Tag Archive | russell james

Island of the Forbidden is Here – Come for the Three Hour Tour!

It’s been almost 2 years since Jessica Backman’s last foray into the world of the unknown, but she’s finally back. ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN has been officially released. Jessica is in her early twenties now and completely disenfranchised with the entire concept of ghost hunting. Knowing that she draws the dead to her, empowering those with less than noble intentions, she’s distanced herself from her family, friends and uber psychic, Eddie Home. Instead of running to the dead, she’s now running from them.

Eddie is now a shell of his former self. The power surge he had to employ to save Jessica and the family they were helping in SINISTER ENTITY has left him drained. He’s plagued by the cries of the dead, unable to help them.

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Despite their weakness, Eddie and Jessica are both drawn to haunted Ormsby Island off the South Carolina coast. There’s an old mansion there and a secret so taboo, so terrifying, the world has done its best to wipe it from its collective memory. To save the living, they must face their deepest fears.

Early reviews have been great!

When I’m ready to reconsider my views of the afterlife, of the nature and motivations of individuals, of the meanings of life and purpose, I look to Hunter Shea. He brings to the early 21st century the kind of thought-provoking literary horror that Ambrose Bierce gave to the 19th century.” Mallory Heart Reviews

“Island of the Forbidden” is the ultimate haunted house story.  There are all of the elements for an explosive story in which everything goes wrong. And in “Island of the Forbidden,” everything goes wrong.” Examiner.com

“The story is a non-stop rush from the first chapter to the satisfying, terrifying end. This is 2015’s first must-read for the horror fan.” Russell James, author of Dark Vengeance and Dreamwalker

“Island of the Forbidden has it all, ghosts, an evil presence, psychics, creepy dead children, an old haunted house, the list goes on. I couldn’t put it down!” – Scarlet’s Web reviews

If ghost stories are you thing, I wrote this book just for you. This isn’t your momma’s ghost tale. Oh no.

You can order a copy of ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN (ebook or trade paperback) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain Publishing and wherever books are sold. If you get it, give me a shout and let me know what you think of it.

We’re also kicking off a HUGE blog tour, thanks to Hook of a Book Media. Click on the graphic below to see all the stops. Special thanks to Tim Busbey for his graphics expertise. I’ll be giving away lots o books along the way!

Island of the forbidden tour logo

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An Interview With Horror Master Russell James


I was lucky enough to spend some time with one of my favorite guys in the horror biz, Russell James. I’ve been hooked on his writing ever since I read his debut novel, Dark Inspiration. And lucky me, I get to hang out with the guy at horror cons! He has a lot going on this year, publishing enough fresh terror to keep his fans satisfied.  

Your latest tale of terror, Dark Vengeance, was just released through Samhain Horror in March. What are readers in store for this time around?

Laura and Teresa, the heroes from DARK INSPIRATION, are back. A coven of witches has taken up residence in their small town in Tennessee. The coven’s plan is to resurrect an Aztec demon that really has it in for the male of the species. They need to perform a human sacrifice to make the demon’s transformation complete, and they will need to use children.

Laura and Teresa are the only ones with the clues a bout what evil is to come, but their experiences in DARK INSPIRATION were too much for their relationship to bear, and they’ve moved apart. They have to pull theirrelationship back together in time to save the children, includingTeresa’s son.

DarkVengeance

Your debut book. Dark Inspiration, just blew me away. I knewthat I was in great company with the new line of horror authors that Samhain had gathered. What made you decide to write the follow up, Dark Vengeance, and can we expect another in the ongoing saga?

I had readers of Dark Inspiration ask for more stories about Laura and Teresa, so I got to thinking about the effects on them from what they endured in the first book. I wanted that impact to follow through, toaffect them in the second story, not have it like sitcom episode where everything starts fresh. The new character in this book, who ends up being named Dawn, really intrigues me. We may hear more about her.

 

You also have a novella, Blood Red Roses coming out on May 6th (the day before my birthday in case anyone wants to buy me a cake). Tell us a little about it.

This novella is one of four that won the Gothic Horror Contest with Samhain. Mine is set on a cotton plantation during the Civil War. An orphan is sold there to work in the stable under an evil overseer, and uncovers a series of slave killings. The more he investigates it, the deeper and darker the story gets, until he finds himself a victim. I read a lot of Edgar Allen Poe ahead of time and tried to put a bit of his style into it to make it feel period-correct.

I’ve found a common theme with horror authors in that so many were inspired to pursue the genre by those 70s staples, In Search Of and Kolchak The Night Stalker. What are your favorite episodes of each?

In Search Of was just excellent. The episode explaining the Nazca drawings, the enormous etchings on the plains that can only be seen from above, made me convinced to this day we were visited by aliens. Kolchack? Was there a bad episode? Loved that show. And if anyone says Twilight Zone had no impact on them, they are lying.

You’ve also been self-publishing short story collections and collaborating with other writers. Tell us about those collections and where people can find them?

I started a critique group with five other writers after we finished a Gotham Writing class. All of them have since gone on to be professionally published or to win writing awards, including several Honorable Mentions in Writers of the Future contests. We decided to self-publish a collection of time travel stories called OUT of TIME, and donate the royalties to Doctors Without Borders. It has sold over 5000 copies and generated a nice stream of checks for DWB. I think that having five other good writers deliver some no-holds-barred criticism forced all of us to write better, and it shows in the end product. It is even a hot seller in Great Britain for some reason.

We also just put out a fairy tale collection called In A LAND FAR AWAY, also supporting Doctors Without Borders.

In the horror realm, I have two collections of short stories, TALES FROM BEYOND and DEEPER INTO DARKNESS. I wanted to give readers an easy way to sample my style before they bought a novel. Both of these have done very well.

All of these collections are at Amazon, and listed on my Amazon author page.

As one of the privileged few to get an early look at your next novel, Dreamwalker, I’ve come to think of you as the Samhain Magic Man (cue the Heart soundtrack). You definitely have a deep interest in all things magical and mystical. What attracts you to magic?

 

It does appear I have a subconscious pull to power drawn from the supernatural. In DREAMWALKER, the characters use voodoo to access that power. That was some seriously creepy research that convinced me voodoo taps into something truly dark and powerful. In Haiti, voodoo was illegal at one point. Most governments don’t ban something that isn’t a real and present danger. If you ever want to get your family to second guess you, start checking voodoo books out of the library.

We’ve both had personal contacts with things beyond what we see as reality. There’s a whole different level out there we’ll someday understand.

What’s one thing you can tell people about yourself that you haven’t revealed in other interviews?

I went over twenty years without watching a horror movie. When I was about seven, my father took me to see Vincent Price in House of Wax in 3D. Between the 3D and the Technicolor melting faces, I was duck-down-in-the-seat terrified. Except for the 1930’s Universal classics, I didn’t see another horror movie until well into adulthood. Now they are a blast.

What was your path to publication like? If you could give aspiring writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

I lucked out. I was in that Gotham writing class I mentioned and the teacher said Samhain had opened up a new horror line under the respected editor Don D’Auria. I’d had two short stories published and DARK INSPIRATION’s manuscript was sitting on my hard drive awaiting the slew of rejections that my prior three manuscripts garnered. I figured I might as well start my rejections with one of the best, so I sent it off. I literally dropped to my knees in shock when I got the acceptance email. I honestly still didn’t believe it until the books showed up at my doorstep.

Advice to new writers? Write, read, submit. Just keep going. Writing is a skill. Some are gifted at it, but it is still a skill everyone must master. A gifted swimmer still has to train to win an Olympic medal. And that’s what getting published is like, like winning an Olympic medal. The more you write, the better you get. And if you are going to quit when you get rejected, don’t bother trying. I have five published novels, and I get rejections all the time. That part won’t get better.

Your future is as bright as a supernova. What’s next for the Magic Man?

Before the end of the year, I’ll be in two more benefit anthologies, a space/sci-fi one called CENTAURI STATION, and a second time travel collection called STILL OUT OF TIME. In January next year DREAMWALKER releases from Samhain. I just finished a post-apocalyptic novel manuscript called Q ISLAND, and have a few other cards up my sleeve after that. Don’t blink. You’ll miss something.

 

Horrorhound 2014 Pictorial

I’m back from Horrorhound Weekend 2014. I survived the drive to Cincinnati and back, despite riding into a flash blizzard that caused 90% of the cars to slide off the road and having a piece of lumber fall off the back of a semi and nearly impale my car. Take that, fates!!

I heard that over 15,00o hardcore horror fans descended on the convention center. It made the news. Hell, I made the news. Yep, on Saturday morning I watched the Channel 5 news and saw the Samhain booth with me and author Russell James chatting up a potential reader.

And man, were there a lot of readers. You don’t alway get that at cons (don’t get me started on the state of readers today). The Samhain booth was loaded with authors this year. It was a blast hanging out and signing books alongside Mick Ridgewell, Russell James, Kristopher Rufty, Tim Waggoner, Jonathan Janz, David Searls and Quinn Langston in her full Steampunk gear.

My favorite part of any con is meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. Spoke to quite a few aspiring horror writers. The best part was that most of them were women. This genre needs more estrogen! I’m very grateful to everyone that came out and stopped by our booth to chat with all of us and buy our books. You’re what makes this whole writing thing worthwhile.

So, as usual, here is my Horrorhound pictorial. Get ready to do a lot of scrolling. If you think it looks awesome, because it was, get your tickets to their next con in Indianapolis in the fall! I’ll be there.

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March 2014 122March 2014 137March 2014 108March 2014 140March 2014 144March 2014 117March 2014 149March 2014 133March 2014 115March 2014 119March 2014 120March 2014 132March 2014 130March 2014 129March 2014 126March 2014 150March 2014 121March 2014 142March 2014 135March 2014 107March 2014 116

Revvin’ Up For Horrorhound

That’s right, I’m loading up the Monster Mobile and pointing it west, hitting the road like a demon on an unholy mission, armed with pepper beef jerky, liquid libations and a Brinks truck to pay for the gas. My destination : Horrorhound Weekend in Cincinnati. I wasn’t able to make any cons last year, so I need to make up for lost time. Hope you can join me and other great Samhain authors like Jonathan Janz, Russell James (I’m Russell James, bitch!), Mick Ridgewell, Kristopher Rufty, Tim Waggoner, David Searls and Quinn Langston.  The Samhain booth will be front and center in the main expo room.

The legendary Bruce Campbell will be there, as well as members of The Walking Dead and some of the cast from my favorite movie last year, You’re Next. Horrorhound is the Mardi Gras of terror, so get it in gear and come party with us!

I’ll be in the booth all throughout the weekend signing books and acting the fool, when I’m not shopping for horror gear. I’ll be previewing my upcoming book, The Waiting, as well as my moldy oldies like Sinister Entity and Forest of Shadows. Knowing Samhain, folks who come to the booth may even get a discount code to pick up a copy of The Waiting. My assigned signing times are below, but you can bet I’ll be there much more:

Friday : 7:00 – 10:00 (with Jonathan Janz and Mick Ridgewell)

Saturday : 3:00 – 7:00 (with David Searls and Tim Waggoner)

Sunday : 11:00 – 2:00 (with Kristopher Rufty, David Searls and Mick Ridgewell)

Stop on by, talk some horror, get some great books and have a drink with me!

Horrorhound

Horror-Paranormal Round Up for May

It’s that time again to go through my grab bag of people, places and things that have grabbed my interest and, in some cases, admiration. When it comes to horror and all things preternatural, I’m a total junkie. Even if I quit my job, I don’t think I’d have enough time in my day to read, watch and listen to everything that interests me.

So, seeing as we all have limited time in our busy lives, I’ll present you with a half dozen items you can check out at your leisure. They all get the Hunter Bloody Seal of Approval.

Websites. Don’t be fooled by the name, Who Forted is a treasure trove of all things strange and paranormal, not an ode to flatulence. The FORT comes from Charles Fort, the writer and researcher who delved into the world of the unexplained, giving rise to the phrase Fortean or Forteana to describe the mysterious and unfathomable. Who Forted is packed with videos, articles and discussions on everything from aliens to black-eyed kids and, in a current post, monster vomit. Come on, who isn’t curious about monster vomit??

Movies. The only problem with The Bigfoot Hunter : Still Searching is that it’s only an hour long. You can watch it for free on YouTube. It’s a low budget documentary created by a handful of young guys following a couple of, shall we say eccentric, Bigfoot hunters. It’s funny, at times creepy and a tad frightening. And I’m not talking about Bigfoot doing the scares. A must see for any squatcher.

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Podcasts. I’ve become seriously addicted to the Mysterious Universe podcast. I download each weekly episode from iTunes. Hosted by a pair of informed, entertaining Aussies, this has become one of my favorte podcasts. From their own website, they describe their show as : bringing you the latest news and podcasts covering the strange, extraordinary, weird, wonderful and everything in between. We strive to maintain a balance of healthy skepticism and entertainment while never losing our sense of humour.

Books. Fellow Samhainer Russell James is the proud poppa of a bouncing, baby book, his third with our illustrious publisher. Black Magic is one of the most original, gripping books I’ve read in a long while. You have to check this one out. Here’s the book’s description. Just click on the cover to order a copy from Amazon today.

In this magic shop the magic is real. And the trick is on you.

Citrus Glade is a dying town that needs new businesses, but the one that just opened is doing much more harm than good. Stranger Lyle Miller’s magic shop seems to only stock what its select customers desire. When four outcast boys buy common party tricks, only Lyle knows what those tricks can really do. As subtle changes occur around town, a few residents realize that something is amiss…and getting worse. But it may already be too late. Lyle’s black magic has empowered more townspeople to help him execute his Grand Adventure, a plan that will reduce the town, and half the state, to rubble.

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Short Stories. I came across Allison M. Dickson’s short stories while cruising through Amazon on my Kindle. She has a good number of taught, thought provoking, horrific stories out there, each for under a buck! So far, I’ve read Vermin, Dust and Taste and have dug them all. Perfect little appetizers that you can devour any time you’re hungry for horror.

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EVPs. There’s something about EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) that just sends a tingle down my back. I’m sure a lot of them have a natural explanation, but even if just 5% are genuine, that’s enough to give me the willies. You can check out a bunch of them at Texas Wind Talker. Best listened to during a sunny day with people close by.

Horror Reading List for Halloween

It’s Terrortober and I have the books you should be reading right here. Now, those of you following me on Twitter know that every day I post what horror movie I’ve watched with a rating and the hashtag, Terrortober. To add to the fun, the Monster Men have put together an episode dedicated to a plethora of great books available at Samhain Horror.

Also, I’ve been posting chapters of a new gothic horror story called MERCY. You can read chapter one here and chapter two here. Chapter three will be posted on my blog on Halloween.

OK, grab a pen and paper and get ready for your mandatory reading list. This will count for 75% of your grade!

 

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!

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