(INTERVIEW) A Quick Chat with Jeremy Hepler, Author of THE BOULEVARD MONSTER

 

 

 

The Boulevard Monster cover

Jeremy Hepler headshot

Jeremy Hepler is a new name to me. His debut novel, THE BOULEVARD MONSTER (2017, Bloodshot Books) is getting some great reviews, and I trust Pete Kahle over at Bloodshot. I’m getting ready to dig into the novel this week, but I had a chance to harass Mr. Hepler early.  So, here’s how that went:

 

GLENN: Hi, Jeremy!
First off, congrats on your debut novel, THE BOULEVARD MONSTER. I’m getting ready to start it myself, but how about telling everyone where the initial idea for the story came from. Also, how close to the original idea did the final product turn out?
JEREMY: Thanks for having me, Glenn! The initial idea for The Boulevard Monster came many years ago when my son Noah and I left story time at the library. We stopped at a red light, and when I glanced to my left, I saw a couple of Hugh’s Construction trucks parked on a site where a new strip mall was being constructed. Three or four of the workers were standing by the truck, laughing and eating, but there was a separate worker off in the distance behind a porta potty, digging with a small shovel. The digger kept glancing at the others, and he appeared both paranoid and unhappy. I had been brainstorming ideas for an anthology I wanted to submit to so later that afternoon while Noah took a nap I started writing a short story I called For Love and Money. It was about the worker, his relationship with the other guys, what he could’ve been burying, and how that linked to why he looked so paranoid and unhappy. When I reached the 10,000 word mark, I knew it was too deep for a short story and I wasn’t confident to write a novel at the time, so I set it aside. Six years later, after I finished my first novel and wanted to start a second, I remembered For Love and Money, pulled it out, and took off with it.
When it comes to the blue jays on the cover, after I’d written the first three or four chapters, I knew something was missing from the story, but I couldn’t put my finger on what. Then one day when Noah and Tricia and I were chalking on the back porch, a blue jay landed on top of our A-frame swing. It watched us draw for a while before hopping down onto the cement right next to us. It stayed for an hour before flying off, seemingly playing a game of cat and mouse when Noah chased it around. Over the next week or so it came back, sat on the swing nearly every day, and watched us. We named it Mr. Blue, and while we were outside one afternoon, Noah, prodded by a slew of recent break-ins on our street, asked me, “Dad, do you think Mr. Blue protects the house for us while we’re gone?” A spark went off in my head, and I immediately knew that was what was missing from my story. That night I worked until dawn rewriting the first few chapters, adding blue jays into the story as the antagonist’s deliverers, watchers, spies, but more importantly, his companions.
In the end, the final novel turned out similar to the original idea, but there were some major changes I didn’t see coming until I got there. The birds were a big one and many of the side characters—Seth’s adopted daughter and dementia-ridden father, for example— were too. They didn’t exist in the original. Also, the ending turned out way different than I’d first imagined it would when I started the short story.
GLENN: I find that I learn things about my stories that I didn’t even realize I was putting into a character or situation, secondary themes. Looking back on THE BOULEVARD MONSTER, did you make any of these discoveries? Did you surprise yourself?
JEREMY: I did. An example that immediately comes to mind is that I named the fictional town my protagonist Seth lives in, Mercy—a name I actually pulled from one of my wife’s foreign exchange student’s names—not realizing until the editing stage that mercy was what Seth was searching for the entire time.
GLENN: I checked out your blog and see you like doing Top 5’s. Upon also reading that you’re working on a coming-of-age novel, how about Jeremy’s Top 5 coming-of-age horror books?
JEREMY: Thanks for checking out my blog! You’re one of the few  Like many readers, I love coming-of-age novels. My top five, in no particular order, are:
1. December Park by Ronald Malfi
2. It by Stephen King
3. Ghoul by Brian Keene
4. The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon
5. The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (I know this one is categorized as a mystery not horror, but it’s still a dark, thrilling, kick-ass coming-of-age tale.)
GLENN: What are you currently reading?
JEREMY: I’m late to the party on this one, but I’m currently reading John Dies at the End by David Wong. So far, I’m digging it.
GLENN: All right, last one: Would you rather…. Enter Thunderdome with Glenn Danzig or be thrown into the ocean with Jaws–your boat (and safety) twenty yards away?
JEREMY: I love heavy metal, grew up on Pantera, Metallica, Slayer, White Zombie, etc., and would therefore much rather enter the Thunderdome with Glenn Danzig than swim around with a blood-thirsty shark. I feel like I’d at least have a sporting chance at convincing Danzig that I’m a fan who spent hours of my youth riding around in cars jamming out to “Mother,” and that I’m a writer and love Poe, too, and that we should rock out together, discuss dark ideas for comics, not fight. In the ocean, there’d be no convincing Jaws of anything.
GLENN: Thanks for stopping by Jeremy. Anything you want to say to potential readers?
JEREMY: Thanks for having me. I’m a huge fan and feel privileged to be here. To potential readers out there: Please give my story a taste and see if you like it.

 

The Boulevard Monster tour graphic (3)

 

Follow along the tour with these hashtags:
#TheBoulevardMonster #bluebirds #birdsofhorror #BloodshotBooks

The Boulevard Monster
by Jeremy Hepler
Bloodshot Books
Pub date: April 7, 2017

A debut novel you won’t want to miss!

The Boulevard Monster, Synopsis –

I KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD ABOUT ME

You say that I am a madman. You say that I am dangerous. You say that I am the one who has been abducting women, slaughtering them, and burying their corpses all around this city for years. You are wrong, because only part of that statement is true…

I AM NOT A KILLER

I know that you probably won’t believe me. Not now. Not after all that has happened, but I need to tell my side of the story. You need to know how this all began. You need to hear about the birds, but most of all, you need to understand…

I AM NOT THE BOULEVARD MONSTER

Purchase –

Amazon

And it’s available at other online retailers too. Plus, ask your indie bookstore to order for you or tell your local library about it!

Jeremy Hepler, Biography –

Native to the Texas Panhandle, Jeremy Hepler now lives in a small rural community in central Texas with his wife Tricia and son Noah. Throughout his life, he has worked jobs ranging from welder’s hand to health care assistant, but writing has always been his passion.

Jeremy is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association (HWA) and is currently working on his second novel, Demigod Dreams. In the last five years, he has had twenty-four short stories published in various small and professional markets, and in 2014, he placed second in the Panhandle Professional Writers Short Story Competition. You can contact him via Facebook or Twitter (@jeremyhepler) where you will find links to his blog and Amazon author page.

Want to Feature?

If you’re a book blogger or media site and would like to feature Jeremy Hepler or review The Boulevard Monster, contact Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

(REVIEW) BLUE DEMON by David Bernstein

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When the meek need defending, they call on Blue Demon, a guardian of bloodshed and retribution. Its loyalty is forever, as long as you remain righteous. For those that oppress the demon’s flock, life grows short. It kills in the most brutal fashion, and maims those it most despises. It has no feelings, only loyalty and devotion for the ones it protects.

Of course, this is all from the Blue Demon television show and Cal Langston, Blue Demon’s biggest fan, knows such things can’t be real, at least not until the people who messed with him start dying in the most horrific of ways.

Frightened and not sure what to believe, he sets out to discover what is truly going on, and if Blue Demon is for real, does he want it watching over him?

First off, look at that freaking cover! Beautiful!

Here’s my review:

Blue DemonBlue Demon by David Bernstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a wonderfully entertaining and ruthless novella.

David Bernstein’s BLUE DEMON is about a blue demon action figure that holds the ability to exact revenge upon command. It’s a fun idea that Bernstein runs with and executes like a boss.

The main character here is Cal Langston. He suffers a horrible amount of shitty things in the 100-plus page story. There were multiple times I found myself saying, “Holy fuck, Bernstein!” There’s two scenes in the hospital that got me for different reason. The first shocked me, the second was just a perfectly executed horror scene. Great stuff.

I love how Bernstein’s twisted mind works. He has a vision and follows through fearlessly. I won’t give anything away, but even the most Sherlock of you readers out there are in for some surprises.

The blue demon’s viciousness might seem like a bad thing, but these people have it coming.

I give BLUE DEMON 5 stars!

View all my reviews

Blue Demon tour graphic

Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #BlueDemon  #SinisterGrinPress

 

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Biography of David Bernstein

David Bernstein is originally from a small town in Upstate New York called Salisbury Mills. He now resides in NYC and misses being surrounded by chainsaw-wielding maniacs and wild backwoods people that like to eat raw human flesh. He’s grown used to the city, though hiding bodies is much harder there. He is the author of Amongst the Dead, Damaged Souls, The Tree Man, Witch Island, Relic of Death, Apartment 7C and the forthcoming Episodes of Violence. David writes all kinds of horror, from hair-raising ghost stories to gore-filled slashers and apocalyptic tales of terror. He loves hearing from his readers. You can reach him on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/david.bernstein.3. Visit him at his website: davidbernsteinauthor.blogspot.com email dbern77@hotmail.com, or on Twitter at @Bernsteinauthor.

 

Praise for David Bernstein

 

“David Bernstein delivers a fast-moving tale of desire and destruction that gives new meaning to the words, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Relic of Death twists reality and will leave you reflecting on your own personal Achilles heel long after you finished reading…” —Allan Leverone, author of Mr. Midnight

 

“A fascinating, unpredictable, ever-shifting tale of greed and desperation. Highly recommended!” —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure

“Fast-paced, cinematic, and excellent. Horror fans gather around, it’s time for another chilling tale from David Bernstein.”  —Keith Deininger, author of Within and Ghosts of Eden

“A harrowing, brutal thriller, Skinner is Bernstein at his best!” —Peter Giglio, author of Shadowshift

Add to GoodReads

Purchase Link

Amazon

Check out Sinister Grin Press

Do You Wanna Get Rolfed? Become A Certified Get Rolfed Sycophant!

If you don’t think my shit stinks, YOU could become a certified Get Rolfed Sycophant! Sounds cool, right?

Okay, okay, I’m just having a little fun with a friend of mine, but seriously, you should sign up for my mailing list.   March signups will receive their exclusive eBook as soon as the file is ready. As for you April joiners, I’ll have more exclusives coming this summer.  Sign up HERE

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If you grab a copy of BECOMING this month, you get it for $2.99 (discount!). Purchase HERE

Be sure to join us at the Goodreads Group: GORE AND MORE. I’m this month’s guest author for the group read of BECOMING. I’ll be there everyday chatting and answering questions. Click on the link and join us: GORE AND MORE

I hope my friend gets a kick out of this… If you can’t have fun, right?

People have opinions. You’re an artist, it comes with the territory. Deal with it.

I posted this earlier on Facebook:

Just so everyone knows, just because a number of people who read my works enjoy them, that doesn’t mean I think I’m some amazing writer. I’m still at the beginning of my writing career. I have a long way to go to reach the place, the writer I’d like to be. I do share my great reviews, also some of my bad, but that doesn’t mean I buy into my hype. I write stories I like to read and create. If you guys like ’em, cool. If not, that’s cool, too. Thanks to everyone who willingly spends time with my words. I appreciate it. Keep reading! Cheers!

This was the response from several Facebook friends:

Writing is one of those things you never stop learning how to do.

You should be proud and be able to share all the good things that come with what you are passionate about. Keep doing what you are doing! Good luck. (I have read one, and plan on reading more!)

Humble is a great trait in all art. Everything I’ve read has been killer.
writing is a continuous process for me and you should be really proud of your writing.

Well said. A few of my friends have said I’m their favorite writer, so I tell them to stop being biased liars and give me something to work with. 😂 No, but really, your humility is a admirable trait that many should keep in mind, Glenn Rolfe.

Gotta be honest….anyone that does what you can do….take these crazy, incredible images and stories from your mind and put them to paper….that is amazing.

I’m interested. Is this post in response to something that has been said? If so, I would invite the person to read my last review where I sing your praises and comment on the fact that when I don’t sing your praises, you accept it and move on to better yourself.

 

To which I responded:

Thanks for the kind words. i love and appreciate each of you for the support. Being an artist, putting what you’ve created out there for people to judge however they see fit… its not something everyone deals with, but it comes with the territory. This post wasn’t spurred from a bad review, but actually from someones reaction to a number of my positive reviews. I’ll just say this: It took me awhile to get used to seeing 4 and 5 star reviews, Honestly, they used to scare me worse than the 1 or 2 stars. I consider King’s “Salem’s Lot a 5 star book. Not my books. BUT my friends have told me, if people love your books, they love your books. They don’t give you 5 stars to be nice. That took me awhile to realize that its all subjective. I’m okay with any stars you want to give me. 1, 5, 3… . I write for me. As long as I like it, that’s all that ultimately matters to me. I don’t write for money. I don’t write for fame. I have a job, its working at the front desk of my hotel. I write because I enjoy the hell out of it. If I get props or some beer money, cool. If not, I’ll still keep on doing what I do. Anyways…thanks for the response.

 

Ultimately, it seems I’ve entered the next phase in my writing career.  I hope to keep my head held high, and write good, honest stories that will connect with someone out there.

When I was a musician, I always said that I wrote songs for people who love songs. I didn’t and never would write for other musicians. I think I’ve taken that approach to my writing, as well. I write for me, but I really enjoy listening to readers. I don’t write for writers. My stuff’s not perfect, but its the imperfections, the real, honest stuff I put in that connects with readers. I will never stop doing that. If I can win some writers over with one of my stories, cool, but its not anything I pray for.

Anyways, if you’re an artist, be true to yourself. Listen to ALL the advice you get, from people praising you AND people who point out what they see as flaws. ALWAYS listen, and know this– YOU can ALWAYS be better. The main thing is to be true to yourself and your vision. You cannot please them all and you never will. Keep on keepin’ on.

 

Stay tuned!

-GR