Tag Archive | samhain

Only 1 Week Left For Samhain Horror

Ho ho  ho, Hellions! Still recovering from a holiday with the family? Or is Uncle Bill with irritable bowel syndrome still living in your guest room?

Oh, the horror! And now that we’re on that subject, Samhain horror is about to say bye-bye forever. When the ball drops on New Year’s Eve, the dozens of great books they published over the past 5 years disappear. Poof! Some may find homes with new publishers, but a lot may never be seen again.

island-of-the-forbidden1 

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So, if you got some cash or gift cards this year, why not spend a few bucks on some Samhain titles before they go the way of the Dodo? Then you never need to say goodbye to books by outstanding authors like Jonathan Janz, Brian Moreland, Russell James, Catherine Cavendish, Ron Malfi, Tim Waggoner, Glenn Rolfe, David Bernstein, Alan Spencer, Frazier Lee, Megan Hart, Kristopher Rufty  and so many more?

I was fortunate enough to publish 6 novels and 3 novellas with Samhain and the greatest horror editor of all time, Don D’Auria. I can tell you now that some of my titles will find new homes and new incarnations, but others may go out of print for good. I’m still talking to publishers and deciding what to do. Odds are, even the ones that will resurrect won’t be available for quite some time. I invite you to hop on over to my Amazon Author Page and take a gander and see which titles you’d like to grab before there ain’t no more to grab.

This is a great week to curl up with a good book and take a well deserved break. I hope you choose a Samhain horror book to be your post-holiday buddy.

For those who rode along with us during this 5 year journey, what were some of your favorite books and authors? I just may reward random people who post their favorites with some free Samhain ebooks. Here’s to hitting new heights in 2017!

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Plotting and Planning World Domination

That’s a pretty lofty title for this post. This coming from a guy who keeps telling the lovely ladies of the Shea abode that I’m king of the castle to peels of laughter. But anyway…

Now that the dust has settled with the whole Samhain madness, I’ve been taking some time to sit back and look over the landscape, considering my options for the future. Writing has taken a back seat to quiet contemplation, as well as talking to other publishers about new opportunities. This actually came at a good time. I was getting so bogged down, I couldn’t tell my ass from my elbow. Sometimes you don’t know how deep in the reeds you’ve wandered until you’ve been pulled out of them. Writing has become a full time job, in addition to my other full time job, and handling a family that counts two disabled people among the four. Being able to go in my room and write has always been my escape, my refuge, my sanity. The shock of Samhain’s news when they let my friend and editor go got me out of that room for a spell, which has freed me up to attend to other pressing matters that needed my attention desperately.

Lupus has become a big part of our lives, and I’m working with the Lupus Foundation to find the best doctors for my wife. We still need to get to the bottom of my youngest daughter’s illness. And my oldest is about to get her license while applying for colleges. Huge milestones! God, I feel old. I love the family I’ve created. Their health and happiness is always my top priority, and right now, they need me more than ever.

So even though I haven’t written a word this month, I have been busy reorganizing the old to-do and wish lists. We all need a break from time to time, even from the things we love. One thing I am doing now is editing a middle grade book I wrote a few years ago. That baby needs a spit shine so my agent can shop it around. I’m also putting together ideas for other books in non-horror genres, as well as getting the bones together for a short story called DASH GIRL I’ll publish in 2016. I already have the cover. Gotta get the guts together. (I feel like I’m living the Ed Wood movie!)

I do have some exciting news about new books that will be out in 2016 that I plan to announce soon. Anyone who joins my Dark Hunter Newsletter now will hear it first, as well as be eligible to win free books. Trust me, you want in on this news.

My main man Jack will be coming to the studio to film our Monster Men Christmas special, and we have loads of interviews lined up. Any beer suggestions for when we film?

So what’s the point of all this? I guess it’s just to let other writers know that it’s perfectly fine not to write. And to tell you that bigger and better things are on the way. 2016 is going to be amazing.

John Carpenter Warped My Youth

I know that seems a harsh thing to say, but it’s true. Oh, he wasn’t alone with shattering my expectations of the genre I loved most, horror. But damn if he wasn’t the biggest influence on my entire generation.

When I try to list the top 20 horror films of my teen years, J.C. dominates. If I whittle it down to my top 10 of all time, he’s still the master. As a writer, director and musician, he’s the one I think of when I conjure up the images and sounds of the boogeyman and impending doom. The man was at the top of the heap for two decades, which is about a decade and 5 years more than most.

The Monster Men recently dedicated an episode to singing his praises. I can’t believe it took us 30+ episodes to do it, but better late than never. You can watch the video here.

My goal today is to give you a moment to stop and admire the filmography of one of the best in the biz. My first exposure to the legend was, naturally, Halloween. That movie defined the slasher flick, spawning hundreds of imitations. Shot in just a few weeks, it isn’t the least bit dated and is terrifying a new generation. As an added bonus, it gave us Jamie Lee Curtis! Big score. When I was a kid, my friend bought a William Shatner mask and painted it white with house paint so he could be Michael Meyers for Halloween. The dude nearly passed out from the fumes. I think he even puked a couple of times. But the mask was awesome.

Halloween_cover

Carpenter followed that up with The Fog, again with Jamie Lee and the seductive Adrienne Barbeau. Undead pirates seeking revenge on a sleepy little town. What’s not to like? John Carpenter was married to Adrienne for some time, which is why you see her in a few of his films. In fact, if John liked you, you could expect to be in quite a few of his movies. The man is loyal as hell.

Escape From New York is one badass of a flick. Snake Plissken could wipe out Al Queda singlehandedly and solve the debt crisis. “I’m the Duke of New York, A Number One!” For a whole year after that came out, you would hear me or one of my friends daily say, “Call me Snake.”

escape from ny

Now comes one of my all time favorite movies, The Thing. Growing up in my house, the original Thing was sacred, so we went to the movie with some trepidation. Carpenter pulled off the rare feat of creating a remake a thousand times better than the original. Great characters, fantastic monster effects for its time, and of course, Kurt Russell with a kick ass hat and a flame thrower. This and Escape From New York made Russell the epitome of the tough guy that every dude wanted to be in the 80s. The Thing is horror and sci-fi perfection. I actually heard people gagging in the theater when the monster was revealed for the first time. Nice.

The ThingPoster

Next was a string of more hits like Christine (Stephen King’s killer car flick), Starman and Big Trouble in Little China (more Kurt Russell!).

They Live, a movie about aliens that have infiltrated our lives and can only be seen with a special pair of sunglasses, was great because it starred my favorite wrestler, Rowdy Roddy Piper. Yes, it’s silly, but it also good fun. And it gave us the immortal line : “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.”

The Prince of Darkness is a creepy tale about the devil and a desperate race to stop a plague of evil that will consume the world. I just rewatched it recently, and now that I’m older with a firmer grasp of theology, it gave me even more chills.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Assault on Precinct 13, which I attest is actually a zombie movie, and maybe one of the best ever made. Towards the end of his run, Carpenter directed Vampires, a decent adaptation of John Steakley’s avant garde novel. I’ve never been able to look at James Woods the same way.

These aren’t all of John Carpenter’s movies, but they are the best of the best. Thank you J.C. for making me the horror junkie that I am. The big question is, who is going to be the one to fill his shoes? I’m not sure I see anyone on the horizon. Some might say Eli Roth, but I think he has more to prove. What do you think?

And what are some of your favorite John Carpenter movies and moments? If you need time to mull it over, play the soundtrack to Halloween in the background to help speed things up.

New Cover Reveal

My editor at Samhain Publishing sent over the cover art for my upcoming story, THE GRAVEYARD SPEAKS, scheduled to be released April 2nd in tandem with my next novel, SINISTER ENTITY. I wanted to give you all a sneak peek at the cover.

The Graveyard Speaks

In the parlance of my youth, I’m diggin’ it. THE GRAVEYARD SPEAKS is a 40 page short story that bridges the gap between FOREST OF SHADOWS and SINISTER ENTITY. It occurs 13 years after FOS in a dark, snow-encrusted graveyard. The dead are very much alive and even the caretakers avoid a certain section of the sprawling cemetery. This isn’t your typical ghost hunting adventure, I assure you.

I highly suggest you read it before diving into SINISTER ENTITY. You’ll get a cool insight into the events leading up to the novel. The best part is that it’s going to be FREE (at least at the start). So hop on over to Samhain and add the story and the book to your wish list. They haven’t loaded the cover art yet, but you can still easily find it.

I’ve Got a Fever!

And the only prescription is more BOOK TOUR! I’m very excited to finally unveil the last leg of the Swamp Monster book tour that started way back in the first week of October. Sales have been great and everyone’s having a squatchy time. This last severed leg of the tour runs all the way until January 18th, unless the Mayans were right and we all but the big one on December 21st. Personally it’s been a rough time for me and my family, so the skunk apes have done a great job keeping us all sane.

Practice your bigfoot calls and stop by as this tour bus rolls on.

Swamp Monster Massacre Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

Monday, December 3

Book spotlight at Monique Morgan

Tuesday, December 4

Interviewed at As the Pages Turn

Wednesday, December 5

Guest blogging at Monique Morgan

Thursday, December 6

Guest blogging and Giveaway at Darlene’s Book Nook

Friday, December 7

Interviewed at Examiner

Monday, December 10

Guest blogging at Allvoices

Tuesday, December 11

Guest blogging at Beth’s Book Reviews

Wednesday, December 12

Interviewed at Broowaha

Thursday, December 13

Guest blogging at Parenting from a Child’s Point of View

Friday, December 14

Interviewed at Review From Here

Monday, January 7

Book spotlight and Giveaway at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Wednesday, January 9

Interviewed at Digital Journal

Thursday, January 10

Guest blogging at Shine

Monday, January 14

Guest blogging at Bunny’s Reviews

Tuesday, January 15

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Thursday, January 17

Interviewed at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

Friday, January 18

Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Guest Post : Jonathan Janz Lives in a House of Skin!

First of all, I want to thank Hunter for hosting me today. His Forest of Shadows and Evil Eternal are an amazing one-two punch, and if you haven’t picked them both up yet, you ought to. Here’s what I had to say about Evil Eternal:

Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and elegant, Evil Eternal is a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare.”

Yep, I guess you can tell I’m a fan.

And speaking of books you should buy…


My new novel (my first book was titled THE SORROWS and can be found right here) is called HOUSE OF SKIN. Here’s the stunning cover art and a short description of my novel:

 

“Myles Carver is dead. But his estate, Watermere, lives on, waiting for a new Carver to move in. Myles’s wife, Annabel, is dead too, but she is also waiting, lying in her grave in the woods. For nearly half a century she was responsible for a nightmarish reign of terror, and she’s not prepared to stop now. She is hungry to live again…and her unsuspecting nephew, Paul, will be the key.

Julia Merrow has a secret almost as dark as Watermere’s. But when she and Paul fall in love they think their problems might be over. How can they know what Fate—and Annabel—have in store for them? Who could imagine that what was once a moldering corpse in a forest grave is growing stronger every day, eager to take her rightful place amongst the horrors of Watermere?”

So the character not mentioned in that description is the one I’m going to tell you about today.

Pretty logical, huh?

Sheriff Sam Barlow is one of a long line of well-intentioned lawmen in horror fiction. One of my personal favorites is Stephen King’s Alan Pangborn, but there are plenty of them to choose from.

Michael Rooker and Ed Harris both played Alan Pangborn. I figured Rooker deserved the extra publicity.

So what makes my sheriff different?

Well, the structure of my novel, for one thing. Like my debut THE SORROWS, HOUSE OF SKIN has the Gothic structure that I love—where a story in the past affects and ultimately merges with the story in the present. Books like Peter Straub‘s Ghost Story and George R.R. Martin‘s Fevre Dream take on an extra resonance because of their use of the frame story and the manner in which those authors use their back-stories to advance their present stories.

The Finest Ghost Story Ever Written

HOUSE OF SKIN does that. And Sam Barlow is a central figure in both the past and the present.

In the present he’s a grizzled veteran cop who lives alone and does his best not to hate my protagonist Paul Carver, who has the bad luck to look just like the man who ruined Sam Barlow’s life. Sam also has a special bond with my “co-protagonist” Julia Merrow, which is explained in the “past” story.

Many of the book’s surprises involve Sam and his entanglement with the novel’s two main villains, particularly a woman named Annabel. I’ll write about Annabel at a later date, but I’ll just say now that she’s fearsome and beautiful and absolutely evil. Sam is the man who understands this the most, and he’s determined to prevent her resurrection.

But Annabel has other plans.

The last thing I’ll say about this character before I close is that if HOUSE OF SKIN ever becomes a movie, I’ve got some thoughts about who should play my sheriff. Josh Brolin would be great if he were older. Assuming the movie gets made in the next five years (I’m pretty certain it will—hah!), Brolin would be too young. But he does have that world-weary look that would work well for Sam. Guys like John C. McGinley (one of the Office Space Bobs) and David Morse (Brutal from The Green Mile) would also be great, but my first choice is the man pictured below…

Ash, Elvis, and…Sam Barlow?

Bruce Campbell would kill this role. Then again, Bruce would probably kill any role, but I think he’d do a particularly wonderful job as my sheriff.

So, Mr. Campbell, if you’re reading…my people will call your people soon.

And please don’t threaten my people with your prosthetic chainsaw.

The Haunted Well at the Manhattan Bistro : Affirming the Eternity of the Soul

Sometimes, writing has its perks. A couple of months ago, I was asked to be on a radio show (Working Things Out hosted by the lovely Diana Navarro) that usually broadcasts out of a midtown Manhattan restaurant. For my interview, the venue was moved to Soho in a place called The Manhattan Bistro. What’s so special about the Manhattan Bistro? The small restaurant houses a well that dates back to the 1700’s and has been reportedly haunted since 1800. My perk? The owner gave us rare permission to go down after the show to see the well and do a little paranormal investigation!

Right from the get-go, the Manhattan Bistro looked like a place out of time. The structure is far older and smaller than all the other surrounding buildings and stores. You can tell that the entire neighborhood has grown up around it. When I first stood across the street, it made me think of the Little Red Lighthouse living under the shadow of the George Washington Bridge.

A little on the background of the well: The unhappy ghost of Elma Sands has been seen and heard in and around the old, deteriorating well ever since her murder in 1800. It’s believed the 21 year old was killed by her well-to-do fiancé and stuffed in the well and was the scene of the city’s first murder trial. The fiancé was defended by Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton and the prosecution never had a chance.

So now we have the perfect locale for a haunting. A woman violently slaughtered and a crime without a punishment. People have been seeing her ghost rising from the well, ala The Ring, for centuries.

Three of us walked into the cramped basement to see the well. I’m not a tall guy, and my head almost touched the ceiling as we shuffled down the tight corridor that was straight out of The Amityville Horror.

I was shocked to see that the well itself rose well over six feet out of the ground. The sandy stone has crumbled in some spots but carries the weight of history. We turned out all the lights. It was as dark as a tomb. After asking a few questions, we just let the silence take over. Pictures were flashing and my audio recorder was placed on the lip of the well. I didn’t feel anything supernatural around the well. Not even one tiny goosebump.

I asked, “Do you want us down here? Would you like us to stay or leave?”

We waited expectantly, the darkness covering us like a burial shroud. There was  a knock on the ceiling, but I quickly realized someone had dropped something upstairs.

All and all, we left feeling that the well, this night, was benign. Poor Elma Sands was elsewhere, hopefully with her family or maybe out enjoying the sights.

Later in the night, I slipped back down to the well. This time, I didn’t feel alone, though whether it was due to the paranormal or just human nature when one finds oneself in a dark room standing next to a well that everyone has said is haunted is highly debatable. No matter the cause for my discomfort, it was worth it for the chill that danced down my spine.

And that is why I write about ghosts, and why I run to the things that go bump in the night. Ghost hunting is an extreme sport, with one difference; the payoff is beyond comprehension. Affirming there are ghosts in our midst is proving the eternal nature of the soul, thus eradicating the fear of death. There aren’t many other human endeavors greater than that.

Hungry for more? Check out this video of the most haunted buildings in New York City.

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