Reader Appreciation Day!
I have to say, I have the greatest readers in the world. So many of you have been posting pictures of my books (or yourselves with my books) that I just had to share. This is just a small sample of what’s happened in the past week or so. Please keep ’em coming. I may have to make this a monthly blog post going forward.
@JoshuaMarsella holding a copy of The Jersey Devil before he disappeared into the Pine Barrens, never to be seen again.
@kimberlyyerina6466 created a hellish display for her copy of Ghost Mine. I hear she’s heading out to Hecla, WY with a pick axe, shovel, and holy water.
You better not call @disneynine a Misfit. Though she does know how to rock the grunge look.
@wellwortharead knows how to set the mood. I wonder what a haunted mansion candle smells like. Cobwebs and fear?
@LouciferSpeaks went old school with this one. Looks like the tips of her fingers are about to be bitten off by one of those nasty beasts.
I just love this pic by @spookymermaids. Makes me want to head up to our place in Maine and…wait, maybe not!
GHOST MINE on Sale for Just 99 Cents!
Book Giveaway – Signed Hardcovers of GHOST MINE
Howdy Hellions! Who’s ready for a book giveaway? I need y’all to help get the word out about GHOST MINE and I’m happy to send out some mighty fine rewards. How does a signed hardcover of GHOST MINE sound to ya?
So, here’s how it works. Hop on over to my Twitter account and retweet the pinned tweet I have for GHOST MINE (here’s what it looks like) :
I’ll pick 4 random retweeters to win a signed hardcover. The only catch is that you have to live in the U.S. Never fear, I’ll have an upcoming giveaway for all you non-U.S. Hellions. Contest ends on Friday, June 21.
Ok then, time to saddle up and mosey on down to Twitter. Good luck!
Digging Into Ghost Mine
After a minor delay, GHOST MINE is only two weeks away. Formerly known as Hell Hole, my little weird western has just about everything you can imagine within its pages. Cowboys, Teddy Roosevelt, Rough Riders, ghost towns, abandoned mines, a love story, mystery, Bigfoot, Black-Eyes kids, ghosts, demons and so much more.
I haven’t written anything like it before or since. What was the inspiration behind this bizarre tale? I opened up about reasons why I chose to head west over at DARK READS . Check it out to get a little behind the scenes insight into how many books come to be.
Click here to read the Ghost Mine origin story!
Cover Reveal for GHOST MINE
For those of you who have been asking when my western horror novel, Hell Hole, is coming back, well, here’s a start. Flame Tree Press is bringing it back to your eyeballs with a new title and cover! It will be reborn on May 9th, 2019.
This is the book that has it all – Teddy Roosevelt, cowboys, hired guns, black eyed kids, Bigfoot, ghosts, traveling preachers, dust storms, missing soldiers, a fiery Mexican temptress and so much more. Oh, and it’s set in a real current abandoned mining town. I’m thrilled with the new cover that’s been branded so it’s similar to Creature. Also very happy I was able to slap a new name on it so it no longer sounds like a Spinal Tap song. 🙂
Here’s the synopsis :
Deep in a Wyoming mine, hell awaits. Former cattle driver, Rough Rider and current New York City cop Nat Blackburn is given an offer he can’t refuse by President Teddy Roosevelt. Tales of gold in the abandoned mining town of Hecla, in the Deep Rock Hills, abound. The only problem-those who go seeking their fortune never return. Along with his constant companion, Teta, a hired gun with a thirst for adventure, Nat travels to a barren land where even animals dare not tread. But the remnants of Hecla are far from empty. Black-eyed children, strange lights and ferocious wild men venture from the deep, dark mine…as well as a force so sinister, Nat’s and Teta’s very souls are in jeopardy. There’s a mystery in Hecla thousands of years old. Solving it could spell the end of the world.
Hope you Hellions will be ready to do some spelunking in the GHOST MINE soon!
The Very Best of Monster Men – Countdown to Episode 100!
With episode #100 right around the corner (and weeks later, I think I’m still recovering from the celebration), I thought it would be great to share the top viewed episodes with you, as a way to look back at our golden oldies.
First up is our field trip to the haunted Union Cemetery, home of the fabled ghost of the white lady. We caught something chilling on EVP that day. Filmed in 2013, it has over 7,00 views and counting. Which means we really need to get out more and show you some of the stranger places in the NY tri-state area!
Next up is an episode that took us completely by surprise. Remember the show Ghost Mine on Syfy? Well, our episode on that show has not only garnered over 5,000 views, but also put us in touch with several members of the cast. That first season was one of my favorite ghost shows of all time.
This next episode was a bit of a coup for us. We interviewed Lyle Blackburn, TV personality and author who specializes in cryptids, specifically the beast of Boggy Creak and the Lizard Man. He’s a man after my own heart, having the biggest collection of Creature of the Black Lagoon memorabilia I’ve ever seen!
Jack and I talking about the good old days of discovering new horror movie gems at the video store is probably our favorite of all time, and tons of viewers agree. Take a walk down memory lane, and wish like we do that Netflix and On Demand never came along.
And last but not least, perhaps our funniest episode is the great monster wine taste test! This is the reason why I drink beer. I hope you’ve enjoyed these past 5 years as much as we have. There’s a hell of a lot more to come!
Ghost Mine Digs Deeper Into The Mystery
The entire gang is back at the Crescent Mine, searching for more than gold and getting creepier by the day. I wanted to wait until I watched a couple of episodes of Ghost Mine before writing about the new season. The first, short run season was so good, I wasn’t sure they could maintain the head of steam they’d built.
Thankfully, I was wrong. Season 2 is even better. Viewers already know the back story and love the miners and investigators, so it was easy to just jump right into the thick of things. In the two plus years I’ve been doing this blog, nothing comes close to the attention my post on the first season of Ghosts Mine received. I’m not the only one who thinks this is the best paranormal show on TV.
I think we were all disappointed to see that the second shaft they had opened at the close of season one had been caved in so thoroughly, there was no way to reopen it this time around. I’ll bet there were a lot of disreputable people skulking about those hills looking for the mine after the show aired. Did the owner, Larry, bring it down to keep them out, knowing there was a good possibility of gold lurking in the depths? Speaking of Larry, there’s something very shady about him. He’s extra scruffy this season and comes across to me as a little puppet master, jerking the strings of the Crescent Mine crew as well as Patrick and Kristen.
What I hope will be a fortuitous addition to the team is Greybeard’s old man, Duck. You remember him. He’s the one that bailed when he heard Tommyknockers in the first episode last season. I feel that good things will come from having the wise, superstitious old miner around. There’s a good mix of old and young here, and it makes for a good dynamic.
Patrick, who I think is sporting more ink, has come up with some more interesting toys to search for the paranormal. He’s a bright, no nonsense guy and his passion for what he does really comes through. And Kristen, well, she’s the living embodiment of Dana Scully, from the red hair to her quest for the truth. I know plenty of guys that watch the show just for her. Yes, guys are shallow. No news flash there.
There are a ton of questions that need to be answered this season.
- What do the Masons have to do with the mine? Was the newly discovered ballroom a meeting place for initiations?
- Who is the mystery person lurking around the camp and mines? Or is Larry just trying to draw them off their game?
- What happened during Bucket and Papa Smurf’s grandson’s missing time experience?
- What did Jay see walk past him in the mine and what is that shadow in the trees?
- Will Fast Eddie be convinced that something paranormal is going on before the end of the season?
- Can anyone understand what Bucket says without captions?
- Will Jamol’s cooking get any better?
Unlike other paranormal shows, we the viewers are just as interested in the mining and the lives of the cast as we are hearing EVPs or seeing video evidence of shadow people. And that’s what’s always set this show apart.
From all the feedback I’ve received, I know you’re all watching. What are your favorite parts of the show? What do you hope to see? Who are your favorite characters and why? I’ll give away signed books and ebooks to random commenters over the next few weeks. Now let’s get to diggin’!
Your Horror-Paranormal Round Up for September
It’s been a tale of two summers here in New York. The first half felt like we were living on Mercury, and the second half was mild and sunny on the San Diego-ish side. I’m not a big fan of summer and I’m happy to see it go. Bring me colder, darker days and falling leaves and, most of all, let the true horror begin!
Here are a few things you should be looking out for to get in the mood.
Looking for a great Horror Con to attend? Why not try Rock & Shock in Worcester, MA (10/4-10/6), Spooky Empire in Orlando, FL (10/25-10/27) or, my favorite, Chiller Theatre in Parsippany, NJ (10/25-10/27). I’ll be at Chiller, as I am every year. Where else can you drink next to celebs, be surrounded by like minded maniacs, catch some indie movies, stock up on horror gear and have the time of your life?
I’m a big fan of the movie V/H/S (and the tapes as well. I must have watched hundreds of horror videos in the 80s when I should have been in school). I wasn’t convinced that they could catch lightning in a bottle twice with the sequel. I’m here to tell you I was dead wrong. V/H/S 2 is actually better than the first. The segments are tighter and creepier, especially “Slumber Party Alien Abduction” and the ultra gore-fest, “Safe Haven”. This sequel is a must see. I hope they get the band back together for a third.
Speaking of sequels, one of my favorite paranormal TV shows, Ghost Mine, gets a second season starting September 4th. I know I’ll be writing more about this in the next month, but you really should check it out. If you never heard of the show, read my post about the first season so you’re ready to dive in to season two.
Often when I write, I have music going in the background. There are a couple of rules I have when it comes to writing music. First, it can’t have lyrics. Hearing other words screws with my head. Two, the music has to match the mood of the scene I’m writing. Naturally, I listen to a lot of soundtracks. I just picked up the soundtracks to Sinister and The Innkeepers. Both helped me finish my last book and will take me well into my next. Warning, Sinister, like the movie, will creep you the hell out! Both are excellent.
Calling all squatchers! Yeah, that means you! Are you ready for the new Bigfoot flick, Willow Creek? Click the movie poster below to watch the trailer and get as amped as I am. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this one by Bobcat Goldthwait. You all know I’m a sucker for sasquatch.
Need something to read? I’m not going to sugar coat this one. I fucking loved Brian Moreland’s The Witching House. His latest novella reads as fast as an out of control freight train and has genuine scares. Read the description and tell me if you can resist.
Some houses should be left alone.
In 1972, twenty-five people were brutally murdered in one of the bloodiest massacres in Texas history. The mystery of who committed the killings remains unsolved.
Forty years later, Sarah Donovan is dating an exciting man, Dean Stratton. Sarah’s scared of just about everything—heights, tight places, the dark—but today she must confront all her fears, as she joins Dean and another couple on an exploring adventure. The old abandoned Blevins House, the scene of the gruesome massacre, is rumored to be haunted.
The two couples are about to discover the mysterious house has been waiting all these years, craving fresh prey. And down in the cellar they will encounter a monstrous creature that hungers for more than just human flesh.
Stranded : Syfy’s Latest Scare Fest
I never thought the Syfy channel would become the mecca for ParaTV, but thanks to the runaway success of Ghost Hunters, the network churns out new ghost-themed shows quicker than Willy Wonka on meth. The latest entry is STRANDED, a new take on the old theme, created by Destination Truth’s own Josh Gates. Now, Josh is by far my favorite para-celebrity because he doesn’t take things too seriously, but serious enough to put his life on the line while searching for the uknown. I swear that man is going to at least lose a limb while schlepping through the jungle looking for dinosaurs or an Africanized Bigfoot. It’s also produced by Jason Blum, of Paranormal Activity and Sinister (by far the scariest movie of 2012) fame.
The premise of Stranded is simple. Take a handful of real people and drop them in one of America’s most haunted locations for 5 days. Arm them with cameras and some basic ghost hunting equipment and let the good times roll. No camera crews or Syfy production folks to get in the way. The best part is, no matter how scared they get, they can’t leave.
I mentioned in my previous post on Ghost Mine that I liked the idea of making folks investigate a haunted location for more than the obligatory night. That way we all get a better feel for the place, and allow enough time to stumble upon some real scares.
In the first episode, three twenty-somethings (exes Sarah and Sean and their non-believing friend, Xand) are dropped off on Star Island off the cost of New Hampshire. Their mission : to stay at the haunted Oceanic Hotel and find out if spirits really do roam the halls. The hotel has been shut up for the oncoming winter, ala The Shining. Anyone care to place wagers on whether Xand changes her tune about the paranormal?
When they arrive at the empty hotel on the first night, a book is left behind explaining the haunted history of the hotel. Ghost Hunters fans should remember when Jason, Grant and the team investigated the hotel a few years back. The trio spend the next 5 days living in the dark in the shuttered hotel, jumping at noises and filling up hours of night vision recordings.
Kudos to Sean for coming up with the creepiest method for ghost hunting – ever! It seems the spirit of a little girl likes to open and close the doors of the hotel rooms on the 4th floor. Sean decides to raid the nursery (a kind of prop for tourists to get their chills) and tie little nooses around their necks, with the other end on the door knobs. If any door is openened, they’ll know because the doll will be out of place. What we’re left with is a long, dark hallyway filled with strangled dolls on either side. They should have renamed it Hangman’s Hall.
They do get a disembodied voice giggling and there are odd sounds every night. It’s just enough to put them on edge, which, as a viewer, is where we want them. It ain’t fun until the skeptic cries, and in that sense, Stranded doesn’t disappoint.
The first episode was interesting, but I’m hoping it can crank things up in future episodes. Personally, I’d like to see them bring in some older, more grounded people who are less prone to suggestion. The trio in the first episode were on edge the moment they stepped onto the dock. I wish they hadn’t been given any info on the stories of the hotel. It colors their perception of things. Better to let them discover the paranormal for themselves. Use graphics to clue the viewers into the history.
For those of you who saw it, what did you think? Para-good, or para-bad?
I’ll be staying tuned. Hey, Syf, feel free to drop me off any place you’d like. Let’s see how a horror author holds up in a haunted house.
Ghost Mine : Syfy Strikes Gold
Let me start off by saying that I fully understand that all paranormal TV shows are entertainment. Some slant more to the entertainment side than others, but I’m not fooled into thinking everything I see on my television screen is a pure scientific approach to exploring the supernatural. The fact that there are no real scientists conducting experiments is enough to dispel that myth.
Syfy’s Ghost Mine has become, by far, the single best paranormal show on the air in very little time. Why it works so well is pretty simple and I’m sure other production companies will be working hard to imitate them.
We all like to be scared from time to time. If we didn’t, there wouldn’t be any amusement parks, and for real kicks, we’d watch reruns of Matlock. Even without the threat of ghosts lurking in the dark, an abandoned mine is scary as hell. It plays on our fear of the dark, claustrophobia and, well, you can die pretty easily in there. Mines are about as safe as Congress is effecient.
Ghost Mine focuses on a hearty band of miners looking for gold in the long abandoned Crescent Mine in the hills of Oregon. The mine itself has a rich history of the unexplained. They are joined by 2 paranormal investigators, the intense and gadget-loving Patrick Doyle and his partner, Kristen Lumen, a red haired beauty among the rough and tumble men. She can certanily hold her own and has to fight against the tide of supersitions about having women in a mine. It seems that other mining teams have bailed out on the Crescent Mine because of the supposed spirits that drift in and out of the tunnels.
What makes this work has nothing to do with the paranormal. It has everything to do with the miners themselves who make up one of the most interesting casts of characters on TV today. From the grizzled veterans Papa Smurf and Grey Beard (everyone has nicknames they’ve earned from years working in mines) to the fast talking Bucket and a pair of “Greenhorns” who are down on their luck and hoping to save their family’s finances. you can’t turn away. Just learning how these guys go about securing the mine and how much work goes into extracting gold is enough to hook me. Just think Axe Men with ghosts.
This is the first show that doesn’t zip in to a location and haul ass out the moment they think they’ve caught an EVP. We get to really explore the mine with them, and become emotionally invested in the miners.
Add in shadows that appear against laser grids, creepy voices and cabins being struck with the force to knock things off the walls, and you have must-see Para TV.
I admit to feeling my own walls closing in when Patrick and Kristen walk deep into the grave-black mines, searching for the heart of the haunting. The evidence they catch is compelling, but nothing can stop men with gold fever. The spirits in the mine, disturbed by the blasting, have also dispersed out of the mine, haunting the miner’s wives and children in a nearby B&B. Everyone’s on edge, including the viewers.
Ghost Mine is both informative and eerie. I’d be happy watching an episode dedicated only to mining as much as I would one centered on the ghost hunters.
As an added bonus, we get hints that the Masons might have something to do with the restless spirits. Conspiracy nuts, don your foil hats and strap yourselves in!
I’m a horror writer, and I’d be happy as a pig in you-know-what if I came up with a plot and characters this fascinating. So I’m not going to worry whether everything or not is real. I’m enjoying the ride.
The only negative is that the show has a very short run. Note to SyFy, feel free to cancel The Haunted Collector, find a new mine and get cracking on a full season.
If you’ve watched Ghost Mine, I’d love to know your thoughts about the show. Where would you rank it in the pantheon of modern Para TV?