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Matt Manochio on Blurbs (and THE DARK SERVANT)

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Hunter Shea:

This is a great post about something a lot of writers either overlook or dread. Huge thanks to Matt for putting this together.

Originally posted on Jonathan Janz:

My guest tonight is Mr. Matt Manochio, whose debut novel THE DARK SERVANT is about to be published by Samhain Horror. His topic is “blurbs,” which is an area that pains me more than any other. Asking for blurbs, I mean. So maybe I’ll learn as much as you will from this post. Here we go…

Every author has to do it at some point. It’s painful and annoying, and we all know it cannot be avoided: giving blood for money to pay the power bill.

I’m kidding, sort of. But what most authors typically must do after signing a book deal is get blurbs. Ugh. This invariably means you pester an established author (in my case, New York Times bestselling and/or Bram Stoker Award-nominated -winning writers) to read a book the established author might not otherwise read. And most established authors have a bunch of projects going on…

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The Sinful Man Comes Around

My good friend and awesome author, Keith Rommel, has released the fantastic 3rd installment of his Thanatology series, THE SINFUL MAN. This guy is the goods, folks. His books are on my official required reading list. Everything you need to know about THE SINFUL MAN and all of the books in the series is right here! Read on, then head to wherever you buy books and get ‘em. 

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Sunbury Press has released Keith Rommel’s 3rd installment of the Thanatology series – The Sinful Man

SM_FC no maskAbout the Book:

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.

Leo soon learns that everything has a price—not just money for drugs, but that every choice he makes has a repercussion. Suddenly caught between a world where he can see the sins of his past and a new consciousness that he doesn’t fully understand, Leo finds himself not only chasing the dragon, but being chased by demons of a whole different kind. He must learn the finality of being past hope—all while reliving his missed opportunities for second chances—and truly come to understand that he is responsible for his own undoing before he runs out of time. After a lifetime of bad choices, this Sinful Man discovers the consequences to his actions and the mortal responsibility of exercising free will.

What others are saying:

“Downright chilling. Rommel has woven another nightmare that will haunt your days and nights!” — Hunter Shea, author of The Montauk Monster and The Waiting
——–

“Reading late into the night, this had me wanting more… and dreading it.” — Catherine Jordan, author of 
Seeking Samiel
———
From the very beginning of 
The Sinful Man, Keith Rommel grabs the reader by the throat and catapults him into a world where the reader’s own pounding heart screams that nowhere is safe. –Thomas M. Malafarina, author of Dead Kill – Book 1 – The Ridge of Death

The Sinful Man

Authored by Keith Rommel

List Price: $14.95
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on White paper
176 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620062654
ISBN-10: 1620062658
BISAC: Fiction / Psychological

Also available on Kindle & Nook

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Sinful-Man-978162006…

The rest of the Thanatology Series:

Book 1 – The Cursed Man — soon to be a major motion picture:

Cursed Man pubThe Cursed Man, by Keith Rommel, tells the story of Alister Kunkle, a patient at Sunnyside Capable Care Mental Institution. Alister has been in seclusion for the last 25 years, having no contact with the staff or the outside world. The reason for this is that anyone who communicates with Alister dies within the day, for he is the Cursed Man and Death takes a professional interest in those unlucky enough to cross his path.

Believing him simply deranged, Dr Anna Lee, an up-and-coming young psychiatrist, has come to cure Alister. She is warned about Alister’s past and is shown evidence of previous encounters made by the skeptical or unbelieving, all of whom died, sometimes horribly. Regardless of the stories, Anna will not be dissuaded and is reluctantly allowed access to Alister. All assume her fate is sealed, but when she returns unharmed the next day, we also start to wonder about the stories.

So begins an enthralling narrative told in the past and the present as Anna attempts to learn why Alister believes he is cursed, while at the same time trying to convince him the events were not real and that in fact he is merely ill and so can be cured. Is Alister truly followed by death or is he simply mentally ill? The Cursed Man is an extremely well-written suspense horror story… I enjoyed it immensely; right up until the very end I was never sure of the outcome… Great story-telling in the tradition of Stephen King… — Booklore

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Cursed-Man-PAPERBACK-9781620063682.htm

Book 2 – The Lurking Man — a Sunbury Press bestseller:

LM_pubWhat happens after we die? Are we given choices based on how we lived our lives? It’s an age-old question pondered by just about everyone.

Author Keith Rommel dared to explore the answer by creating his newest novel The Lurking Man, a story of dark suspense that unmercifully reveals the life of a self-deluded, neglectful mother who caused irreparable damage to her family and ultimately struggles with death as much as life. It’s the second novel in his suspenseful and thrilling Thanatology series that began with the eerie, spine-tingling The Cursed Man.

Imagine Death knowing your deepest, darkest secrets and all of your private pain,” said Rommel about The The Lurking Man. “Now imagine it wants to use what it knows against you so that you bend to its will.”

In the Lurking Man, main character Cailean stands beneath a spotlight in a blinding snowstorm. She has no idea where she is or how she got there, but she senses something moving around her in the darkness outside the light.

When the ominous presence calling himself Sariel makes himself known, he declares that he is Death Incarnate and that Cailean has died. He has taken her to the Aperture, a place between the living and the dead, where he will force her to face the sins of her past in exchange for twenty-four hours of life to try and right her wrongs. But what she must do in return for this precious time is unthinkable.

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Lurking-Man-9781620063699.htm

AVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD

 
 

Is Evil Real? An Exorcism In America

The recent disclosure of a series of exorcisms performed on the children of the Ammons family in Indiana have a lot of people not only scratching their heads, but considering the reality of true evil. I’m well aware that many people are also rolling their eyes in disbelief. I mean, the stories of what happened to that poor family are pretty hard to wrap your head around. It makes The Exorcist look like an ABC family movie. But what if it’s true?

The possessed children in this case were ages 7, 9 and 12. Witnesses that included police, doctors, nurses and representatives of the Department of Child Protective Services all saw things that defied their versions of reality. The kids reportedly levitated, walked backwards up a wall and onto the ceiling, spoke in strange, terrifying voices and even had their facial features change. Ministers were called to the scene, as well as a host of medical professionals. They all found the mother and children to be of sound minds. There was no history of abuse. They were a normal family, until the demons took hold of the helpless children.

The Ammons house where the possessions of the 3 children took place.

The Ammons house where the possessions of the 3 children took place.

There are over 800 pages of documentation outlining the horror the Ammons family faced. Professionals with upstanding reputations have put it all on the line in confirming the impossible things they saw. Pictures of the house and family reveal disturbing images of shadow people, leering faces and unexplainable objects.

So what is this? A hoax? Hysteria? Mass delusion? A desperate cry for attention? Any one of these options brings comfort to the masses. We can let the story fade within the ebb and flow of the news cycle and go about our lives, unencumbered by big questions with even bigger consequences.

Exorcisms are real. That’s an undeniable fact. Just this month, Pope Francis announced that the Vatican is training a host of new exorcists to combat a rise in Satanic worship in Italy and Spain. I remember a couple of years ago when there was a similar call for trained exorcists in America. My family knew a monsignor who had been specially qualified to perform the rites of exorcism, and had been called to duty several times. He was reluctant to speak of them, simply reassuring us that evil was real, as real as the computer you’re reading this blog on, as real as love and happiness, life and death.

The big question is, does evil live in the heart and soul of man, or is it a dark presence outside of man, a demonic force waiting patiently for our weaker moments so it can take root? Worse still, is it both? In our every increasing secular society, people prefer to think the former. Evil is a character trait, an emotion, a  momentary lapse in moral judgement. Devout Christians and a host of other religions will tell you it’s the latter, that demons do exist.

Whatever wellspring that spawns evil, the very concept chills us to the bone. Movies about demonic possession have been frightening people for decades. From The Exorcist to The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby, Paranormal Activity, The Last Exorcism, we are both attracted to and repelled by the notion. Like moths to an inviting flame, we can’t stay away, yet we’re terrified to stare too deeply into the fire.

I see movies and books about exorcism and possession as a kind of exorcism in itself. The more we fictionalize it, the less real it becomes, which, in turn, robs the concept of its power over us. The Ammons case, with all of its supporting evidence, has the ability to demolish the walls we build to keep out the evil things out while reassuring us that our bad decisions have no long-lasting consequences.

Or we can tell ourselves that they’re crazy, or liars, or fame seekers. Or better yet, just let the story fade away.

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For people interested in learning more about exorcisms and the church’s stand on the practice, there’s a very good book I can recommend called American Exorcism by Michael W. Cuneo.

To read about the incredible Ammons possessions, check out articles in USA Today, The NY Daily News, and NewsCom

Glenn Rolfe Toes the Line with Samhain Horror Head Honcho, Don D’Auria

Hunter Shea:

How could I not share this great interview with my Samhain editor and all around swell guy, Don D’Auria!

Originally posted on Horror Novel Reviews:

Interview conducted by: Glenn Rolfe

Samhain Publishing editor and lead dog on the company’s horror line, Don D’Auria, has been in the business since the eighties. Driven by love of horror and the passion to bring this fictional evil to a world in dire need of great distractions, Don has brought the literary world of terror (not manned by a King or Koontz) back from the dead (in the mid-nineties with authors like Ramsey Campbell, Richard Laymon, and Jack Ketchum), only to watch his work sink in the great Dorchester Publishing debacle of 2010. He remerged in 2011 with Samhain and a boat load of amazing authors to once again conquer the horror world.

In 2011 Smahain author Frazer Lee’s debut novel, The Lamplighters, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. John Everson followed in 2012 with a nomination for Superior Achievement…

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Interview with Jonathan Moore about His Debut of Redheads, How He Writes, and His Love of Sailing

Hunter Shea:

Yes, I may be a fellow Samhain author, but that aside, this book is at the top of my ‘to-read’ list. Here’s a great interview and more than enough reasons to check out the book.

Originally posted on Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK!:

Today, I finally have my interview up with Jonathan Moore, author of Redheads, after technical difficulties last week during his launch! I’ve been dying to share it with you, as I feel Jonathan is a new author who is one to watch! If you like horror, crime, thrillers, serial killer dramas, supernatural twists, or just great literature, this book is one you must read for yourself.

You can read my review HERE if you’re curious about my thoughts on the book! But set aside some time this weekend and check out our interview, we get in-depth about his work and genres and he shares some beautiful photos of his boat in Hawaii…oh, we went sailing, didn’t you know? *in my dreams*

Redheads

 

Hi, Jonathan! Welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I’m so excited to have you here to talk about your debut novel, Redheads, as well…

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Damned Words 4

Hunter Shea:

8 writers, 1 image, 100 words to create a unique universe. Perfect snacking for Halloween.

Originally posted on Pen of the Damned:

chemicals

Fillmore Street Park
Dan Dillard

He walked to the old bench at the Fillmore Street Park for his evening think. He’d done it for years. He was loving her that night. He’d done that for years as well. With a groan—his old bones protesting, he sat and smiled, wrinkling an old face. Children played while he slumped, his heart seizing. She came soon after, just to check on him. She had stayed behind to clean the dishes. Same thing every night of their marriage. The poisoned glass was something new. She tossed it in the trash and smiled, knowing it was no longer needed.


Name Your Poison
Blaze McRob

Two measuring beakers wait on the left. The poisons, skull and cross-bones displayed on the bottles, are sitting on the right.

The labels tell a story. Mix them all together and it spells one thing. Doom.

Two parts salt from Sodom…

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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.

DarkZone-H

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.

Children,The

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

Sort of.

Thank You, Dad

One week ago today, I lost my father.

It was sudden, completely unexpected, and awful to witness. There are images that will haunt me for the rest of my life; sights and sounds and smells that will always bring back what was the worst week of my life.

But there was also comfort, by friends and family, priests and even strangers. And what comforts me most of all, other than my faith that my father and friend, a good man in a world that is sorely in need of them, is in a wonderful place right now. He left this world with no loose ends. His was a good life, a happy life. He passed away knowing his family was strong, there were no quarrels, and successful and content. If ever a person could leave this world with a sense of closure, it was him.

There are little things that upset me, small closures that will never happen that seem trivial but trouble me when I think about them. Before he died, he talked to me glowingly about Dennis Lehane’s new novel and how incredible the last half was. When I picked up the book, I noticed the bookmark was placed 6 pages before the end. We had also talked about his finally watching the season finale of Bates Motel, a show he and I both got into this spring. He never got the chance to see how it ended. I wanted to take him with me to a horror convention in the fall so he could see with his own eyes all of the things he instilled in me come to fruition as a writer. We played bocce and looked forward to many, many games together, sharing a drink and a laugh as we played with or against one another. Out of all the things we’ve done over our adult years, those games mean the most to me. It’s where he became as much my friend as my father.

What I want to do is thank him for all the things he did over the course of my life. He’d just turned 70 in April and I’m not usually a mushy card writer, but this time around, I did list some of the things I was most grateful for so he knew the impact he’d had on my life.

So dad, I know you’re still reading this blog. Here’s the entire list I should have written. Dad, thank you for:

  • Giving me life and a loving home, first in our apartment in the Bronx, across the street from the cemetery, then our house where you and mom have stayed for over 35 years.
  • Horsey-back rides. Those are some of my earliest memories as a kid in that apartment.
  • Bringing home issues of Mad and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines, especially when I was sick. They cemented my sense of humor and love of horror.
  • Putting together monster model kits in the kitchen while listening to college radio replay the old radio serials.
  • Annual summer vacations, where you showed me the beauty of Maine, a place my family now calls our home away from home.
  • More drive-in movies than I can count, watching flicks that made me the envy of all my friends.
  • So many other movies, most especially the twin bill of Dawn of the Dead and The Kentucky Fried Movie when I was 10. That stands out as the single greatest day at the movies in my life.
  • An appreciation for a cold beer, a breeze to shoot and the ability to relax and not run myself ragged trying to keep up with everyone around me.
  • Being a dad to Amy, accepting her into the family and always making her feel loved.
  • My absolute love of reading, which then became a compulsion to write.
  • Being there for me when Amy was so sick, and giving me a chance to collect myself without going bankrupt.
  • Teaching me to be a man, to be responsible, caring and loving to my family.
  • Being a great grandpa, playing wiffle ball with the kids, putting together put-put boats and slippng them $5 every time they were at the house.

I could write this list for days and never come to the end. The thing is, with each line, my heart grows heavier.

Dad

I miss you. We all miss  you.

And most of all, we love you. No past tense. That will never change.

Rest in peace. You earned it.

The Lords of Salem : Rob Zombie Gone Wild

I’ve been a fan of Rob Zombie ever since I heard Thunder Kiss ’65 back in the grunge days of 1992. Hell, when my girls were born, I used to rock them to sleep to White Zombie. And believe it or not, they fell asleep like little angels while he channeled Blade Runner and chanted he was More Human Than Human.

When he made his directorial debut with House of 1000 Corpses, I was the first in line. I knew the backstory in getting that movie made (Hollywood nightmare), and even though it was choppy and strange, I dug it. When he unleashed The Devil’s Rejects on the world, I knew he had arrived. That was one sick, twisted flick. And I still attest that his hillbilly horror take on the Halloween movies would be appreciated even more if they weren’t remakes of a legendary franchise.

Lords of Salem

When I first heard about The Lords of Salem, I jumped out of my skin, itching to plug myself into Zombie’s distorted view on witches in Salem. It stars, of course, his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, as a Salem DJ called Heidi who shares the airwaves with Dawn of the Dead’s own Ken Foree and Jeff Daniel Phillips (who could double for Rob Zombie). One of the things I love most about Zombie is his knowledge of the horror and 70’s exploitation genres and devotion to the stars who helped build them. This time around, he employs Dee Wallace (The Howling, The Hills Have Eyes), Judy Geeson (It Happened One Night) and Patricia Quinn (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) as a trio of sisters with something nefarious on their minds. It also stars Meg Foster as a beyond filthy, evil witch from centuries past. I met her last year at a horror con and thought she was the sweetest person on earth. I couldn’t believe what I saw on the screen was the same woman!

Here’s the premise : A mysterious vinyl album shows up at the radio station one night. When it’s played on the air, various women around Salem become entranced, having visions of pornographic witchly ceremonies in the 1600s. There’s a strong tie between Heidi and the man responsible for the Salem With Trials and the girl is about to go on an acid trip through hell to find out what it all means.

I came ouf of The Lords of Salem with my head spinning. The imagery here is graphic high-strangeness, and at times, unsettling. It has a very 70’s B movie pastiche and will leave you feeling like you just double-downed on acid.

SherriAt times, the narrative felt a little disjointed and Sheri Moon’s performance, finally not playing a murderous psychotic or stripper, is a little better than I thought it would be, but not strong enough to give her character the gravitas it needed. It’s not a scary movie, per se, but it does provide enough fuel for many nightmares to come. If a Rob Zombie song could weave itself to life, this is exactly what it would look and sound like.

I think most people are going to have a hard time wrapping their heads around this one. It’s great for me, but too odd for normal folk. And that’s just fine. The day Rob Zombie makes a movie for the masses, ala crap like Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer, I’m catching the next comet to the far reaches of space. Humanity will have lost all meaning for me.

You need to go into it not expecting it to be a major feature cranked out by the Hollywood hit – I mean schlock – machine. Picture yourself in the back of a car at a dirty drive-in and enjoy.

All Hail Comic Book Men!

As a dude who collected comics as a kid and has a Captain America tattoo, I was happier than a Mississippi leg hound on hump day when AMC announced its new show, Kevin Smith’s Comic Book Men. It’s a brilliant idea to keep all us comic geeks tuned in after we get our Walking Dead fix.

Naturally, the Monster Men had to give our take on the show. I promise you, this is the funniest, best episode yet. And if you don’t like it, well, you’re probably way cooler than us.

I’d also like to take some time out to thank some wonderful folks who have been supportive of me and my book over the past few months : Diana Navarro, Annaliesje & Pink Kitty Paranormal, Anthony Ventarola, Tobi Delacruz, Tom Wolstencroft, Aniko Caremean and the mainstays of the Westchester Writers Round Table, Shai, Rod, Casey, Robert, Jackie , Ellen and everyone who has ever gone to at least one gathering. I couldn’t do this without all of you and so many more!

And now, on with the show!

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