Tag Archive | samhain 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.

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.

A HELL of a Review and the Coming of the Dead

Well, looks like I survived another #Horrortober. I finished the month having watched 41 horror movies. I think I tied my 2012 record. I have to go check the old files to be sure. The sad thing is, I didn’t even get to about 10 movies I had set aside to watch. I’ll have to save them for December when I’ll need some counter-programming to the slew of sappy Christmas specials.

I also managed to finish the first draft of my next cryptid novel. Rewrite process starts tomorrow. I’ll reveal the beastie the book is about in the coming months.

Now, on to something that just elevated my day. As you all know, my  weird western, HELL HOLE, came out this past July. Because it was out a month after THE MONTAUK MONSTER, it kinda got lost in the shuffle, though I’m making up for it with mini blog tour this month. Hell Hole

 

Matt over at HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS sent me an email and link to their review of HELL HOLE a couple of days ago. You literally couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Here are some snippets from the review :

There’s a fine line that separates a very good writer and a truly great writer. Very good writers get it right sometimes, great writers rarely, if ever, let us down, releasing nothing but riveting piece after riveting piece. Stephen King is a great writer. Joe Lansdale is a great writer. Jack Ketchum, Jonathan Maberry, Clive Barker, those are great writers. Today, Hunter Shea – in this mind – completes the transition from very good writer to great writer. This man will not let you down, and he’ll just about always give you a taste of his personal trademarks, like the presence of monsters and key heroic ensembles. It’s what he does. It’s part of what makes him great.

The five (main characters) make for one of the greatest ensembles I’ve had the fortune of discovering in any novel, ever.

Shea is one of the absolute best in the business in 2014, and I’m going to go ahead and say it, Hell Hole is the best horror novel of the year.

To read the entire review, click here. While you’re there, poke around the site. It’s the best place for a horror lover to spend a day.

I’ve always been reluctant to mention reviews, knowing it’s part of the business, but also leery of tooting my own horn. This review is the stuff you dream of when you decide that you want to be a writer. To even be mentioned alongside my heroes – King, Barker, Ketchum and Lansdale – is more thrilling and humbling than you can imagine. It’s always a little scary, sharing a very personal labor of love with the world so it can be scrutinized. At the very least, I always hope my books give people a little escape from an insane world. And Hell Hole was a labor of love. I wrote it for my dad, who loved westerns and showed me the horror ropes. Hey may have passed before I had a chance to give it to him to read, but I know he’s enjoying it, and this review, at this very moment.

In other good news, my next Samhain novel, ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN, the sequel to 2013’s SINISTER ENTITY, is now listed on Samhain’s site and can be pre-ordered on December 7th (which is both Pearl Harbor Day and the day I got engaged to my wife back in 1990). In this one, I put Jessica Backman in a very, very bad place. Why am I so mean to her?

IslandoftheForbidden-H

Sometimes, the dead are best left in peace.

Jessica Backman has been called to help a strange family living on a haunted island in Charleston Harbor. Ormsby Island was the site of a brutal massacre two decades ago, and now the mysterious Harper family needs someone to exorcise the ghosts that still call it home. The phantoms of over one hundred children cannot rest.

But something far more insidious is living on the island. When the living and the dead guard their true intentions, how can Jessica discover just what sort of evil lurks on Ormsby Island? And why is Jessica the only one who can plumb its dark depths?

ISLAND comes out the first week in January, along with a slew of other books by great authors like Jonathan Janz, Russell James and Glenn Rolfe. This isn’t an island you want to be stranded on, even if Maryanne and Ginger are there.

Spend Halloween…In Hell!

What better day to kick off a mini-blog tour for my weird western, HELL HOLE, than on Halloween? There’s guaranteed to be something in that twisted yarn to make you say your prayers before turning out the light. To follow the tour (with guest posts, interviews and reviews), all you need to do is click the banner below. Big thanks, as always, to Erin at Hook of a Book for putting it all together.

Hell Hole button

And check this out. My main monster man, Jack Campisi, just released an official Monster Men music video. It’s going to be displayed on our YouTube channel, Monster Men 13. Tired of ‘All About That Bass’ playing in circles in your brain? Let the Monster Men take over! Perfect background music while you put on your Halloween costume today!

We expect to get no fewer than 300 trick or treaters tonight as we rock our annual house party. Hope I’ll have enough brain cells left this weekend to finish my next cryptid novel.

What are you all doing for Halloween? Please tell me my neighborhood isn’t the last bastion for balls to the wall trick or treating.

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.

 

I’m In Jim Harold’s Campfire 3 Book!

Over the years listening to Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast and becoming a subscriber to his Plus club where I can feed my paranomral addiciton daily, I’ve become a bit of a fanboy. I told him recently that’s he’s become the Leonard Nimoy (ala In Search of…) of the modern day.

A few years ago, I was on his Campfire Tales podcast, talking about the strange haunting I’ve been experiencing over the years. Well, you can imagine how thrilled I was when Jim emailed me saying he’d like to include it in his latest book, TRUE GHOST STORIES : JIM HAROLD’S CAMPFIRE 3.

Campfire 3

You can get a copy of Campfire 3 on your e-reader for just $2.99 – that’s less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks. In it, you’ll get 70 chilling tales of ghosts and high strangeness, as told by the people who experienced the unknown. You can also get it in paperback. Guess what I’m giving out to the trick or treaters this year!

And while you’re at it, check out his FREE Paranormal Podcast. And if you’ve had a ghostly encounter, send him an email and be part of his Campfire Tales show. You just may end up in a future edition.

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.

New Cover Reveal for Island of the Forbidden

IslandoftheForbidden-H

I just got the cover art for my January release, ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN, this weekend and I couldn’t wait to share it with you. This is the much anticipated sequel to SINISTER ENTITY, and like the previous 2 books in the series, it can be read as a standalone story. I have to say, this is the best cover I’ve gotten so far and it perfectly captures the nature of the book. Whaddya think?

Here’s a little tease about the book itself :

Sometimes, the dead are best left in peace.

Three painful years after her terrifying encounter with a doppelganger, Jessica Backman is called to help a strange family living on a haunted island in Charleston Harbor. Ormsby Island was the site of a brutal massacre two decades ago. The mysterious Harper family needs someone to exorcise the ghosts that still call it home.

But something far more insidious is living on the island. Dozens of phantoms walk the halls and roam the surrounding forest. What sort of evil lives and seethes on Ormsby Island? And why was Jessica chosen as the only one who could plumb its dark depths? Reunited with uber-psychic Eddie Home, whose own abilities have been shattered, Jessica must face crimes so taboo, no one will ever be the same.

More to come!

Forest of Shadows Coming to Audio

ForestOfShadowsV1

 

Great news. I was just informed that Forest of Shadows, the book that started it all, will be made into an audiobook! It will be available in 2015 – no definite date set yet. For you ghost fanatics out there, this is where the legend of ghost hunter Jessica Backman begins – a tale about her father staring into the abyss, searching for truths better left unsaid. This led to Sinister Entity and next year’s Island of the Forbidden.

I wish I could be the one to select who does the narration. Here are my top choices :

  • Christopher Walken
  • William Shatner
  • Jef Bridges
  • The Aflac duck

Who would you like to hear narrate the book?

If audio’s not your thing but you want to stock up on some spooky reading for Halloween, here’s what Forest of Shadows has in store for you -

The dead still hate!

John Backman specializes in inexplicable phenomena. The weirder the better. So when he gets a letter from a terrified man describing an old log home with odd whisperings, shadows that come alive, and rooms that disappear, he can’t resist the call. But the violence only escalates as soon as John arrives in the remote Alaskan village of Shida. Something dreadful happened there. Something monstrous. The shadows are closing in…and they’re out for blood.

Pick up a copy today at Amazon!

Journey To The Strange And Unusual

skulls

Let this post be a lesson to you – always listen to your kids.

My beautiful daughter, Ivy, is a full blown teenage metalhead with her father’s bizarre tastes and view of the world. She’s been a huge fan of the band Motionless in White. These dudes are hardcore with music that’ll pound a railroad spike into the center of your skull – and I mean this in the best way possible. When it comes to metal, skull splitting is the goal. I recently saw them at Warped Tour and was blown away.

Ivy told me that one of the band’s members, Josh Balz (along with his girlfriend, Ryan Malarky, an incredible tattoo artist), owned his own oddities parlor, a place called The Strange and Unusual. If you don’t know what the name refers to, I command thee to go watch Beetlejuice. I’ve always said that my Ivy is little Lydia, only far less morose.

She’s been dying to go to The Strange and Unusual, and as a fan of the show, Oddities, I can’t say I wasn’t happy to take her. We made the drive out to Kingston, Pennsylvania and found the small yet oddly spacious parlor. Best of all, with Motionless in White in between tours, Josh was there. Really nice guy with a fabulous store of some of the quirkiest antiques, taxidermied beasts, mounted insects and polished skulls you’ll ever find. I walked around the parlor a half dozen times and my eyes kept catching things I’d missed on the previous circuit. It really is a feast for the senses (and head and shoulders above Obscura in NY – the place featured on the show, Oddities). It’s not cluttered or cramped, which made our stay even better. What made my day as the keeper of the books, the merchandise is reasonably priced, too.

Needless to say, the Shea family plunked down some cash so we could take a piece of the parlor home with us. Josh was happy to sign some autographs for Ivy and her friend and he liked my Samhain bloody syringe pen so much that we let him keep it. Next time I’ll bring some books as well.

As I always like to do when I visit cool places, I present the below gallery to entice you to hop in your car and check it out for yourself. Bring your wallet. You won’t want to go home empty handed. We’re already planning our next visit.

 

dummy

 

wall

baby doll

family

skull frame

Nun

gas mask

Human Skulls

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