Patronage has fluctuated a bit since starting up, but we seem to be at a happy spot.
My goal was to get up to 25 patrons, but we haven’t gotten there yet. And that’s okay. I like the gang we do have.
I wanted to supply some strong content for you guys. I hope I have. I wanted to produce a new short story each month. Out of 10 months, I managed 8 stories. Not too bad considering I had to write and finish a new novel for my new publisher within a 3 month window (Until Summer Comes Around will land on your bookshelves this May!).
I started a serial novel (Bring Me to Life) for my $5 patrons, and I managed three chapters. We have plenty more on the way!
And I tried to give you some insight into the way I do my thing. I hope some of that writing advice helped you out in some way.
A number of patrons received signed print copies of the pre-Poltergeist Press edition of Blood and Rain, and those of you that have stuck it out with me for the majority of this thing will be receiving what I hope is an annual thing, my short fiction collection Nocturnal Pursuits. This collection is just for you guys (although some people managed to nab a copy while I had it up on Amazon for a quick minute). The book features all 8 of the stories from the Get Rolfed Patreon Short Story Series (“Hollowed”, “What’s My Again”, “Molly”, “Something in the Water”, “Orson’s Gas n ‘ Go”, “Bag Lunch”, “Everett”, “Gone Away” ) Plus, I tossed in some extras (“Master of Beyond”, “In the Basement of the Amazing Alex Cucumber”, “You Can Have it All Back”, and “Out of Range”). The book came out pretty well. I finally learned how to properly format a print book, so that was good! And using he Amazon cover creator was a really nice experience, as well.
For those of you NOT subscribing to my Patreon page, I am planning a wide release of the official (and bigger/better edited) edition of Nocturnal Pursuits probably sometime late 2020 or early 2021.
Overall, I feel like it was a successful first year.
For $5 a month, most of my patrons received at least one free signed paperback (Blood and Rain) and will be adding this exclusive signed paperback copy of Nocturnal Pursuits. They also receive the free short stories in eBook form with exclusive covers that I’ve created. 🙂
O yeah! and we did a giveaway for Patrons only. One of you won a copy of the Thunderstorm Books hardcover Exclusive of The Window !!!
The goals for 2020 remain the same: one new story per month. No less than one new chapter of the serial novel. A new piece on writing at least every other month, and more behind the scenes (early cover reveals, early rough draft chapters of works in progress-that sort of thing). I’d love to do a live q and A session sometime this year, but well see.
What’s on the horizon for $5 patrons in 2020:
Signed print edition of my next novel, Until Summer Comes Around
Signed print edition of the novel after that, Ascension Agenda (hopefully we get this one finished for a fall release)
Plus, we’ll be doing at least 2 giveaways for 1) a hardcover edition of Until Summer Comes Around and 2) another special edition hardcover I haven’t announced yet.
Signed EXCLUSIVE print edition of short fiction collection #2
For those of you considering joining, here are the tiers and what they entail
$1 or more per month
Access to bi-monthly personal essays offering writing advice
Behind the scenes looks at works in progress
Early cover reveals
Join $1 Tier
$2 or more per month
One free short story per month
Access to bi-monthly personal essays offering writing advice
Behind the scenes looks at works in progress
Early cover reveals
Join $2 Tier
$5 or more per month
For as long as you are a current Patron, you will receive free ebook copies of all new releases.
A free signed copy of all new paperbacks (US & CA only and excluding re-releases)
“Emotional and action-packed.” – Horror After Dark
“A flawlessly executed character driven modern day horror tale.” – The Horror Fiction Review
“A dark and unsettling coming-of-age horror novel with great characters. Highly recommended!” – Little Miss Zombie
“A coming-of-age story with sex demon doppelgangers, it harkens to the day of Leisure titles (Brian Keene’s Ghoul comes to mind).” – Undivine Interventions
“The Window is brilliant!” – Finding Montauk
“(Rolfe) takes a step up into the next echelon of horror greats and it is completely deserved off of this masterpiece.” – Kendall Reviews
What kind of demons await you tonight?
For Richie, life’s constant cheap shots are adding up. When he finds something is watching him, he never dreamed that it would show him everything that he ever wanted.
When his son, James, comes to stay for the last month of summer, the changes in his father’s behavior come to the forefront. What is his father doing staring into the window in the middle of the night?
Was the fiery spark in the dark real? Or is James’ imagination getting the best of him?
Summer’s almost over.
And life is about to change.
Will the son be able to save the father? Or is it already too late?
THE WINDOW is on sale for this final week of May. Click the link above and grab a copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, or Kobo. If you’ve already read the book (thank you), be sure to tell a friend. Thanks so much.
I’m busy writing my first book for my new publisher (Flame Tree Press) and will spend the rest of my time this year between my new Leisure Time with Glenn Rolfe column over at Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews (covering Leisure Books Horror novels), helping launch CELESTIAL SEEPAGE by Brian Fatah Steele (Alien Agenda Publishing), continuing work on SURVIVE WITH ME (the AAP charity anthology), and finishing up the follow-ups to BOOM TOWN and BLOOD AND RAIN.
The Flame Tree book will be out next year, and the BOOM TOWN follow-up would be released at the end of this year, at the earliest. In the meantime, you can get some fresh work from me for super cheap on a monthly basis….How? Let me tell you. In March, I launched my Patreon page and the Get Rolfed Short Story Series. Every month, Patrons receive a new eBook of that month’s short story.
In addition to the exclusive eBooks, Patrons get behind the scenes looks at my works in progress, early cover reveals, and essays on writing/publishing. That’s a lot of bang for a couple bucks—just $2 a month.
$5 Patrons get all that, plus eBook and signed paperback copies of all my future releases (US and CA residents only).
Last summer, I kicked off the next phase of my publishing company, ALIEN AGENDA PUBLISHING. We decided to go with a summer package featuring re-releases of novels by Mick Ridgewell (The Nightcrawler) and David Bernstein (Skinner), and introduced Jackson R. Thomas. The “Summer of Horror” kicked off with The Beast of Brenton Woods, a fast and ferocious short novel about a legend known in the town of Coopers Mills as “The White Wolf”.
That book was a big hit for AAP, and we sold the audio rights to the fine folks at Tantor Media (with a fine vocal performance from Joe Hempel). That audio edition is available now (To order, click HERE)
To get to know Mr. Thomas a bit better, check out the rare interview he did with House of 1000 Books
And that brings us to the latest offering: Paradise, Maine
“A short, entertaining read for fans of Edward Lee and Jack Ketchum’s Dead River series.” – Jack Bantry, Splatterpunk Zine and author of The Lucky Ones Died First
“Thomas brings the goods and packs them into bite size zip-lock freezer bags, making sure to keep the horror fresh on every page! A must read.” – Kendall Reviews
This one just came out last month. If you’re into splatterpunk, check it out.
Word on the street is you have two new Thomas books to keep and eye out for coming…/
RISE (the sequel to The Beast of Brenton Woods-coming late 2019 from Alien Agenda Publishing)
and IT CAME FROM THE LAKE (TBA, 2020)
Jackson R. Thomas has lived in Colorado, New York, and now resides in Coopers Mills, Maine with his cat, Gizmo.
He loathes social media, and has worked as a janitor, fast-food slave, record store clerk, and night auditor at an unnamed hotel on Route 1.
He loves horror books, horror films, and the band, Ministry.
Some legends never die….
The White Wolf, the Beast of Brenton Woods, a legendary creature said to walk like a man. When the full moon rises, it will feast.
Unseen for years, truth has turned to rumor, mere folklore. Until something lures the monster from exile, calling it home.
For Tyler and Ben, a firsthand encounter leads to an exploration of the forbidden depths of Brenton woods, and for Ben, the discovery of a family secret.
When Wendy and her friends hangout in the abandoned cabin is compromised, the hunt begins. The target of a creature’s desire, Wendy is hearing whispers in the night, finding footprints outside her window, and can’t shake the dreadful feeling that something is waiting for her.
Deputy Kathy Wilcox understands the disturbances, the shredded carcasses, and the growing list of missing persons in town are connected to something larger than life. Will her acceptance of the legend end in tragedy?
There’s a full moon above, the night is coming down, and blood is about to run.
They needed a place to get away from it all… they’ll never be coming back.
When Darren and Vanis set out to free themselves from life’s anxieties and rekindle their relationship, a trip to the beautiful Maine coast sounds perfect.
The breathtaking views and gorgeous cabin seem like another world. One to get lost in and from which they never want to return. But something has an eye on them…
For Zebulun Ayers, a trip to connect with nature is far more than he ever saw on Man vs. Wild or any other reality TV show. This is the real wild life.
Paradise, Maine is home to a monster rarely seen and one never mentioned, even among locals. The Watcher is waiting.
Happy to announce that I have signed with FLAME TREE PRESS for my vampire novel, UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND.
UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND
It’s Old Orchard Beach, Maine in the summer of 1986. The pier, the fries, the tourists, and the sunshine blazing high above the Atlantic. For fifteen year old Rocky Zukas, it’s when he sees the beach side town he calls home come to life. Gone are the long, cold, quiet nights of the off season, and here, like magic, returns the beauty and wonder of the city’s heartbeat.
This summer brings her.
When a mysterious, dark-haired girl named November walks into his world, Rocky’s life is forever changed.
A story of love, loss, betrayal, and the undead, ends in explosive fashion after sundown.
In the tradition of such modern horror classics as The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon and Ghoul by Brian Keene, Until Summer Comes Around proves once and for all…the monsters are real.
Look for UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND to be released in mid-2020.
And I am so happy to be back with family like this.
From my first viewing of THE LOST BOYS to reading Anne Rice’s THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES, ‘SALEM’S LOT by King, THE NARROWS by Ronald Mafi, and LIVE GIRLS by Ray Garton, this one has been percolating for some time.
See the below video from my old band, THE NEW 45- “I Wanna Suck Your Blood”
I set out to become a writer the same year Samhain Publishing launched. When I saw the Leisure Horror Books head acquisition man, Don D’Auria, was at the head of this new horror line, I knew good things were on the horizon. And I was right. Don, introduced us to Kristopher Rufty, Hunter Shea, Russell James, and a guy named, Jonathan Janz.
The books from Janz came one after another–The Sorrows, The Darkest Lullaby, The House of Skin, Savage Species, Castle of Sorrows, Dust Devils, The Nightmare Girl, Wolf Land, and Exorcist Road before we all got the news that Samhain was a sinking ship.
Janz put out the excellent and much acclaimed, Children of the Dark, and also the much anticipated, Exorcist Falls with Sinister Grin Press before Don D’Auria landed with Flame Tree Press and called one of his favorite sons home.
Following Janz’s recent release with Flame Tree Press, THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER from this past September, we prepare for his next new release, THE DARK GAME (Catch my brief review of this awesome book after the interview).
I called on Janz to join us here at Share the Horror and he obliged.
Share the Horror: Let’s go back a few years. You were one of the first Samhain authors and had built quite a catalog in a relative short amount of time. When the news that Samhain had a) fired Don D’Auria and then shortly afterwards 2) folding up shop, what were your thoughts and emotions at hearing those two things?
Jonathan Janz: The news about Don was really a shock. He’s a great editor and a great person, so mainly I just felt really bad for him. After that, the news of the publisher going under wasn’t too shocking. I figured if they were letting Don go, they were probably hurting for money, so while it was sad for the employees—many of whom remain my friends—that second piece of news wasn’t as surprising.
As far as emotions go, in addition to feeling terrible for those more directly impacted, I did experience a lot of uncertainty about the future. Everything has worked out really well, but at the time it was a giant unknown.
STH: What did you do in the space between Samhain and then the start up of Flame Tree Press?
JJ: This sounds simplistic, but I just wrote. Even though I didn’t know where the books I was working on would end up, I knew I needed to keep writing. Fretting about events out of my control wasn’t going to be productive, so I threw myself into my work. So in the years between Samhain and Flame Tree, I wrote THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, NIGHTMARE WORLD, THE DARK GAME, THE DISMEMBERED, and I began CHILDREN OF THE DARK 2.
STH: Let’s talk Children of the Dark for a second. This was a very well received book. It’s a part of your Savage Species (one of my personal favorites) world. I know your King influence bleeds through with this one, especially with Will Burgess. Whereas with Savage Species there was gore galore like a dark Ketchum novel or something from Richard Laymon, with COTD I get a lot of that THE BODY vibe. More about the characters and the heart of this kid rather than the all-out blitz style of its predecessor. Would you say that’s an accurate take? If so, was that intentional or did it just come out that way? JJ: I’d say that’s very accurate. With SAVAGE SPECIES, I wanted a no-holds-barred, bloody, grueling epic. With CHILDREN OF THE DARK, the story was largely, as you allude to with your reference to THE BODY, about the pain of growing up and the difficulties this kid was experiencing. So like you said, even though the stories are in the same universe, they’re very different animals. I realized this when writing the sequel to COTD. My initial idea was to combine the worlds of SAVAGE SPECIES and CHILDREN OF THE DARK, but that changed as I wrote the sequel. So while there are some intersections, the story really remained a COTD story and true to the tone of the first book. STH: So, Don and Flame Tree Press happens. Did he come to you, or were you guys in constant contact and it sort of just happened? JJ: We kept in contact. Not constantly, but I’d say every couple of months we’d email, and a few times we spoke by phone. The one thing we knew was that, wherever we landed, we wanted to work on more projects together. I got the news about Flame Tree when my family and I were in Virginia for Scares That Care in 2017. We were walking from a beach on the James River to our van when I checked my email and found out about Don’s new gig. I think I emailed him within a half hour or so, and we started talking about THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER. Since that story was set in Virginia, and I’d just wrapped it up, it was fresh in my mind and a natural first project to do with Don and Flame Tree.
STH: THE SIREN AND THE SPECTER, like COTD, feels like another step forward in your writing. As someone that has read almost all your published works, I feel like your growing more and more comfortable with each release, and with that becoming even more fearless as a writer. Does it feel that way to you? JJ: Thank you so much, Glenn! I truly appreciate that. Yes, it does feel like I’m progressing, but it’s an incredibly subtle and gradual progress. I’m fond of all my books, but I really noticed it a couple months ago when reading through HOUSE OF SKIN, which is the first novel I wrote (and the second one published). I really like the story, but I’m a very different writer now than I was then. It feels good, but I know I’m nowhere near a finished product and will never be finished in my writerly walk. I have to constantly strive to improve, to grow, and to learn. I’m too self-critical to ever be satisfied. STH: SIREN is landing on a lot of Top 10 lists right now, I know that’s gratifying. Do you let that good feeling linger and use it going forward, or are you more the type that is focused on that next release and coming at it with the need to prove yourself again?
JJ: Like you say, it is gratifying, and it feels wonderful to have one’s work acknowledged, but I don’t bask in that glow for too long. That need to create is too strong. And I also always want to make my next book better than my last. Hopefully, I did that with THE DARK GAME, and I hope to do it again with the titles coming in late 2019 and 2020. STH: THE DARK GAME comes out in April. I’m reading an ARC now, and I believe this is my favorite book of yours so far. How much fun did you have crafting the antagonist in this one? Without giving anything away, what were your favorite aspects of Roderick Wells to create and play around with? JJ: That’s so great to hear! I worked very hard on THE DARK GAME, so it’s awesome to hear you’re enjoying it. I had a lot of fun with it. The Roderick Wells character was at the center of the story, so I needed him to be all sorts of things: strong, elusive…incisive yet cryptic. He had to represent both writers and critics, both nurturing teachers and cruel taskmasters. Plus (and here, like you said, I’m trying not to give anything away), there are elements of his character that aren’t revealed until later. That means I have to play fair with the reader by hinting at those unexpressed character elements without completely revealing the character’s secrets. Walking that tightrope was a challenge, but it was a rewarding one. I think the aspect of Wells’s character I enjoyed the most was his love of power and how he reacted when that supremacy was threatened. There are some exchanges between him and a character named Sherilyn that were a blast to write. STH: There’s a lot of writers in here. I’m imagining that there are aspects of your own strengths and self-perceived weaknesses in each of these characters. At this stage in your career, with regards to your writing skills, what do you see as your best assets and what areas are your constantly targeting to improve upon? JJ: Wow, that’s extremely insightful! Yes, you do get some of that in the novel. Rick Forrester, for example, is a lot like me before I got anything published. He’s been rejected, told he’s not good enough, and basically dismissed. Like Rick, I once received a very chilly reaction from the head of a collegiate writing program, so that experience made its way directly into the novel.
Regarding the second part of your question, this doesn’t sound sexy, but I think my best assets as a writer are my support network, my willingness to learn, and my work ethic. My wife and kids always provide me with a bedrock, so I know that when a story isn’t going well or I face some other kind of adversity, what really matters—my family—will remain intact. I’ve been teaching for twenty-three years and teaching Creative Writing for seventeen of those, and I believe these experiences help me to remain grounded and focused on growing. Just as I’m helping my students evolve, I’m evolving too. I also never quit. Because that option is never on the table, I concentrate on ways to solve problems rather than allowing them to defeat me.
With regard to areas of improvement, I want to keep getting better at blazing new trails. Horror is a vast realm, and there are many untouched or rarely-trod areas in the genre. Therefore, I want to constantly aim to examine those and maximize their potential.
STH: One last thing, before we go. Looking back on THE CLEARING OF TRAVIS COBLE, which has remained one of my very favorite stories you wrote, what are your thoughts and memories on that story and its release? JJ: I’m so glad you liked that one! That story was a major moment of growth for me because it forced me to use dialogue to carry a story. Yes, there’s description; yes, there are the other essentials of storytelling. But it’s the dialogue that reveals character, that unveils plot twists, that adds mystery and depth. I had to develop my dialogue-writing skills in “The Clearing of Travis Coble,” and looking back, I view that exercise as a moment of profound growth for me. Thanks again for mentioning it!
STH:I love it and THE DARK GAME, so I will keep praising them from the mountains! Thanks for taking the time, good sir.
JJ: Thank you, Glenn. I had a blast!
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Brian Keene, and Jack Ketchum; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal.
His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice Awards nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.
You can sign up for his newsletter, and you can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.
Quite possibly Janz’s best work yet. His skills continue to sharpen, and it really feels like he’s comfortable as hell behind that keyboard now. There’s a piece about fearlessness in this book, and I think it’s safe to say Janz is feeling just that-fearless. This was by far my favorite cast of characters in any of his books, and the story read like something straight out of the Leisure Books Horror Club heyday!
THE DARK GAME is a horror gem.
SHARE THE HORROR: You’ve had quite a year. I’ve seen three titles of yours popping up on the Best Of lists–SKULLFACE BOY, STIRRING THE SHEETS and the one that I absolutely loved, OUT BEHIND THE BARN co-written with John Boden. How long did each of these books take to complete?
CHAD LUTZKE: I think a few months for each one. I can’t remember exactly, but I think SKULLFACE BOY, though it’s twice as long as the others, took the shortest amount of time. It was just really easy to write because I was so into it, and while I pants everything I write, that one even more so. I had no idea where I was going with it other than eventually getting the protagonist to the beach. SHEETS felt like it took much longer because it was depressing being in that mindset of losing loved ones and being alone. As far as OUT BEHIND THE BARN goes, once John and I actually started working on it, it went pretty fast. Maybe 4 to 6 weeks? Plus we already had Boden’s short that we were using as a skeleton.
STH: Which one are you most proud of? CL: SKULLFACE BOY because it was kind of experimental and it turned out to be a lot of people’s favorites, even surpassing OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES, which I wasn’t sure I could do.
STH. You have yet another new book. Tell us a little about it. CL: The book is called THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU. For that one, the reader is basically a fly on the wall, watching a group of kids in their late teens go through love, let downs, tragedy, drugs and alcohol. I’ve been comparing it to the films KIDS, RIVER’S EDGE and DAZED & CONFUSED. It definitely gets dark. And in a very personal way the book is heavily influenced by The Cure’s Disintegration album.
STH: Your style is unique. Of Foster Homes and Flies was brilliant. It was one of the most original coming-of-age stories I’ve ever read. Do you ever see yourself going for a straight forward horror story, or is it just not appealing to you?
CL: I really appreciate that. Thank you! I really don’t have any interest in doing anything I feel has been done before. I really try and come up with concepts I feel are original and fresh. Sometimes I just want to write some silly slasher that is outlandishly absurd, but I don’t know if I could make it entertaining enough to not have it feel like everything else that’s already been done, and if I can’t then I won’t bother. I prefer to write about things that have to do with the human condition, things we can all relate to. The horrors of the heart and mind.
STH: Who are some of your favorite horror authors past and current. CL: The usual suspects like King, Koontz, McCammon, Poe, Matheson, Serling. For some of the newer guys, I’m a big fan of Stephen Graham Jones and Joe Hill. But I think my style more reflects my sincere love for Ketchum and Lansdale.
#FridayReads: DOUBLE BARREL HORROR VOL.2, Michael Weber, editor, two stories each by John Boden, Simon Dewar, Patrick Freivald, Chad Lutzke, Karen Runge and M.B. Vujacic, strong work, Lutzke and Runge standouts
STH: I know Jack Ketchum read Of Foster Homes and Flies. What was the interaction like with him? I know when he read my book, Things We Fear, I saved every email from him. What were those interactions like with you guys and what would you say was Jack’s number one strength as a writer? CL: This may be a long answer because I really miss Dallas and think the world of him and his ability to write. I’ve told this story before, maybe a few times, so some may be tired of hearing it but I don’t care. I love sharing how awesome Dallas was. My communication with him was short, only over the course of a year, and it started by a friend of mine congratulating me on Jack Ketchum tweeting about my book. I had no idea what he was talking about so he sent me a link and I kind of never left the cloud I found myself on that day. I reached out to Kevin, the guy who run the Ketchum website, and asked if he’d forward an email to Dallas for me. I think it was within an hour Dallas contacted me. Now, I keep in contact with a few “famous” people in the music world and I’m very careful about making sure I don’t get all fanboy on them and I keep things to a minimum and that’s how I played it with Dallas and I wished I hadn’t. I wished I would have gotten closer with him, reached out more, because I now know he was that kind of guy. He wouldn’t have minded. Months went by and he tweeted about an anthology I was in, calling the two stories I contributed as standouts. By this time, I had already had Dallas’ home address and I had sent him a book (WALLFLOWER). Then when I was doing the final draft on STIRRING THE SHEETS for my publisher, I reached out to Dallas and asked him for a blurb. He told me that he doesn’t just hand them out, that he would have to love the book. And then he told me “But since it’s you, I’d love to read it.” He was dying at the time and I had no idea. I scrambled to get the cover together for SHEETS and we were having issues because I wasn’t using a template because we were creating a custom-sized book, so the cover kept getting rejected. Finally, all the files were accepted and I had spoken with Dallas again, he was looking forward to the book. He didn’t know this, but he even had a little cameo in it as Dallas Doud, “the neighbor who maybe smokes too much.” The day we were to send the book to Dallas I got a message on Facebook from a friend that Dallas had passed. I had no idea he was sick. No idea. And all I kept thinking was “Who does that? Who agrees two weeks before their death, while their sick with cancer, to read someone’s book?” That told me everything I needed to know about the man and wished I would have reached out more than I did. Within minutes I contacted my publisher and had him dedicate the book to Dallas.
As far as his strengths as a writer, he just had this way of putting words together in a sentence that completely floor you. When you’re reading Ketchum you’re never safe because you know at any moment he’ll go straight for the dark, and when he does it’s worded in a way that is profoundly disturbing. Nobody does that like him. He also shares my love for human horror, fictionalizing things that either did happen or could absolutely happen. Or maybe is happening somewhere right now. In a nutshell, the way the man crafted a sentence was like no other. He knew exactly what to say to get under the reader’s skin, and with few words.
STH: He is certainly missed. I’m right there with you. we definitely lost , not just a great writer, but one of the most amazing people in our business.
What’s up ahead for you this year?
Lutzke: THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU will be out January 11th. Unfortunately, you caught me at a time where a lot of the cool stuff I can’t even talk about yet. There are a handful of anthologies I’m in that will be out in spring and summer that I can’t name yet. I’ve gotten a few anthology invites I still need to write for and I assume those will also be out this year. I have a huge deal coming sometime this summer that I can’t talk about yet. I signed the contract but haven’t been given the go-ahead. I’ll be in another Corpus Press anthology due out this summer. July, I believe. This spring/early summer I will be putting out a collection of stories that are all Patreon exclusives. The paperback will only be available to my patrons, but the Kindle will be available to everyone else. Also, I’m part of the editorial team that is resurrecting Shock Totem Magazine and we’ve got some great surprises with that one and we’re all neck deep in reading slush right now from the open call, but the first return issue should be out late spring/early summer. And Boden and I are going to see what we can do about releasing another novella before the year is up. Overall, the plan is to be even more prolific than I was last year and with some other things I’ve got in the works I hope to have that happen.
STH: Well, I think I have a story in that Corpus Press anthology with you and a few of our friends. That should be rad. Also, I cannot wait to dive into THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU.
Chad Luztke lives in Michigan with his wife and children. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene, offering articles, reviews, and artwork. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. He’s had a few dozen stories published, and some of his books include: OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES, WALLFLOWER, STIRRING THE SHEETS, SKULLFACE BOY, and THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU.
Catherine Cavendish is the British author of THE PENDLE CURSE, WAKING THE ANCIENTS, and many more. She’s got a thing for Gothic tales and writes a damn near perfect one herself. Her latest release, THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE (Flame Tree Press, Out January 10th!) , adds to her growing legacy of wonderful ghost stories.
She sits down for a quick chat with Share the Horror to talk about the new book and her new publisher, Flame Tree Press.
Share The Horror: What’s done is done. Samhain Publishing implodes, you did well for yourself between that happening and now, landing back with our bud, Don D’Auria, you’ve found a home with Flame Tree Press. Congratulations!
Let’s talk about the new book, THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE. It’s a fabulous read. When did you start writing this one and is there any of the stories “history” that is based of real life? Catherine Cavendish: Thank you. Yes, I’m delighted to be working with Don again and impressed with Flame Tree Press.
As for THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE, the location is inspired by one of Edinburgh’s leading tourist attractions – The Real Mary King’s Close – which is located on the Royal Mile, in the city’s Old Town, between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Edinburgh was built on a granite rock and over the centuries became so crowded, they had to build upwards and as close together as possible – hence the creation of the Closes. The buildings were several stories high, and were effectively the world’s first skyscrapers.
As time went by, the richer folk moved out to the newly built New Town and the Closes became poorly maintained tenements. I reference all of this in my story. In common with my creation of Henderson Close, The Real Mary King’s Close is reputed to be extremely haunted. It’s a fascinating and spooky place to visit. I’ve been there at least three times and will be going back. Likewise, some scenes occur in Greyfriars Kirkyard which is real and has many legends associated with it – including the infamous Mackenzie Poltergeist. STH: I loved the way you flawlessly and seamlessly went back and forth to the past and present day within the story. I know some authors get off track. I’ve read stories where the back and forth is jarring and I find myself wanting to get back to the present story line. Yours was done extremely well. Do you find that an easy thing to do in a book? How much attention do you place on making sure it doesn’t take away from the current story you’re trying to tell? CC: I have always been comfortable writing about the past – in some ways more than the present. I’m one of these nerdy types who actually enjoys doing the research to get historical details as accurate as possible, although I do try and avoid getting too bogged down in it where the story is concerned. It does help me to have the back story in my head when I write though. It’s a balancing act and I have to stop myself getting so wrapped up in the historical bit that I neglect the present day. I have to remind myself
that the past is generally there because it is influencing what is happening in the present. STH: Who was your favorite character to write in this one and why?
That’s a tough one. I probably felt closest to Hannah because of where she is in her life, but I have a real soft spot for Miss Carmichael who was quite courageous in her own quiet way. George is a great guy I would love to have as a friend and go for a ‘wee dram’ with. Mairead was fun to write because, of all of them, her character is the most complex. Donald Bain was a nasty piece of work so I enjoyed writing him too. I haven’t done very well with this question, have I? 😉 STH: Ha! No worries. You did a fantastic crafting each of them. I can see how it’d be hard to choose.
For me, you’re the current queen of Gothic ghost tales. Would you ever consider switching it up, trying a slasher or vampire or werewolf story, or are you quite comfortable in your lane?
CC: That’s kind of you to say. I am up against some tough competition for that title ☺. I will confess that I don’t feel comfortable delving too deep into slasher territory – although there is some violence in my stories, where the story warrants it. I think others write that type of graphic horror much better than I do. I’m talking to one just now, aren’t I?
Ditto with vampires and werewolves. I don’t exclusively write Gothic but do feel very much at home among the shadows, the darkness and all things ghostly…
STH: I know Don always wants to know what we have for him next. So, I know this book is just coming out, but is there another story ready or in-progress that we might see on the Flame Tree line?
CC: Well, there is a novel I have recently completed…
STH: Thanks for the quick chat, Cat. Much luck and success for you and THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE.
CC: Thank you so much, Glenn. Always a pleasure to chat with you.
Grab your copy of THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE here:
Hello, my name’s Catherine Cavendish and I write horror fiction – frequently with ghostly, supernatural, Gothic and haunted house themes.
Out now- from Kensington-Lyrical – the third in a trilogy – DAMNED BY THE ANCIENTS – set in Egypt and Vienna and featuring the sinister Dr. Emeryk Quintillus whose obsession has stayed with him past the grave. This completes the NEMESIS OF THE GODS trilogy which started with WRATH OF THE ANCIENTS, followed by WAKING THE ANCIENTS.
My novellas COLD REVENGE, MISS ABIGAIL’S ROOM, THE DEMONS OF CAMBIAN STREET, THE DEVIL INSIDE HER and THE SECOND WIFE have now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.
My novels THE DEVIL’S SERENADE and SAVING GRACE DEVINE have also been released in new editions by Crossroad Press, as have my novel of the Lancashire Witches – THE PENDLE CURSE – and my novellas, LINDEN MANOR and DARK AVENGING ANGEL.
I live with a long-suffering husband and a delightful black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshiped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue.
Our home is in a rambling building dating back to the mid 18th century, haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.
When not slaving over a hot computer, I enjoy wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.
My new novel, THE WINDOW, has been garnering my best reviews yet. I’m humbled by the love and enjoyment many are experiencing with my 4th book.
“To put it simply; this is Mr. Rolfe’s IT. This is his Boy’s Life.”
“At times, The Window is brutally vicious. It’s a story which pulls no punches and is right up there with my favorite reads of 2018!”
“Gory and perverse on the outside (don’t let the inconspicuous cover fool you!), but character-driven and emotional on the inside, this book really kept me awake reading, a feat not easily achieved these nights…”
“Never gonna look in a mirror or out a window again!”
“A flawlessly executed character driven modern day horror tale…”
I’ve captured the links to the sites that have covered THE WINDOW so far…
Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street.
It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh.
As rumors spread about the grotesque transformations, soon everyone from nosy tourists to clinic doctors and government men start arriving on Denton Street, eager to catch sight of “the Rust Maidens” in metamorphosis. But even with all the onlookers, nobody can explain what’s happening or why–except perhaps the Rust Maidens themselves. Whispering in secret, they know more than they’re telling, and Phoebe realizes her former friends are quietly preparing for something that will tear their neighborhood apart.
Alternating between past and present, Phoebe struggles to unravel the mystery of the Rust Maidens–and her own unwitting role in the transformations–before she loses everything she’s held dear: her home, her best friend, and even perhaps her own body.
Gwendolyn Kiste isn’t new to the horror scene, but she is new to me. I’d been hearing about this book that was coming out soon, about this writer and how this was her first novel. Kiste has collections and a novella out there (which I will be hunting down), but this –THE RUST MAIDENS-is her first full-length novel. I managed to get a hold of a pre-release copy, and I must say, I was not disappointed.
Kiste’s novel is not just a good story (It’s a great story), it’s a statement to the literary world: Kiste is here and now, one of the best young writers in the fiction world. I couldn’t understand for the life of me how THE RUST MAIDENS isn’t with one of the big publishers. This book is fantastic.
The story centers around a young woman named, Phoebe, and five of the girls from her graduating class. When the girls, including Phoebe’s cousin and best friend, Jacqueline, begin to change amidst the strike at the mill, and the mothers of the block’s disparate clutch on perceptions, the street, the town, and those families involved are turned upside down. What exactly is happening to these girls? Why would they do this now of all times? When will it all return to normal?
“The flame of the mill burned bright overhead, but its warmth might as well have been a thousand miles away.”
Phoebe finds herself in a battle against loneliness, and an uncertain future. She should be riding out of town with her best friend ,ready for college and a life outside of Cleveland, but instead, she winds up on a quest for answers she may never receive in a place that just wishes she would leave things be.
“I’m a woman with half a century of life experience, who still can’t do a convincing impression of a human being.”
It does feature Phoebe now, decades later returning to the town and problems she eventually runs away from. But most of the story is of that summer of 1980.
Kiste does a wonderful job ingraining us through Phoebe to this place in time, this dying city in 1980. You feel the desperation. The need to get out. To get out before the dead end town claims you next. You feel the squeeze of lean and mean times as her father’s job at the mill is in jeopardy. You feel the fear of being stuck in a place, doomed to give away the world you received in a never ending cycle, and how even though you know this, there’s still no way to change it. The same way Phoebe knows, the girls have a fate that she cannot stand in the way of no matter how hard she tries.
Still, she tries. She refuses to accept that all hope is gone. And Kiste transfers that hope to the reader.
I took my time reading this book because I wanted to stay there and hang with these characters, to take Phoebe’s hand and stand with her against her world. And that’s the best compliment I can offer to the author. I loved this book.
Another thing I loved was the soundtrack. Kiste’s use of a few select artists does wonders in pulling the reader deeper into the experience. You get Tom Petty’s jangly guitars lifting you up and giving you just enough hope that things will be all right. You get The Carpenter’s fraudulent, soothing lullabies that everything is normal, and then you get the all too real, working class it is what it is-our lot in life- of Bob Seger. On the east Coast, we tend to tune into Springsteen for this, but Kiste being from Ohio, uses the Mid-West equivalent and it fits perfectly. Confession time: I went to bed a number of nights after reading a few chapters listening to Bob Seger’s Stranger in Town record.
Not an outright horror novel, but THE RUST MAIDENS is a book I will not soon forget.
I give THE RUST MAIDENS 5 stars! Easily the best first novel I’ve read in a long time.
THE RUST MAIDENS will be released Friday November 16th. You should definitely grab a copy.
Gwendolyn Kiste is a speculative fiction writer based in Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Nightmare, Shimmer, Interzone, Daily Science Fiction, and LampLight among others. Her debut collection, AND HER SMILE WILL UNTETHER THE UNIVERSE, was released through JournalStone in April 2017. She currently resides on an abandoned horse farm with her husband, two cats, and not nearly enough ghosts.