Instant Carnage – JUST ADD WATER

Gather round, Hellions, I have a special bit of insanity to share. You can now pre-order my upcoming novella, JUST ADD WATER, coming out with Lyrical Press in June. It’s the first in a trilogy of connected novellas coming out this summer called the Money Back Guarantee series. They’re all set in the late 1970s/early 1980s and center around the amazing crap you used to be able to buy from comic books. If you grew up in that era, odds are you conned your parents into buying one of these awful ripoffs.

just-add-waterGROW AMAZING LIVE SEA SERPENTS!

It’s fun! It’s easy! They only cost a measly dollar. Just clip out the ad in your comic book. Then ask Mom to mail it in. A few weeks later, receive a packet of instant Sea Serpent dust. Then:

Just add water . . . and watch them grow!

WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

Just ask David and Patrick. Their “instant pets” are instant duds. They don’t hatch, they don’t grow, they don’t do anything. So they dump them into the sewer where Dad pours toxic chemicals . . .

WAIT UNTIL FEEDING TIME.

It’s been years since David and Patrick thought about those Sea Serpents. But now, small animals are disappearing in the neighborhood. Strange slimy creatures are rising from the sewers. And once the screaming starts, David and Patrick realize that their childhood pets really did come to life. With a vengeance. They’re enormous . . . and have a ravenous hunger for human flesh . . .


The other 2 novellas are OPTICAL DELUSION and MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. You can pre-order all of them, though the covers aren’t ready for the last 2 yet. The best part is, they’re only $1.99 each. And if all goes well, all three will be bundled in a paperback in 2018. So grab your X-ray specs, grow some Sea Monkeys and head on down the road to ruin!

Talking about the Jersey Devil on Jim Harold’s Cryptid Report

I can’t even express how exciting it was to be featured on Jim Harold’s Cryptid Report. He has the world’s #1 paranormal podcast, featuring the brightest stars in the fields of the paranormal, UFOs and cryptozoology. And here I come, interloping on greatness. 🙂

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We sat back and talked about The Jersey Devil. Is it real? Where did it come from? Where is it today? And what else is lurking in the dense, remote Pine Barrens? Click here to listen to the interview and find out…

And you can still grab a copy of The Jersey Devil for only 99 cents. Offer ends March 1st.

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Pre-order Extension for WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING

Today is a good day.

Because of popular demand, Sinister Grin Press has extended the pre-order phase for the limited edition hardcover of We Are Always Watching until the end of the month. They want to make sure everyone gets a copy, rather than stick to the hard cutoff of Feb 15th. So if you were on the fence and worried that you missed the boat (I know, what the heck does a fence have to do with a boat?), there’s still time! We’re limited to 150 copies, but let’s, as the Eagles once sang, ‘take it to the limit!’

Because I’m so over the moon about this, I’m also going to Skype folks who order the hardcover and personally thank them. So, if you’ve placed your order, email me at huntershea1@gmail.com and I’ll set up a day and time for us to shoot the bull. I always wanted to jump in an RV and visit my readers, so this is the next best thing. The RV may come next. 

Aaand, you can also now pre-order the ebook on that fledgling book site, Amazon. Click here to reserve your ebook.

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The signature sheets have been signed, sealed and delivered. Now they just need to be woven into the books themselves.

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Starting March 1st,  you’ll be able to order the trade paperback as well.

And stay tuned, because I’m going to have some exciting news about one of my most popular, best selling Samhain books. It’s coming back, better than ever! More on that very soon.

Norman Prentiss on his stellar novel, ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER

About a year ago, my darling Hellions, I posted an article about Norman Prentiss’s latest work, a unique on-the-road kinda tale called ODD ADVENTURES WITH YOUR OTHER FATHER. Since then, the book has garnered high praise and is in contention for a coveted Bram Stoker award.

I described the book as An absolutely beautiful book that seamlessly combines love and monsters. One of the most truly unique and unforgettable reads I’ve ever come across.”

Well, I’ve dragged Norman back for an interview and I strongly encourage all of you to pick up a copy. It’s only $1.00 on Kindle now, so run, don’t walk!


Odd Adventures With Your Other Father is one of the most poignant novels, horror or otherwise, I’ve read in a long time. What was the inspiration behind this unique, touching story?

First, thanks for the nice words about the book’s emotional stuff. It’s been hard to pitch to my usual horror readers, since the supernatural elements/adventures are essentially wrapped around a coming-of-age tale, and the whole book essentially comprises an unconventional love story. But the quirky structure of the book, and its strange mixture of themes/genres, is a big part of what energized me as I was writing it.

I’d had the idea for the book for quite a while. Ten or so years ago, I made notes for a story called “Union,” that essentially played off of the only supernatural element in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, when Jane telepathically hears Rochester’s agonized cry for her help. Jane and Rochester have such a close connection, that they can read each others’ minds from a distance. I wanted to write about a similar telepathic connection, and came up with the idea that a gay couple, growing up in the 80s, might develop a mild supernatural ability to compensate for the isolation they might feel during a more repressed era. The idea was that one member of the couple gets kidnapped, but could project gruesome images that helped his partner locate him. The idea sat in the back of my mind for a while, and eventually developed into some other adventures I had for the couple. Then, as I was structuring the tales into the Odd Adventures novel, I realized I needed an origin story, of a sorts… so “Bread Crumbs,” the first adventure in the book, is a fully realized version of my earlier “Union” notes.

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As I was reading it, I was hoping it was a veiled autobiography. I know that sounds crazy, but I love the concept of hidden wonders on a cross country road trip. How much fact, if any, is there in the fiction?

That actually doesn’t sound crazy at all, and is exactly how I think about the novel! My first book, the novella Invisible Fences, is largely a fictionalized autobiography of my childhood. Odd Adventures with your Other Father, to me, is autobiographical with respect to my adult life — with a horror and fantasy overlay, of course. The main characters, Jack and Shawn, each contain characteristics borrowed from me and my partner of 30+ years, with Jack being a more adventurous, more confident version of myself. The best parts of Shawn reflect my real-life husband. As for the fantasy/horror elements…here’s the thing: growing up gay in the 70s and 80s was always a surreal experience, to some extent — reading in code, finding queer themes embedded in mainstream books; looking at ideas of marriage and family that you’re afraid would never apply to you. So, to represent that time with any truth, to show how it really felt, fantasy elements were essential. And monsters, too.

How would you categorize the book? Horror is by and large dominated by stories centering around straight white males. What is your hope for the future of horror?

I call it a Horror/Fantasy/LGBT road-trip adventure with a coming-of-age frame tale. That’s not much help to book marketers who want a single category, however. For me it’s mostly horror, since that’s my sensibility…and when I describe it that way, it allows the love/family elements to sneak up on readers, which I kinda don’t mind.

As for horror often centering around straight white males — I’ll admit I’ve written my share of those myself, ha! When I first conceived the Other Father stories, I think it would have been a harder sell with horror audiences. But from the response I’ve been getting, it seems like things are more open: very positive reactions from horror readers, and also encouraging comments from people who have said things like “This isn’t the kind of book I’d normally pick up, but I enjoyed it.” Maybe the LGBT content has actually helped the book, by making it stand out a bit.

What horror movie and book would you say is the Norman Prentiss spirit animal?

I’ll just say the 1931 King Kong in the movie category. As a kid, I was fascinated by the stop-motion animation of Kong and the dinosaurs…and I even allude to Kong and stop-motion in one of the adventures, “The Manikin’s Revenge.” As a writer, I like the slow build of the 1931 movie, which probably had a subconscious influence on how I construct stories: setting up the atmosphere, referring to an off-screen monster as the tension builds, then letting the monster or ghost or whatever break into the story at the right moment.

As for books as spirit animals… I’d say anything by Douglas Clegg or T.M. Wright; Straub’s Ghost Story for its complex structure and commentary on storytelling; and add in a collection of M. R. James stories.

I know you’re a teacher as well as a writer. If you could be in any other profession, what would it be?

My favorite job, actually, is part-time teacher. I love teaching, but I always over-prepare, so it’s better for me to have a reduced class load. That leaves time for my editing gig at Cemetery Dance (for their eBooks), and my writing.

What’s your dream city to visit and why?

I spent my junior year of college in England, and really fell in love with Oxford. I’ve planned out two more books in the Other Father series, but they all take place in the U.S. You’re making me think, now, that I need to write a fourth book that takes place in England…

If you could write in any other genre, what would it be?

Definitely comedy. I’m often wary of mixing horror and comedy, but have tried my hand at it in a couple stories, including “The Albright Sextuplets,” and “The Man Who Could Not Be Bothered to Die” (a kind of zombie story in Blood Lite 3).  When I was writing poetry, I tended to include a dark comic element. I’m currently writing a daily blog of flash fiction that frequently includes comic elements. It’s called “Excerpts from The Apocalypse-a-Day Desk Calendar,” with mini-stories triggered by holidays or “on this day” events. A lot of post-apocalyptic horror, obviously, but some is straight-up humor — check the inappropriate Jane Austen mash-up in the January 28th entry, for example. The blog’s available for free at: http://normanprentiss.com/category/apocalypse-a-day/

What are you currently working on and how can peeps follow your own odd adventures?

In addition to keeping up with the Apocalypse blog, I’m also revising a novel called Life in a Haunted House, which is about a young movie fan who gains access to the studio of his favorite low-budget director. When I officially announce the book, I’ll be releasing some fun tie-in novelizations of movies that get mentioned in the novel–my hope is to make these stories free-of-charge to folks who subscribe to my newsletter: visit www.normanprentiss.com, and click the Newsletter link. I’ve already given away two mini-collections of stories to my subscribers (In the Best Stories and Queer Panics), and my novella Invisible Fences has been free for a while at Barnes and Noble and Amazon US, so I’m really working hard to get my fiction into people’s ereaders! And by the way, since we’ve been talking about Odd Adventures with your Other Father…this is my most important and personal book, I definitely feel it’s my best work, and it’s discounted to only $1 for the whole month of February at Amazon US and Amazon Canada.

Creature Features, Cow Carcasses and Kindle Deals

I know, Hellions, that’s one strange ass title for a blog post, but that’s exactly what it’s all about.

Thanks goes out to an old friend, Brenda B., for sharing this photo and story with me. Somehow, during my research into the Jersey Devil, I missed this! Back in the 60’s in New Jersey, a cow and a deer carcass somehow made it to the top of a telephone pole. Locals attributed it to their friendly neighborhood monster.

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Cryptozoologists say the Jersey Devil has kept a very low profile since the early 1900s, but if you go out and talk to the people who live there, you’ll get a completely different opinion. And here’s another shocker – I can’t believe how many folks have first hand Bigfoot encounters in the Pine Barrens. I’ve spoken to quite a few, some of them still visibly upset, even if it happened years ago.

I wonder if this was the Jersey Devil’s idea of a pinata? Maybe she just wanted to throw a party for her horrid offspring.

And speaking of horrid offspring, Pinnacle has discounted all of my books for the month of February. You can snag an ebook of The Montauk Monster for $1.99, The Jersey Devil for 99 cents or Tortures of the Damned for 99 cents. Time to load up those e-readers on the cheap!

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Jersey Devil Cover

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What’s the strangest thing ever found on a telephone pole? For me, we threw a Batman figure that had a parachute attached to our phone line. It stayed there for about 10 years, poor Batsy’s color fading with each year.

Don’t Miss Out -Limited Edition Pre-Orders Selling Fast

I just wanted to share the wicked cool signature page art for my upcoming limited edition hardcover, WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING. Artist Zach McCain knocked it out of the park again. Now you’ll get to see what poor West Ridley had to look at every time he lay in his bed.

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Make sure you’re one of the lucky ones to own a very special copy of this beautifully designed book. The folks at Sinister Grin Press are simply amazing.

About the book…

They’ve watched over the house for generations…

The move from New York to the decrepit Pennsylvania farmhouse is as bad as West Ridley thought it would be. His father’s crippling vertigo only seems to get worse, and even with his mother working herself to the bone, they’re out of money and options.

Grandpa Abraham is a drunk bastard and the living embodiment of the long neglected farmhouse. He claims the place is haunted. Ghosts roam the hall at night and their muffled cries fill the silence of warm, summer nights.

On the ceiling above West’s bed are the words WE SEE YOU. In a house plagued by death and mysterious visitations, West realizes something beyond the fiction of his favorite horror books has to be faced.

Dark secrets are buried deep, and there are Guardians who want to keep it that way. No matter where they go or what they do, West and his family know one thing…they are always watching.

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Lake Monster Madness – NIGHTMARE FROM WORLD’S END

Author Robert Stava and I met 5 years ago at a writer’s group I cobbled together. The group lasted about a year, but I’m glad he and I have become good friends. He’s a renaissance kind of guy – writer, artist, musician, historian, martial artist. I wouldn’t bat an eye if he told me he’d climbed Everest while balancing the US budget.

Amazingly, both of us ended up having books published by Severed Press – all this done without the other knowing we were submitted manuscripts there. Great minds, great minds…

Robert’s premier book with Severed, NIGHTMARE FROM WORLD’S END, recently came out and it’s a doozy! Here’s my 10 cent review – Move over Nessie and Champ, there’s a new kick ass lake monster in town! Nightmare from World’s End is a sharp, intelligent, witty and wild ride across the turbid waters of the Hudson River. Set in author Robert Stava’s mysterious Wyvern Falls, this is one monster tale not to be missed because you get not one, but TWO underwater leviathans duking it out. And God help the puny humans who dare not just go in the water, but even near it. The last act blew my mind. Treat yourself and grab a copy.

So, let’s get to know Robert and this awesome book a little, shall we?


Please tell my Hellions what your latest book, Nightmare from World’s End, is all about and the sheer bat crap insanity that you somehow managed to tie together.

It’s a spin on the usual sea-monster tale, in this case not one but two that turn up in the Hudson River at an inopportune time – on the eve of a major Folk Festival at the local river town of Wyvern Falls. It mainly comes down to two people, an expat British detective named Easton and an American Indian Archeologist named Sarah Ramhorne to save the day. Along the way they get tangled up with a corrupt mayor, a failing Ancient Alien TV show host and some overzealous activists. For starters.

As far as how I tied it all together: truth is I pretty much winged it. Luckily it was one of those instances that just spun itself out in the right fashion without much thought or editing. I wish every story came out that easy!

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 I love the true history that you weave into your tales. This time, we got quite the education on American Indians in New York’s Westchester County. How did you go about researching everything?

It’s a MacGyver approach: a little this, some chewing gum there, a little masking tape here, etc. I grew up with books on the Wyandot & Iroquois (and knew several) but knew next to nothing about the Hudson River Indians outside some vague misinformation. Since moving up here to Ossining however, I took a keen interest and did everything from attending lectures at Croton Point given by the NY State Archeologist Association, going through artifacts in our Historical Society collection and reaching out to the descendants of the tribes that once lived here. They’re in Oklahoma now, btw. It’s a tragic story and they had a few choice things to say. Also, I put all the American Indian history books I used into the afterword of the novel. A lot of times it just about getting out and talking to people. That bizarre scene where Easton meets the American Indian vendor talking to him about Atlantis and lost technologies? That really happened to me at an Indian Pow-Wow I attended. You can’t make this stuff up.

It’s so awesome to have you as a publishing mate at Severed Press, the land of sea monsters! What made you decide to dip your toes in these brackish waters? And how did you come up with the monstrous Ossie? Any truth in the legend?

It is awesome – I had no idea when I submitted the manuscript! I was combing through stuff at my job one day and saw they were looking for submissions, and realized I already had a completed novel right up their alley. They accepted it pretty fast, which had me a little suspicious after so many rejections from other publishers. When I got the low-down from yourself I realized I had lucked out. Call it serendipity.

‘Ossie’ came from an off-hand remark my wife made one day while we were having lunch out by the river. I saw something out there – it might have been a cormorant – that reminded me of the classic 30s ‘Nessie” pic, so I snapped a zoom photo of it. When I showed it to my wife she replied, in that matter-of-fact way she has, “Oh, that’s ‘Ossie’!”. I’m sure an evil grin stole across my face as I then said “Yes, yes…of course it is…and I bet Ossie likes people – because they taste just like chicken!” That’s how my mind rolls.

I don’t know if there’s any truth to the legend, but who can rule anything out? There’s all kinds of species in the ocean we have no idea existed. Part of the inspiration behind ‘Typhon’ was this horrifying giant ‘sea bug’ – a 30” isopod -that was discovered a few years back that came up clinging to a submersible in the Gulf of Mexico. Everyone thought it was a hoax. It wasn’t until 2013 that a giant squid was finally caught on film. I think there’s plenty of other things down there we know nothing about (shudder).

 

After this book, I don’t think you’re ever going to get a call to appear on Ancient Aliens. Which is not a bad thing. Do you watch the show? What do you think of the ancient astronaut theory?

Ha! Probably not. I loved that stuff as a kid, but it all falls apart under any kind of basic logical scrutiny. Most these guys are nuttier than a crate of pistachios. They only focus on what ‘evidence’ supports their conclusions and refuse to acknowledge any other possible explanations, which is hardly scientific. That said, I do believe alien life is out there and can testify to a UFO I witnessed as a kid. Also, while researching the non-fiction book I wrote on my uncle’s WWII experiences in the Southwest Pacific, I came across a folder of very unusual reports in the National Archives. It was a series of 5th Air Force eye-witness reports on UFO’s spotted from airplane observation posts in New Guinea in 1943-44, well before Roswell. Throughout my novel though, it’s all part of a running joke: the characters keep getting distracted by the hoaxes happening to one side while completely missing the very real phenomena occurring on the other. I suspect the truth about aliens is somewhat like that.

Stephen King has Castle Rock, you have Wyvern Falls. What the hell is up with that place? Why would anyone live there? It’s fascinating, but bad for your health.

It was originally inspired by ‘Twin Peaks’, actually! And obviously the many scenic towns up and down here along the Hudson. I was drawing up a helpful ‘50 things you should NEVER DO in Wyvern Falls’ user guide but haven’t completed to date. But there’s lots of reasons to live there – it’s a place where truly weird shit can happen, and isn’t there a part of all of us that longs for that affirmation? That there’s more to the world than 401k’s, vanishing retirement options and the dreariness of everything being logically explained by a bunch of people you dread hanging out with by the water cooler? Fear is the antidote to complacency. The supernatural is about faith in things beyond our comprehension. I’ve experienced both those things in varying amounts: Wyvern Falls is about a place where you can too.

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Okay, I’m going to pepper you with some quick hits :

  • Favorite band – The Who. Nobody attacks the drums like Keith Moon.
  • Dream spot to write – My library – what could be more inspirational?
  • Craziest celebrity encounter – I’ve had some pretty good ones over the years, especially living in NYC. One of the craziest though, was a conversation I got into with Lenny Kravitz at a party years back at the studio control room in the Edison Hotel (a famous midtown studio where Jazz greats like Charlie Parker recorded). He’d bought the place with an advertising partner. I was pretty blotto from the open bar when I ran into him and started running off about Cindy Blackman, whom I’d met a few times though my old drummer, Tedd. Kravitz was nothing at all what I’d imagined from his videos. He was like a shy, dysfunctional little kid. He stared at his toes the whole time we were talking, though he did tell me some interesting things I won’t repeat here. After about 15 minutes he awkwardly reached out, shook my hand and said “Hi. I’m Lenny!” I said, “Uh, hi, I’m Bob. Nice talking to you,” and left. I must have talked a good game though, as a few days later a marketing package showed up at my office from him and his partner, which included some of Kravitz’s demos. I still have it here somewhere.
  • Favorite horror movie – Tie between ‘American Werewolf in London’ and ‘Dead Alive’ – both had me simultaneously freaked out and laughing my ass off. But the scariest movies I’ve ever watched was ‘Session 9’ and “Jacob’s Ladder”. Do not watch either at 3 a.m. Very bad idea.
  • Beer of choice – Sapporo

Last but not least, what new delights do you have in store for your readers?

Well, the next two novels in the Wyvern Falls series are written so we’ll see where those get to. I’m currently writing a second novel for Severed Press which is due out his year – it’s a visit to classic Crichton territory titled “The Lost World of Kharamu”, there’s a new short “The Witchering”, coming out in Dark Chapter Press’s “Edge of Darkness” anthology and I’m waiting to hear on 3 novellas that were rewritten for Sinister Grin Press a few months back. At least one, “The Invasion” is slated for a 2017 release from them, last I heard. Fingers crossed, just in case!

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