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Merry Deadly Christmas – An Interview with Author Matt Manochio

OK, I’m jumping the gun here, bypassing Thanksgiving and diving right into Christmas. I have a very good reason. Author Matt Manochio’s new book, THE DARK SERVANT, has dropped just in time to savage the Christmas season. I sat down to talk with Matt (both at the bar at Chiller Theatre and back home) about his book, path to publication and lollipops. This is a book you definitely want to pick up. Anyone that introduces me to a new monster is one badass of a dude.


Ok, let’s set the table for this here sit-down. Your debut novel with Samhain, The Dark Servant, unleashes on the world on Novermber 4th. Tell us about the book.

Thanks Hunter! I’m guessing your readers have heard of Krampus, but for those who have not, Krampus, in European folklore, is a huge, hairy devil who serves as Saint Nicholas’s (yes, Santa Claus’s) dark half. Saint Nick rewards the good kids and farms out the bad ones to Krampus, who disciplines the brats in a myriad of horrible ways. I set my Krampus loose in northern New Jersey where he goes after a town’s hideous high school bullies—but there’s certainly more to it than that.DarkServant_The_v4

 

Where did you come up with the idea for the terrifying creature in The Dark Servant? The cover is absolutely amazing. Is it exactly how you pictured it in your mind?

I had never heard of Krampus until two years ago when my boss asked me if I knew of this monster. (He’d never heard of him either and knew I was into kooky pop culture stuff.) I was 37 at the time and couldn’t believe this thing slipped by me. It’s such a wonderful myth. And fortunately it’s been largely unexplored in American fiction. (Think about all the vampire, zombie and werewolf books that flood the market.) So while European storytelling created the legend of Krampus, I created my own walking, talking, irreverent version of the monster. And I couldn’t be happier with the results. As for the cover, I originally wanted the artist to show less of the monster. I wanted to give the creature its form or profile, if you will, but still allow for the reader to paint his or her own picture of Krampus—eyes, snout, fangs, etc. But don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled with the cover (Samhain has great artists working for them) and the staff absolutely took my input not just on what the monster looked like, but on background (spooky, wintery forest), and font style and color.

You and I had a very similar path to publishing. Let folks know the highs and lows you experienced and how perseverance and good storytelling wins in the end.

For those who don’t know, Hunter and I were victims of the Dorchester Publishing collapse. I wrote in depth about my struggle for Writer’s Digest. But in short, however fantastic you feel upon getting that first book deal, which I got (and saw vanish) in 2010, research the publisher. I had no idea Dorchester was on its last legs and doomed for bankruptcy. The company laid off my editor months after I signed the deal for a straight crime thriller. I stayed in touch with my editor, who landed at Samhain not long after Dorchester’s fall, and when I got the idea for The Dark Servant, he was the first person I contacted and he encouraged me to go for it. So if you make connections in this business, keep them! Remain on good terms. Also as important, I kept writing. I was literally down in the dumps for a day when I realized I wouldn’t be published with Dorchester, but that was it. One day in August 2010. After that I took the outlook that if my work could sell once, it could sell again. You must keep a positive attitude in this business.

What are some of your favorite horror books and movies?

Movies:

  1. An American Werewolf in London
  2. John Carpentar’s The Thing
  3. Halloween

Books:

  1. ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
  2. Monster by Frank Perreti (not a favorite, but it heavily influenced me)
  3. Jurassic Park (ok, it’s not strictly horror, but it is among my favorites)

If you had to be chased down by Jason Voorhees or eaten by Jaws, which would you pick and why?

Jason Voorhees hands down. Jason could at least end my misery quickly. Did you see how much agony Quint was in when Jaws got ahold of him?

 

What’s your biggest fear? Have you tried to conquer it and failed, or do you just accept it for what it is?

This is a hard question to answer. If you’re talking phobias, I hate heights and don’t think I can ever conquer that fear. If you’re talking real-world every-day fears, it’s rather bland but important nonetheless: being able to provide for my family and hopefully putting my son through college. He’s 3 now, but they grow up quickly, and I’m terrified to think of what college tuition will cost in 15 years.

 

Do you have a favorite space to write? What’s the strangest place you’ve found yourself writing?

My favorite writing spot is sitting cross-legged on my bed. I don’t have a desk. Strangest place I’ve ever written something? I was a journalist once upon a time, and in 2008 I wrote an article for USA Today on my Blackberry about an AC/DC concert during the concert. (Go to my website if you’d like to read it. I linked to it.)
If you had to guess, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? (and you can’t say three, because that cartoon cheated!)

At least 100, especially if you work all angles of the pop. Just a guess.
Which do you think is better, the original The Thing from Another World, or John Carpenter’s The Thing?

John Carpenter’s The Thing, and not just because of the special effects, which were groundbreaking at the time. It was a well-cast movie, too. But the biggest reason I like it is because Carpenter’s version was more faithful to John Campbell’s short story, on which the movie is based.

What’s coming up next for you?

I’m waiting to hear back from my editor on revisions I made to a second book. Hopefully we’ll get to a point where we can sign a deal. I don’t want to say too much about it other than it’s a supernatural Western set in South Carolina during Reconstruction. I’ve got an idea for another book that I intend to start after this publicity tour dies down in mid-December. I’m taking off the last two weeks of the year and cannot wait to dive into writing (which I’m finding less and less time to do—toddlers have a way of sapping up your time).

About Krampus:

December 5 is Krampus Nacht — Night of the Krampus, a horned, cloven-hoofed monster who in pre-Christian European cultures serves as the dark companion to Saint Nicholas, America’s Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas rewards good children and leaves bad ones to Krampus, who kidnaps and tortures kids unless they repent.

Matt tour graphic 1

 

The Dark Servant, Synopsis

Santa’s not the only one coming to town …

It’s older than Christ and has tormented European children for centuries. Now America faces its wrath. Unsuspecting kids vanish as a blizzard crushes New Jersey. All that remains are signs of destruction—and bloody hoof prints stomped in snow. Seventeen-year-old Billy Schweitzer awakes December 5 feeling depressed. Already feuding with his police chief father and golden boy older brother, Billy’s devastated when his dream girl rejects him. When an unrelenting creature infiltrates his town, imperiling his family and friends, Billy must overcome his own demons to understand why his supposedly innocent high school peers have been snatched, and how to rescue them from a famous saint’s ruthless companion—that cannot be stopped.

The Dark Servant is everything a thriller should be—eerie, original and utterly engrossing!” — Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author

“Beautifully crafted and expertly plotted, Matt Manochio’s The Dark Servant has taken an esoteric fairy tale from before Christ and sets it in the modern world of media-saturated teenagers—creating a clockwork mechanism of terror that blends Freddy Krueger with the Brothers Grimm! Highly recommended!” — Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of The Walking Dead: The Fall of the Governor

“Matt Manochio is a writer who’ll be thrilling us for many books to come.” — Jim DeFelice, New York Times bestselling co-author of American Sniper

“Matt Manochio has taken a very rare fairytale and turned it into a real page-turner. Matt has constructed a very real and believable force in Krampus and has given it a real journalistic twist, and he has gained a fan in me!” — David L. Golemon, New York Times bestselling author of the Event Group Series

“I scarcely know where to begin. Is this a twisted parental fantasy of reforming recalcitrant children? Is it Fast Times at Ridgemont High meets Nightmare on Elm Street? Is it a complex revision of the Medieval morality play? In The Dark Servant, Matt Manochio has taken the tantalizing roots of Middle Europe’s folklore and crafted a completely genuine modern American horror story. This is a winter’s tale, yes, but it is also a genuinely new one for our modern times. I fell for this story right away. Matt Manochio is a natural born storyteller.” — Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Savage Dead and Dog Days

“Just in time for the season of Good Will Toward Men, Matt Manochio’s debut delivers a fresh dose of Holiday Horror, breathing literary life into an overlooked figure of legend ready to step out of Santa’s shadow. Prepared to be thrilled in a new, old-fashioned way.” — Hank Schwaeble, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Damnable, Diabolical and The Angel of the Abyss

“In The Dark Servant, Manochio spins a riveting tale of a community under siege by a grotesque, chain-clanking monster with cloven-hooves, a dry sense of wit, and a sadistic predilection for torture. As Christmas nears and a snowstorm paralyzes the town, the terrifying Krampus doesn’t just leave switches for the local bullies, bitches, and badasses, he beats the living (editor’s note: rhymes with skit) out of them! Manochio balances a very dark theme with crackling dialogue, fast-paced action, and an engaging, small-town setting.” — Lucy Taylor, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Safety of Unknown Cities

“A fast-paced thrill-ride into an obscure but frightful Christmas legend. Could there be a dark side to Santa? And if so, what would he do to those kids who were naughty? Matt Manochio provides the nail-biting answer with The Dark Servant.” — John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Violet Eyes

“A high-octane blast of horror. A surefire hit for fans of monsters and gore.” — Mario Acevedo, author of Werewolf Smackdown

“Have yourself a scary, nightmare-y little Christmas with The Dark Servant. Matt Manochio’s holiday horror brings old world charm to rural New Jersey, Krampus-style.” — Jon McGoran, author of Drift

Matt Manochio, Biography

MattHeadshot

Matt Manochio is the author of The Dark Servant (Samhain Publishing, November 4, 2014). He is a supporting member of the Horror Writers Association, and he hates writing about himself in the third person but he’ll do it anyway. He spent 12 years as an award-winning newspaper reporter at the Morris County, N.J., Daily Record, and worked for one year as an award-winning page designer at the Anderson, S.C., Independent-Mail. He currently works as a full-time editor and a freelance writer.The highlights of his journalism career involved chronicling AC/DC for USA Today: in 2008, when the band kicked off its Black Ice world tour, and in 2011 when lead singer Brian Johnson swung by New Jersey to promote his autobiography. For you hardcore AC/DC fans, check out the video on my YouTube channel.To get a better idea about my path toward publication, please read my Writer’s Digest guest post: How I Sold My Supernatural Thriller. Matt’s a dedicated fan of bullmastiffs, too. (He currently doesn’t own one because his house is too small. Bullmastiff owners understand this all too well.)

Matt doesn’t have a favorite author, per se, but owns almost every Dave Barry book ever published, and he loves blending humor into his thrillers when warranted. Some of his favorite books include Salem’s Lot, Jurassic Park, The Hobbit, Animal Farm, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

 

When it comes to writing, the only advice he can give is to keep doing it, learn from mistakes, and regardless of the genre, read Chris Roerden’s Don’t Sabotage Your Submission (2008, Bella Rosa Books).

Matt grew up in New Jersey, where he lives with his wife and son. He graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in history/journalism.

Top 5 Horror Movies By Guest Author Ira Gansler

I first met Ira this past March at Horrorhound in Cincinnati. Everyone at the Samhain booth was very happy to meet him. What a super nice guy. You’d think horror writers were all trolls and serial killers. We’re actually normal. Now, don’t get me started on romance writers.

But I digress. Ira now has his own book out, The Things in the Darkness. Let’s kick things off with his fab 5 horror flix, a taste of the book and where to find it. Take it away Ira…

Things Cover w Type

 

October is such a great time of year, which is why I chose to launch my book then. Though it came and went like a flash, I’m still enjoying fall. The leaves change color and drift to the ground. The sweltering heat of the summer is past yet the icy cold of the winter is yet to come. Best of all, it seems as if Halloween being at the end of the month makes it the unofficial national horror month and sometimes, for some of us, that carries over into November! Displays full of horror films can be found in every local store, in theaters, and creating a buzz or fond memories. I know many friends who are so busy, they put off the rest of their movie marathons till the start of November. So it seems appropriate, with October closing, and the month of Thanksgiving upon us, to look back at my five favorite horror movies. After all, I am thankful for them too! I happen to love horror films.

  1. Re-Animator – What is there not to love about this film? You have a story based on the work of one of the most influential horror writers to ever live, H.P. Lovecraft. You have the screenwriting and directing talent of Stuart Gordon at the helm. Amazing and versatile actor Jeffrey Combs gives the best performance of his career as the mad scientist, Herbert West. Rounding out the astounding cast is Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott, and David Gale each playing their roles to perfection. Last, but not certainly not least, is the musical talent of Richard Band, who has 87 composing credits to his name for a good reason. Oh, and we can’t forget the fact that this movie gives a whole new meaning to the term “getting head.”
  2. Night of the Living Dead – George Romero redefined an entire sub-genre and gave us a new creature to fear in the form of the living dead. Although Romero never once uses the word “zombie” throughout the entire film, he is now considered by most to be the Godfather of the modern zombie movie. Whether or not Romero intended on creating a new take on zombies, he did push every limit of what was acceptable on film in 1968. Watching the feasting zombie mob scene still kills my appetite to this day.
  3. A Nightmare on Elm Street – It’s hard to believe now that the man who once auditioned for the role of both Luke Skywalker and Han Solo and was turned down for both would become one of the most iconic supernatural killers in cinema history. While the series may have gotten progressively cheesier as it went on and Robert Englund’s one-liners a little more absurd, the first stands as a masterpiece. It also holds a special place in my dark and twisted heart as one of the first horror movies that ever traumatized me. I still remember screaming and crying on my way back to my room at five-years-old after sneaking into the living room and watching Freddy Krueger drag a screaming and bleeding Tina across the ceiling.
  4. Candyman – Taking its cue from the legend of Bloody Mary, this is a movie that still sends shivers down my spine today. This movie was the perfect example of all of the elements of filmmaking coming together into one cohesive unit of greatness. I can’t think of a single actor that could have nailed the role of the Candyman like Tony Todd. Although Todd is a great actor, no role that he has played since will ever stand out more. Virginia Madsen stars in this film and watching her descent into belief of the urban legend she set out to study it genuinely scary in ways that no modern horror film manages. Next, whether it be the written word or screen horror, nobody has the skill and talent for terror like Clive Barker. This man brings images to life that portray some of the darkness things to ever see the light of day. Finally, and being a fan of many different composers, I don’t say this lightly, but Candyman may have one of the most simple, yet eerie scores that I have ever heard in a film. Philip Glass takes a great film and turns it into perfection with the score. Will you look in the mirror and say his name five times?
  5. Hellraiser – With my admiration for Clive Barker, it is no surprise that there are two films credited to this master of terror on my list. What amazes me most about Hellraiser is that it is one of the few films that really deviate from its source material, yet remains an amazing adaptation. Most people don’t realize that the stars of Hellraiser, the cenobites, had very little mention in the novella by Clive Barker, The Hellbound Heart. In fact, Pinhead, performed with terrifying skill by Doug Bradley, was not even a named character in the original story. He was simply referred to as “lead cenobite.” This tale of human obsession and lust, about the thin boundaries between pleasure and pain is captivating from so many different perspectives. It is equal parts fear and gore without the slightest hint of failing. For me, no Halloween season is complete without at least one viewing of Hellraiser. Just how does Barker bring all of these elements together to make such an amazing viewing experience? Maybe that is a puzzle best left unsolved.

So what do you think? What are your favorite horror movies? What tales of terror completed your Halloween season? Which ones are you still trying to fit in watching? Let’s pull up a seat closely in the darkness and talk a little. After all, it’s not like there is anything in that darkness that can hurt us, right?


The Things in the Darkness, debut novel by Ira Gansler, October 2014

Synopsis:

An accident puts Kevin Tremmel into a coma. Upon waking, he is not the same. Is it psychological trauma or something darker at work?

Until recently, Kevin Tremmel was at peace with his life. He had a wonderful family, a meaningful career, and his life is finally settling down. Everything seems to be going great – until the night he dies in a car accident.

When the doctors revive him, it’s evident that he’s not the same. Strange urges and images haunt his waking hours, and he finds himself fighting frightening new impulses. Has the trauma of the accident caused a mental illness — or has he brought some malevolent being back with him?

In order to save his sanity, his sense of self, and his family, Kevin must discover what force is at work on him and how to overcome it. It’s that, or give up all he loves and become a servant to the things in the darkness.

ira button new(1)

 

Praise:

“Terrifying and engaging, impossible to put down.” Henrique Couto, Writer/Director of Babysitter Massacre and Director of Haunted House on Sorority Row and Scarewaves.

“Creepy, contemporary riffs on Lovecraftian themes!” John Oak Dalton, Screenwriter – Among Us, Haunted House on Sorority Row, and Scarewaves.

Author Ira Gansler, Biography:

Ira Gansler

Ira M. Gansler is the father of three girls whom he adores and hopes to one day mold into fellow horror fans! He has been married to his fantastic, supportive wife for almost twelve years. Ira focuses on honing his writing craft through fiction, blogging, and screenwriting. He was one of the writers for the film Scarewaves, having written the screenplay for the “Office Case” segment.

Ira has been an avid horror fan since the time at age five when he ran screaming back to his bed after having witnessed the scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street where Freddy was dragging a bloody and dying Tina across the ceiling. Since then, he has embraced all types of horror. The Shining, anything by H.P. Lovecraft, and the original Night of the Living Dead will always hold a special place in his twisted heart. He prays that when the zombie apocalypse does come that it consists of slow zombies and that the Elder Gods show mercy on us all.

You can follow Ira M. Gansler on his blog, The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void at http://ragecircus.blogspot.com, on twitter @RageCircusBlog, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ragecircusblogger. Ira also writes reviews and conducts interviews for the From Dusk Till Con Network at www.fromdusktillcon.com.

Giveaway Option:

Enter to win one of two great prizes during the #DarknessEmerges Tour. Ira is giving away a GRAND PRIZE of a signed print copy of his book, The Things in the Darkness, plus a signed copy of his “Office Case” segment from the movie, Scarewaves. As a second prize, he’s giving away another signed print copy! Enter to win through the Rafflecopter below. Enter now until Dec. 1, 2014. This is a tour wide giveaway, and open to U.S. Residents only due to shipping. If you want to enter from outside the U.S., and you can, but if you win, you’ll receive an e-book.

Click here for the direct link to Rafflecopter:

Giveaway for Reviewers!

Anyone on the tour, or outside the tour, who reviews The Things in the Darkness on Amazon and GoodReads and sends their review link into Erin (Publicist for Ira Gansler) at hookofabook@hotmail.com, now through Dec. 31, 2014, will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

A Two-Part Interview with Horror Meister – Jonathan Janz

To say we here at Monster Men central have been working hard to have legend-in-the-making author Johnathan Janz on the show is putting it mildly. So we figured once we had our claws in him, we weren’t letting go until we had enough for two episodes! In part 1, we talk about his latest horror thriller, EXORCIST ROAD, as well as everything else in the Janz growing library. JJ is the goods and also one of the nicest guys in the biz. I have to admit, he’s my writer brother from another mother. Here’s a great chance to see and hear the man behind the tales of terror. I do believe this may be the first video interview with the man who likes to spin our nightmares.

 

In part 2, we focus on vampires, both in books and movies. His spring release, DUST DEVILS, is one of the best vampire books to mosey along the Ponderosa and naturally made us gravitate toward the bloodsuckers. We know how much you all dig your vamps. Enjoy!

#Horrortober Reading List for 2014

Oh, it’s that time of year again, my dead little friends (you know, you shouldn’t play with dead things). I can finally tear into all of the books and movies and podcasts and TV shows I’ve been saving all year for Horrortober. Now, you all know that I watch at least 1 horror movie a day in October and rate them on Twitter using my Mummy inspired system of 9 tana leaves.

What I look forward to the most are the books and stories I’ve been collecting. This year, I plan to take on a heavy load, but it will be worth it. If you’re looking for a spooky to read, whether it be fiction or true tales of the unexplained, I hope you find something on this list to whet your bloody appetite! Get ready, this is gonna be a big one (insert crude remark here).

NOVELLAS

There are 3 novellas I can’t wait to read from my fellow Samhain Horror authors. You can download any one of them yourself for just a few sheckles (and I won’t stop you from picking up my true haunting tale, THE WAITING).

JONATHAN JANZ – EXORCIST ROAD

Exorcist road

Possessed by a demon…or by the urge to kill?

Chicago is gripped by terror. “The Sweet Sixteen Killer” is brutally murdering sixteen-year-old girls, and the authorities are baffled.

A seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy has attacked his entire family and had to be chained to his bed. His uncle, police officer Danny Hartman, is convinced his nephew is possessed by a demon. Danny has sent his partner, Jack, to fetch the only priest in Chicago who has ever performed an exorcism.

But Jack has other plans tonight. He believes the boy isn’t possessed by a demon, but instead by an insatiable homicidal urge. Jack believes the boy is the Sweet Sixteen Killer. And he aims to end the reign of terror before another girl dies.

BRIAN MORELAND – THE VAGRANTS

VAGRANTS

Beneath the city of Boston, evil is gathering.

Journalist Daniel Finley is determined to save the impoverished of the world. But the abandoned part of humanity has a dark side too. While living under a bridge with the homeless for six months, Daniel witnessed something terrifying. Something that nearly cost him his sanity.

Now, two years later, he’s published a book that exposes a deadly underground cult and its charismatic leader. And Daniel fears the vagrants are after him because of it. At the same time, his father is being terrorized by vicious mobsters. As he desperately tries to help his father, Daniel gets caught up in the middle of a war between the Irish-American mafia and a deranged cult of homeless people who are preparing to shed blood on the streets of Boston.

 DAVID BERNSTEIN – APARTMENT 7C

APARTMENT 7C

 Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands.

Eighty-two-year-old Beth Baker can hear the cop in apartment 7C beating his wife. Again. She’s also having dreams—or are they visitations—of her dead daughter, Alice, who was killed fifty years ago by an abusive husband.

The message is clear—Beth has to take care of the cop. But he’s a decorated detective and over two hundred and fifty pounds of muscle, so what’s a little old lady like her going to do? When things turn ugly and the cop threatens Beth’s own life, she realizes she needs to resort to extreme measures. Blood must be shed.


 

NOVELS

KEITH ROMMEL – THE SINFUL MAN

SINFUL MA

Headaches. Hunger. Pain.

Leo needs something . . . his stomach growls, but it can wait. That’s not hunger he must feed. He has to get to his next high, but without money he knows he can’t buy what he needs to sate the voice inside telling him to get more, get more.

Voices. Visions. Addiction.

No luck asking his father. His mother is in no position to help. After failing to steal the money he desperately needs, Leo must appeal to his dealer, the dangerous and infamous Saint Nick—despite the inevitable beating he’ll take for showing up empty-handed. Still, anything to keep the voices and flashbacks at bay . . .

Demons. Addiction. Death.

 

GLENN ROLFE – THE HAUNTED HALLS

Haunted Halls

The Bruton Inn, located outside of the small Maine city of Hollis Oaks, is home to something special. An icy presence has made its way from a dark past to the present day. Cold spots, shadows, and whispers permeate the halls, and guests are beginning to change.For two front desk employees, Rhiannon and Jeff, the dark rumors are about to come to light. They call upon Lee Buhl, the urban shaman, and his connection with the spirit world to dig up the truth.Will they be able to stand against this malevolent force? Or will they come face to face with something beyond even your most frightful dreams. Welcome to the Bruton Inn. The Ice Queen has arrived.

TRUE TALES OF THE PARANORMAL

THE LEE AVENUE HAUNTING –

DONNA PARISH-BISCHOFF

LEE AVE

This book takes you to Yonkers , New York .This is based on a true story of a real life haunting. Donna and her family endured several years of horrifying incidents that scarred them for life . No matter how many years have passed that house still remains as does the haunting . Although Donna and her family have been out of the home over thirty years … This is one story that needed to be told .
THE DEMON OF BROWNSVILLE ROAD –
BOB CRANMER & ERICA MANFRED
DEMONThe Cranmers seemed fated to own the house at 3406 Brownsville Road. As a young boy, Bob had been drawn to the property, and, just when the family decided to move back to Brentwood, it went up for sale. Without a second thought, they purchased the house that Bob had always dreamed of owning.But soon, the family began experiencing strange phenomena—objects moving on their own, ghostly footsteps, unsettling moaning sounds—that gradually increased in violence, escalating to physical assaults and, most disturbingly, bleeding walls. Bob, Lesa, and their four children were under attack from a malicious demon that was conjuring up terrifying manifestations to destroy their tight-knit household. They had two choices: leave or draw on their unwavering faith to exorcise the malicious fiend who haunted their home.
HUNT FOR THE SKINWALKER –
COLM A. KELLEHER & GEORGE KNAPP
SKINWALKER
The author of the controversial bestseller Brain Trust brings his scientific expertise to the chilling true story of unexplained phenomena on Utah’s Skinwalker Ranch — and challenges us with a new vision of reality.For more than fifty years, the bizarre events at a remote Utah ranch have ranged from the perplexing to the wholly terrifying. Vanishing and mutilated cattle. Unidentified Flying Objects. The appearance of huge, otherworldly creatures. Invisible objects emitting magnetic fields with the power to spark a cattle stampede. Flying orbs of light with dazzling maneuverability and lethal consequences. For one family, life on the Skinwalker Ranch had become a life under siege by an unknown enemy or enemies. Nothing else could explain the horrors that surrounded them — perhaps science could.

SHORT STORIES
JACKBOOTS FOR JESUS BY CASEY CRISWELL (of the Bloody Good Horror Podcast!)
BENT METAL BY NINA D’ARCANGELA (a true mistress of the damned)

There are so many more I’d like to add, but there just so much time. Somwhere in there, I actually have to finish the next monster novel I’ve been working on, too! I plan to dive into my Horrortober reading pile today to get myself in the proper mood.
What reads are you looking forward to diving into this Horrortober? Every person that replies with a book they want to read will be entered to win a sign copy of my book, THE MONTAUK MONSTER, delivered just in time for Halloween! If I get a lot of replies and recommendations, I just may select 2 or 3 winners, so bring it on.

Keith Rommel Is Not A Cursed Man

Talk about a coup! Jack and I ran into author Keith Rommel at last year’s Monster Mania in New Joisey. His absolutely chilling novel, The Cursed Man, is currently being made into a major motion picture. When I say it is one of the most original, thought-provoking novels you’ll read all year, I ain’t kiddin’. I can’t wait for the movie.

Keeping up with our vow to bring you interviews with the best in horror, the Monster Men snagged Keith for almost an hour to talk about his books, his path to publication, what it’s like to have a movie made from his book and his favorite monsters. If the publishing gods are paying attention, Keith will become a household name in the very near future.

So, kick back, pour a mug of your favorite beverage and get to know Keith Rommel.

 

 

An Interview with Thriller Writer Keith Rommel on The Cursed Man Movie and Latest Novel in Thanatology Series

Hunter Shea:

Keith Rommel is one of the hottest talents in horror and suspense today. Take a peek inside his unique mind…

Originally posted on Scar Paper Press Book Blog:

Set to be released this fall, The Cursed Man novel is being filmed for the big screen. This thriller features Alister’s relationship with Death and the impending doom that has settled in around him, and is sure to leave you with feelings of discomfort and shock. Whether you are a fan of Keith Rommel’s work or new to the series, his new film and most recent release are sure to spark your interest. The Cursed Man is the first installment of the Thanatology Series and is followed by TheLurking Man and The Sinful Man, which is set to come out this May. We got the chance to pick Keith’s brain about the series’ success in an interview and are excited for this year’s releases! Check out the interview and photos below for more about the series.

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Sunbury Press: What type of reaction are you hoping for when readers…

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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

jackpot

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?

moviemonsters

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.

horrormovies_frank

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.

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