While I take a break to watch Mets Spring Training and continue my self-studies on ancient American archaeology, specifically the mound builders of North America, I’m handing this blog n’ chain over to author, Roland Yeomans. And talk about small worlds. His designer is Heather McCorkle, who is one of my favorite people in the Twitterverse! We are all 6 degrees of maple bacon. Roland’s latest book is a mix of horror and steampunk and history and everything in between. I can’t wait to read it.
OK Hellions, time for me to hit the textbooks. Roland, take the wheel…
“True horror is when men are free to become the monsters they have always wanted to be.”
– Samuel McCord
Roland Yeomans here on my “Don’t You Hate Book Tours?” Book Tour.
One of the worst war criminals was a home-grown one: General William Tecumseh Sherman of “Let’s Toast Marshmallows All Through Georgia” Fame.
It was his idea, by the way.
As he was drawing wagon-loads of civilian down roads suspected of containing mines, cannoning Atlanta homes sheltering crying women and children, and writing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton that there was a whole class of people, men, women, and children, that needed to be killed in the South.
The lure of alternate history is to take the past and give it a twist. Steampunk filters the story through a Victorian H. G. Wells lens. Horror allows me to serve back terror to those who most deserve it.
Have you ever thought what might have been the fate of the White Man had Native American magic been real, had the White’s boogey-men been waiting for the carnage of the Civil War to give them an engraved invitation?
Imagine a world where aliens walk unsuspected among us, where global vampire kingdoms wage war against one another in secret, and one man with death in his veins tries to even the scales for those who cannot fight back.
Horror is more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains upstairs.
An atmosphere of unexplainable dread, of lurking unknown forces must be present. There must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain:a malign suspension of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the demons of unsuspected reality.
In The Not-So-Innocents Abroad, Samuel McCord, a man cursed with the blood of the Angel of Death, marries the woman of most people’s nightmares: the Empress of the Alien Race that has toyed with Man since he crawled from out of his caves.
But love seldom has good sense, much less good luck.
Now, McCord must struggle to see if there is an honorable way to be married to a monster.
He may not live long enough to find there is no such road.
The vampiric Abigail Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Empress Theodora of the Unholy Roman Empire are among the passengers of the honeymoon vessel of the no-longer human and the alien empress.
The insane Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, a crippled General Sherman, 11 year old Nikola Tesla, and the mysterious Greek physician Lucanus join many others on the honeymoon voyage of the first Air-Steamship, Xanadu.
The keening which General Sherman heard as the Angel of Death convened at the corrupt peace treaty at Ft. Laramie when the skies became blood, the stars reversed their course, and the dead rose:
Cost of Passage? Only $9.99. Come aboard for the adventure of a lifetime.
I know that post-apocalypse fiction and movies are all the rage now, but when you think about it, this is really nothing new. Ever since crackpots have held up signs proclaiming THE END IS NEAR, human beings have been both intrigued and terrified by the concept of a complete upheaval of our world. In modern culture, just look at the success of books and movies like On the Beach, The Stand, The Day After, Testament, Miracle Mile, Swan Song and the slew of zombie fare we’ve been inundated with. Whether it’s by the hands of a returned Christ, nuclear annihilation, undead hordes or pandemic, witnessing the downfall of all we have built and seeing how the few will survive is more addicting than reality TV (and fare more fulfilling).
Of course, when we read or watch these scenarios, we always imagine ourselves as managing to scramble out from under the rubble. I mean, what’s the point if I don’t carry on? I’m smart. I’m crafty. I can turn a blind eye to establishes mores in order to survive. So why not me?
When I was a wee one, I saw the original Dawn of the Dead at the movies. (Too late to call social services on my dad!) I came out of there obsessed – not with zombies – but wondering what I would do when the world went to shit. I made lists of stores I would go to in order to gather supplies. First stop was the sports store by me where I would load up on rifles, bow and arrows and other gear to make me a force to be reckoned with. Food and water would come later. Everywhere I went, I pictured how I would fortify that location so I turn it into a safe haven.
I’m an adult now – at least that’s what it says on my license – and I still think about these things. Except now I have to make plans that include my family. Hell, I’m so obsessed with it, I wrote a book about it, Tortures of the Damned.
Why does this attract us? Is it because an apocalypse presents a cleaning of the slate, a total do-over, a chance to ‘be a real man’ and not a pencil pushing geek who stops at traffic lights and pays his taxes? Yeah, I think that’s part of it.
We’re not far removed from being pioneers, settlers, survivors. I think a part of us still craves the adventure. So we fantasize about the end times, testing ourselves against impossible odds. We want to see if we measure up to the generations before us that seemed to know how to do everything, whereas we can’t even tell you how anything we use every day really works.
On the Monster Men, we recently talked about our apocalyptic obsession with author Russell James, whose latest book, Q Island, tears apart Long Island, NY in a very unique way. The start of the end is possibly the most original way to date, and most frighteningly, is being played out right now in real life. Kinda gives me the shivers.
Living so close to New York City, I have to prepare for the worst. We here know it’s a matter of when, not if. The hope is that it’s nothing like people like me and Russell and many other have written.
But I’ll be loaded for bear, just in case.
I first met Brian Moreland about 4 years ago when we were part of Samhain’s initial horror line. We became instant friends that will last well beyond Samhain. His first book with them, DEAD OF WINTER, just blew me away. He’s since published a host of other kick ass novels, like SHADOWS IN THE MIST, THE WITCHING HOUSE, THE DEVIL’S WOODS, and THE VAGRANTS. His latest novella, DARKNESS RISING, is just phenomenal. Easily the best novella of 2015!
We here at the Monster Men have been trying to get him on the show for a couple of years. Our insane schedules made it almost impossible. Thankfully, we finally got on the same page…or Skype in this case. I was a bit woozy, having lost some blood during my tattoo process, and filling the void with beer. But, we made it! Enjoy this special episode with one of the best horror writers today.
And check out Brian’s Amazon Page to pick up his books.
Like him on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/HorrorAuthorBrianMoreland
Check out Brian’s blogs:
I know it’s only August, but I’m locking in my vote for best horror novel of the year – Ron Malfi‘s haunting tale, LITTLE GIRLS. I’ve been telling anyone who will listen (that number increases when I’m not frothing at the mouth) that if they read one scary book in 2015, this is the one.
The fact that Ron and I are authorly blood brothers, sharing two publishers, should actually work against this. I know the dude. He’s a Tasmanian Devil of nuttiness and talent. Sometimes, the more you know someone, the harder it is to be sucked into their story, separating the man or woman from the tale of terror. Not so with Little Girls. From the first chapter, I knew I was walking wondrous paths carved out by writers like Peter Straub and Stephen King. It’s that good.
You can follow his blog tour by visiting Hook of a Book publicity. Erin has put together a hell of a tour.
So, as a special treat for me and you, I wrestled Ron to the ground long enough to ask him a few questions about his book, process and future plans. Pick up Little Girls right after reading the interview and you can thank me later. And if you see Ron at a con, don’t be alarmed when he shouts at you to buy a book or move on.
It’s time to put on your tin foil hats and settle down in the bunker. Today, for your listening and viewing pleasure, the Monster Men interview Samhain author Glenn Rolfe to talk about his latest release, Boom Town. Glenn is a horror author in Maine (I think there’s some other guy up there who does stuff like that) and a real up-and-comer. Now first, check out the interview :
Here’s what Boom Town is about :
Terror from below!
In the summer of 1979, Eckert, Wisconsin, was the sight of the most unique UFO encounter in history. A young couple observed a saucer-like aircraft hovering over Hollers Hill. A blue beam blasted down from the center of the craft into the hill and caused the ground to rumble for miles.
Now, thirty years later, Eckert is experiencing nightly rumbles that stir up wild rumors and garner outside attention. The earthly tremors are being blamed on everything from earthquakes to underground earth dwellers. Two pre-teens discover a pipe out behind Packard’s Flea Market uprooted by the “booms” and come into contact with the powerful ooze bubbling from within. What begins as curiosity will end in an afternoon of unbridled terror for the entire town.
Now, this is why I love my job. I got an advanced copy of Boom Town from Glenn. I’m not sure if he was fully aware of my alien invasion obsession. So little did he know, I was already hooked by the premise, big time. Boom Town is set in a small, out of the way town, so you immediately get that sense of isolation, which always amps up the creep factor. Most of the main characters are kids in their teens, so folks who grew up loving It can rejoice.
Glenn wastes no time diving right in. I will say that this isn’t your typical alien invasion tale. There are no grays or reptilians skulking around, probing anuses and trying to gain world domination. Think of this more as The Blob on steroids. Snappy prose and non-stop action make this a real fun read. Take me to your leader, if that leader is Glenn Rolfe!
Why do I love alien stories so much? I swear I was abducted years ago. I do have a missing time moment from the late 80s. Can’t remember if I’d had too much to drink at the time.
Anyway, I recently came across Robert Dunn’s alien abduction novel, Behind the Darkness, and wanted to jump up and cheer. Finally, an alien novel that gave me the action and chills I’ve always wanted. Robert was kind enough to answer my fan boy questions. If aliens are your thing, buy this book now!
Everyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for all things alien. Your book, Behind the Darkness, is an alien abduction thriller that literally creeped me out. Please tell everyone a little about the book.
Behind The Darkness was imagined as Night of the Living dead with aliens rather than zombies. It grew quite a bit beyond that but I think that core, survivors trapped in a house by something unknowable but relentless and dangerous, is still there. Beyond that there was a love of the possibilities of alien abduction stories but a dissatisfaction with the ones I read. I didn’t want psychology, I wanted action. I hope I struck a balance between the alien terrors of the unknown controlling a life
and the survivor story of resistance against impossible odds. By the way, I am so proud that you said it creeped you out. That was exactly the kind of vibe I wanted to give and I always appreciate hearing that it works for someone.
The ending leaves things open for a sequel. Is there one in the works?
There isn’t yet one in the works but I wanted the possibility there. There is a lot more that could happen with this story. That being said Behind The Darkness is a connected story. It takes place in the same world as my novel, The Dead Ground. Like a certain star writer sets horror stories in Maine and several mystery writers stake out locals like the desert southwest or Louisiana, I wanted to use my roots and develop a world in which the Missouri, Ozarks are the home of dark mysteries and terrors. I’m a redneck Lovecraft at heart, I guess. In The Dead Ground the characters are aware of strange events that had taken place a few miles away on the Duncan Ranch and dismissive of the idea of aliens even as they fight the undead and interdimensional tentacle monsters from caves filled with stars. Writing is fun isn’t it?
How did your fascination with aliens and the abduction phenomena start?
The stories really started becoming mainstream and coalescing around certain tropes in the early ’70’s when I was a kid reading everything weird and wonderful I could get my hands on. I had read about Barney and Betty Hill then saw the movie, The UFO Incident, based on their story. In 1985 I was approached by another writer who had a friend with a development deal for a movie but no idea beyond wanting to do something scary. That was when I started on this story in earnest but the flow for the film deal was going in the direction of undersea monsters. It had been ten years but people still wanted to do the next Jaws. I packed my ideas away and along came Whitley Strieber’s books about visitors. He never said alien but he added a layer to the idea of aliens and the mental terrors of abduction. I stewed some more.
You’re also a film producer. Which is harder, working in film or the lonely business of writing?
Writing definitely. There is no one to delegate to or lean on. When you are creating a filmed program any number of people can save you and probably will from the lighting guy that sets the kind of mood you didn’t know you needed with one well placed instrument to the editor or sound person that puts their stamp down and makes everything more. When I write novels or stories it is all on me. A good editor will improve things but it won’t even get that far if you haven’t done the heavy lifting already.
OK, I know I’m a freak who has watched just about every alien abduction movie ever made. Have you watched any yourself and which is your favorite?
I have probably seen them all too. It’s great living in the age of accessible media. I don’t have a favorite exactly because I always wanted more than any of them give. Details. Violence. Action. The movies are actually why I felt I had stewed enough and wrote my story. I wanted to take all those great elements, abduction, the aliens that had become an established even traditional monster, mutilations, hybridization, disbelieving, even hostile authorities, and make the best, scariest story I could.
Whitley Strieber’s book, Communion, seemed to start an industry. What are your thoughts on his work in the abduction vein? Is he in touch with ET, a higher plane, or delusional?
I’ve read that Strieber intentionally referred to Visitors to avoid defining them as aliens. He wanted to leave their origins open. Unfortunately, once an idea is out there we lose control of it and he ended up creating an entire alien mythos. As to the reality, I have issues. I am a narcoleptic. An aspect of that is vivid dreaming and a breakdown between the waking/dreaming state. It has happened many times that I have become aware but still under sleep paralysis. Both dreams and imaginings can become very real in those times and if you can’t move or speak the imaginings that come are rarely pleasant. So in my personal experience there are explanations for being under paralysis and feeling threatened by an evil presence. I tend to think that other people have reasonable explanations as well. That being said, I think Mr. Strieber has made our culture a little richer and provided a good living for himself.
Please let everyone know where to find you and your work and what’s coming up next.
Well of course you can find Behind The Darkness and The Dead Ground on Amazon and feel free to go in through my author’s page. http://www.amazon.com/Robert-E.-Dunn/…
By the way, Behind The Darkness just got it’s first review on Amazon, five stars from a top 500 reviewer. I’m happy about that.
Both of those books are published by the good folks at Severed Press. Everyone should check them out for great reads. http://www.severedpress.com/
I’ll let you in on a secret but just a hint- I have another book out and doing well under a pen name. The surprise, it’s a spicy romance. I challenge everyone to track me down. Coming up, there are two new horror novels. The Red Highway is an alternate history urban fantasy about an ancient god provoking the LA riots to cause the sacrifice of a child. The Harrowing is about a mercenary sent to hell to rescue an innocent. No one is innocent and the one lesson he learns is, never trust an angel. Red Highway is currently under requested publisher submission and Harrowing is making the rounds of some great agents.
Beyond that, I blog erratically at http://robertdunnauthor.blogspot.com/ You’ll find a fun story and the first chapter of The Dead Ground there. I tweet more regularly. Feel free to come say hi there, @WritingDead. Thanks again for the chance to share and connect with your readers.
Yes, that little piece of advice did come out of my mouth when I was on Jason Brant’s DRINKING WITH JASON. Jason’s a kick ass author as well who drives in the horror lane. He has a great concept for his show. He asked me what my favorite drink is at the moment, which for some reason has been Rolling Rock beer. We then sat down with a sixer and shot the shit for over an hour. During the show, we talk about our writing, movies, why The Shining is great as a book and a movie, true ghost stories and why Mama’s, don’t let your babies grow up to be horror writers. You don’t need Rolling Rock to enjoy the episode, but it can never hurt!
Jason also interviewed my Monster Men co-host, Jack Campisi. Check this out for sheer hilarity.
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