Oh baby, do I love this cover! Severed Press nailed it. This is exactly the kind of cover I had hoped for when this nasty skunk ape novella first came out with Samhain. Word on the grapevine is the book will be available, in ebook and for the first time PRINT, in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
As for my other Samhain titles, I’m in talks with an esteemed publisher about getting them all back out in the world. Can’t wait to be able to tell you about it.
So, what do you all think?
Okay Hellions, I’m about to give you your spring reading assignment, so pay close attention…
As you all know, I don’t just write about cryptids – I read everything about them I can get my hands on. Some of the most enjoyable cryptid horror of the past few years has been the Chupacabra Chronicles series by Raegan Butcher. These are flat out, balls to the wall monster madness and mayhem. You have never seen Chupacabras like the beasties in Butcher’s crazy books. The third installment, RISE OF THE CHUPACABRAS just came out and I can’t wait to dive in.
I recently finished reading the second in the series, REVOLT OF THE CHUPACABRAS, and it was the most batshit, insane, laugh out loud cryptid romp of all time. Set in a Mexican jungle, it’s filled with gladiator fights to the death, mad scientists, a maniacal drug lord, a multitude of morphing chupacabras and more.
Aaand, counting down to the one that started it all (I feel like Casey Kasem) is FURY OF THE CHUPACABRAS, where we meet our former drug dealing band of Chupacabra hunters. If you think their job sounds cool, read the book and find a new vocation.
If you’ve read my books and didn’t think I took things far enough, well, Raegan Butcher is just the man for you. If you picked up all 3 in ebook, you’d spend less than ten bucks for hours of reading pleasure. Trust me, it’s money well spent. Unlike the dough I forked over for La La Land.
At some point while I was watching the premier of THE VOID (meh), my latest Severed Press book, SAVAGE JUNGLE (LAIR OF THE ORANG PENDEK), came screaming into this world like a demented squatch baby.
They are called the Orang Pendek, masters of the steamy Sumatran rain forest.
Henrik Kooper watched his father die at the brutal hands of the orange-haired ape men. Having barely survived helping twins Natalie and Austin McQueen discover and destroy the beasts lurking in Loch Ness, it’s now his turn for vengeance. Within the treacherous jungles of Sumatra lies the fabled lost city of Gadang Ur. Its secrets are guarded by a savage band of Orang Pendek who lord over the strange and deadly creatures of the hidden land. Utter madness is the lifeblood of Gadang Ur. Henrik’s journey into darkness will take them to the ragged edge of hell on Earth.
Some places were never meant to be discovered.
As an added bonus, here’s a sample chapter to get you in the mood for some Orang Pendek fury…
Austin handed Natalie a gun. She couldn’t remember what kind it was, but it was heavy and looked deadly. He said to Oscar, “Do we just stay here and mow them down?”
“Heavens no,” Henrik said, calmly slamming a cartridge home in his assault weapon of choice. “We’d never survive. The hope is that our guns frighten them enough to veer them away from our position.”
Natalie shrugged her shoulders. “Of course. Why didn’t I think of that?”
The ground shook as they came crashing closer. Their terrified bellows echoed throughout the jungle. Hearing them, feeling them, but not being able to see where they were coming from was absolutely terrifying.
Oscar said, “Just be ready to run. If we get split up, we meet back here.”
“Easy for you to say,” Austin said, the muscles in his neck bulging like ropes. “I have no freaking clue where here is.”
Henrik coolly added, “Just follow the path the elephants are sure to make. They’re better and faster than bulldozers.”
Natalie’s knees nearly buckled. She wasn’t sure if it was from exhaustion, fear, or the rumbling of the earth, which was making it hard to keep her footing.
Please take a detour. Please take a detour. Nothing to see here. No need to trample the Orang Pendek hunters.
She hadn’t noticed the porters taking their machetes to the brush behind them, clearing a bit of a path for their escape. At least it gave them some room to step back and see which way the elephants were going. Bambang handed his machete over to her.
“No, you keep it,” she said.
He shook his head, refusing to let her give it back to him.
“They’re definitely headed straight for us,” Oscar said, taking a blind shot with the elephant gun. The report was deafening. Henrik fired off a few rounds as well. Then Austin joined in.
“Is it doing anything?”
The look Oscar flashed didn’t ease her fears.
They all stepped back as far as they could go, until their backs were against the endless wall of vegetation. Natalie almost tripped over an exposed root as thick as her calf. Austin reached out and grabbed her by her shirt.
“I’m shitting myself. Is anyone else shitting themselves?” she asked.
“I think it’s safe to say we’re all going to need a change of pants,” her brother said, eyes locked dead ahead.
There came a great crashing of branches and trees, centuries-old oaks snapping like dry toothpicks. The jungle tableau swayed back and forth in anticipation of the runaway freight train of excited pachyderms.
Now, even Natalie joined in their desperate attempt to scare them off with firepower. The gun’s kickback smashed the stock into her ribs. She didn’t feel a thing. Abject fear had made her numb.
When the first elephant broke through, rearing its trunk with an ear-splitting roar, she could only stare with mute horror. Everyone had stopped firing their weapons.
She felt a hand at her collar, someone tugging her backwards.
Natalie couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
A second, third, fourth and so many more elephants came crashing into view, their eyes wild not with terror but unadulterated menace.
Because they weren’t alone.
Riding atop each wild elephant was a small, orange-haired being that looked like a cross between an orangutan and a man.
The Orang Pendek rode the elephant herd right at them, crying out with beastly wails that turned her bowels to water.
Ah, our old friends death and decay are slinking off into the shadows, replaced by that bright and cheery bastard, Spring. These are tough times, my Hellions. Tough times.
But I’m here to lessen our misery.
This one is for all the Hellions! In a year that will showcase King Kong and another installment of the Planet of the Apes movie, it only seems fitting that this bloody adventure should hit your eyeballs in April. Feast your eyes on this charming fellow…
The original, too long title, was SAVAGE JUNGLE : LAIR OF THE ORANG PENDEKS. And now by telling you what it was, you know what’s in store for you. This little diddy picks up right where we left off in LOCH NESS REVENGE. Natalie, Austin and Henrik have spent months recovering in an opulent German spa, but now it’s time to help old Henrik face his own monstrous demons. The trio heads out to the rain forest of Sumatra, hunting down a savage race of Orang Pendeks who rule an ancient, lost city. Oh, and there just may be some dinosaurs lurking about, too.
SAVAGE JUNGLE is a pure adventure story, with enough action to make your blood pressure meds work overtime. It comes out this April through Severed Press in trade paperback and ebook. More details to come!
Now it’s time for me to be a fan boy. I’ve been a huge fan of Jim Harold and his incredible Paranormal Podcast for years. A long time subscriber, I listen to every single episode, from The Other Side, to Crime Scene, Ancient Mysteries and the newest addition, The Cryptid Report (on which I was a guest recently, talking about my old pal, the Jersey Devil. You can check that out here).
It’s an honor to have Jim on this old blog n’ chain. We talk about a possible grand unified theory of the paranormal, dream guests and pursuing podcasting full time. So read on, Hellions, and do yourself a favor and listen to the free podcast and subscribe to his Plus Club. You can thank me later.
When it comes to bringing the best and brightest of the paranormal world to listeners all around the world, your podcasts are the top of the heap. How has this decade-plus ride been for you as creator, chief, cook and bottle washer (to steal your own phrase)?
It has been nothing but great. Of course, there have been frustrations and times when I wasn’t sure it was all going to work out but all in all it has been the opportunity of a lifetime for me.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Who was your first guest and how did you get them on the show, especially being an unknown quantity at the time?
It was July 29, 2005 and the guest was Loyd Auerbach who is one of the best people in this field. I simply wrote him an email asking. He was kind enough to say sure. My plus members can still listen to that show but my ears bleed when I hear it.
You often talk about the impact In Search Of had on you and your career. I see that with so many people of a certain age (like myself) who have gone on to write and create in the horror/scifi/paranormal fields. What was your favorite episode? Which one scared you the most?
Hmm, that is a tough one. I always loved the stuff about The Bermuda Triangle. That eerie music freaked me out. I loved it! (Hunter’s Note : The soundtrack to In Search Of still creeps me out. Literally the only music that gives me the willies.)
People really appreciate the fact that you’re not a ghost/cryptid/UFO investigator. You’re the even-keeled man behind the mic giving voice to those who have dedicated their lives to the study of the strange and unusual. After hundreds and hundreds of interviews, what’s surprised you the most?
That there is very possibly some tie between these different phenomena…I originally viewed everything as very siloed but now I wonder. Is all of this stuff, or at least some, connected?
Over the past year, you ask a lot of your guests about a grand unified theory of the paranormal, where perhaps everything is all part of the same whole. You have a unique view of the entire landscape. Gun to your head, do you think ghosts, cryptids, UFOs, the whole gamut, are related and if so, what do you think is behind it all? If it’s all originating from some starting point, there has to be an originator.
Ah, I anticipated your question in my last answer! I think that there is SOMETHING connecting everything but I don’t know what. I have no idea. I think it is kind of like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where we are just all looking at the shadows on the wall, trying to interpret them but failing because we can’t see what is really going on.
Did you ever interview someone outside of your Campfire show that told a story so frightening (maybe even because it was a horrifying potential reality), it gave you chills or maybe made sleep a little more difficult that night?
I recently did a show on the 1949 case of a possessed St. Louis boy who was the inspiration for The Exorcist. To know, and this is well documented, that there are real cases of what appears to be demon possession is very unsettling to me. If demons come out this aggressively and it is documented, how do they infiltrate our daily lives and we don’t even realize it? Road rage, child abuse, war, etc. The list goes on and on. How many ways does evil invade our lives and we just chalk it up to human nature gone wrong? Is there really something sentient trying to lead the world astray? It makes you think about the existence of a literal Devil.
If we could get a substantial government grant to dedicate millions of dollars and resources to the scientific study of one aspect of the paranormal, which should we choose? I have my own answer that I think we’re going to be in agreement with because of the broader implications.
Life after death, hands down. It answers so many other questions. (Hunter’s note : that’s exactly how I feel! We answer that question, what else really matters?)
Who have been some of your favorite guests? Who is the one guest who has since passed that you wish you’d gotten, and one current dream guest that you’re hoping to get?
I wish I would have been able to interview Budd Hopkins on UFOs, that is one who comes to mind. John Keel is another. Loren Coleman would be a great guest and I’d very much like to interview James Randi. I know that seems counter intuitive but we need to understand the hardcore skeptic to learn how to have communication with other skeptics who might be capable of having an open mind.
A few years ago, you took the leap to full time podcasting, as well as writing. How terrifying was that and how has it been? By the way, the day you announced it, you became my hero. You have the career I dreamed of as a kid.
Thank you. I didn’t dream of podcasting, per se, because it didn’t exist in its current form but I always wanted to be a content creator in both broadcasting and written form. Audio, visual and the written word. Sometimes I would take stories and rewrite them from the neighborhood newspaper with a manual typewriter (remember those?), I would go around the house with a flashlight pretending I was a game show host, so broadcasting seems to have been bred in me as well. Another funny story is how I asked for a DJ “radio studio” toy when I was a kid. I didn’t get it but I have done a really good job of reconstructing it in my home studio now! Amazon must love me. Can you say compensating?
I was moderately scared at first when going full time but I had changed jobs many times while working in traditional media and kind of just viewed this as another job in terms of risk. If it wouldn’t have worked out, I would have just found another job. My wife and family were very supportive and I couldn’t have done it without them. It has been nothing but a blessing and I am so grateful to my audience. The feedback tells me they enjoy what I do and I am so glad it resonates with them. We are all just fellow seekers. I hope your readers will check out the shows at jimharold.com and wherever fine podcasts are heard. Thank you for the time to talk with you and your audience today.