You all may have heard of Adam Howe. He’s the dude who won Stephen King’s On Writing contest. Not only is he one hell of a writer (approved by the Pope of Terror himself), he’s also screamingly funny. It’s an honor to have him on the blog and chain for you Hellions to enjoy!
Your latest book, Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, contains 3 novellas that got my motor humming the moment I read the synopsis. As a guy who wrote a novella about skunk apes, please tell me your inspiration for the tale, Damn Dirty Apes (and now I can’t get Charlton Heston’s voice out of my head).
I’d read about the ‘furry’ subculture – people cosplaying as animals – and the sub-subculture of ‘furry’ pornography. Who are we to judge, right?
So my starting point for Damn Dirty Apes was the image of a bunch of rednecks making a ‘furry’ fuck flick in the backwoods when the leading man, wearing a ‘provocative’ baboon costume, is abducted as a mate by a randy skunk ape.
An overused trope, I know, but I hoped I could breathe fresh life into it.
From there, I imagined a misfit posse – including a ‘heroic’ strip club bouncer in the Jack Burton mould, a wannabe porn starlet, the porn shoot’s director (also the town drunk), and a self-proclaimed skunk ape hunter – embarking on safari to rescue their friend from the beast.
I saw the piece as a redneck Jaws; the style would be somewhere between 80s action/adventure and Looney Tunes. I chose a skunk ape as my ‘monster,’ as opposed to the more familiar Bigfoot or Sasquatch, because it fit my Southern redneck locale, and I felt that skunk apes had been woefully underused in creature fiction. Of course, I was soon to discover why this is.
While researching skunk apes, I stumbled across an article in the Fortean Times relating to notorious hominologist, the late Gerard Hauser, author of the seminal work, ‘Among the Skunk Apes of the North American South: One Man’s Journey of Self-Discovery,’ and Hauser’s doomed final expedition in the Arkansan sticks, in which a amateur cryptozoologist lost his life when he stepped into a hominid snare. In Hauser, I’d discovered a real-life Captain Ahab on whom to base my skunk ape hunter character, Jameson T. Salisbury.
On completing the story, I thought it might make a refreshing change from the norm to request an endorsement from a more unusual source than a fellow author, and contacted Mr. Lambert Pogue, General Secretary for the Society of the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape. Unfortunately, Mr. Pogue failed to see the humour in the story, and objected to my fictional skunk ape hunter, Jameson T. Salisbury, whom he recognized as a caricature of his late friend and colleague, Gerard Hauser. Mr. Pogue proceeded to rally a small army of cryptozoologists in the Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Skunk Ape fields – typically sworn enemies, as you know – who besieged my publisher with angry calls for my head, and demanded the book be embargoed. Fortunately, I was able to placate Mr. Pogue with a groveling apology and a modest donation to the S.P.N.A.S.A. The embargo was lifted, and Mr. Pogue even kindly provided the somewhat terse disclaimer that opens the story, Damn Dirty Apes.
As the author of Swamp Monster Massacre, I imagine you’ve had your own dealings with Mr. Pogue and the Society for the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape. Of course, I’ll understand if you don’t wish to discuss such matters on a public forum, and risk reigniting hostilities with them. I only wish I’d known you before making my damn-fool approach to the S.P.N.A.S.A. You could have warned me to leave well enough alone! I would strongly advise other authors to carefully consider the repercussions before writing skunk ape literature. To paraphrase Pet Sematary, “Sometimes ‘squatch is better.”
I have to ask, as a winner of Stephen King’s On Writing contest, how did it feel to get the gold ring? And since then, have you had any communication with our Overlord and Master?
I’ll give your American readers some background on this. To promote the release of On Writing, King’s UK publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, and The Guardian newspaper, ran a short story contest that was open to entrants worldwide, with the exception of the States. (I don’t know why you guys were excluded.) The brief was to write a ‘Stephen King-style’ short story, with the winning story to be chosen by King, and published in the first-edition paperback of On Writing. (The story has since been republished in the Kindle version.) The winner would also be granted an audience with The King. Not too shabby, right?
Now, this was way back around 2000, a rocky period in my life. I’d recently dropped out of university, my girlfriend had dumped me, I was out of work, and living back home with my folks – not a happy guy. I was seriously doubting my abilities as a writer, and for the first time, considered quitting.
Then I won the contest.
Like so many other genre writers, King’s voice was the first I really connected with, so for this Constant Reader, having my work validated by King – not to mention being published in his book, meeting the man – was beyond a dream come true; for me, it didn’t get any bigger or better. For the rest of my writing career, I might achieve more, but I’ll be hard pressed to top that moment, and the elation (and relief) I felt.
Of course, I was young and dumb enough to believe I’d ‘arrived.’ Which wasn’t the case. It was many years before I was published again. But I’ve never thought about quitting again, no matter how times I’ve been kicked in the heart by this writing lark. Looking back, I think ‘someone’ was looking out for me; that I won the contest just to keep me in The Game; a guardian angel who knew that, one day, I would reward the world with a skunk ape noir novella. You’re welcome.
I haven’t seen or spoken to King since. When I met him, he did give me his contact details, but can you believe it, I lost ‘em! Probably just as well. Within a few years of getting my ‘break,’ I developed a drinking problem that quickly spiraled down into full-blown alcoholism. Chances are I’d have embarrassed myself by writing a heartfelt ‘Dear Steve’ letter. I’m happy to say I’ve got my shit together now. It’d be great to speak to him again, if only to let him know he picked a good horse, and that I’m doing OK.
I don’t think I’m going out on a limb assuming you’re a B-movie fan. What are some of your favorites? And what movie script do you wish you’d written?
I’m a film fiend in general, but yeah, I’ve got a soft spot for late 20th century B-movies. Not that cynical Sharknado shit churned out today by the likes of SyFy and the Asylum. My go-to periods are 70s crime, 80s action, 70s/80s horror. I like to think I write B-movie plots with A-list intentions. Steven Spielberg once said, after making Duel and Jaws, he was worried about being typed as a director of “truck and shark” pictures. I’d be happy to be typed as a “truck and shark” writer. (I’ve yet to write my truck and shark books; maybe I’ll just combine the two, SHARK TRUCKER, write it on a cocktail napkin and sell it to SyFy.)
It’s hard to pick a favourite screenplay. Screenplays are an ever-evolving medium, and the text rarely matches what makes it to the screen. As much as Jaws is one of my favourite films, for instance, it ain’t my favourite script. In my early teens, I reviewed scripts for a UK-based mail order company supplying produced screenplays to colleges, writers, film geeks and the like. The first screenwriter I really connected with was Shane Black, who penned Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang and a whole other bunch of B-classics. He’s one of the rare few screenwriters whose text often DOES make it intact to the screen. Black remains a big influence on my style. I also dig David Webb Peoples’s work, especially Unforgiven. If you can find it, you should check out his 1987 draft for the unproduced Sgt. Rock movie that Joel Silver had lined up for Schwarzenegger. Would’ve made a helluva movie.
It’d be cool to be able to say, “I wrote Roadhouse.” You could carve the line “A polar bear fell on me” on my headstone.
Say you were banned from writing horror. What genre would you hop over to and why? And remember, Bigfoot erotica is on the table.
Who’s to say I don’t already write Bigfoot erotica under a pseudonym? Clearly you’ve never read my 50 Shades of ‘Squatch series? If I was banned from writing horror – and it’s definitely possible, the horror community seems unusually prickly and conformist right now – I guess I’d just sidestep into crime. A life of crime, I mean; pays better than writing. I don’t consider myself strictly a horror writer. Or even a crime writer, for that matter. The writer whose philosophy I most admire is the Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale. Joe resists genre labels and categorizes himself as a writer of ‘Lansdale’ fiction. That’s my aim: To write my own stuff and be my own man, and hope that readers join me on the ride.
As you were working to get the ol’ writing career started, what’s the one piece of advice you wish you’d ignored?
I never had a mentor, so any writing advice came from reading interviews with writers I admired, and of course, On Writing, which is the writers’ bible.
After winning the contest, I landed an agent and embarked on a ‘career’ as a screenwriter, with so-so success – I had a few original features optioned, scraped a few bucks rewriting/doctoring/butchering other writers’ work, but nothing I wrote ever made it to the screen. The agent was forever pushing me to follow market trends, which is impossible; by the time you’ve written to trend, the market’s moved on. As the screenwriter William Goldman said, “Nobody knows anything.”
When I met Stephen King, and told him I planned to be a screenwriter, he made a jack-off gesture, and advised me to “write a fucking novel.” That was advice I should have taken. I’m still yet to write my fucking novel – I really dig the novella format – but I’m working on it.
What’s coming up next and what is the best way for folks to follow you and your wild imagination?
I’m putting the finishing touches to Tijuana Donkey Showdown, the sequel to Damn Dirty Apes, which continues the misadventures (prolongs the misery) of my boxer turned bouncer and hapless hero, Reggie Levine. No skunk apes in this one – lesson learned, I’m not fucking with the S.P.N.A.S.A. again – although (spoiler alert!) the chupacabra makes an appearance, as does Nicolas Cage, in an explosive cameo.
I’m also collaborating on a horror/crime project with Adam Cesare, which we’re pitching as Michael Mann’s Public Enemies meets John Carpenter’s The Thing. Hopefully we can have that one ready to rock early next year.
Beyond that, my partner and I are expecting our first child in July so I’ll be off the grid for a while. Assuming I survive the experience, and don’t reinvent myself as a children’s author, I’ll be back in ’17 with some new twisted shit.
Follow along this tour with the hashtags: #DieDogorEattheHatchet #DieDog #AdamHowe #OnWriting #HookofaBook
Tune into all the stops on the tour at the publicity page: https://hookofabook.wordpress.com/die-dog-or-eat-the-hatchetadam-howe-publicity-page/
Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, Synopsis
- Publication Date: Nov. 2, 2015
- Publisher: Comet Press
- Publication Length: 250 pages
From Adam Howe, winner of Stephen King’s “On Writing” short story contest, comes three original novellas of hardboiled crime, graphic horror and pitch-black gallows humor.
DAMN DIRTY APES
Washed-up prizefighter Reggie Levine is eking a living as a strip club bouncer when he’s offered an unlikely shot at redemption. The Bigelow Skunk Ape – a mythical creature said to haunt the local woods – has kidnapped the high school football mascot, Boogaloo Baboon. Now it’s up to Reggie to lead a misfit posse including a plucky stripper, the town drunk, and legend-in-his-own-mind skunk ape hunter Jameson T. Salisbury. Their mission: Slay the beast and rescue their friend. But not everything is as it seems, and as our heroes venture deeper into the heart of darkness, they will discover worse things waiting in the woods than just the Bigelow Skunk Ape. The story the Society for the Preservation of the North American Skunk Ape tried to ban; Damn Dirty Apes mixes Roadhouse with Jaws with Sons of Anarchy, to create a rollicking romp of 80s-style action/adventure, creature horror and pitch-black comedy.
DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET
Escaped mental patient Terrence Hingle, the butcher of five sorority sisters at the Kappa Pi Massacre, kidnaps timid diner waitress Tilly Mulvehill and bolts for the border. Forcing his hostage to drive him out of town, it’s just a question of time before Tilly becomes the next victim in Hingle’s latest killing spree. But when they stop for gas at a rural filling station operated by deranged twin brothers, Dwayne and Dwight Ritter, the tables are turned on Hingle, and for Tilly the night becomes a hellish cat-and-mouse ordeal of terror and depravity. The meat in a maniac sandwich, Tilly is forced against her nature to make a stand and fight for survival. Because sometimes the only choice you have is to do or die…to Die Dog Or Eat The Hatchet.
Prohibition-era 1930s… After an affair with the wrong man’s wife, seedy piano player Smitty Three Fingers flees the city and finds himself tinkling the ivories at a Louisiana honky-tonk owned by vicious bootlegger Horace Croker and his trophy wife, Grace. Folks come to The Grinnin’ Gator for the liquor and burlesque girls, but they keep coming back for Big George, the giant alligator Croker keeps in the pond out back. Croker is rumored to have fed ex-wives and enemies to his pet, so when Smitty and Grace embark on a torrid affair…what could possibly go wrong? Inspired by true events, Gator Bait mixes hardboiled crime (James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice) with creature horror (Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive) to create a riveting tale of suspense.
Listen to this sample reading from the book over at YouTube from the folks at Manor House:
Adam Howe writes the twisted fiction your mother warned you about. A British writer of fiction and screenplays, he lives in Greater London with his partner and their hellhound, Gino. Writing as Garrett Addams, his short story Jumper was chosen by Stephen King as the winner of the On Writing contest, and published in the paperback/Kindle editions of SK’s book; he was also granted an audience with The King, where they mostly discussed slow vs. fast zombies. His fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Thuglit, The Horror Library, Mythic Delirium, Plan B Magazine, and One Buck Horror. He is the author of two collections, Black Cat Mojo and Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, plus the eBook single, Gator Bait. Future works include Tijuana Donkey Showdown, One Tough Bastard, and a crime/horror collaboration with Adam Tribesmen Cesare.
Find him on Twitter at @Adam_G_Howe.
Praise for Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet
“It’s an explicit, hard-hitting, twisted funhouse ride into pulpish horror wrapped loosely in a tattered skein of irreverent, jet black humor. In short, it’s a freakin’ blast.” –Walt Hicks, author of Dirge of the Forgotten
“With Die Dog Or Eat the Hatchet, Adam Howe hasn’t written one of my favorite books of the year, he’s actually written three of my favorites. Stories that are tight, toned, and genre-confounding. Horror fans and crime fans are going to come to blows over who gets to claim Howe as one of their own, but they’re both going to be wrong because Howe’s his own thing.” – Adam Cesare, author of Tribesmen and Mercy House
“The recipe for Adam Howe’s DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET is: Two parts Joe Lansdale, One part Justified, and a heavy dose of WTF. The result is a swampy cocktail darker than any backwoods hayride, stronger than the meanest Sasquatch, and crazier than anything you’ll find chicken-fried at your local state fair.”—Eryk Pruitt, author of Hashtag and Dirtbags
“Adam Howe proves with the three stories in this book that he can basically write anything. And write it very well indeed. To summarise: A three novella collection that you absolutely must have in your collection. I give this one the highest possible recommendation that I can.” -Nev, Confessions of a Reviewer
“Adam Howe’s “Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet,” is equal parts terror and fun, his dark comedic voice dances through each of the works in this collection to create engaging stories filled with bars, dames, rabid dogs, and an ape with one hell of a right hook.”(Nathan Crazybear/Splatterpunk Zine)
“Once again this author has sucked me into the darkness of his stories and unleashed the twisted, disgusting and stomach churning madness that I come to expect. In fact, I would have been very disappointed if this book was not even more mind-blowing than Black Cat Mojo. And he did not disappoint. Hats off to Mr Howe for creating this magnificent novella of pure horror. I would definitely recommend this to readers of horror and make sure you buckle up as you will be in for the most twisted ride of your life!” -Crime Book Junkie
“I’m pretty certain that whatever genre you like to read, be it pulp, noir, horror, anything really, you will find something to enjoy here. It’s fast paced, action packed and brilliantly written. Comet Press has got a diamond on their hands! 5 stars” -Adrian Shotbolt
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Want to Feature Adam Howe?
If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Adam Howe, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just popping in for a quick howdy to my Hellions on this fine Cinco de Mayo. Tequila is your friend today.
I wanted to make you aware of two very cool specials that are available now. First up, THEY RISE has been discounted to 99cents on Amazon. Just a couple of days ago, it was the #1 horror book on Amazon as well as #1 in the Sea Stories category. Unfortunately, we couldn’t crack the cryptid erotica category. And if there is no such category, there needs to be. Click the cover below to snag a copy on the cheap!
Also, to get you all worked up into a lather over my upcoming monster book, THE JERSEY DEVIL, I’m giving away 5 signed paperback copies of my best selling THE MONTAUK MONSTER every month on Goodreads between now and August. If you’re on GR, enter the giveaway for your chance to win one. Take it to the beach and be very, very afraid!
Hope you know how to remove blood stains Hellions, because I KILL IN PEACE is finally here and taking no prisoners…or shit. Or shit from prisoners.
I stepped away from the worlds of ghosts and monsters to assemble a kind of kill list, a little fantasy fulfillment for the sane who live in an insane world. I KILL IN PEACE is not for your Christian reading circle (then again, maybe it is) or your friend living in the left wing of faux righteousness or your grandma, unless she’s one badass grandma. Hell, even I was questioning some of the things I was doing while I wrote it. In fact, there’s one scene in particular that wouldn’t see the light of day in some countries. And another that, well, may be more than most people can handle.
And that’s all good, because horror is supposed to make you look at the worst of human nature in the eye and see who flinches first.
If you have delicate sensibilities, don’t bother reading this one. Skip it and watch reruns of The Big Bang Theory. They’re safe and won’t upset or scar you. Sheldon will protect you.
Thanks to Super Erin at Hook of a Book for once again putting a great tour of unwitting victims together. You can click the photo below to go to the official tour page and go for a blood and anger soaked ride.
From 2 Book Lovers Reviews : “You got me. Hunter Shea, you really got me good. What in the devil is wrong with me?! I am still stuck on the fact that I didn’t see that freight train coming.”
And from a Goodreads reviwer : “I hated everything from the title to the ending of this novella. I recommend this for the supporters of Trump.” (Author’s note : WTF?? How did Trump get in there? Does this mean she thinks it’s going to be huuuuuuge? Love this review)
If you read it, please rate and/or review it on Amazon or Goodreads or wherever you bought it. Love, let the world know so people are aware you’re kinda strange and should be avoided at all costs. Hate it and spew some venom. As long as you’re honest, it’s all good. For once, I’m not going to badger you with ‘buy my book!’. This time around, I can only say – You’ve Been Warned. This is no gimmick. My conscience is now clear…or muddy at best.
Howdy there, Hunter’s Hellions! I figured I had to call you all something. I think Hellions fits.
Looking back, I managed to read over 80 books last year. Any time I can get in over 75 books, I’m happy. I’m envious of folks who can speed read books yet still retain everything. I’m no tortoise, but I’m no hare, either.
Coming up with a top 10 horror books list was no easy task because I read so many damn good books. I’ve gotten pretty good at spotting a clunker from a mile off, so if I sit down to read a book, it’s usually good.
Now, some of these books didn’t come out in 2015. All that matters is that I read them in 2015. I’m hoping this can help you discover some titles you might have missed over the past couple of years. So, without further ado, here are my 10 favorite horror reads of last year (in no particular order, because I was fracturing my brain trying to do it), plus some honorable mentions…
10. THE HAUNTED by Bentley Little
Little has always been one of my favorite authors. He takes all of the everyday insanity we’ve surrounded ourselves with in America and injects it with pure evil. The Haunted is one of the best he’s written in years.
The Perry family’s new house is perfect-except for the weird behavior of the neighbors, and that odd smell coming from a dark corner in the basement. Pity no one warned the family about the house. Now it’s too late. Because the darkness at the bottom of the basement stairs is rising.
9. VIDEO NIGHT by Adam Cesare
Oh man, this book reminded me of all the great horror flicks of the 80s. Adam is one of the best new writers out there, and Video Night is a great place to start!
Who knows more about fighting a monster invasion than a group of teenage horror fans?
Billy Rile is smart, adept at Nintendo and has a killer Hi-Fi setup. Life is good. But he has no idea that an alien life form has infected his town, a creature that overtakes and transforms its host.
8. DARKNESS RISING by Brian Moreland
Hands down the best novella of 2015. Brian Moreland always kicks ass…and I mean always. This is now my favorite of his books. Tender yet terrifying.
t’s all fun and games until…Marty Weaver, an emotionally scarred poet, has been bullied his entire life. When he drives out to the lake to tell an old friend that he’s fallen in love with a girl named Jennifer, Marty encounters three sadistic killers who have some twisted games in store for him. But Marty has dark secrets of his own buried deep inside him.
7. LITTLE GIRLS by Ron Malfi
This is classic horror in the vein of Peter Straub and Stephen King at their best. This is sure to go down as a classic. I know it’s one I’ll read again and again. I was extra proud to be his Kensington Publishing brother in 2015.
When Laurie was a little girl, she was forbidden to enter the room at the top of the stairs. It was one of many rules imposed by her cold, distant father. Now, in a final act of desperation, her father has exorcised his demons. But when Laurie returns to claim the estate with her husband and ten-year-old daughter, it’s as if the past refuses to die.
6. THE BORDER by Robert McCammon
The master returns to the genre that he defined! It doesn’t get any better than that. I’ve long said McCammon is the best who ever scribbled a tale of terror. The man hasn’t lost a step.
World Fantasy award-winning, bestselling author Robert McCammon makes a triumphant return to the epic horror and apocalyptic tone reminiscent of his books Swan Song and Stinger in this gripping new novel, The Border, a saga of an Earth devastated by a war between two marauding alien civilizations.
But it is not just the living ships of the monstrous Gorgons or the motion-blurred shock troops of the armored Cyphers that endanger the holdouts in the human bastion of Panther Ridge. The world itself has turned against the handful of survivors, as one by one they succumb to despair and suicide or, even worse, are transformed by otherworldly pollution into hideous Gray Men, cannibalistic mutants driven by insatiable hunger.
5. MR. MERCEDES & FINDERS KEEPERS by Stephen King
I got up to Maine a week after King was signing copies of Finders Keepers. My timing sucks. The first 2 books of his trilogy are as different from one another as they are engaging. I can’t wait for book 3 to come out!
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.
4. PRISONER 489 by Joe R Lansdale
Lansdale should be a household name. Every book he writes is gold. Prisoner 489 is a terrific novella that centers around one of my favorite horror tropes. I won’t spoil it for you. Get the book, now!
On an island with a prison for the most evil and powerful criminals in the world, a new prisoner is strapped to the electric chair for execution. After multiple surges of electricity and nearly knocking out power to the entire island, the prisoner is finally dead. The staff buries him in the prison graveyard with a simple marker baring three numbers: 489.
After the body is buried, a violent storm rocks the islands and a staff member goes missing. The crew rushes into the storm, searching for their lost comrade. They find that the burial site of prisoner 489 has been unearthed, and the body that was inside has gone missing.
3. LORDS OF TWILIGHT by Greg Gifune
You all know I’m a sucker for anything that deals with aliens. In fact, another alien book is part of the honorable mention crew. This is one of the most terrifying ones I’ve read in a while. Loved it.
Strange things are happening in the small, isolated town of Edgar, Maine. Mysterious lights dot the night skies. A local farmer is found dead at the summit of a hill with no evidence as to how his body got there. Livestock is disappearing, only to be discovered later, dead and mutilated with precision-like wounds. And despite the coming of an enormous winter storm, odd men identifying themselves simply as ‘federal agents’ have converged on Edgar in government vehicles as if in anticipation of some greater event.
2. JAGGER by Kristopher Rufty
Cujo on meth. That’s the best way I can describe this. Once again, Rufty populates his novel with sketchy characters doing terrible things. I couldn’t put it down.
Other than the trailer park left to her by her deceased daddy, Amy’s favorite treasure is Jagger, her 180-pound bull mastiff. One day while she is away, Clayton, her best friend’s scumbag boyfriend sneaks into her yard and takes the dog. His prize fighting pit bull was killed during its last match, costing a lot of bad people a lot of money. To make up for his dog’s losses, and to save his own life, Clayton enlists the help of a medical student dropout to turn Jagger into a killing machine by pumping him full of experimental drugs and muscle enhancers. Now Jagger is a monster, a beast that can’t feel pain, with an unquenchable thirst for blood. He quickly breaks out of his pen and starts making his way home, tearing apart anyone in his path on his way to the one he feels has betrayed him the most—Amy.
- THE HUNGER SERIES by Jason Brant
I ate this trilogy up like they were White Castle and I was fresh off a 2 day bender. This is a post apocalypse world bursting with beasties that would make the walkers in The Walking Dead shit themselves, if they had working colons. I highly recommend them. The books, not the shitting zombies.
Day One: A series of terrorist attacks spread a cloud of noxious gas over highly populated areas.
Day Two: Higher brain function erodes in those exposed to the gas. Their bodies begin to distort, faces distending, skin sallowing, teeth elongating.
Day Three: The infected disappear into the shadows, fleeing the harsh daylight which has begun to sear their flesh.
Day Four: The world is DEVOURED.
And now for the honorable mentions. All of them could easily have made my top 10. It was that close! Get these books as fast as you can.
Q ISLAND by Russell James (apocalyptic goodness!)
THE PENDLE CURSE by Catherine Caendish (witches & time travel – yes!)
BLOOD AND RAIN by Glenn Rolfe (restored my faith in werewolf tales)
BEHIND THE DARKNESS by Robert Dunn (aliens done right – scary)
GOBLINS by David Bernstein (cryptids – what more can I say?)
OK, there you have it, my top 10 (really 15) horror tales for 2015. I could had added so many more, but I have to get out of the house.
Have you read any of the books I listed? What would make your top 10? What do you think I should be reading in 2016?
Keep flying the horror flag, my Hellions!
I had the distinct pleasure of getting an early crack at my Samhain brother’s werewolf novel, Blood and Rain. Like a hungry wolf on the prowl under a full moon, I devoured it. Glenn Rolfe has created a real popcorn creature feature with a badass of a werewolf. It’s the perfect read for the Halloween season.
Today, I’m happy to turn the controls over to that mohawked dude in Main, Glenn Rolfe. Take it away…
“An unoriginal original? Oh, hell…let’s just keep it real.”
When I started writing Blood and Rain, I’d seen plenty of werewolf movies, but had read only two novels. Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf and Ray Garton’s Ravenous (both excellent pieces). When I decided that the story I was toying with on my computer was going to be my first attempt at a novel, a werewolf novel, I purposely stayed away from any and all werewolf books and film. I didn’t want anything subconsciously sneaking into my book that was someone else’s. I figured my best shot at writing a werewolf story that wouldn’t feel like every other werewolf book was to steer clear of those who came before me. Obviously, if you read the book you’ll see I didn’t stray too far off the legend engrained in all monster lovers: man can only become a werewolf by being bitten by the beast, the beast appears with the cycle of the full moon, and silver is a killer.
I am not going to stand on a soap box and preach nonsense like “my story is the most original of all werewolf tales.” That would be ridiculous and completely false. I placed my novel in a small town in Maine (just about every King novel), I have a flawed sheriff–widowed father to a teenage daughter (who drinks a little more than he should and has many a secret), my teens try to enjoy their summer action at the lake…but where I hoped Blood and Rain would make its mark is with how real the characters seem, how real their problems are, and well I place you or someone like you face-to-face with a number of horrifying situations with the beast. How would you act if this scene or that scene happened in real life? For instance, if your car broke down and you stepped out on a back road in the middle of the blackest night? When the wind and rain force the trees to sway in a rage? Where twigs snapping turn to loud, thick branches breaking? Where grunting quickly turns to a howl? Where your stomach drops to your ankles and your blood gives in to the chill…into the fear…of what shares this moment (your last?) with you?
I can only write as Glenn Rolfe. I couldn’t cop someone else’s style if I tried. I hope you’ll give Blood and Rain a chance. I hope you’ll get sucked into this streamlined wolf story and feel the danger, the unease, the struggle of imperfect people, and the moments of impossible strength they can summon in the face of death.
Join me in the woods, won’t you?
Blood and Rain, Synopsis
The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.
Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen. Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend? One night can-and will-change everything.
Find Glenn Rolfe at: http://glennrolfe.com/ as well as Facebook and Twitter.
Biography, Glenn Rolfe
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.
He is the author the novellas, Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town, and the forthcoming, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain (October 2015). His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will be released in March, 2016.
You don’t even have to go to hell to stride along with this demon. I’m very happy to announce that The Dover Demon Blog Tour has begun, 6 weeks of cryptid love with chances to win signed books and more. This may be a critter you’ve never heard of, but I promise you’ll never forget him…or her…after you’ve read the book.
“Hunter Shea takes these (cryptid) legends to a petrifying new place and drags you along for the ride. He is quickly becoming of the authors I can count on for a great read. 4.5 out of 5 stars! Horror Maiden’s Book Reviews
Big thanks to Erin El Mehairi for putting everything together. She is truly the patron saint of horror’s lost boys. Visit the tour stops by clicking the above image and make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win signed books.
You can get The Dover Demon in trade paperback or ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain Publishing and everywhere books are sold. This little sucker doesn’t phone home and he’ll do very bad things with Reese’s Pieces if you let him.
Jack and I jaw about The Dover Demon in the latest episode of Monster Men, as well as some great horror movies you should add to your to-watch list for #Horrortober. Oh yeah, it’s that time again!
The sordid rabble at Samhain are damned happy to call Brian Kirk our newest brother. His debut novel, WE ARE MONSTERS, has been the talk of the town. I’m saving it to read on my upcoming vacation so I can thoroughly lose myself within its pages. Brian and I are both monster lovers, but the monsters in his story are far more frightening than a pissed off Bigfoot or Chupacabra.
So let’s train that spotlight on Brian Kirk. The haunted stage is yours…
Hey, Hunter, thanks for having me on your site. I like the dark shadows and fresh scent of coagulated blood.
While your horror spans a wide spectrum, I know you have a special affinity for monsters, both real and supernatural. So that’s what I wanted to discuss here today if that’s okay with you.
Specifically, I wanted to talk about monsters of the human variety. I want to talk about us, and the worst of our kind.
Who are the most dangerous among us? The ones who commit the vilest and most barbaric acts?
Politicians, you say? Oh, you’re killing me!
Seriously, though. If I were to create a list (so saying as I proceed to create a list) of the most heinous of our kind, I’d include the following, in no particular order: pedophiles, serial killers, rapists, and cannibals.
These are the people you definitely don’t want living next door. But who are these people? How did they get this way? What turns an innocent toddler into a monster that feasts on human flesh?
It’s difficult to say. Some of it’s nature, some of it nurture. Some people are born with abnormal brains, while others have their minds altered through prolonged exposure to trauma or violent environments. One thing that may be safe to say is that no one grows up wanting to become one of these perverted, and violent predators. I don’t think anyone with a normal, healthy brain and upbringing consciously decides to begin engaging in these acts rather than, say… go to dental school.
It’s an innate calling, an urge. An irresistible compulsion that defiles our dream that we’re all basically good. That evil does not exist in this world. That we’re more than hairless monkeys born of violence and blood-thirst.
What do we think when we see violent and heinous acts? When deranged killers walk into elementary schools and gun down innocent children? Evil is what comes to mind, isn’t it? Insane.
But not insane like an illness. Insane like a demonic possession.
I wonder about that. Is insanity more like an evil possession, or more like a disease?
Some may say, “Who cares. What’s the difference? The acts are evil and should be punished.”
While I absolutely agree that people with irresistible pedophiliac urges cannot be allowed to roam freely in society, I wonder what should be done with them. What if, instead of being deviant predators, these people were otherwise normal human beings afflicted with a disease or deformity that could be corrected or cured? What if it was your brother who inexplicably had these urges, or your son?
Let’s say we could identify and diagnose the people with this disease before they ever acted upon its urge. Would we send them to prison? Would we kill them? Or would we quarantine them while we worked to develop a cure? The same way we would treat someone who inadvertently contracted small pox and was now a health hazard to the rest of humanity.
Heck if I know. I’m just intrigued by the question. I’ll tell you this, though. If the urge to harm others is, at times, caused by a “disease” or deformity of the brain, much like how the mutation of a cell can lead to cancer, it is by far one of the worst diseases that can afflict an individual. And its contagion is among the most damaging to society as a whole.
These are difficult questions involving an uncomfortable subject. They are questions that inspired the nature of my debut novel, We Are Monsters.
In We Are Monsters, a troubled, yet brilliant psychiatrist is working to develop a cure for schizophrenia. At first, the drug he creates shows great promise in alleviating his patient’s symptoms. It appears to return schizophrenics to their former selves. But (as you may imagine) something goes wrong. Unforeseen side effects begin to emerge, forcing prior traumas to the surface, setting inner demons free. His medicine may help heal the schizophrenic mind, but it also expands it, and the monsters it releases could be more dangerous than the disease.
This novel asks challenging questions. As the venerable review site, Ginger Nuts of Horror said, “Parts of the story are heartbreaking, parts will make you angry, and the whole story will have you examining the human race as never before.”
But I believe they are questions worth asking. I hope you’ll check it out.
Thanks for having me, Hunter! Here’s my contact info in case anyone is interested in forming a virtual friendship.