(Interview) Share the Horror Prepares to Play the Dark Game with Jonathan Janz

janz-1

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. The-Siren-and-The-Specter-ISBN-9781787580053.0

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.

STHWhat 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.

51022a1mc4l
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.81hj+mlkx0l
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.
STHSIREN 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?

9191jgpmhql

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.
STHTHE 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.

the-clearing-of-travis-coble-jonathan-janz
STHOne 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!

12002112_10208099730877953_7783282351759435960_n
Don’t let our smiling faces fool you…
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.
Flame Tree Press is re-releasing Jonathan Janz’s entire Samhain Publishing catalog.
This month sees the re-release of SAVAGE SPECIES. You can also grab his debut novel,
THE SORROWS.
815h5df3gil._ac_ul320_sr208,320_
  the-sorrows-isbn-9781787580589.0
MY REVIEW of THE DARK GAME

The Dark GameThe Dark Game by Jonathan Janz

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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.

 

(Interview): Share the Horror Dives the Depths with Chad Lutzke

a15d4qvaeol._sy600_

Chad Lutzke is a name you should make yourself familiar with. His style is all his own, and it’s one filled with two of my favorite things: horror and, more importantly, heart.

Hot on the heals of his 2018 releases OUT BEHIND THE BARN (co-written with John Boden), SKULLFACE BOY, and STIRRING THE SHEETS, this man is dropping a new novel titled, THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU (which releases today, January 11th).

I invited him over for a quick chat.

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?

41210152
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.

43321345

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?

51uxtbyxu5l
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.

jack-ketchum-placeholder

 

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.

42124121

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. 

CL: Thanks, Glenn!

 

Grab your copy of THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU HERE 

Chad Luztke Patreon

Twitter

chad-lutzke

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.

 

 

 

 

(Interview) Share the Horror talks haunting tales with Catherine Cavendish

51xfkhdvoll._sy346_

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.

haunting of henderson close cover

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?

51cxtxwgl+l._sy346_

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.

download (1)

Grab your copy of THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE here:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Flame Tree Press

61l7-c5c7wl._us230_

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.

Follow her on Twitter

 

My short review:

The Haunting of Henderson CloseThe Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish

Another great ghost tale from Catherine Cavendish. The end of the book was awesome! I couldn’t put it down!

Come to Henderson Close and find out what haunts these old streets!
Highly recommended for anyone that loves a good ghost story!

View all my reviews

(Share the Horror Interview) CHAD LUTZKE and JOHN BODEN on Their New Release, OUT BEHIND THE BARN

5102dRArbxL

The boys crept to the window and watched as Miss Maggie carried the long bundle into the barn, the weight of it stooping her aging back. Rafter lights spilled from the barn doors, and Davey saw an arm fall from the canvas-wrapped parcel. He smiled.

“She got someone!”

Both children grinned and settled in their beds, eyes fixed to the ceiling.

This was family growth.

 

I recently caught up with authors Chad Lutzke and John Boden to talk about their excellent new book, OUT BEHIND THE BARN (See my review here).  It’s equal parts horror and dark fairy tail, and well worth your time.

 

First off, let’s talk about your starts. How did each of you get into writing and when did you sell your first piece?

Chad Lutzke:  I only read like one book (THE HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS) until I was in my early 20s.  I hated reading and stayed clear of it unless it was Fangoria, Famous Monster of Filmland, some metal magazines or Maximum Rock & Roll––stuff with pictures and articles.  Then in my mid 20s I went to college to be a teacher, sucked at writing and decided to finally start reading.  This was in the mid-to-early 90s. Everything I learned about writing was just from reading. Not any class. I read a ton for a few years and tried my hand at writing a handful of stories that turned out pretty good, but then never wrote again (other than song lyrics) for another 2 decades. I wish I would have stuck with it. Finally, I found out about people self publishing and indie publishers and all that and decided I was going be writer. That was in 2014. I had some stories published through some “exposure only” markets and that same year I sold my first piece as well as won 1st place in a small short story contest with a cash prize. It kept me from stopping for another 20 years.

John Boden: I wrote throughout my high school days and off and on after, but I sort of gave it up completely during my twenties. I only went back to it after Ken Wood asked me on board with SHOCK TOTEM. Reading all that slush was inspiring, as much as was meeting other writers, including some I had read as a teen.  The first piece I ever sold was a story called “Peter Peter” and it went to Sideshow Press for the BLACK INK HORROR #7. It’s not a great story but I was thrilled to get it in there. Before that there were a few non-paying markets that put out stuff of mine.

 

What’s your personal favorite piece you’ve written?

Lutzke:  As far as books, probably SKULLFACE BOY.

Boden: That’s always a tough one, I personally think SPUNGUNIONIt was out briefly last year and will be seeing new life next year from John Skipp’s Fungasm imprint. Maybe folks will check it out and let me know if I’m correct in thinking it’s kinda cool.

 

What books by your co-author other really stands out?

Lutzke:  John’s JEDI SUMMER is wonderful…loved every bit of it, but he wrote a weird western called WALK THE DARKNESS DOWN that is my favorite. He found a home for it but I think that’s still a secret so I can’t say anything more.

Boden:  I’ve been reading Chad for the last, what? Almost 3 years…We read almost everything the other writes. We’re beta buddies. He’s written a lot of great stuff and he’s only getting better. So far my fave would be SKULLFACE BOY. It scratches all the itches: the coming-of-age itch, the weird characters itch. The sad/melancholy itch. It’s wonderful!

I know we talked privately about this. Your styles blend really, really well together. I was not shocked in the least that OUT BEHIND THE BARN is so good.   Will we be seeing more collaborations between you two? And if so, is there one already in the works?

Lutzke:  Thanks! We had started something a few years ago that I don’t know if we’ll ever revisit, but we have talked about writing together again…maybe even a yearly novella. The thing we did came together easily enough to entertain that idea.

 

Boden: I wouldn’t say one is in the works, but I’d definitely say you’ll see one or more in the future. Chad wants us to commit to doing a collaborative novella every year. I can’t or have trouble doing that. I’m always worried about making those kind of pacts, life, day job and things always have a way of derailing the best laid plans and I absolutely hate disappointing people. I’m pretty sure we’ll cross the streams again one day though.

 

Let’s talk about the new book.  This story came from one of John’s short stories. Chad when did you decide the story had more to it and when did you step in and start working on the project?

 

Lutzke:  As soon as I read it I thought it needed more and I tried talking John into expanding it. He said he tried but felt he was ruining it.  The story kept getting rejected so finally he’d kinda had it and handed it to me to toy with. I wrote some, tossed out some ideas about creating some new characters and scenes, but I wanted to keep the very end pretty much the way he had it.

John, how did you feel about Chad’s thoughts and ideas for this thing?

Boden:  If I’m honest, and I am, I was a bit uptight about it. Probably more so a dick. I kinda of pissed and moaned about his ideas and really didn’t want anyone meddling with my story. But Chad is nothing if not stubborn and he kept at me, and when he sent me his first portion, with his changes, I began to warm. I never really stopped being nervous until we neared the finish line though. Chad and I share a very unique bond. We get one another in an almost spousal way, it made for a very tight collaboration and a gel in voices that was amazing. I’m a good mimic, I’ve written with folks before and they’ve all gone this way, but with Chad it went a slice deeper.

Was it easy to work together in this?  I don’t think I could ever write a book with someone else, it’s such a personal private thing. Did that ever make it hard for either of you?  Did either of you hold back or feel at any time that the other was holding back?

Lutzke:  It was easy, though at first we both had different ideas on how Maggie should be.  That character was all John’s and it was important to him that she not be this evil villain but wanted the reader to have some empathy for her. Once I was able to see that character through his eyes then the rest flowed really well.  The hardest part, honestly, was trying to come up with an attractive synopsis that didn’t give anything away. We kind of hit a wall for a while on that.  As far as writing this together, John was worried at first because some parts of the original story were very personal to him and here he was handing it to me “Here, you feed this baby.” It’s one thing to enjoy another writer’s work, but it’s another thing to have them touch something you’ve created that has sentimental value. I respected that the whole way through, to the point that I even emulated John’s style in some scenes, so much so that even he had a hard time remembering if he’d written it or not. It’d be difficult for anyone reading it who is familiar with both our work to be able to tell who wrote what.  And by the time we were done, John was really proud of it.  We both were.

Boden:  I touched on this in the answer above but I’ll state again. It was difficult for me, not because I had little faith in Chad. I knew he knew what we needed to do. But I was all “Dammit, I wrote this story, these are my characters, I can’t let the leash into another’s hand that easy.  I know I pissed Chad off on more than a few occasions.

The story is fantastic. You have the two “brothers” who love to read or be read to, and the books they love are mostly darker Poe and Lovecraft type books.  I’m guessing the love for these books and authors mentioned are favorites of yours.  Reading along, I just thought it was another neat way to slip in another layer of the dark side into what reads like an almost fairy tale type story.  That’s something I really love and appreciate from each of your works that I’m familiar with, they almost transcend horror yet you manage to tether them to our genre with these neat little add -ins.  Is that intentional at all?  Or do these dark things just bleed out into the story naturally?

Lutzke:  Good question. For me, I love the horror genre, but I’ve grown tired of old tropes decades ago so I shoot for original concepts. But it’s not forced. It just comes. I think it’d be harder for me to write something completely traditional than it would be to come up with something like a kid who leaves his rotting mom at home while he attends a spelling bee. Though, coming up with those types of concepts sometimes raises an eyebrow before they get to reading.  When I told my wife the idea I had for OF FOSTER HOMES & FLIES she looked at me like I was nuts, and rightly so. The elevator pitch for that book feels like it shouldn’t work, but people seem to like it. Same goes for SKULLFACE BOY and even STIRRING THE SHEETS. But in every one of them, the darkness does dwell and I suppose that’s because it has bled out. I never really set out to write something that is “borderline” horror and then feel like I need to add some horror element just to make it horror.  My thing is when I started writing I wanted to be Joe Lansdale and Robert McCammon, authors who are adored by the horror community but who write a ton of non-horror stuff.  I mean, who else can get you to read a western or a period piece more than those guys?  You can’t put them in a box and I didn’t want to be put in one either. I will add this. John and I joke with each other about how often our stuff is full of heartache. That’s never on purpose. It just happens. But it happens so much it’s almost comical. I think we’re both empathetic people who have experienced some things that maybe we’re continually feeding on when we write and it’s therapeutic. But you could probably say that about most writers. I hope that answered your question in some roundabout way.

Boden: I grew up adoring books and horror. In almost anything I write, if there’s a kid in it, it’s little Johnny.  And in this one Maggie was a helluva a lot my Mom.  I write very personal and I think the book love, especially in this was important to show that.  It somehow makes them real and gives an instant connection…if you’re reading this in the first place, chances are you’re familiar with and at least appreciate Bradbury, Poe and the others we lace in there. So when you read that, you’re inner giddy fan gets to fidgeting.  It’s kind of like cheating for a little extra bump of love.

What are some of your favorite pieces to this story that your co-author brought in? Can you give us a specific scene or subtle touch?

Lutzke:  The very end, which for the most part is the same end as the original short. It hit me pretty hard when I read it and I think I kind of choked up a little. I eventually read it out loud to my wife and when I got to the end I had to keep my cool or my voice would have gotten a little shaky and she probably would have laughed.  She knows I’m a softy. Also, there’s a paragraph in there that’s sandwiched by the line “Summer was sliding away, like carrion from bone.” I love that.

Boden:  I wanna be careful not to spill any beans, I think Chad’s addition of the character Rose was a smart one, and a great move…and also one that I initially pitched a hissy over. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

I won’t ask about the ending because I don’t want to spoil that for anyone.  Is it something you guys intentionally did. Did you want the reader to fill in any of the blanks there? Or is that just the way it felt best to close the door for you guys?

Lutzke:  Personally, I hate being spoon-fed, and I love stories and films that leave me wondering, and giving me just enough to maybe come up with my own conclusion, yet still wonder if I’m right. I felt the very last line in the story was like a shovel to the face and to add anything after such a powerful line I thought would take away a moment that held such emotion. Here you finally find out exactly what is going on, and there is resolve for characters you really care about, and anything that kind of leaves you on a note like that can have a very powerful sustain, where you’re just thinking about it long after you’re done reading it. That’s what we were going for.

Boden: The ending is exactly as the short story ended, final draft that is. I had an earlier version that ended on a different beat but I cut it.  I’d love to expound more but I don’t want to spoil things for any who’ve not read it but ending it that way, was important. It put the focus where I/we wanted it to be.

Anyways, the story and characters are terrific. You guys are amazing writers.  Is there anything you want to say to people considering picking up a copy of OUT BEHIND THE BARN?

Lutzke:  Thanks for considering it. We had a lot of fun writing it. And if you’re already familiar with our stuff then I don’t think you’ll be surprised at the contents.  Also, I really appreciate these questions you created, Glenn. I’m sure you know as well as we that the best interviews are the ones that didn’t come from a template but are personalized, so thank you!

Boden:  I think the simplest and most honest thing I could say to those folks is: I hope you’ll take a chance on it and I hope you’ll like it. We’re very proud of this little book and the world we built within it.

 

Praise for OUT BEHIND THE BARN:

“Boden and Lutzke weave heartache and a backwoods tale as easily as telling a story around a campfire, delivered in an incredible voice.” ~Robert Ford, author of BORDERTOWN

“Poetic, unnerving, and heartbreaking. The partnership between Boden and Lutzke yields the kind of story that leaves you aching and unsettled. Long after finishing, I couldn’t stop thinking about Maggie, her boys, and what happens out behind the barn.” ~ Kristi DeMeester, Author of BENEATH

“Lawdy mercy. This story was amazing. There’s something magical and sad about it. I dig it a lot.”~ Michelle Garza (half of the Sisters of Slaughter) authors of MAYAN BLUE & THOSE WHO FOLLOW

OUT BEHIND THE BARN is available now!  Grab a copy HERE

 

img-110-820x547

 

John Boden lives a stones throw from Three Mile Island with his wonderful wife and sons.

A baker by day, he spends his off time writing, working on Shock Totem or watching M*A*S*H re-runs.

He likes Diet Pepsi, cheeseburgers, heavy metal and sports ferocious sideburns.

He is the author of JEDI SUMMER with the MAGNIFICENT KID, SPUNGUNION, and DOMINOES, and more

51SbXbFzpzL._SY346_

PRAISE FOR JEDI SUMMER

“Jedi Summer drops the floor right out from under you, leaves you standing in a childhood that’s been roiling around inside your chest for too long. But you’d trade anything to stay there just one more day.”
– Stephen Graham Jones, author of Mongrels 

“[I] could not put it down. It moved me more than any novel in recent memory. Highly, highly, highly recommended, and I’m almost certain it will be one of the ten best books I’ll read this year.”
– Brian Keene, award winning author of the The Rising

 

 

 

A15D4qvAeOL._UX250_

 

Chad Lutzke 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 OUT BEHIND THE BARN co-written with John Boden. Lutzke’s work as been praised by authors Jack Ketchum, James Newman, Stephen Graham Jones and his own mother. He can be found lurking the internet at www.chadlutzke.com.

 

skullface

 

PRAISE for SKULLFACE BOY

“I was captivated by the first sentence…The pages fly by. I was utterly absorbed into the world of this transient teenager and his endearing, poignant and often hilarious take on every situation.”
~Cemetery Dance

“I’ll summarize with this: Chad Lutzke is an author to watch. With SKULLFACE BOY, he’s moving up on my favorite author’s list!” 

–Char’s Horror Corner

 

 

(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.

SHARE THE HORROR. LET’S TALK REVIEW SITES.

tcm

Horror writers need reviews. Review sites give us those reviews and we share them. In this world of social media madness, both the authors and the reviewers could use all the help we can get. How you ask? Share, re-tweet, tell a friend. Every share helps. And every share is appreciated.

Obviously, the reviewed author is going to share the review, and maybe even a couple of that author’s friends will do the same. That’s awesome and it helps. But what if the reviewers would do the same for one another? In the few years I’ve been discovered by readers and reviewers, I’ve met a lot of really cool people who love this genre as much as we do. Most of these people put in as much time reading, reviewing, and running their sites as we do putting our books together. Probably even more!

themonstersquad

I always look at the horror genre as the sibling to the punk rock community. We’re the black sheep, the ones that have to fight for every scrap, every inch of trust and  respect. As writers, I feel we do a really good job of creating that sense of brother/sisterhood and community. I believe the horror reviewers out there should be the same. And maybe some are. I hope they aren’t competing against one another when they could be helping to grow our wonderfully wicked  misfit brigade.  Like I said, not sure where they stand, but I wish I could see them sharing each other’s reviews and posts on social media as much as we do.

It’s for the good of the people, right?

d252e557ffdf0eff25b050f602c84a70

 

Well, with this new #SharetheHorror idea in mind…. I want to just highlight some of the really cool sites that are out there. For new writers, take these down, contact these ladies and gentlemen. For everyone else, let’s get on the #SharetheHorror bus and spread the word.

CONFESSIONS OF A REVIEWER

HORROR MAIDEN REVIEWS

SHOTGUN LOGIC

ROBIN LEE’S DARKSIDE

THE HORROR BOOKSHELF

THE EYES OF MADNESS

THE GRIM READER

GINGER NUTS OF HORROR

SPLATTERPUNK ZINE 

CASTLE MACABRE

HORROR AFTER DARK

SCARLET’S WEB

INTO THE MACABRE

HORROR NOVEL REVIEWS

FRANK MICHAEL ERRINGTON’S HORRIBLE BOOK REVIEWS

There are so many more….If you’re one of my favorites and I left you off, I apologize.

I hope this helps new authors and I hope our reviewing community can pull together and share each other’s reviews here and there. I know how busy you all are, but every little share helps. If we look out for each other, maybe we can help this thing grow.

Feel free to share this post or add your favorite review site in the comments.

CHEERS!

(Interview) Talking Horror with the New Kid in Town, Patrick Lacey.

patrick-1

I came across Patrick Lacey in 2015. He was one of the new authors signing with Samhain Publishing.  I reached out and invited him to the Samhain Author Secret Club I’d started on Facebook.  He seemed cool. I read his novella, A Debt to be Paid, and found that he was also talented. I suddenly realized that I’d seen his name before. Looking through my bookshelf, I found that we’d published alongside one another in an anthology called, PAVOR NOCTURNUS: Dark fiction Anthology Vol. II.  He had a great story in there called, “Pen Pals”.

We  all know Samhain collapsed shortly after firing Don D’Auria. Lucky for us newer guys at the company, Sinister Grin Press was there to catch our fall.  Shortly after announcing that my latest (Chasing Ghosts) would be published by SGP, Lacey announced that they had also picked up his novel, DREAM WOODS.

dreamwoods300dpi

The book was originally signed by Samhain, but after they announced their intentions to close, they allowed a number of authors to retrieve the rights to the unpublished books.

Between the release of his Samhain novella, and Dream Woods, Lacey also put out an amazing collection of short stories (which you should go buy right now) titled, SLEEP PARALYSIS.

I’ve only known the guy for about a year, but it already feels much longer than that. So, let’s bring him in and poke at his brain. Let’s enter Lacey’s Dream Woods….

 

 

Glenn Rolfe: The first thing I noticed about this book was how much it felt like a lost Bentley Little book…hell, it could have been called, The Amusement Park. I know you’re a big Little fan. We’ve both mentioned how great we think his novel, The Store, is.  Do you feel like his fingerprints are on Dream Woods?

PATRICK LACEY: Oh man, there’s no denying it. For me, Little is one of the all-time masters and one of the few horror authors that consistently scares me. Some of his imagery is so odd, bizarre, so out there, that it gets under your skin in a way you can barely describe. I mean, this is a guy who wrote a short story about a farmer falling in love with a potato and managed to make me lose sleep. He’s a freaking genius. So I channeled my inner Little in some of the scenes within Dream Woods. I, too, like to take every day scenarios and make them seem just a bit off before ramping up the weirdness factor.  There’s a certain vending machine scene that I think/hope would make Mr. Little proud.

GR: There’s some punk rock going on within the characters. I know you play, did you have a band, and how much of what Vince and Audra are going through personally have you felt yourself. 

PL: For sure. I grew up north of Boston and there was a decent music scene in my little town. Lots of punk and hardcore and metal. I spent almost every weekend in high school going to shows and eventually playing at them with my own bands. As far as Vince versus Audra, I actually don’t fall into either category. Vince is an aging punk rocker who’s taken to adulthood completely, whereas Audra is pushing it off as much as possible. I’m still as immature as I was back in high school. I just hide it well. I also don’t think one has to become a slave to the system just because they have a full time job and turn thirty. Rock and roll knows no age.

GR: This story takes place at an amusement park, but within that, you get to play in a hotel setting, too.  I love hotel stories. Hotels seem to be among the most perfect playgrounds for horror writers. Did you find that to be true?

PL: There’s this book. I think it’s called The Shining? Kidding. Yes, hotels are breeding grounds for horror stories. Whenever I stay at one, I like to wander the halls at an hour that would make me seem quite creepy. I think about all people who have stayed there over the years and start to get the heebie jeebies. Plus, I always seem to wind up at a vending machine. Sensing a theme here.

GR: I loved that you really made sure to make each of the main characters decipherable from one another. Each faces their own personal demons or struggles. Did you spend a lot of time crafting each of them, or was it one of those things that just developed naturally during the writing process?

PL: Glad you found them decipherable! I’m not a big plotter but I do have an idea of my characters’ main issues when I start a book. That said, they often end up steering me in different directions. For instance, I didn’t know one of the Carter boys was going to be diabetic until I started typing away on his first chapter. His condition actually became a big part of the book and I started to run off with the idea of a theme park knowing your true fears.

GR: Dream Woods was originally supposed to be a Samhain Publishing title. How exciting was it to hook up with Sinister Grin Press?

PL: I was a huge fan of Sinister Grin before working with them and they were always on my list of dream (pun intended) publishers that I wanted to work with. They are great to work with and saved the day when something came up just prior to this book’s publication. I’m talking a real eleventh hour scenario. And I’ll be working with them again in the near future.*

GR: You got to attend your first Scares That Care this past summer. What were some of the highlights and takeaways for you? And you can skip Saturday night (if you want).

GR: Of course, I’ll skip over Saturday night. I mean, what kind of guy would I be if I mentioned the ten or so pitchers of beer that we split, or the countless karaoke videos I took of you, or one of us sleeping on a sidewalk. Anyway, it was the…best…con…ever. I got to meet so many awesome readers and writers and despite the debauchery, every single vendor and attendee is constantly aware of how amazing the charity is. My main takeaway, though, would be how delicious the hotel bar’s chicken wings were. #priorities

GR: Oh, the memories…all that beer…   Back to the interview. Which authors would you say have been a huge influence on you? Any that are under the radar?

PL: In addition to Bentley Little (did I already mention him?), there’s Richard Laymon, Jack Ketchum, Stewart O’Nan, Graham Joyce, Elmore Leonard, Brian Keene, Richard Matheson, John Skipp, Sarah Langan, and Joe Lansdale for my formative years. For newer (relatively speaking, considering some of these folks have been at it for over a decade) peeps that are influencing me as we speak, you’ve got Paul Tremblay, Adam Cesare, Laird Barron, Kristopher Rufty, Jonathan Janz, Mercedes M. Yardley, Orrin Grey, Michael Weihunt, Aaron Dries…the list could go on forever. Also, this guy named Glenn something or other.

GR:  I know that guy! I also know you’re a scary movie guy. Do films play into your writing? If so, which ones and what aspects in particular do you feel find their way into your work?

PL: Maybe? I’ve had a plethora of people call my writing “cinematic” but I’m not good at self-analyzing my stuff. My favorite types of horror movies are those that bend reality. Think A Nightmare on Elm Street, Jacob’s Ladder, The Beyond, In the Mouth of Madness, etc. I definitely think they’re present in a lot of my work. I have a novel sitting with a publisher right now that’s my love letter to this type of story.

GR:  I loved Jacob’s Ladder. Very trippy!   Okay,  let’s do some rapid fire:

Best horror movie to watch: See above.  A Nightmare on Elm Street. Seen it more than any other film ever. It’s the first movie I remember watching and it never, under any circumstances, gets old.

elm-street-poster-1

Favorite fancy beer: Belgian Strong Dark ale brewed with cinnamon, on oak chips with figs.

Favorite crappy beer: Gotta go with PBR. I mean it won a blue ribbon. Did you know that?

Favorite book to read in October: Dark Harvest by Norman Partridge is one of my favorite seasonal reads. It’s like Halloween Hunger Games. I wish I was reading it right this moment.

darkharvest1

Would you rather (Death Edition) …be hit by a bus or punched out of a helicopter: I hate to take the obvious route but I’d rather be attacked by two transformers that moonlight as a bus and helicopter, respectively. First, I’m riding the bus when it morphs into its robot counterpart, therefore crushing me within its robot bones. As I’m hurled out onto the street, with my last few dying breaths, I see a helicopter transform into its robot counterpart and guess what? Its fists? You guessed it. Both propellers. One punch and I’m all guts and gore strewn about. But like I said: obvious.

 

GR: Obvious?  Yep. What’s next for you? Books to read, book releases, conventions, podcasts?  Feel free to mention anything you want.

PL: Let’s see. I’m reading an ARC of Where the Dead Go to Die by Aaron Dries and Mark Allen Gunnells (to be released by Crystal Lake Publishing) and it’s great so far. For my next release, Sinister Grin will be putting out my second novel Darkness in Lynnwood. It’s a small town horror novel about a teenage cult and is the most personal book I’ve written yet. It may or may not have driven me to the brink of insanity several times during the writing process. That should be released early to mid-2017. Then for conventions, I’ll be at Rock and Shock this October 14th, 15th, and 16th, hawking my books alongside my pals Adam Cesare and Bracken McLeod. And you bet your ass I’ll be back at Scares That Care next year. In fact, I think I have a table with that Glenn guy I mentioned earlier.

GR:  Oh yeah…that’s going to be fun.  Anyways, thanks for stopping by, jerk. 

PL: It was my pleasure, bastard.

 

 

Follow Patrick’s Blog tour for DREAM WOODS below:

dream-woods-tour-graphic

Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #DreamWoods #ScreamWoods #PeskyBear

Dream Woods, Synopsis

  • Print Length: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Sinister Press
  • Publication Date: October 1, 2016

Follow your screams…

When Vince Carter takes a shortcut to work he notices a billboard that nearly sends him into an oncoming van.

The ad is for Dream Woods, New England’s answer to Disney World. It closed decades ago, but now that it’s back in business, Vince is eager to take his whole family, hoping the magic he remembers will save his failing marriage.

His wife, Audra, isn’t so sure. She’s heard the rumors of why the place closed. Murder. Sacrifice. Torture. But those are just urban legends. Surely there’s nothing evil about a family tourist attraction.

The Carters are about to discover that the park’s employees aren’t concerned with their guests’ enjoyment. They’re interested in something else. Something much more sinister.

Welcome to Scream Woods!

Patrick Lacey, Biography

Patrick Lacey was born and raised in a haunted house. He spends his nights and weekends writing about things that make the general public uncomfortable. He lives in Massachusetts with his Pomeranian, his mustached cat, and his muse, who is likely trying to kill him. Find him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter (@patlacey), or visit hiswebsite.

Praise for Patrick Lacey

“This collection has it all, showing the world that Lacey can write and do it well. From frightening, eerie, soul-stamping to funny and gross, this book has it all. The man’s imagination is incredible. A must read!!!!” – David Bernstein, author ofA Mixed Bag of Blood

“It’s a rare and joyful thing for me to read a book and realize I’m in the hands of an author who can go absolutely anywhere, who works without a formula and without a net. Such is the case with this stellar debut collection.” – Russell Coy, Amazon Review

“This fast-paced novella has terror on every page and will keep you searching the shadows in your home far more often than needed.” – Russell James, author of Q Island, on A Debt to Be Paid

Purchase Links

Amazon

 

(Interview) Somer Canon Stops by To Discuss the Ingredients of her Delectable Debut Novella, Vicki Beautiful

Somer Canon is one of the fresh crop of authors who was set to make a big splash with Samhain Publishing over the next year and a half. She had a number of pieces contracted and scheduled for release and was on cloud nine gearing up for her dream come true.

2016, however, had other plans. Samhain announced that it was closing its doors and all of these contracts were evaporating. Overnight, the Somer’s sunshine was murdered by a cold, hard rain.

In the bleakness, Samhain did deliver on at least one of those contracts. Somer’s debut, a novella titled, Vicki Beautiful, managed to make it in line for the companies final releases.

For this rabid horror fan, seeing at least one of her babies hit the eBook scene was better than nothing. The novella about an interesting dinner party (I’ll say no more) among a  group of close friends (you can read my full review HERE) has been getting positive reviews and doing its part in sharing the promise of an up and coming talent in the horror world.

I got to chat with Ms. Canon about Vicki Beautiful, her influences, and the world of a girl that smiles while she dabbles in blood and mayhem..

Somer Canon

 

Glenn Rolfe: Hey, Somer!
First off, congratulations on getting Vicki Beautiful published! I really enjoyed it. I don’t want to give anything away, but damn, after the first quarter of the book, it totally becomes this dread-filled read. What in the world happened to you to make you write a piece like this?
Somer Canon: Thanks a bunch, Glenn! I’m still sort of stunned that I got this crazy little story published. This story came about because of this really messed up dream that I had about a fancy dinner party (you can guess what was on the menu). It sort of stuck in my head and I finally started trying to come up with how in the world a dinner party like that would happen. I sat down and wrote Vicki’s letter, her final letter, and the rest of the story filled out around that. I wanted to mess around with who actually gets victimized in this story and it’s not the umm…honored person, but rather the guests.

vicki-beautiful

GR: I could easily see this being made into an interesting movie. Any thoughts of trying to bring it to that medium?
SC: I’m actually hearing this a lot. I can see it. I’d love to see it made into a movie as long as the visuals are done in detail. Intricate detail. I have no idea how to go about getting it done, in all honesty. I’m just riding this roller coaster and trying to enjoy myself. It’s obviously so fleeting.

GR: Who are your early horror influences, and who are the authors who push you now?
SC: My mom and my grandma are big horror fans and I was never kept away from watching or reading horror as a kid. In today’s society they would be deemed horrible at child rearing, but I really got exposed to a lot of different things. My family were very low income and I had to rely on libraries and yard sale books to get my reading. I read a lot of horror paperbacks by so many authors, but really, Stephen King stuck with me not only because I loved his stories but he was also so available that it was impossible NOT to run into his stuff. I read a lot of Dean Koontz stuff as well, but I read a lot of books by authors I never ran into again and I really got a sense of different styles and tempo from that.
Who pushes me now? I love Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison because they have really written characters that stick with me. I fucking love their heroines for their flaws and self-doubt as well as the worlds that they build. Also, Damien Angelica Walters and Jonathan Janz are killing it right now. I find myself hoping that I never actually meet those two because I would dork out to such embarrassing depths that I’d never show my face in public again!

GR: My wife is afraid to read my stuff. She doesn’t want to see that far into my mind. Does your husband read your work?
SC: My husband does read my stuff, but he will sort of silently hand the manuscript back to me and not say anything for a while. He’s not the huge horror fan that I am, but he is still a fan. I think I just freak him out every now and then.

GR: You guys live in Pennsylvania. A lot of my horror friends seem to be lurking around there. Obviously, you have Brian Keene, but also guys like Todd Keisling, T.Fox Dunham, and Adam Cesare. That’s some great company. What’s going on there? Any great back road stories you want to share?
SC: First of all, I’m a hermit! I literally go weeks without leaving my house. I’d love to meet up with some of these people and talk shop! I go in to Philly a couple of times a year and I always secretly hope I’ll spot Adam around, and then I could be a creep and approach him, but it hasn’t happened for me yet. I actually might track down Keene on his book tour this summer, he’s swinging right by me. But really, I’m not native to this state. I’m West Virginian and although I haven’t lived there in about a decade and I have no desire to ever move back, I will always be a West Virginian. That, my friend, is a state that is deserving of a mythical horror reputation. It’s actually the setting of most of my writing.

GR: Unfortunately, you and I are guests on the Samhain Titanic. I know you had two more pieces signed with them. Have you received any word on those? Have you gotten your rights back yet? And has it affected your writing? I know some writers are pretty down, while others with us (like Mr. Patrick Lacey) seem to be on fire with new work. Where do you sit with all of it?
SC: I had a solid two week period of moping after we got the bad news of the publisher closing. 2015 was such a fantastic year for me because I had three book contracts signed and 2016 was full of the promise of a great start to a writing career. *cue sad trombone music* Not so much now. I got the rights back to my two unpublished contracted works and I’m tentatively asking around about getting them a new home.
I’d say my writing has been negatively impacted by this. Before, when there was more promise, I was much more motivated to sit and get the words out. Now, with all of the waiting required of us in the submission process, I have my days where I’m a little defeated. I try to fight it and carry on and I AM still writing, I’m just slower at it right now.

GR: I just bought my wife two new Jamie Oliver cook books for Mother’s Day. We both love his stuff. It seems appropriate, so I have to ask….do you cook? If so, what’s one of your favorite meals to make?
SC: I do cook! I actually used to have a food blog where I would share recipes and my new creations. This is hilarious to me now, considering this novella of mine. I love risotto and I roast a couple of chickens every month. I love to eat, so I had to learn to cook so that we could eat well while money was tight. I have a pretty sizable collection of cookbooks and recipes and I love trying new things as well as comforting myself with the good old standbys like my mom’s lasagna.

download
GR: Mother of two boys? How the hell do you potty train these guys? I have two daughters and they seemed eager to want to use the potty. My son is a completely different story. Any tips?
SC: With my boys, I waited until they were three years-old before I started really training them. I know the books and super achievers say to start earlier, but I waited until they could hold a small but real conversation with me before I could expect them to understand what potty training entails. It’s messy, oh God it’s messy, but you’ll get there. And try not to blush too much when you have to show him how to do the shake-shake!

GR: Lastly, let’s do some rapid fire:

Beer or Wine?   Beer                                                             
Movie Night: Jaws or The Thing    Jaws

Jaws-anniversary-shark-paBetter Music: ‘80’s or ‘90’s    That’s terrible to ask me to choose! 

Better King adaptation: Christine or Misery?      Misery!

Somer’s Favorites:
Rock song: The House of the Rising Sun
Love song: The Very Thought of You
Rom-Com: I love Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks pairings.
Horror (you can list three on this one): House, Fright Night, and Friday the 13th.
Movie you love that no one in your house wants to watch: Alien: Resurrection. I’ve had actual fights over this movie, but I can’t help it. I love me some cheese.

GR: Thanks for taking the time to do this. Best of luck with Vicki Beautiful and the future!
SC: Thank you so much, Glenn!

Vicki Beautiful tour graphic

 

Follow along this tour with the hashtags: #VickiBeautiful #WhatsYourLastWish #OneLastTaste

What would you do for a friend? Check out Somer Canon’s debut work! Follow along the tour!

Vicki Beautiful, Synopsis

 

    • Publication Date: April 26, 2016

 

    • Publisher: Samhain
  • Novella

 

One last taste of perfection…

Sasha and Brynn descend upon the showplace home of their girlhood friend, Vicki, planning to celebrate her surviving cancer to reach her fortieth birthday. As they gather around Vicki’s perfectly set dinner table, though, her husband shares devastating news. The cancer is back, and she doesn’t have long to live.

Her life is cut even shorter than Sasha and Brynn expect—the next morning, their friend is found dead, her flawless skin slit at the wrists. But a tub full of blood is only the beginning. Before the weekend is through, they are forced to question how far they’re willing to go to fulfill Vicki’s last wish.

A very specific, very detailed recipe that only the truest of friends could stomach…

Biography

Somer Canon is a minivan revving suburban mother who avoids her neighbors for fear of
being found out as a weirdo.  When she’s not peering out of her windows, she’s consuming books, movies, and video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother.

Vicki Beautiful is her debut novella.

Find out more about Somer and her upcoming works at her websitehttp://www.somercanon.com. You can also connect with Somer on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SomerM.

Praise for Vicki Beautiful

“ I read this at one gripping session and I shall read more by this author. Excellent, original and worth every one of my five stars.” –Catherine Cavendish, Author of The Devil’s Serenade

“At times it reminded me of the cult classic “Eating Raoul” and others “The Big Chill”. Suffice to say, Canon has created an intriguing tale that will not only have you caring about characters put into an awkward, unsettling situation but also wondering how they’ll react to it every step of the way. I highly recommend this unique and entertaining story.”
–Matthew Franks, Author The Monster Underneath

“This is not the normal type of book that I would read, but the cover sold it to me, and I like reading new authors and genres. This book is beautifully written, the writing flows and you feel you really understand what the character’s are feeling…” Rebecca, GoodReads Reviewer

“The ending of this story was truly horrific. I am an old school horror fan, and have been indulging in the genre since I was old enough to hold a book. I also adore and enjoy the sub-genre splatterpunk, I read Jack Ketchum as a bedside book all the time. It takes a lot to phase me, but even I was turning my head in repulsion at the end. What a wonderful debut story for Somer Canon.”
–Badseedgirl, GoodReads Reviewer

“A simple story, but all the more powerful for its simplicity. Four stars. The author has guts and skill.” –Outlaw Poet

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Samhain

Want to Feature Somer Canon?

If you would like a copy of the book for review or to conduct an interview with Somer Canon, please contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at Hook of a Book Media:hookofabook@hotmail.com.

 

 

 

(Share the Horror Interview) David Bernstein stops in to discuss a Mixed Bag of Blood and more

david bernstein

David Bernstein is one of the hardest working, ass kicking, most likeable horror authors in our business. He’s armed with a crazy amount of originality and fearlessness. He’s uber-talented and more motivated by his craft than anyone I know.

His latest release, his short story collection, A Mixed Bag of Blood (Sinister Grin Press, 2016), is an excellent collection and perfect platform to showcase his immense talents and wild imagination. Check out my review:  A MIXED BAG OF BLOOD

We recently got a chance to chat…check it out.

 

Glenn Rolfe: Hey David, thanks for doing this.

Let’s start off with A Mixed Bag of Blood. Great title and totally appropriate. You bring the crimson pain when you need to, and I love that these stories vary from one another quite a bit. A truly nice mix.  What got you wanting to do the collection? Were these tales hanging around or did you pound out 10 shorts with this in mind?  

DAVID BERNSTEIN:  The collection came about after John Foley—the short fiction and novella acquisitions editor for Thunderstorm Books at the time—contacted me. He’d read some of my work and asked if I had a novella or enough short stories to put together a collection for possible publication with Thunderstorm Books. Since I had a number of previously published shorts over the years, many having only seen print before the e-book explosion, I put together the collection. I purposely wanted something that might appeal to a wide audience. Something for everyone. They liked it and I was thrilled to get my stories out there and published with such a great company. Then, Sinister Grin Press published the paperback and e-book and added an introduction by Kristopher Rufty. Both covers complement each other wonderfully too!

28963872

GR: I loved a number of them. Eaten Un-Alive and Samurai Zombie Killer come to mind. Can you take me through those two a bit?  What inspired them, what past mind warps may have stuck them in that brain of yours? 

DB:: Eaten Un-Alive had been sitting on my computer’s hard drive for four years before it finally found a home in Scarlett Galeon’s anthology Dead Harvest. I had written it at a time when the zombie genre was exploding. I wrote and published a number of zombie tales and wanted to mix up genres. What if vampires existed and a zombie apocalypse wiped out their food supply? But I had nowhere to publish it so it sat collecting dust. Anthologies either wanted zombie-only tales or vampire-only tales or no zombies, vampires, or werewolves at all, so it sat. Then one day I was contacted by Mark Parker who was putting together the excellent Dead Harvest Anthology, and I sent him Eaten Un-Alive since it takes place in the country. Lucky for me he liked it so it finally found a home.

As far as Samuari Zombie Killer . . . I’ve always loved watching Kung Fu movies—the Shaw Brothers films being my favorite—and ninja movies like Revenge of the Ninja, Prey for Death, and American Ninja. I also studied martial arts for years—Karate, Aikido, Kung Fu, and Tai Chi. After writing a number of “regular” zombie stories I came across an anthology call looking for historical zombie stories. So I started with a Samurai and that’s how the story came to be.

GR: Were there any specific collection by another author that you love? And maybe you can give us some of your favorite short stories by other authors.  

DB: I’ve read so many anthologies over the years it’s really difficult to say. I would read any antho or short story collection that contained stories from Leisure authors. Besides that, I think some of my favorites are the Dark Delicacies anthologies, anything by King. I studied Thomas Mann, Raymond Carver, Phillip Roth and a slew of others. As an English major, I read a ton of short stories.

GR: You work for so many publishers. How does Sinister Grin compare to the others. Is there anything they do specifically that makes you smile when you get to work with them?  

DB: I consider myself very lucky. I haven’t had a bad situation with a publisher yet. Well, the Samhain thing is happening, but it’s too early to really go one way or another with that. As far as Sinister Grin, they’ve been all I could ask for and more. They are so accommodating. Communication is super fast. They make sure the author is not just satisfied but happy and fulfilled. They really make me feel like they want me with them. Their editing is wonderful and their artwork is top-notch quality. I’d say if someone has the chance to work with them, go for it. You will thank me later.

GR: I interviewed Krist Rufty. Even he is intimidated by your massive output.  That’s some serious writing machine shit. What is your typical work week like when it comes to writing and work. Do you go to the day job and then hit the notebook after dinner? Does Sandy get you at knife point and demand you get to it?  

DB: I have my day job Mon-Fri, and I’m fortunate that I can write a lot during it. I also write at home before work, but not as much as I used to since I can write at work. I get home around 12:15 a.m. so I watch TV and spend time with Sandy then. I don’t write on weekends except for maybe a little on Sunday morning. I was struggling for a while a few months ago. My output was small. I spent time writing short stories for anthos and after seeing A Mixed Bag of Blood come to fruition it got my juices flowing again. Sandy has been super supportive, always making sure I get my writing done, and she always makes sure to proofread and edit my work. Damn I scored big in the partner department!

goblins.jpg

GR:I’m working my way (slowly) through your back catalog (which sounds funny since you haven’t been writing all that long). Goblins really stands out for me. Like your short stories, the characters are engaging instantly, and your imagination, man, it’s impressive. Where did Goblins come from and how much frigging fun was this one to write?  

DB: One day I got the idea that I wanted to write a book about trolls or goblins, but not in the typical fantasy genre. I’ve always loved Dungeons and Dragons books, games and movies, as well as other fantasy novels—Drizzt books being my favorite. So let’s use traditional fantasy creatures in a strictly horror novel. I wrote a synopsis involving a troll but it was all over the place and complicated, so I moved on to Goblins. I wanted to write something scary involving fierce, small creatures. Nasty critters. But how to make it different? I’ve always loved the whole Roanoke story and figured hey, why not go there? So I did some investigating and what would you know—it was goblins that caused all the chaos! With Goblins I decided it was going to be simply a fun, gory monster book and I hope I succeeded at that!

GR: Out of the works you have out there right now, do you appreciate or have a warm fuzzy feeling for one or two more than the others? Obviously, you love them all, but is there a couple that make you smile wide? 

witch-island

DB: I love all my children equally! But if I was forced to choose . . . I’d say Amongst the Dead and Witch Island. Amongst the Dead because it’s a coming of age tale and an adventure. I love those types of tales best. I really connected with the main character Riley. Witch Island because I love the slasher genre and it entails a mix of shows I watch. Witch Island is like Pretty Little Liars meets Friday the 13th meets Fallen. I could sit and watch the most simplistic slasher film and never be bored. It was a lot of fun to write.

GR: I will be attending Scares That Care III with you and some of our Samhain brethren in July. That should be a blast. Anything you’re looking forward to there? Anyone you can’t wait to meet? 

DB: I’m truly looking forward to meeting readers and meeting up with friends. Last year was a lot of fun. It’s great just talking with everyone. Whenever I get together with like-minded writers anything can happen and the fun never stops—until Sunday. Then it’s like a tire deflating. Ugh, the ride home. But I’m looking forward to meeting so many of the guests, including William Zabka, William B. Davis, and Bob Gunton to name a few.

GR: Obviously we’re on a wait and see mission with The Blue Demon…we won’t go there. What else is in the pipeline right now?  

DB: Let’s hope that goes well for us. Moving on . . . Episodes of Violence is a novel coming out from Sinister Grin Press. It’s a revenge tale that deals with a group of really bad teens that have turned mailbox baseball into human baseball as they drive around with machetes, bats, axes, crossbows, etc. trying to take out joggers, bicyclists, and the like. Then there’s Retch coming from Bizarro Pulp Press, a novella about a man who is cursed to puke every time he has sex. The Sludge is a long novella coming from Great Old Ones Publishing. It’s B-movie material and involves a bank robbery, campers, a National Forest in Montana, toxic waste being dumped, and a monster. It’s got everything.

GR:Thanks again for sitting down with me, sir.

DB: It was my pleasure.

 

A Mixed Bag of Blood synopsis

  • Print Length: 86 pages
  • Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2016

From a man seeking vengeance for a dead loved one, to a monster lodged in a person’s nose, to starving vampires and samurai battling zombies, a bully meeting his gruesome demise, along with prostitutes being sacrificed, a boy who refuses to stop swearing, and the consequences of one man’s night of unprotected sex comes a dark and disturbing collection of sinister tales filled with dread, bloodshed, humor and the bizarre.

This is a Mixed Bag of Blood.

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 A Mixed Bag of Blood

 

“Dave Bernstein let his mind wander and his pen write where I know you’ll want to read. With an introduction by Kristopher Rufty, this is a reason to stay at home and read on a pleasant Saturday afternoon like I did.” –Cat After Dark
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 Links

Amazon

Check out Sinister Grin Press

 

 

 

 

(Interview)A New Voice in Horror: Talking Flesh and Fire with Lucas Mangum

I met Lucas Mangum in Portland, Oregon at 2014’s World Horror Convention. We were both there to meet n mingle, of course, but, being newbies on the scene, we were more focused on pitching our stories to the gathering of editors looking for new talent. We didn’t spend a lot of time together, but I liked Lucas right off the bat. He seemed serious, legit, hungry, and determined. These are all things I see in myself. I kept in touch with Lucas through Facebook and we’ve had plenty of great little conversations.

10985659_10153639647042494_2693153198160798933_n

Well, now the rest of you get the opportunity to meet this cool MoFo. His new novella, FLESH AND FIRE, is out now as part of Journal Stone’s DoubleDown series. FLESH AND FIRE gets to share the pages with a new story (DARK OF NIGHT)  co-written by Rachael Lavin and none other than Jonathan Maberry!  That’s a pretty great way to introduce yourself!

Now, let’s get to know Mr. Mangum a little better…..

 

Glenn Rolfe: Hey Lucas! How have you been? 

Lucas Mangum: I’ve been well. I’ll be thirty-two in April and I’ve been giving this whole adult thing a try and managing not to butcher it. Got a job with the city. Bought my first house back in September. Have my first kid on the way in July. Things are good, and not just on the creative front. I haven’t always been able to say that. 

GR: Give us a couple of things people should know about you

LM: I was born in San Diego, a ten minute drive from the beach, and a thirty minute drive from the mountains. Really, anything I would have wanted to do was at my fingertips, but I spent most of my time in the backyard acting out stories that I later wrote down. Sometimes I was joined by friends. Even though I was never the toughest kid, we almost always played the way I wanted to play because I had the ideas. I was lucky in that way. I think it reinforced my desire to pursue writing because it taught me pretty early on that my stories could hold people’s interest. 

I later moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania (yeah, where SIGNS was filmed) where it was cold all the time, except for when it was humid, so I stayed inside and nurtured my love of pro-wrestling, horror movies and reading. 

Now I live in Texas. Apparently, I enjoy giving myself culture shock every twelve to fifteen years or so. Maybe I’ll move to Italy when I’m forty-five. 

GR: Any cool or weird jobs in your history? 

LM: Oh, tons. My first job was dressing up in that awful-smelling rat costume at Chuck E. Cheese and dancing for children’s birthday parties. I also worked at Hollywood Video and Borders Books, managed a warehouse, worked for a small bank, and wrote marketing materials for a corset company. 

Now I take 9-1-1 calls on the night shift. You’d think it’d provide a lot of fodder for my stories, but really, most of the calls I get are just because of drunk people acting like fools, which I’d rather have at the end of the day. I’m actually quite squeamish when it comes to real life horror.  

GR: We met back in 2014 at World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon. It seems like another life! How was the experience for you and was your upcoming release the piece you were pitching that weekend? 

LM: I enjoyed the hell out of World Horror Convention. Little too expensive for me to make the trip every year, but I definitely try, because I do think it’s worth it. You’ll make the right connections, and even if you don’t have a manuscript right away, those connections will be there when you do. I had already signed the contract for FLESH AND FIRE by the time World Horror in Portland rolled around, but I had a few other things I wanted to pitch. Plus I wanted to get facetime with all the wonderful authors and editors I’d already interacted with so much on social media. I did my first panel there, on romance and the erotic in horror. 

12670486_10154212646217494_143880807993486315_n

GR: The release of Flesh and Fire is here. I’m super psyched to read it! Where did you get the idea? How long was the journey from idea to release?  And what’s it about? 

LM: Thanks, man.  

FLESH AND FIRE is about a man in the midst of a midlife crisis who has to help his long lost lover escape hell. 

The idea came to me after I finished the sixth draft of a novel that no one will ever see. I do my best work when I pull pieces from my own life and there were big things going on with me at the time. I was about to get married, which was great. I was in a job that kept the heat on, but didn’t give me a sense of purpose, which was not so great. So I was thinking a lot about life decisions and where I would be in the future and how people end up where they end up. On top of that, I listened to my band’s CD for the first time in years, which brought a lot of other things to the surface. The band fell apart after the guitarist’s suicide, so a lot of memories, a lot of different emotions. 

With all that swirling around in my head, I wrote a very rough first draft in three weeks. As with most of my first drafts it was more like a detailed outline than an actual novel or novella. I sat on it for a while. Wrote some short stories. Tried to learn more about the craft. Tried to live my life (it’s important for us creatives to do that as much as possible). 

I returned to the manuscript about a year later and did a second draft and a third. Fast-forward to about November of 2013 and I had something I felt comfortable enough submitting. I did some proofreading for the Journalstone anthology OUT OF TUNE, which Jonathan Maberry edited, and we got talking about my manuscript. He liked the sound of it and passed it along to Chris at Journalstone who reviewed it over the holidays and offered me a contract in January of 2014. 

Because of the book’s length, Chris felt like it’d be a good fit for their Double Down series, instead of as a standalone title. Between more edits and waiting for Jonathan’s schedule to open up, the whole thing took about two years. 

 GR: The fact that it’s on the flipside of a Jonathan Maberry title has got to be blowing your mind. A young author in our business couldn’t ask for more. What was your reaction when you got that bit of news? 

LM: Jonathan is a hell of a writer and a great guy to boot. I owe a lot to him, because he saw something in me pretty early on. I remember once he messaged me out of the blue just to tell me he thinks I’m going to make a big splash in the publishing world. Now, I don’t know about that, but still, to have a guy like him say that about me and then later want to do a book with me is really humbling. I guess the most important thing to take from the whole experience is that if I’m ever in his position, I should do whatever I can to pay it forward, because this whole writing life can be hard and starting out you really need all the help you can get. 

He co-wrote his tale with Rachael Lavin, a great up-and-coming writer and professional cosplayer. The story is a direct sequel to his DEAD OF NIGHT series, but also features the warrior woman from his ROT AND RUIN series and Joe Ledger. 

GR: Before I let you go, any scary stories you can share that have actually happened to or around you? 

LM: My ex-girlfriend and I were once pursued by an asshole wielding nunchaku. I once had a bad trip where I felt like I was drowning for six hours. I almost actually drowned in a pool when I was a toddler and my memory of the experience is all too clear. 

I don’t’ know. My definition of scary has changed so much. Maybe because I’ve been desensitized or whatever, but more than that I think it’s because as you grow up you learn that “yes, that shadow on the wall really is just the tree outside and not some demon hand reaching through your window.” Nowadays, my bouts of depression scare me. Passing depression onto my son scares me. Taking a 9-1-1 call and having someone I love being on the other end of it scares me. Dying broke and sick scares me. 

I think as an adult with real world fears, I kind of miss the demon hands. 

GR: Best of luck with the new release!   

LM: Thanks, Glenn! 

 

Find Lucas on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/lucas.magnum

And click here to grab a copy of DARK AS NIGHT/FLESH AND FIRE