wrote my own witch stories: The Girl from the Blood Coven and The Witching House. Both will release as ebooks this summer through Samhain Publishing. As a horror fiction writer, I like to combine history and legends with scary supernatural stories, as I did in my first two books, Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist. While both of those stories deal with mysticism and evil forces, it is my next two stories that allowed me to have fun creating my own legend about a coven witches living in the backwoods of East Texas.

My first story, The Girl from the Blood Coven, is a short story prelude to The Witching House. It’s the year 1972. Sheriff Travis Keagan is enjoying a beer at the local roadhouse, when a blood-soaked girl enters the bar. Terrified and trembling, Abigail Blackwood claims her entire family was massacred at the hippy commune in the woods. Sheriff Keagan knows that Abigail’s “family” is a coven of witches that inhabit the Blevins house. They’ve been rumored to be practicing blood sacrifices and black magic. When the sheriff and his deputies investigate the alleged murders, they discover what happened at the Blevins house is more horrific than they ever imagined.

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My second story, The Witching House, is a novella that unravels the mystery of what happened to the Blevins Coven. It’s forty years after the massacre at the hippy commune. My main character is Sarah Donovan, a young woman recovering from a bad divorce and boring life. She recently started dating an exciting, adventurous man named Dean Stratton. Dean and his friends, Meg and Casey, are fearless thrill-seekers. They like to jump out of airplanes, go rock-climbing, white-water rafting, caving and do anything that offers an adrenaline rush.

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Sarah, on the other hand, is scared of just about everything–heights, tight places, the dark–but today she must confront all her fears, as she joins Dean, Meg and Casey on an urban exploring adventure. There’s an abandoned house set far back in the woods, they say. The Old Blevins House has been boarded-up for forty years. And it’s rumored to be haunted. The two couples are going to break in and explore the mysterious house. Little do they know the Old Blevins House is cursed from black magic, and something in the cellar has been craving fresh prey to cross the house’s threshold.

Writing these two stories allowed me to research the long history of witches, from Biblical times, to Norse and Greek mythology, Celtic Paganism, the Christian witch hunts, as well as the modern-day practice of Wicca. In fact, Sarah Donovan’s grandmother is a Wiccan who practices light magic and becomes Sarah’s voice of reason as she is confronted by dark forces. I also studied the differences between White Magic and Black Magic, even combed through a 17th Century spell book for conjuring evil spirits. As with my other books, I have interwoven much of the historical facts that I learned into my stories to offer readers a richer reading experience. My short story, The Girl from the Blood Coven, releases July 2, 2013, as a free ebook, and my novella, The Witching House, releases August 6, 2013.

Witches and witchcraft have been a part of storytelling for centuries. At times they sink below the surface of human consciousness, as other monsters take the stage in books and movies. Some years it’s werewolves, mummies or Frankenstein. For the past several years, we’ve seen a countless number of vampires and zombies. While these monsters are still popular, you can rest assure that witches are back for another season of witchery.


Author Bio: Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His first two novels, Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist, are now available. His third novel, The Devil’s Woods, will release in December 2013. Brian livesAuthor Brian Moreland in Dallas, Texas where he is joyfully writing his next horror novel. Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianMoreland. Visit: http://www.brianmoreland.com/

Book Review : In The House Of Mirrors by Tim Meyer

I get asked to read self published books all the time. Over the years, I’ve grown a tad leery of self-pubbed works, unless they come from the minds of traditionally published authors who are taking full advantage of the changes in publishing today. You can find some great work out there by fantastic, long established writers like Scott Nicholson or J.A. Konrath. They take the time to create slick covers and, most of all, edit their books like the pros they are.

Well, my take on self-pubbed books was thrown on its ear after reading Tim Meyer’s In The House of Mirrors. This is a book I could see published by any of the big, medium or small houses. It’s his third book and proof positive that he’s a writer with a big future ahead of him.

House of mirrorsHere’s the synopsis…

When Ritchie Naughton, amateur photographer, stumbles upon a house in the woods, strange things start happening. His camera captures images that should not exist, things that cannot be explained. Soon, he’ll realize that the people of Red River, New Jersey are in terrible danger. A darkness grows within the house, threatening them all.

The House of Mirrors is open, and once you see yourself in, there’s no way out…

Let me start by saying that Ritchie Naughton is no hero. This guy is a true everyman; a man down on his luck with a newly diagnosed heart problem, no place to live and a writing career that’s firmly in the shitter.

He moves back home to live with his sister in New Jersey, and after a month of self imposed exile, goes out seeking a job, any job, to kick start his life. He finds one, as a photographer of all things, at a small town paper. Down in the musty basement, he comes across a camera to use for his new job – a Denlax. Never heard of it? Neither has he or anyone he meets.

It turns out, the Denlax has a dark air of mystery about it. It takes pictures, sure, but sometimes, there’s a little something extra, like black spots that cover people’s faces or an old man in front of a crumbling house that wasn’t there when the picture was taken.

Ritchie and his Denlax delve deep into the muck after he agrees to do some side work as a private eye for his uncle. He stumbles into a Satanic cult and falls in love (or lust) with a pretty new cult member. From here on in, things get very, very strange. We’re talking evil circus, netherworlds, black magic and demons from other worlds. Holy crap, this book has everything!

The best part is the writing. Meyer has a very deft hand at building his characters. You really feel for Ritchie and he newfound friend, Chris. The editing is far better than 99% of self-pubbed books. The tension and horror build with precision until you’re left reeling through the last 40 or so pages. I devoured this book and will go back to get his previous two, Demon Blood and The Thin Veil.

Tim Meyer also has a podcast called Splatter Chatter where he talks all things horror. Click here to visit his website, check out his books or listen to his podcast. It’s the perfect place to gear up for the Halloween season that will be here before you know it.

Jonathan Janz Guest Post : The Genesis of a Savage Species Character

I am so happy to lease the space on this blog and chain to one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Janz. He has a serialized horror novel that just came out and let me tell you, this is one not to be missed! And in this case,  you can judge a book by its cover(s). Totally kick ass. I’ll stop rambling and let Senor Janz  take the stage.

How My Inappropriate College Friend Finally Came in Handy

The Genesis of a Savage Species Character

I had a friend in college we’ll call Teddy. Okay, maybe he was more of an acquaintance, but we had a couple classes together, and I thought he was a funny guy. Short, pudgy, prematurely balding, Teddy was smart, very nice, and in most ways ordinary.

Until he got near a pretty girl.
Then, under his breath, he would say things in this creepy Barry White voice like, “Ohhhhh, yeah. She knows it. Uh-huh. She loooooooooves it.” And I would stare at him in terror and take several large steps away so no one would think we were together.

I haven’t used that part of Teddy’s personality in a story yet, but at some point I’m sure I will.  It’s too funny and offensive not to use.

But part of Teddy did indeed make its way into my latest novel, the serialized Savage Species. Teddy enjoyed a very specific type of…um…movie. No, not the kind a person would watch in a trench coat and sunglasses, but not the type of film you’d watch with your mother either. NightTerrors-H

No, these films were the ones shown late at night on Showtime and Cinemax (or, as Teddy called it, Skinemax). Not only was he a fan of these movies, he would go into great detail when discussing them, throwing around names like Monique Parent and Shannon Tweed the way most moviegoers would reference Morgan Freeman and Meryl Streep. Actually, it was sort of hilarious hearing him soliloquize about his unique obsession, unless of course we were walking to class or something, and in that case I again moved several steps ahead of him so folks didn’t think we were together.

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I bring all this up because there’s a great character in Savage Species named Frank Red Elk. He’s a Native American of the Algonquian tribe. He’s a big, powerful man with a great deal of intelligence. He’s also a huge fan of soft porn.

So when you read about Frank Red Elk and blush at the things he says, you can know that my inappropriate college friend had something to do with that.

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But hey, at least the embarrassment I endured because of Teddy was worth it.

Sort of.

Trying To Stay Alive in Club NightWhere

Holy shit!

I can’t count how many times I said those two words as I read John Everson’s Bram Stoker nominated novel, NightWhere. Now, I’m a guy who’s been around the block a time or two (or a thousand), and it takes a lot to make me cringe or jar my hardened sensibilities. As I delved deeper into Everson’s latest terror-tinged, super-sexed novel of BDSM gone horribly awry, I was tempted more than once to cover my eyes and read between the gaps in my fingers. It’s that unsettling. And yes, it’s that damn good.

I know this phrase has been used to death, but NightWhere is not for the faint of heart. If you’re a prude, run like hell in the other direction. This ain’t for you.

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Rae and Mark are a happily married couple who have a little something going on the side. You see, Rae is an untamable woman, and no matter how much she loves Mark, well, I’ll be blunt, one dick just isn’t going to do it for her. And Mark, he’s a decent guy who loves his wife and will do anything he can to keep her. Plus he gets the side benefit of coupling with attractive women as they go from one swingers club to the next.

But Rae has an even darker side. The girl loves pain. Both giving it and receiving it in ways that’ll make you lose your lunch. Enter the mysterious club, NightWhere. In NightWhere, your darkest desires can come true. Wanna screw someone until they’re dead? Step right up. Does it turn you on to get flayed open like a fish? Well, we have a special room for you.

As Rae loses herself to her wonton and dangerous lust, Mark desperately tries to save her from the clutches of the club as well as her own damnation.

If one could truly glimpse hell within the pages of a book, this is it. The writing is crisp and fierce and totally unforgiving. You won’t be able to put it down, no matter how damaged your soul may be when you’re done.

Guest Post by Russell James : Horror in the Everglades!

Location. Location. Location. Real estate’s three most important considerations also apply to fiction. Horror writers need the right location for a creepy story.  Well, forget the abandoned house, the derelict cruise ship, clown college (shiver!) As Hunter Shea’s SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE and my new novel BLACK MAGIC demonstrate, head for the Everglades.

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Everglades National Park takes up the southern tip of Florida.  It’s a swampy savannah that stretches out flat as far as the eye can see.  It’s sometimes flooded, sometimes not, and dotted with islands of trees. There are good reasons (other than Skunk Apes) to put the Everglades high on the horror locale list:

1. Isolation. Though it’s just miles from Miami, cross the park border and there’s nothing and no one out there.  No cell service, no roads and once you trek a few miles in, no landmarks worth mentioning.  Expect to get lost moments after starting your hike. Especially in the dark.

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2. Scary creatures. I have an evil sorcerer in BLACK MAGIC to up the scare factor, but the Everglades has its own menagerie from Hell. Alligators, crocodiles, vultures, deadly cottonmouth snakes, literally tons of mosquitoes, plus stingrays, sharks and jellyfish where the ‘Glades meet Biscayne Bay. The last time I visited, I counted sixteen alligators and crocodiles sunning themselves at just one observation point. Who’d ever want to meander through that?  gator

Recently anacondas have taken up residence, after being released by moronic owners when they grew to adult size at over fifteen feet and 220 pounds. These constrictors eat anything and everything and have no natural predators.  In my novel I describe one eating a deer.  I did not make that up. There’s a picture on the NPS website if you don’t believe me.

In BLACK MAGIC, sorcerer Lyle Miller summons all of these creatures (and razor-toothed killer rabbits) to defend him as he tricks unwitting boys to help conjure a hurricane over south Florida. Read this non-tourist friendly Florida tale and you may cross the Everglades off your bucket list, if SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE didn’t already do that for you.  — Russell James

 

Hunter here. I highly suggest you grab a copy of Black Magic. Perfect summer reading! You can pick up a copy by clicking any of the links below:

Amazon     Samhain   Barnes& Noble

You can also tag along with Russell as he journeys into the dark and strange at his website.

 

 

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