Tag Archive | short stories

Cooking Up Halloween Scares At The Asylum

Just in time for the Halloween season, my first short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, has been set loose on an unsuspecting world. To kick things off, I’m running a special from now until Halloween. You can get a copy of Asylum Scrawls for only 99 cents. After the ghosts and goblins have their fill of candy and egging houses, the price goes to $1.99 (still a bargain if you ask me). With fantastic cover art by Mike Chella and a creepy bonus story by my mentor, Norm Hendricks, it’s sure to make you question what’s real and what’s not.

As an added bonus, if you download a copy before Halloween and let me know through this old blog and chain, the FB fan page or Twitter, you’re also eligible to win a copy of any of my novels. You can’t beat that with a stick, or chainsaw, or hot poker, or machete. I’ll be giving away books all through the Horrortober season. That’s right, all treats, no tricks.

AsylumScrawls Cover

So, what’s cooking in the asylum?

  • In PHANTOM FEELING, meet Hank, a recent amputee living in his parents’ attic. His childhood toys are coming out to spell secret messages to him – or is he losing his grip on his sanity?
  • THE FACELESS GIRL follows two couples at a famous movie star’s mountain mansion. The master bedroom holds a terrifying secret – an apparition that will not leave.
  • The last place you want to be is strapped to the pummel stone in STONED. Poor Kitty’s wasted her life on the stone, but things are about to take an unexpected and deadly turn.
  • What happens when your religious zealot wife tells you about her special COMMANDMENT ELEVEN? You watch your life fall to pieces, bit by agonizing bit.
  • Ready for a true gothic nightmare? MERCY starts with a demonic possession and only gets worse in the old manse beset by evil.
  • FOUL BALL is a throwback to the 70’s during the Summer of Sam in New York. When a Wiffle ball rolls down the sewer, 6 boys devise a plan to save it from the muck and slime. Some things are better off lost
  • In a special bonus story by Norm Hendricks, a child killer confined to a prison cell waits for the call of the PIPER. Truly haunting.

Help me get this bad boy to number one! To order your copy from Amazon, click here.

2013 Resolutions for Writers

The ball has dropped. The confetti is now in a landfill. Your diet plans have already been thrown to the wind, ready to return for a couple of days next January. The Twilight Zone marathon has passed the signpost up ahead that reads : Hey, time to get back to work!

I’m not big on resolutions because I know that 99% of them are yesterday’s dreams by the end of January. The only ones I’ve been able to keep are the resolutions that pertain to writing. For me, writing has always been my escape, my sanctuary, and now it’s also an income-providing business. All the more reason to get my ass in gear and hunker down. I admit, I took a total break from writing most of December. I needed it. My brain, like a chicken wing, was fried. At times during the holidays, I could actually hear my cells vibrate as they recharged. It was a wise decision to step back for a bit. But rest time is now bye-bye.

I figured I’d start with a list of resolutions that would benefit others as much as myself. Writing is a lonely business and sometimes we need some outside influences to kick us in the pants. Consider this my loving tap on your authorly keister.

Here are my 2013 Writing Resolutions:

1. Read More. I know I’ve stressed this in other articles and interviews. You can’t write if you don’t read. Plain and simple. I must read 75 or more books a year. I know I can do more. The number one rule is to turn that damn TV off as much as possible. Naturally, I read a ton of horror novels. But i’s also good to branch out to other genres, as well as the classics and self-help books. It all leads to personal growth. In fact, this year, I vow to read at least one romance novel. It’s the last genre out there that I haven’t touched as a reader. Any suggestions?

True fact, Fabio and I have the same agent!

True fact, Fabio and I have the same agent.

2. Write. Write. Write. Even though I didn’t write over the holidays, I did think about what my projects will be for 2013 and hit the library to do research. What are my exact goals? I will write at least one novel from start to finish (revisions included). I want to write one novella, if not two. I need to get back in the short story swing, so I’ve set a goal of writing at least a half dozen shorts. I also want to write and publish a collection of true ghost stories in time for Halloween. There, that should keep me off the streets.

3. Query new markets. Yes, I have an agent that does a lot of this for me, but I can’t have her do all the work. This is my career, after all. I need to be more aggressive this year and see if I can open some new doors and different writing opportunities.

4. Pitch a story to a TV/film production company. I have a few ideas/stories that I can lead with. Now I need to figure out how to go about this. I’ll research on the internet and reach out to other authors that have had success pitching their stuff. Getting a development deal is one of my bucket list things, so I better get on the ball.

5. Attend more cons and writers conventions. I already signed up for a couple of writer’s organizations while I lounged around watching Arrested Development in my sweats. I intend to go to a few national and local cons to mix and mingle and learn a thing or three. I’ll also show my face at more horror cons, like World Horror Con, Horrorfind, KillerCon and Chiller Theatre. That’s always a fun time!

6. Keep my writing area organized. This seems like a little thing, but it’s far from it. I spent 4 hours cleaning out all the crap that had accumulated in my little writing space during the year. This year, it’s getting a monthly sprucing up so things don’t get lost in the shuffle.

This isn't my desk, but you get the idea.

This isn’t my desk, but you get the idea.

7. Find new ways to market my work. As a writer today, you can’t fall alseep at the switch when it comes to marketing. There are always new services popping up that can help  you get the word out about your work. Some work, some don’t, but you have to try. As an example, I jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon last year, but learned after a few months that it wasn’t doing much for me. Hey, at least I tried.

8. Expand the scope of the Monster Men podcast. You’re going to see a lot of new stuff with our video podcast in 2013. We’re going to interview authors, directors, publishers, paranormal groups, you name it. Jack and I can’t wait to get started. If you’re any of the above and would like to be on the show, shoot me an email and we’ll work out a schedule.

9. Listen to more podcasts. I’m an audio podcast junkie. I spend a lot of time in my car with my radio, but I’m not digging what’s on the air. Since my car is old, I’m going out to get an adapter so I can play the podcasts on my Nano through my car stereo. Podcasts are great ways to inform, educate, entertain, inspire and gain more depth into whatever topic that interests you. I highly suggest Jim Harold’s Paranormal Podcast. Great stuff.

My favorite podcast. Hey Jim, I'm open to an interview any time!

My favorite podcast. Hey Jim, I’m open to an interview any time!

10. Rest. I’ve learned that you can’t run around juggling 100 things at once, 24/7, and expect to remain sane. So even though I’ve set a heavy workload for myself, I will make it a point to find moments to rest my mind, body and spirit. Sometimes you need to step out and let your subconscious do some of the heavy lifting. Believe me, it will all be there when you need it.

So, what are your resolutions for 2013? You don’t have to be a writer to set a goal roadmap. If you put it in writing now, it actually helps you work harder to achieve it.

Tagged With 9 Questions On My Horror Work In Progress

First of all, as a New Yorker, my heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone or something close to them in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I’ve never experienced anything like it, and my family is thankful that we came out of it unscathed, though the same can’t be said for millions of others. It’s going to take a long time to get back to normal, especially with a nor’easter in the forecsast this week.

Thanks to my main man from Amsterdam, author Paul Dail, I get to talk a bit about something that is not necessarily a work in progress. More on that in a moment.

I want to take a small break from all things Swampy (before the 3rd & most massive part of the tour starts December 3rd) and spotlight a story I had published last year called The Dig. I’m a big archaeology buff and I’d always wanted to write a ghost story centered around some remote site. The Dig follows the terrifying exploits of Felicia Tang on an expedition to Mongolia. What looks like a normal burial mound is actually the entrance to a centuries old chamber housing countless urns within rough hewn niches. Who built the vast chamber and why? What remains lie within the urns? Most of all, what is still very much alive in the dark? The Dig is only 99 cents and free for Amazon Prime members. I have big news coming up in the next month on the short story front, but this should keep you until then. 😉

I’m not a big TV guy, but there are a few shows out there that I love and some that have surprised me. So, what is Hunter rushing to watch On Demand these days?

I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m a huge The Walking Dead fan. I’ve loved the comics since almost the beginning and AMC is doing  a great job keeping even us hardcore fans guessing. I dressed up as Dale for Halloween in  his memory. R.I.P. Mr. Bucket Hat.

Of course, I’m back for more from American Horror Story : Asylum. So far, this season has felt like an acid trip through a haunted house at Playland. I’m hoping it starts to make sense soon. Are there really aliens adbucting people???

I’ve added 2 new shows to my weekly viewing and both have flipped me out with how good they are. The first is the newest take on Sherlock Holmes, Elementary. Lucy Liu as Watson? Sherlock in NYC? What idiot thought this up? Turns out, a pretty damn smart idiot with some of the best writers on TV. I can’t get enough of this show.

The biggest surprise is Nashville. Normally, I despise this soapy kind of stuff, but damn the music is good and the various story lines have sucked me in. And hey, if I can’t see Connie Britton on American Horror Story, I’m happy top get my Connie fix right here.

And of course you all know I’m counting the seconds until the return of Justified.

OK, enough about me and TV. The real reason for this post is because I was tagged by Paul Dail to answer 9 questions about my work in progress. Well, after months of intense writing, I’m taking a little break and doing research for my next book. However, I went into my time machine, set the dial for May, 2012, and answered the questions about my novella, Swamp Monster Massacre.
And I’m going to keep this going by tagging the super talented Adriana Noir. On with the show!

1. What is the working title of your book?

Swamp Monster Massacre

2. Where did the idea for the book come from?

I was talking to my editor late one night and he asked me if I had a novella in the old desk drawer that he could use. I didn’t, but a tiny light bulb lit up over my pointy head. I had recently done an episode on Bigfoot on The Monster Men podcast. My buddy Jack and I are Bigfoot fanatics. I decided it was time I wrote my own Bigfoot book, but with a twist. So, I added a crime novel element to it and let the words fly.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Horror, most definitely.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Boy, this could be fun. For my hulking criminal, Rooster Murphy, I think I’d go with Chris Hemsworth. He rocked as Thor and has the size and wry sense of humor that can pull it off. For the super hot and darkly dangerous twins, Liz and Maddie, I’d have to go with Amanda Seyfried playing a dual role. Those eyes! I also think Sam Rockwell would nail the Jack Campos character. As for the crazed skunk ape clan, well, if I could find an actual Bigfoot family for the movie, I’d be one happy man.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis for your book?

Small-time crook on the run from pissed off mobsters kidnaps tour boat in the Florida Everglades only to find the monsters in the swamp are way more deadly than the killers on land.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It is published through Samhain Publishing, my home away from home. They’ve done a great job over the past year building a horror brand and getting the word out. Just a fantastic publisher to be with.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript.

This was a true lesson in meeting tight deadlines. I needed to get the story written and revised many times all in under a month. The first draft was done in 2 weeks where I did nothing but write. I spent the next 2 weeks revising. I think the frenetic pace I had to keep in writing it is reflected in the story. Thankfully, I picked something that was a blast to write.

8. Who or what inspired you to write the book?

Well, my editor asking for a book pronto lit the fire under my ass. The fact that I can’t shake my fascination with monsters gave the subject to me on a silver platter.

9. What else about the book might pique a reader’s interest?

I like to think that I did something with Bigfoot that hasn’t quite been done before. First, not much love is given to skunk apes. Making them bad yet sympathetic, just like their human counterpart, Rooster, was an interesting way to approach the book. In the end, whether man or beast, we all have our light and dark sides. And God help us when darkness descends.

Great Anthology News

Back when I was just a guy who loved to read books and hadn’t thought of writing my own, I was blown away by the genre hopping greatness of this Texan dude named Joe R. Lansdale. He could effortlessly go from western to comedy to horror to high drama without missing a beat. I’ve been an ardent fan for decades and thought meeting him 2 years ago was the high point of my fanaticism.

Well, I was wrong. The high point is now! My story, Scab, is in the Morpheus Tales Weird Fiction Vol 2 anthology, alongside a story by my hero, Senor Lansdale.

From the publisher :

For the first time collected together, the best weird fiction from Morpheus Tales, the UK’s most controversial weird fiction magazine! Only the very best weird fiction has been hand-picked from the Morpheus Tales archives to create the second collected volume of the magazine Christopher Fowler calls “edgy and dark”. Featuring fiction by K.C. Ball, Skadi medic Beorh, L. R. Bonehill, Tonia Brown, Jesse Click, Tim Eagle, Chris Ewing, Ray Garton, Lee Gimenez, Gail Gray, K.J. Hannah Greenberg, Ian Hunter, Gary Inbinder, Dev Jarrett, Mark Howard Jones, Paul Johnson-Jovanovic, Fred R. Kane, Brian Kutco, Joe R. Lansdale, David Lear, B. Miller, Louise Morgan, Lee Pletzers, Hunter Shea, Fred Venturini, Nathan Wellman, C.E. Zacherl, and A. David Zapata. Established horror best-sellers rub shoulders with rising stars and newcomers in this diverse collection of short weird fiction.

Lovely cover, ain’t it? I’m so thrilled to be a part of this, I feel compelled to find some Lone Star and celebrate!

Print edition is available here.

E-book can be found at Amazon (with print coming soon).

Another Mag, Another Curtain Call

This is bittersweet news. My story, Bottom of the Ninth, will be published in the next issue of Ethereal Tales at the end of the month. The sad part is, this will be the final issue. Keeping a magazine running is harder than you can imagine, and I thank Teresa Ford for allowing me to grace her magazine’s pages with a couple of my stories over the years. Finding quality horror magazines is becoming as difficult as the hunt for Bigfoot. Cemetery Dance is still the king of the prom, but lately the chasm between issues has been growing larger and larger (though I was recently assured by a staff member there that things will be picking up soon). I gues this is all part of the changing times in publishing. Anthologies are now the best place to get your horror shorts fix. But man, there’s something about magazines that I love, and miss.

Speaking of Cemetery Dance, they just announced the publication of Four Legs in the Morning, the newest book by Norman Prentiss. If you’re not reading his work, you’re depriving yourself.

So, back to Ethereal Tales, check it out and lay down a couple of pounds for a copy that will be full to bursting with new stories and great artwork.

The Dig – Now on Kindle

That’s right, I finally figured it out. And I got my first Kindle this week. I’ve been having an Amazon time. The Dig is 99 cents and ready when you are. The management thanks you for your support. To learn more or download your copy, just click the cover image.

New Story Available for Nook

One of my never before published short stories, The Dig, is now available for download through Barnes & Noble for only 99 cents. Heck, that’s less than a McChicken on the dollar menu (and much better for you)! It will be available in other formats soon, as will other stories over the next few months.

The Dig is the first in what will be a series of horror shorts with an archaeological theme. Here’s the breakdown:

While digging in the Mongoloian heat, Felicia Tang enters an archaeological mystery. What looks like a normal burial mound is actually the entrance to a centuries old chamber housing countless urns within rough hewn niches. Who built the vast chamber and why? What remains lie within the urns? Most of all, what is still very much alive in the dark?

Click the cover image to learn more or download your copy.

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