When Severed Press asked me to write a lost world themed book, I put on several layers of coats and a balaclava and zipped my brain down to Antarctica. As a lover of The Thing, I couldn’t wait to strand a cast of characters in a cold, dark and bleak land. Many taps of the keyboard later, ANTARCTIC ICE BEASTS is born!
The ebook is out now, with trade paperback to follow shortly. So, what’s this little tale of winter horror about?
The South Pole in winter is one of the deadliest places on Earth. The seven person crew of the US Freedom Base lives alone in months of utter darkness with no hope of help or rescue. A freak storm batters the walls and threatens to expose them to the deadly cold. All they can do is wait…and pray.
The ground quakes. An alien screech rips through the night. There’s something, or someone, lurking outside. Fists bang on the walls. Each tiny crack in the base spells death by hypothermia.
Untold horrors have come to Freedom Base…and they want in!
It’s a new year and time for some new books for your ravenous eyeballs! First up in 2019 will be my next Severed Press action/adventure/horror novella, ANTARCTIC ICE BEASTS. The fine folks at Severed just sent over the cover and as always, they nailed it.
The hard, and fun part, was writing a story set in a US base in Antarctica that wasn’t a ripoff of The Thing or another tired Journey to the Center of the Earth tale. I think and hope I did just that.
I’ll let you know the publication date once I get it.
So, what do y’all think?
My new novel Curse of the Viper King is Grant Coleman’s latest adventure fighting (or maybe just surviving) giant monsters. In this story, he and a crew of loggers in the Amazon have to fight off giant spiders, among other things.
Spiders are naturally creepy. Furry, but not cute. Way too many legs. Fangs. We may love Spider-man, but we don’t love spiders, man. Fearing them even has its own name, arachnophobia. There’s no specific phobia for most other animals.
I didn’t have to spin too much fiction to come up with the spiders in this book. I just scaled up the real thing. They were scary enough.
Ground spiders are a set of species that do not spin conventional webs. They build web-lined burrows and shoot balls of immobilizing webbing at their prey. They have fewer, but much larger silk producing glands. So while most spiders are passive predators, waiting for prey to blunder into a web, ground spiders are active hunters, finding and felling prey.
And they are good at it. They are able to shoot silk with enough accuracy to hit legs and mouths of prey much larger than themselves. And this silk is sticky. The glue can withstand shear stresses that are more than 750 times what artificial glues can handle. Getting hit with this stuff is worse than being wrapped in a blanket of super glue.
And if that’s not chilling enough, the spider doesn’t eat the prey. It just sucks out all the fluid leaving a desiccated corpse behind. Do not volunteer to clean up after one of their dinner parties.
In Curse of the Viper King, Professor Grant Coleman and activist Janaina Silva are lost in the Amazon. They come across a logging team and hope they can hitch a ride home through them. But workers discover the remains of a giant snake that send them into a superstitious panic. Then that night, giant spiders arrive. The survivors of the attack find that their only hope for salvation lies in the lost Aztec temple of the infamous Viper King. But they have to get there and back alive.
So as your read about Grant’s harrowing exploits among the spiders, don’t give my imagination all the credit. This spider-induced terror plays out every day all over the world, just on a much smaller scale. Just be glad you aren’t a quarter-inch tall.
Russell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching late night horror. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida. After flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales, including paranormal thrillers Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, Dreamwalker, and Q Island. His Grant Coleman adventure series covers Cavern of the Damned, Monsters in the Clouds, and Curse of the Viper King. His wife reads his work, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.”
For starters, I’d really like to thank Hunter for inviting me here to be a guest on his blog and talk about my own recent take on dinosaurs, “The Lost World of Kharamu”. We both tackle horror from different directions, so it’s kind of amusing we’ve crossed paths this summer at an intersection marked by giant man-eating lizards.
For me, this is my first venture into the sci-fi arena – traditional, old-school horror stories are my usual dish – but truth be told, I’ve always been fascinated by dinosaurs. My earliest figurines were those hard-wax dino figures they used to sell in mall parking lots back in the day, the ones that used to melt in the sun if you forgot and left them out on the back porch (like I did). From there I went on to an ill-conceived attempt to build a dino-diorama, signing out every dinosaur book in our local library and Saturday afternoon features like “Lost World”, “The Land That Time Forgot”, and so on, movies that were pretty much over-the-top schmaltzy kid’s stuff. But I didn’t take them that seriously.
Until, that is, “Jurassic Park” showed up in the theaters.
Spielberg’s block-buster was a game changer. No stop-action Harryhausen figurines here – from the moment those thundering creatures appeared on that huge IMAX movie screen, those suckers looked terrifyingly real. The first time that T. rex roared, my knuckles went white on the arm rest and that scene where Jeff Goldblum is being chased? I still cringe. Michael Crichton’s book were no less amazing because the science behind them all seem plausible.
So, when it came time for me to cook up my take on the genre, the obvious question was: What on earth could I possible add to this?
Drawing from my experiences traveling in England, India, China and southeast Asia seemed like a good place to begin. Along with a whole bucketload of ‘what ifs?’. “The Lost World of Kharamu” takes its main character, renegade paleontologist Dr. Grant Taylan, on a rollercoaster ride from the Hudson Valley to the Natural History Museum in London, Mumbai India, and ultimately to a remote island in the South Pacific where a Chinese tech corporation is having the beta trial run of its ultimate cosplay themed vacation park. This ‘Lost World’, however, has its own special perks: a place where the ultra-rich not only get to play out their 1950s Universal monster-movie fantasies, but fight and kill real dinosaurs in the bargain.
Along with Australian dino-expert Audrey Adams and Indian Systemologist Roma Banaji, Taylan has to outsmart Russian black-market fossil traffickers, a relentless bunch of Vietnamese commandoes with a contract on his head, a psychotic ex-girlfriend, a Texas billionaire with a John Wayne complex and of course, dinosaurs. Not just the traditional sauropods and Tyrannosaurs we know and love, but also the swift, brilliantly-feathered Zhenyuanlong and the terrifying Utahraptor.
“The Lost World of Kharamu” is really intended as a throwback to adventure story-telling, with more of an adult twist and plenty of black humor. Don’t look for a Disney-theme here. If that interests you, I’ll be giving away two ebook copies free to random drawn responses to this blog, on Hunter’s discretion.
Thanks again, and as Mr. Romero said: stay afraid!
If you’re looking for one hell of a read that is grounded in a real life mystery, J.H. Moncrieff’s lates, RETURN TO DYATLOV PASS is a can’t miss. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek so I could provide a blurb. It’s a creepy tale filled with enough facts to make you wonder as an icy finger trails down your spine. I highly suggest you also read up on the real Dyatlov Pass incident, then go watch the horror movie, The Devil’s Pass. Fully immerse yourself in one of the strangest mysteries of the 20th century.
About the book:
In 1959, nine Russian students set off on a skiing expedition in the Ural Mountains. Their mutilated bodies were discovered weeks later. Their bizarre and unexplained deaths are one of the most enduring true mysteries of our time.
Nearly sixty years later, podcast host Nat McPherson ventures into the same mountains with her team, determined to finally solve the mystery of the Dyatlov Pass incident. Her plans are thwarted on the first night, when two trackers from her group are brutally slaughtered.
The team’s guide, a superstitious man from a neighboring village, blames the killings on yetis, but no one believes him. As members of Nat’s team die one by one, she must figure out if there’s a murderer in their midst—or something even worse—before history repeats itself and her group becomes another casualty of the infamous Dead Mountain.
Available in ebook and trade paperback.
Severed Press has just brought THE DOVER DEMON back to life. Originally published by Samhain Publishing in 2015, the book was left in limbo when Samhain closed its doors. This little beastie has returned with a kick ass new cover!
Back in 2014, I was at the International Cryptozoology Museum for a book signing on my tour for The Montauk Monster. The museum’s owner is Loren Coleman, one of the most revered cryptozoologists in the world. Loren and I struck up a conversation and I asked him what cryptid I should write about next. He didn’t hesitate in urging me to look into the famous Dover Demon case, one that still baffles everyone associated with it 40 years later.
Over the course of two nights in 1977 during spring break in the affluent town of Dover, Massachusetts, six teenagers spotted a bizarre, bipedal creature scuttling along the dark roads. It appears that all saw the very same being, one of them (Bill Bartlett) drawing a sketch of the anomaly for the police.
Today, a lot of people would say, “Oh, that’s one of those gray alien things.” But you have to remember, this creature was spotted before the iconic image of gray aliens was a thing. Hell, Close Encounters of the Third Kind hadn’t even come out yet. Loren Coleman was called to Dover and was the one to give it its name. Cryptozoologists are still puzzled by what the teenagers saw. They look at it in terms of being a terrestrial animal. UFOologists look to the case as an early example of the grays making themselves known.
A cryptid AND an alien? I couldn’t turn down the challenge. THE DOVER DEMON is both one of my most personal and strangest books to date. So, if you care to take a trip to Dover, the gates are once again open. Beware, you might never be the same!
A little bit of trivia : The man character is a man named Sam Brogna. I named him after a New York Mets short-lived first baseman, Rico Brogna. The man’s career was cut short due to injury, but he lives on in The Dover Demon. Well, sort of.
The Dover Demon is real…and it has returned.
In 1977, Sam Brogna and his friends came upon a terrifying, alien creature on a deserted country road. What they witnessed was so bizarre, so chilling, they swore their silence. But their lives were changed forever. Decades later, the town of Dover has been hit by a massive blizzard. Sam’s son, Nicky, is drawn to search for the infamous cryptid, only to disappear into the bowels of a secret underground lair. The Dover Demon is far deadlier than anyone could have believed. And there are many of them. Can Sam and his reunited friends rescue Nicky and battle a race of creatures so powerful, so sinister, that history itself has been shaped by their secretive presence?