Tag Archive | horror

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.

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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.

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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.

Visit Hell For Halloween To Win

I’m writing this from deep in the abandoned copper mines in Hecla, Wyoming. It’s kinda dark in here but the internet access is surprisingly good. I just spotted a pair of rough hombres skulking around. They have the spirits all riled up. Hope they know what they’re doing.

As you may or may not know, my most recent novel, HELL HOLE, takes place right here in these mysterious hills. A pair of former Rough Riders plumb the very depths of these mines on the orders of none other than Teddy Roosevelt. What they encounter, well, let’s just say none of it’s good. Unless being harrassed by ghosts, black eyes kids, squatches and a whole host of craziness is your idea of a fun time.

Hell Hole

HELL HOLE was written with the Halloween season in mind. I want people to read horror as much as they watch it, especially this month of #Horrortober! So, here’s what I aim to do. I’m going to give a free ebook to everyone who does one of the following:

  • Go to AmazonBarnes & Noble or Samhain’s website and post a review/rating for Hell Hole. Once you do, send an email to huntershea1@gmail.com with a link to your review or rating.
  • Purchase a copy of Hell Hole. Again, send a screen print or other proof of purchase to huntershea1@gmail.com

Also in the email, tell me which of my books you’d like, as well as your preferred format : FOREST OF SHADOWS, EVIL ETERNAL, SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE, SINISTER ENTITY or THE WAITING.

One book per customer. This incredible offer lasts until October 31, 2014.

This is all part of my plan to win the lottery and buy the most tricked out RV in history, convert it into a book mobile and travel the country handing out books and spreading the love of reading. So come on, show your love for HELL HOLE and Halloween. I’ll make it worth your while.

 

Win A Signed Copy Of My Horror-Western, HELL HOLE

A big thank you to Matt Molgaard and the folks at HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS for running a special giveaway for my latest novel, HELL HOLE. I’m telling you, if true, terror-inducing horror and wild adventure are your thing, HELL HOLE was written with you in mind.

Here’s a little snippet of the HNR post :

There is absolutely no refuting Hunter Shea’s position in the horror world. He’s an extremely active author who puts his fiction at the front of the life line, and it’s paid major dividends. His knack for creating jaw dropping monsters has not let me down a single time, and that’s why I’ll campaign for this stud’s work Any. Time. Whatsover!

Simply put, I’m a fan who will stand by Hunter as long as Hunter is creating new stories.

He’s doing just that.

Hell Hole, Hunter’s latest, is a promising amalgamation of insanity and unconventional obstacles. And it sounds damn scary!

Now, how do you get in on the action? Hop on over to HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS by clicking here. They’ll tell you the exceedingly simple steps to enter the giveaway. They’ve come up with a great way to not only have a contest for the book, but to also get you in the Halloween mood! Good luck, pardners!

Hell Hole

Come See Me This Friday In NJ – Talking Real Montauk Monsters!

Hey, if you’re in the New York tri-state area this Friday, Sept 19th, I hope you can come to the Well Read Bookstore in Hawthorne, New Jersey. I’ve been invited by the Science Fiction Society of Northern New Jersey to talk about the facts within the fiction of my book, The Montauk Monster. The fun begins at 7pm. I promise to make it an interesting night. I even have my own technical team on hand to make sure nothing breaks! That’s right, this author is head of the AV club.

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The Truth Behind The Montauk Monster

What’s cookin’ monster dudes and monsterettes? Hope you’re enjoying your summer as much as I am and catching up on some quality reading time. August is the month I rest up so I’m ready for my favorite month, #Horrortober! Already putting together my list of horror flicks to watch and books to read.

When I’m not lounging around searching for my lost shaker or salt, I’ve been visiting bookstores, libraries and horror cons, talking about The Montauk Monster. And not just the book, but the real story behind the myth and how I tied fact and fiction together and injected it with a human growth hormone/speed cocktail.

Fellow Monster Man Jack and I recorded one of our get togethers where we talked all about the Long Island beasts and how the book deal came about. For those of you who can’t get to one of my talks, I present it here for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure).

What monster do you think is under-appreciated and needs its own book? You may be the person to inspire my next monster novel! If you live in the US and give a suggestion in the comments here, you’re eligible to win a signed copy of The Montauk Monster. Let your monster freak flags fly!

Hunter Shea “Hell Hole” Review

Hunter Shea:

This is one hell of a review for my latest, HELL HOLE. No way I couldn’t share this one.

Originally posted on The Horror Bookshelf:

Hell Hole

BOOK INFO

Publisher: Samhain Horror

Length: 282 Pages

Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Hell Hole is the story of former Rough Rider and current New York City Cop Nat Blackburn and his journey on a mission from his old war pal, President Theodore Roosevelt. The mission is seemingly simple: head to a little town called Hecla in Wyoming. Roosevelt tells Nat that the town was a huge source of copper and other minerals, causing it to explode in growth overnight. However, the copper veins eventually dried up and Hecla collapsed, despite rumors of gold being found in the mines. Not only did the town’s prosperity fall apart, but the residents of Hecla disappeared without a trace. Naturally, Nat thinks it is because of something easily explainable like Indians scaring off the settlers, who they see as intruders on their land. Roosevelt dashes that theory when…

View original 475 more words

Calling All Bloggers!


Shady’s back from the mountains and lakes of Maine. It was nice to totally unplug for a whole week and just let my brain relax along with my body for a change. Every time I leave Maine, I leave a little piece of my soul.

Now that I’m getting into the swing of things, I have a couple of announcements (no worries, I’m not releasing any more books in 2014…don’t want Hunter Overload).

HellHole

First, as you all know, my latest novel, HELL HOLE just came out earlier this month. It’s an insane mash-up of western and horror, the likes of which have never been seen before. If you would like to be part of the blog tour for HELL HOLE, reply to this post or email me at huntershea1@gmail.com. I’ll send you an e-copy of the book for review and will be happy to do a handful of guest posts and interviews. Hey, you’ll get a free book out of it! I hope to start the tour in late August, early September and roll until Halloween. If you know of a blog that fits the mold, let me know. There’s a reward for those who see something and say something.

Second, this Thursday I’ll be hosting my first ever Ask The Author Day. Hop on over to my Fan Page (link is on the sidebar) and feel free to ask me any questions about the writing biz, my least favorite zoo animal, how to spackle a ceiling, you name it. I’ll answer questions throughout the day and night. Should be fun.

Last but not least, if you’re on Goodreads, I’m giving away a signed copy of HELL HOLE to 1 lucky winner. Head on over there to enter.

 

HELL HOLE Excerpt : What Lies Beneath

Greetings from sunny New York where the crime rises with the humidity in July. Fear not for me. I’m safe in my air conditioned lair, my killer cat always on the lookout for dangerous interlopers.

It’s been a wild month and a half with 2 books coming out one after the other. THE MONTAUK MONSTER is flying off the shelves and devouring the beach read competition. I’ll be talking all things Montauk and monsters up in Maine a week from now. I have a signing at Bridgton Books (Bridgton is a town Stephen King once lived in and penned some great books) on Friday, July 25th from 1-3pm.

I’ll also be at the North Bridgton Library to talk writing and have a fun Q&A on Tuesday, July 22 at 7pm. I’ll make sure I have all of my books on hand.

OK, now let’s get down to HELL HOLE. I wrote this western/horror for my father last year because he was such a fan of westerns. Unfortunately, he passed away before he could read the finished product, but I sense he has his copy up there in the great beyond. HELL HOLE is just one of several horror westerns that Samhain will be publishing this year, along with Jonathan Janz’s excellent western vampire, DUST DEVIL’S. It’s strange how we all decided to head out west at the same time without talking amongst ourselves about it.

HellHole

 

Mine is a little different because it’s set in Wyoming in 1905, a couple of decades after the real wild west’s heyday. But it does have an old cowboy, Rough Riders, Teddy Roosevelt, a creepy abandoned mine, black-eyed kids, ghosts, wild men, Djinn and a hell of a lot more. And I’d be remiss if I left out a half-Mexican beauty named Selma. To whet your whistle, I’ve posted a little excerpt below. Take a gander and make the trip to Hecla, Wyoming with me, where things are never what they seem. Info on getting your own copy is on the BOOKS tab.


 

It didn’t take long to circumnavigate the hills, even taking it as slow as we did. By noon, it felt like the sun was sitting on the brim of my Stetson. We were about to call it a day when Selma pulled up her horse and barked, “Look over here! What is that?”

Peering down, I saw a footprint of some kind. It was made by someone that had been barefoot because you could make out all the toes. Odd thing about it was that there were only four toes.

And it was big. Longer and wider than any foot I’d ever seen.

“There’s another one over here,” Teta said.

About seven feet to the north of the first track was another. All told, we found six of them, though only two were deep enough to retain any kind of definition.

Que demonios?” Teta said, whistling as he walked around them. “I never saw a foot that damn big.”

I jumped off my horse and bent down to get a closer look.

“Awfully wide,” I said.

“You can see there’s a right foot and a left foot,” Selma said, pointing to the nearest set.

“And only four toes on each,” Teta added.

“Let me see something, try to gauge the size.” I put my boot next to the footprint. It was bigger than mine by a good five or six inches, and I wore a size twelve.

Selma said, “Maybe it’s an old footprint. Time in the elements just wore it enough so it looks bigger than it is.”

Tracing my fingers in and around the best print, I shook my head. “Nope. This one’s fresh. Couple of days old at the most. The ground up here is too dry to keep a print for long, even one that’s as deep as this. Had to have been someone awfully heavy to make it.”

“How do you know that?” she asked.

“He did this for a living, long time ago, back before you were born,” Teta said with a wry smile.

“Then you think it’s real?”

“The print is,” I replied. “Can’t tell you about the person that made it. Hard to imagine a man big enough to leave a print like that. Maybe he was wearing some weird kind of boot. Could be ceremonial for one of the local tribes. Not every Indian is on a rez. I hear there are still Cheyenne and Crow about.”

I’d seen Apaches wear some peculiar stuff during their ceremonies. It wasn’t hard to imagine an Indian sporting something like this, though the depth of the impression bothered me. Could have been a man with someone on his shoulders.

“But why would someone do such a thing?”

“I’m just a white man. It’s hard for me to get into the head of an Indian. They have different dances and different ways of dressing for everything you can imagine. I’ve heard of some that believe in a wild man of the mountains. It’s kind of like some big, hairy bear that’s also part man. He’s said to be taller than any man, stronger than an angry bison and faster than a mountain lion.”

“Do you believe in it?”

Teta gave a quick laugh and I cut it off with a sharp look.

“No, I don’t. But they do. And when they believe hard in something, they do their damnedest to make themselves look like it. What this tells me is what I’ve thought all along. We have some rogue Indians out here keeping the white men away from their hills.”

The first cool breeze of the day whispered through the trees and shook the brittle leaves. It sounded like small bones rattling in a jug.

Teta instinctively placed his palm on the handle of his Colt. “Suddenly, I don’t like being here with so much cover.”

“Me neither. Let’s get back to camp. I have to rethink things.”

Selma was quick to mount. Her head swiveled from side to side, anticipating danger everywhere. Poor girl had no experience with things like this. I had a good mind to bring her back to her father myself in the morning.

We had only gotten a few feet from the tracks when a piercing howl erupted behind us. My insides went numb. All three horses reared.

I hoped to hell we didn’t get bucked.

Not with whatever was at our backs close enough to raise the hairs on our heads.

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

 
 
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