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All You Need for Christmas – And Presents,Too!

Ho, Ho Aaarrrrgggghh! ‘Tis the season of twinkling lights, the scent of pine, spiked egg nogg and paper cuts from wrapping presents. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy the Christmas season and make it a point to tell everyone ‘Merry Christmas’ as opposed to a non-committal, limp-wristed ‘Happy Holidays’. After I write this post, I’ll be on my way to putting up the lights around the house and ddoing a little shopping for the family.

Since I’ll be a very busy little beaver this month, I figured I’d post something that will remain relevant for the entire holiday season AND give away a bunch of stuff that you can put under the tree. Stick with me as I bounce around like a reindeer after 10 shots of tequila.

First, The Monster Men just put together our very first Christmas episode. We give our top 10 list of the baddest villains in Christmas special history. See how it matches up against yours!

In my house, we have a tradition of watching at least 1 Christmas special/movie a night from December 1st until Christmas Eve. Needless to say, we own a ton of Christmas DVDs and video tapes. I’m sure you all watch the standards like A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Here’s a cartoon you may not have even heard of but should definitely become part of your viewing rotation.

My all time favorite Christmas cartoon is A Wish for Wings that Work, starring Opus and Bill the Cat (of Bloom County fame  – the second best comic strip of all time, next to Calvin and Hobbes). All poor Opus wants for Christmas is the ability to fly. But his smelly sidekick Bill, he of the tater tot brains, accidently thwarts him at every turn. This is one the parents will love even more than the kids.

Wish for Wings

Now, on the MUCH more adult side, thanks to my Monster Brother, Jack, the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia : A Very Sunny Christmas has not only scarred me, but become an instant classic in my twisted home. If you’ve ever wanted to see Danny Devito naked or watch a man chew a mall Santa’s throat out while asking him he he effed his mom, this is a can’t miss!

sunny christmas

On the opposite end of the spectrum, even though I write horror for a living, I do have a romantic side (or else I’d be a very lonely horror writer). For my money, hands down, the best Christmas movie ever made is Love Actually. Yes, it’s a movie about several interconnected love stories, but isn’t that what Christmas is realy all about? If you doubt the greatness of this movie, read the opening lines, then watch it.

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.

Love Actually

Now, on to the presents! I want to thank all of you for sticking with me over the past year by giving you some gifts. All you need to do is drop in a comment (and hopefully share this on Twitter, FB, etc). I’ll be giving away the following:

I’ll pick random winners on December 17th and send them out so you have them in time for Christmas.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

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Giving Thanks From The Abyss

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I started to think about this past year and the roller coaster ride I call a life. I’ve had great highs and scary lows that have left me numb, sometimes empty, sometimes full, but neither for long.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good that comes our way. But I’ve come to realize that what we have to be most grateful for are the hard times. When we face adversity, we learn a lot about our true nature and the importance of the people that surround us.

Case in point. For the past couple of weeks, my father had his first health scare, his first surgery, and his first brush with the big C. We found out today that the surgery was a success and he’ll be fine. But that 10 day waiting period to get the great news gave us all pause and made us realize how little time we have together. We’ll make the most of it on Thanksgiving. I can assure you that.

Another case. For the past year-plus, my wife has been battling an unknown infection and lupus. We’re at the point where the doctors think radiation is the only cure. Talk about a cure worse than the disease. It’s like watching the person you love most being tortured every second of every day as radiation sears its way through the cells of her entire body. It shows me, daily, how much she means to me, and how little everything else matters if you and the ones you love don’t have the gift of good health.

Looking back at what I’ve written, I saw that this is an overriding fear in almost all my work. In Forest of Shadows, John Backman’s wife dies in her sleep, forever altering his life and his mind. In Evil Eternal, a strong man named Liam watches his wife’s murder and offers his soul to avenge her death, becoming the undead Father Michael. His torment is sealed to go on for infinity. Even in Swamp Monster Massacre, my crazy skunk ape romp, when John’s wife is killed, so is his soul, and soon after, his body.  All of these things crept into my work, my conscious mind completely unaware. I’m forcing myself to look into the abyss so I can be grateful that though at times I’m at the precipice, I haven’t fallen through. My wife battles on, and so do I.

In hard times, we turn to others, or God, for strength and support. It’s at these moments where we’re truly thankful for all of the good people and happy moments in our lives.

So this year, when you look back at those moments of hell in your life, don’t ask ‘why me?’ Use them as touchstones and appreciate what they reminded you of, or how they brought you closer to someone, or even changed your life for the better.

Most of all, give thanks.

 

My Halloween Boomstick!

October for horror writers and lovers is like April for accountants – pure madness. And madness is damn good. I’m gearing up big time for Halloween and have a lot of treats to share (so no egging my house!).

First off, Swamp Monster Massacre is tearing it up. So happy to see skunk ape love out there. The reviews have been nothing short of fantastic. Here’s what some folks had to say (you can click on each to see the full review):

” This is one to read with the lights turned down low at night!” — Charlayne’s Review

“My oh my did I enjoy myself when I read this book! 5 stars! — Turning the Pages

“A total must read for all thriller fans. 5 stars” — My Cozie Corner Reviews

Like a good little horror ghoul, I’ve been watching horror movies all month. Rememebr to follow me on Twitter and check out #Terrortober for the list and my reviews of each, as well as the books I’ve been reading. The movies have spanned from 1920 to 2011, so there’s a lot to see.

The Monster Men unleashed our second annual Halloween episode. We have a brand new theme song and some funny surprises peppered throughout. We go from The Great Pumpkin to hanted asylums and slasher flicks. Check it out!

Speaking of the Monster Men, Jack and I will be interviewed on The Secret to Everything radio show on Wednesday October 24th at 7pm ET. Lord knows what stupid things we’re apt to say. I’m sure it will be archived at the same link.

Coming later this week will be an interview with my favorite ghost hunting team, Pink Kitty Paranormal. Get ready for a wild ride!

On Halloween, I’m going to post chapter 3 of my free gothic story, MERCY. You can visit Pen of the Damned to catch up.

Last but not least, I had a fun book event at The Wicked Wolf Tavern in White Plains, NY this past weekend. I was there along with author Robert Stava, who premiered his new book, At Van Eyckmann’s Request. We had a tarot card reader on hand, giveaways, filmed Monster Men episodes and had many, many drinks. That Jeagermeister shot machine was the end of me. Thank you to everyone who came. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a glimpse…

   Forget the Avengers. This is the greatest group of guys ever assembled.

Jack and I with Jerry, the man behind the Monster Men logos. Ok, the Jaegermeister has kicked in at this point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time for a Giveaway!

In this day and age of online communications, waiting excitedly for the mailman doesn’t happen very often. Well, this is one of those days. My Fedex dude just dropped off a box of my new bookmarks. I splurged for the super high gloss and heavier card stock so they would stand out and last more than a week. I gotta say, they’re pretty sweet. A lot of that is thanks to my friend and designer, Jerry Mulcahy. He did an awesome job and also designed our Monster Men logos.

If you live in the US and you’d like some signed bookmarks and a Swamp Monster Massacre promo card (gearing up for a 3 month blog tour with that bad boy), just send me an email at huntershea1@gmail.com with your name and address and I’ll get them right out to you. This is my way of saying thanks for all of your support and encouragement. And no, you will not be added to any mailing lists. Come get some!

 

Notes from the Underworld : Horrorfind 2012

I think the best way to talk about this past Horrorfind Weekend is to roll with the random thoughts and pictures. So, here’s what’s dripping out of the old brain pan, 24 hours after we departed our little horror shangri-la.

Attendance wasn’t as, shall we say, robust as it has been in the past. However, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot going on. This was my first time at Horrorfind as a guest. I was at the Samhain horror table with 7 other talented authors. All of them were as nice as can be (not evil, devil worshipping sex maniacs like people think horror writers are) and it made me realize I’m in some stellar company. Big time twisted love to Brian Moreland, Ron Malfi, Mick Ridgewell, John Everson, Damien Walters Grintalis, David Bernstein and Russell James. You don’t need to be a psychic to know the future of horror is right here at Samhain.

From L to R : Hunter Shea, Brian Moreland, John Everson, Damien Walters Grintalis and David Bernstein

And I can’t forget the Samhain staff, including Don (our amazing editor), Dawn and Jacob, he of the mighty kilt (though he is wearing jeans in this pic)!

As the fates would have it, my hotel room was right next to actress Meg Foster’s (the actress with the amazing crystal blue eyes of They Live fame, not to mention about 100 other movies and TV shows). We got to talking about ghosts and meditation, hugged, and even exchanged a copy of Forest of Shadows for a signed picture. She’s a fascinating, caring woman. What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and tell the teenage me that I would one day meet her and hand her my book that she said would be her plane read. Teen Hunter would have said, “Yeah right, hammer. Keep dreaming.”

I was in the bar with author Norman Prentiss and saw an old dude walk by. I said, “That guy looks like Rob Halford.” Norman corrected me. “That’s Pinhead!”

I watched Dee Wallace hold court one night, sitting with a few other celebs while a ring of onlookers gaped at them. Dee and the gang were just having some drinks, but it was like they were on a little stage. Not wanting to be part of the rubberneckers, I trained my attention on the scraggly guy singing karaoke tunes from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Disturbing.

Actress Kim Darby (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, True Grit) was also near my room and I happily led her down to show her where the celebrity room was. She’s a kind and seemingly fragile woman. For some reason, I kept checking on her to make sure she was having a good time.

We met the cast of Pet Sematary, with the exception of Fred Gwynne, of course.

My favorite attendee was this little guy who walked around in dress pants and dress shirt, wearing a lucha libre mask and sometimes carrying a brain on a stick. Over 3 days, he never once took that mask off.

I also met a pretty cool guy who hand crafted an entire Ghost Busters costume. It was impressive to say the least.

I rode the elevtor with Count Gore De Vol and we talked about what we had for dinner the previous night. The Count had yogurt for those keeping track. Wonder if it was blood flavored?

During my slot in the author reading room, I showed a Monster Men best -of episode and talked about ghosts. That was fun and I kept people awake, which is always a good sign.

For lunch one day, I had a hot dog that looked like a cooked baby arm. Not by intention. As someone said to me, a hot dog that big had to be filled with lots of snouts and assholes.

My wife bought me a skull for my writing area. Here I am showing my appreciation.

On the last night, all of the Samhainers went out to dinner in Gettysburg. It’s amazing to see how all of the history has been put aside so they can stress the paranormal. The sidewalks were even painted with little ghosts. Ghosts sell. We did see a bunch of Civil War re-enactors having dinner outside an old tent. Keeping to tradition, they munched on McDonald’s.

Oh yeah, and I was signing copies of Evil Eternal and Forest of Shadows. Great weekend. I have 4 days to prepare for Horrorhound in Indy. Wonder what I’ll see there?

Beware the terror of Evil Eternal!

Horrorfind Bound!

I’m packing up the Shea-mobile tonight so I can head out first thing tomorrow to the Horrorfind Weekend in Gettysburg, PA. I’ve been going there for years as a fan. This is the first time I get to go as a guest, and I’m thrilled. I’ll be joined by six other Samhain Horror authors and will be signing books, doing readings and causing mayhem all weekend long. There will also be a film festival, costume contest, supernatural seminars, a horror themed car show and lots more. The cast of Pet Sematary will even be there, along with a ton of horror screen legends. To learn more, click here. Trust me when I say, Horrorfind is the  most fun a horror fan will have all year. Come on down and have a drink with me. I promise, I’ll buy a pitcher or two, or three, or four.

Evil Eternal Giveaway, Horror Cons, Movies, Ghosts and More

First let me kick things off by having a little giveaway this week. Evil Eternal, my little ode to demon slaying, is going to be in print on September 2nd. Thank you to everyone who bought the e-book. Now, as an author, my hot little hands get advance print copies of my books.

I’d like to give a signed copy away to one of you out there in blogger land. Entering the contest is muy simple. All you have to do is click on the book cover right here. That will take you to the Amazon page. Once you’re there, all I ask is that you give it a Like, then share it either through Twitter, FB, on Pinterest. If you hover on the Like button, icons to share through any of those will appear.

Once you’re done, just throw a comment here that you did it and you’re eligible. I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday, August 29th. It will be shipped out the next day. Scout’s honor.

This coming Friday, I’ll be heading to Gettysburg, PA to attend the Horrorffind Weekend. I’ll be with a crazy group of Samhain authors signing books, doing readings and having a ton of fun. Horrorfind weekend is my favorite weekend of the year. Hope you can attend! Then, the following Friday, I’m off to Indianapolis, home of cafeteria style food, to represent Samhain and meet the cast of Aliens at the Horrorhound Weekend Convention. It will be my first Horrorhound and I hear it’s enormous.

I was fortunate enough to do something super cool this week. I was invited to be a member of a paranormal panel for the NY Spotlight on Success show down at Chelsea Manor in NYC. Big thanks to Diana and Joe for letting me and my Monster Men brother Jack talk about all things ghostly. We had a blast, got to check out the ‘haunted’ spots in the club, and met a ton of great peeps, including paranormal researchers Dan Sturges, Laurence Hewett, and psychics Michelle Dauria and Krystin Reilly.

Aside from finishing what I hope is the final round of edits on my kids horror story, and getting ready to write another novella and novel, I’ve been recharging my brain by watching movies. What keeps little Hunter going? Here’s a sample along with my 3 word review. So, what are you watching?

Fantastic, creepy story!

Decent psychological thriller.

Lost slasher gem.

Oddly scary indy.

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