Saturday morning, an hour or so before I start ticking things off my weekend chore list. Since my father passed away, I make it a point to work on my mother’s house every week cleaning things out, doing repairs, and now, raking never ending piles of leaves. Then it’s on to do the shopping, getting the oil changed in the old Jeep and working on my house. Somewhere in there I hope to get some work in on my new book, the sequel to Sinister Entity.
I’ve written about my wife and her health struggles over the past two years. Thankfully, we’ve just about conquered the hanta-like virus that she caught, but discovered she also has lupus. It flared up pretty bad this fall, so she’s back on radiation to beat it back. Looks like she’ll stay on it until the end of the year. Add to that my youngest daughter who’s had mono since September and I’m basically living in a hospital ward. Thank God my oldest daughter is like her dad and can run around with me getting everything done.
I’m very fortunate to have a passion like writing in my life to help keep me sane when things have gone haywire. And I’m very grateful for everyone who has come along with me on this crazy ass journey. 2014 will be a better year. I’ll have 3 novels out next year and plan to attend a number of cons to mix and mingle with my peeps.
One of the bright spots of 2013 has been the success of my twisted little Bigfoot novella, Swamp Monster Massacre. The ebook continues to gain new fans, and I recently learned that the audiobook is a bestseller on The Audio Bookshop. It’s a pretty big honor to be listed beside great writers like Ron Malfi and Tim Lebbon. I love the narration – a dry, good old southern boy, just like the main character, Rooster Murphy. 25% of all royalties from the book will go to the Lupus Foundation of America, so you’ll not only get a fun audiobook, but you’ll also support a great cause to fight a terrible disease.
Try it, you’ll like it. Trust me. I’m not just a horror writer, I’m also the president of the horror nerds society.
With the Halloween season creeping up on us like Jason with a new hockey mask, it’s time to start getting our scare on. I figured I’d kick things off with an excerpt from my terrifying ghost novel, Sinister Entity. Read on, but keep the light switch nearby and make sure to keep your foot tucked in the covers. Oh, and don’t fear going to the bathroom in the dead of night…too much.
Let me know what you think of the excerpt (or the book) and I’ll give away a free signed copy to a random person who posts a comment.
The small bathroom was just off the kitchen and was her father’s sanctuary. A magazine basket filled with well-thumbed copies of Sports Illustrated and Newsweek sat between the toilet and sink. She took a moment to lean against the sink and calm her nerves. Even if Jessica and Eddie somehow managed to make everything go away, she wasn’t sure she could ever spend another night in this house.
Being scared or anxious always made her have to pee, and she was surprised she had lasted this long without letting off the mounting pressure on her bladder. She unbuttoned her shorts and pulled them down with her panties.
“Oh my God that feels good.”
It felt as if she hadn’t gone to the bathroom in weeks and the stream came out in a never-ending rush.
There was a soft tap on the tile floor, and she gasped when air in the cramped room changed, becoming icy and thick. It was like trying to draw a breath through a cold, wet towel. Her heartbeat burst into high gear until she could hear the pounding of its overworked valves in her ears.
She bent down to pull up her shorts and shrieked when a pair of arctic hands clutched her wrists, pinning them to her sides.
She barely managed to cry out, “No!”
The rest of her words were cut off. She was being suffocated. Something blocked her nose and mouth and she struggled to draw a breath while the cold, invisible hands moved to her thighs, slowly creeping inward.
Just in time for the Halloween season, my first short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, has been set loose on an unsuspecting world. To kick things off, I’m running a special from now until Halloween. You can get a copy of Asylum Scrawls for only 99 cents. After the ghosts and goblins have their fill of candy and egging houses, the price goes to $1.99 (still a bargain if you ask me). With fantastic cover art by Mike Chella and a creepy bonus story by my mentor, Norm Hendricks, it’s sure to make you question what’s real and what’s not.
As an added bonus, if you download a copy before Halloween and let me know through this old blog and chain, the FB fan page or Twitter, you’re also eligible to win a copy of any of my novels. You can’t beat that with a stick, or chainsaw, or hot poker, or machete. I’ll be giving away books all through the Horrortober season. That’s right, all treats, no tricks.
So, what’s cooking in the asylum?
- In PHANTOM FEELING, meet Hank, a recent amputee living in his parents’ attic. His childhood toys are coming out to spell secret messages to him – or is he losing his grip on his sanity?
- THE FACELESS GIRL follows two couples at a famous movie star’s mountain mansion. The master bedroom holds a terrifying secret – an apparition that will not leave.
- The last place you want to be is strapped to the pummel stone in STONED. Poor Kitty’s wasted her life on the stone, but things are about to take an unexpected and deadly turn.
- What happens when your religious zealot wife tells you about her special COMMANDMENT ELEVEN? You watch your life fall to pieces, bit by agonizing bit.
- Ready for a true gothic nightmare? MERCY starts with a demonic possession and only gets worse in the old manse beset by evil.
- FOUL BALL is a throwback to the 70′s during the Summer of Sam in New York. When a Wiffle ball rolls down the sewer, 6 boys devise a plan to save it from the muck and slime. Some things are better off lost
- In a special bonus story by Norm Hendricks, a child killer confined to a prison cell waits for the call of the PIPER. Truly haunting.
Help me get this bad boy to number one! To order your copy from Amazon, click here.
It’s a grand day here in the Monster Men dungeon. The Halloween season is in full swing and we’re feeding the Samhain beast with movies, books, TV shows and more.
This year, we have a couple of surprises, eat some Halloween treats, talk with our mouths full and behave like the monsters we are.
Check out the little contest we threw in to win copies of my books. We didn’t make it easy, but a true horror hound will get it. Good luck!
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.
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.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know summer is all about being on the beach, seeing how often you can pee in public pools, barbecuing as a valid excuse to drink and clinking Mountain Dew cans while you and your bud ride off into the sunset on your jet skis.
Well, summer’s dead. Long live the fall!
It’s high time I clued you all in to the Monster Men episodes you missed while you were out and about having lost weekends and connecting with nature. I can’t believe we’re almost at 50 episodes! The fact that our 50th will be out in October, a monster’s time to shine, is pure dumb luck.
So, starting with the most recent to where we last left off when our stalwart heroes were at the mercy of Ming, here’s your chance to get all caught up before the HUGE October festivities. Help us get more sets of eyes on these episodes. Share them on all social media platforms, subscribe to the show and help spread the word. Click on the episode #s to view. If we can triple the views for each in the next couple of weeks, I’ll have some signed book and ebook giveaways to help get your Halloween started properly.
Episode 47 : Paranormal TV. All I have to say in this one is hail Bates Motel! Damn that was a great show, and a total shock to us both. We also dissect Hannibal, the second season of American Horror Story and a host of other shows. This one’s chock full of Vera Farmiga and Gillian Anderson – and that’s a good thing.
Episode 46 : Summer’s Hottest Flicks. At this point, you’ll have to wait for these movies to come out on video, but I’m sure it won’t be a long one. We break down the surprise smash hit, The Conjuring (Vera Farmiga again!), World War Z (no holds barred review on that one), Pacific Rim and a too cool indie zombie movie called The Battery. I saw Pacific Rim after we filmed this and the 10 year old in me fell in love.
Episode 45 : Comic Book Movies. The title says it all. In here, we have Iron Man, The Avengers, Batman, Man of Steel, you name it. This episode is dedicated to my father who passed away this June. He was the one who got me addicted to comics when I was a kid, and I could never thank him enough.
Episode 44 : Welcome to Monster Men…AAAARRRRGGGGHHH! For shits and giggles, we put together a montage of all of our openings. Watch us go from terrified squares to mental patients in no time at all.
Please, remember to tell everyone you know about the podcast. Unlike so many others out there, we’re not asking for money or reviews. We just want to spread the holy gospel of horror to as many people as we can. It only takes a click or two. We thank you for all your support these past 2 years and hope to do this for many, many more.
Over the last year, I’ve become a huge fan of the SEPS Paranormal podcast. Host Paul Cagle has a very similar sensibility to my own when it comes to the paranormal, plus he’s a funny dude.
I was thrilled to be on his show. The episode is now up. We talk about the ghost experiences I’ve had, my books and the Monster Men podcast. Come join the fun! If you catch it on iTunes, I hope you subscribe (it’s free) and drop some reviews/comments.
So often, writers give advice on how to write (or not write) a book. It’s high-time someone gave a glimpse into where to bang those keys for your next novel.
The answer is simple – you can write anywhere! There’s no need to wait until you have that perfect ‘study’ with the mahogany desk, shelves lined with important books, bay window overlooking Mother Nature in all her glory. If you want to write, if the words just have to come out of you like that little guy from Alien, you’ll write anywhere you can.
My latest novel, Sinister Entity, was written all over the place. In a year’s time, I worked on it everywhere from New York, to Pennsylvania and Maine. I worked mornings, afternoons, nights, basically any time I could steal away to purge the story from my mind.
I started in the corner of my bedroom I call my office. Here is where I’m surrounded by all my stuff, the things that make me comfortable, my reference materials, signed pics of Elvira, yadda yadda yadda.
About a dozen chapters in, we went with my family to our annual trip to the Poconos. I woke up early every day to write downstairs in the living room and kitchen (which had a great view of the sunrise, by the way).
Then it was back to the home office. Before we knew it, summer hit and it was time to go camping, our my family’s version of camping that involves a cabin with cable TV, a full kitchen and shower. Again, I mostly worked mornings on the porch, smelling the surrounding forest and flicking dew drops and strange bugs from the screen.
That was a special year because we took 2 vacations. The second was to my home away from home and favorite place in the world, Maine. I wrote all times of the day, either on the back porch or by the lake. It’s especially cool and inspiring to write a horror novel in the very same town where Stephen King penned a few of his own.
Now all I had was the last fourth of the book to go. And after so many tranquil locations, where did I end up? My cramped kitchen, of course. Not sure why it is, but I seem to write best there. Go figure.
I also did some writing in an airport during a four hour flight delay and made quite a few trips to the library to tap out a few hundred words here and there. The thing is, I wrote wherever I was at the time. I didn’t have time to wait for the perfect moment or place. I simply wrote.
Now go out there and create!
One of Pen of the Damned's most recent features is the addition of Damned Words into our schedule - once a rotation we review an image, photographed and supplied by our own Nina D'Arcangela, and each write a one hundred word flash inspired by what we see.
It is wonderful to see the weird places each of our different personalities takes us.