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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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.
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MY REVIEW of THE DARK GAME

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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

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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 

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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.

 

 

 

 

Antho-Palooza! The last few months have been busy.

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I got asked to contribute stories to a lot of anthologies last year.  Here are the four i chose to give something to:

VS: X  US vs. UK Extreme Horror  eBook .99   Paperback  $16.99 

SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK  eBook  .99  paperback $9.99

THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS Volume Three  eBook (pre-order) $4.10

100 WORD HORRORS  eBook $1.49   Paperback $6.55

 

Dawn Cano has done a fantastic job raising money for animal charities with her two VS. anthologies.  I took part in both editions.  I was more than happy to write a new story for the X and I was delighted to share the roster with Jack Ketchum and Wrath James White among many others.  My contribution: “To Be Alive”

Jack Bantry and Kit Power put together a great roster with SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK, as well. The proceeds to this charity anthology are ALL going to help fight cancer. My brother passed away from his battle with this monster with no cure back in 2010. I was honored to be invited.  I also dedicated my piece to Matt Molgaard (Horror Novel Reviews). Matt was one of my earliest supporters and offered up my first review ever.  He passed away last year, leaving a major hole in the horror community.  My contribution:  “Molly”

Daniel Marc Chant  approached me for a story for this one. THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS always delivers a star-powered cast. I didn’t hesitate in jumping aboard.  This one contains stories from Paul Tremblay, David Moody, Adam Nevill, and more. My contribution: “Orson’s Gas N’ Go”

I’ve been trying to find the time to work with Kevin Kennedy on one of his anthologies for quite a while. I’m glad we were finally able to make it happen. His horror drabbles (stories in exactly 100 words) anthology, 100 WORD HORRORS, is full of short goodies from Lisa Morton, Richard Chizmar, Gord Rollo, and many, many, many more. My contribution: “The Came for Me”

How much did I get paid for these stories? $0  Why do it?  Because I love working with this great group of editors and writers, and the ones for charities are causes I believe in and support.

Two of the covers (VS: X and 100 WORD STORIES) were created by the multi-talented Michael Bray.  Check out his website here: MichaelBray.com

My FIGHTING BACK compatriots and I were all blown away and honored to be nominated in a couple categories for the inaugural SPLATTERPUNK AWARDS taking place at this year’s KILLERCON in Texas. We’re up for Best Anthology, plus Matt Shaw, Bracken MacLeod, and myself, were each nominated in the Best Short Story category for our FIGHTING BACK contributions.

VS: X  US vs. UK EXTREME HORROR is also nominated for Best Anthology.  Congrats to Dawn and everyone else involved.

Check out the full list of categories and nominees here:  SPLATTERPUNK AWARDS NOMINATION LIST

 

You can grab all four eBooks for less than $10.  I hope you’ll consider it.

We all appreciate the support.

There is another fantastic collection I’m even more excited about on the way this June or July that we’re waiting to announce.  You guys are going to love it.

Stay tuned!

GET ROLFED FOR FREE THIS CHRISTMAS: WELCOME TO PARADISE

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WELCOME TO PARADISE is free for Christmas. Grab yours today Click HERE

“….Joe R. Lansdale gone hair metal in tone…get Rolfed on a break from the daily grind!” —John Quick, author of THE JOURNAL OF JEREMY TODD

“WELCOME TO PARADISE is a fun and nasty read, and a rapid fire shot of alt-seasons greetings.” — Michael Patrick Hicks, author of MASS HYSTERIA

“Brutal, bloody, sexy and strangely sweet.” – Chris Kosarich, author of THE LAST CHORD

 

And don’t miss these 99 cent specials!  (Click the covers to purchase)

SPLATTERPUNK FIGHTING BACK 

(99 cents for a limited time join the Goodreads author invite group read, ask the authors anything)

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VS: X : US vs UK EXTREME HORROR

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

ROCK and SHOCK 2016: I’ll be there…for one day only

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Thanks to the fine folks in the New England Horror Writers  I was able to secure a sliver of a table for  the Rock and Shock Convention, this Saturday, October 15th!  This is a super cool Con in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Lots of cool actors, musicians, artists, and writers will be in attendance and I’m happy to be among them.

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I know my buds, Patrick Lacey and Adam Cesare, will be there, the New England Horror Writers, Bracken MacLeod, and also Mr. Jack Ketchum!  So, I’m pretty psyched.

Some of the big names doing signings and such: Rock and Shock Guests

And there will be Metal up Your Ass!!!!  BANDS

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I will have copies of my Samhain Publishing novels BLOOD and RAIN and WHERE NIGHTMARES BEGIN available for $10 a pop, plus $5 copies of my short story collection SLUSH and a few copies of my newest novella, CHASING GHOSTS (also just $5).

Come say hello and grab a book!

The convention is held at the DCU Center, located at 50 Foster Street, Worcester MA.  Concerts will take place at the Worcester Palladium, one block away at 261 Main Street, Worcester MA.

Tickets: Tickets are available at the DCU Center and Palladium box offices, www.ticketfly.com, www.ticketmaster.com and FYE stores.

Hours: The convention is open 5pm-10pm on Friday, 11am-9pm on Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday.  The celebrity area closes one hour earlier each day, and the concerts run later than the convention.

Hope to see you guys out there.

For more info go HERE

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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

 

RELEASE DAY! CHASING GHOSTS is HERE!

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The Cobbs were ignorant woods-people that died off and left nothing to fear. Locals in Naples, Maine think they know this story. But are they wrong?

Luke Howard and his mom move to Naples and Luke’s eager to make new friends. When Jason and Davey invite him out to the abandoned Cobb place for a game they call “chasing ghosts,” he’s ready and willing. However, the boys will come to discover that some vacant houses are better left to die alone.

Meanwhile, a punk band set to play in a rented cabin out of town feel eyes upon them. Somebody’s watching, but not their usual audience. When their lead singer strays too far from the group and disappears, his band mates set out in the darkness to find him.

Police Chief Walt Henderson is about to discover that there’s more going on out in the woods of his town than he ever imagined.

Chasing ghosts is more than just some children’s game.

GET YOUR COPY HERE

Yes, the day is here. My latest novella, CHASING GHOSTS (Sinister Grin Press), is out today and available in eBook and Print. This is my first piece for Sinister Grin Press and I think they are the perfect home for the piece. Last summer I started re-reading The Woods Are Dark by Richard Laymon. twenty pages in, I got the overwhelming urge to craft my own piece of Laymon-esque horror. He’s long been a favorite of mine, and I walked that Laymon line with my first novel, The Haunted Halls, but I hadn’t  written anything as rough as that since. Well, maybe some parts of Blood and Rain fit the bill, but as a whole, I purposely tried to force myself out of that box. Well, I was compelled to jump back in.

I dedicated this novella to Laymon, Brian Keene, Jack Kecthum, and Jonathan Janz. That should tell you the direction I wanted go in.  I’m not any of those amazing writers, but I sure had fun scribbling this little story into existence. I think it has that old Leisure Books paperback feel to it, and I hope, if you do decide to buy a copy,  it gives you a few hours of fun or at least makes you think twice about venturing to see your favorite band play a show in the woods. 🙂

Anyways, I hope you dig it, and as always, any shares/re-tweets/word-of-mouth is greatly appreciated. #SharetheHorror

You can follow all the forthcoming reviews and posts for the promotional tour (courtesy of Hook of a Book Media)  here:

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And be sure to visit my Amazon page for some sweet 99 cent deals (Things We Fear and Out of Range) .   Glenn Rolfe at Amazon.com

 

OOR COVER

(Review) BLOOD SACRIFICES by Brian Moreland

(Review) Brian Moreland- Blood Sacrifices (Samhain Publishing, 2016)

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There are some writers out there who we look to for reliable work time in and time out: King, Malfi, McCammon, Ketchum…. The list isn’t super long, but I added this name after reading one book (Shadows in the Mist)—Brian Moreland.  And in the subsequent years, I have yet to be let down.

Like the King’s and Malfi’s, Moreland’s writing grabs you instantly. His characters are so real and vivid right from the get-go. His stories never veer off into over-written sessions of author masturbation. No, Moreland knows his story and knows how to keep you glued to the pages without any fancy tricks or unnecessary flourishes. He’s the kind of writer that I aspire to be.

In this collection of novellas, his skills are on full display. Whether it’s the witchy woman who will raise the hairs on your neck in The Witching House, or the mesmerizing journey of a journalist getting involved in the wrong story in Vagrants, these works will hook you and have you coming back for more.

The stand-out pieces in here are The Girl from the Blood Coven and Darkness Rising. Here are my reviews for each piece:

  The Girl from the Blood Coven

This is a short story that serves as a precursor to The Witching House, but oh man does it pack a wallop! We get creeps, setting, and character in a short but perfectly executed blast of I’m-all-in horror.

“Then he heard the singing. Only it was coming from he backseat. A lilting song in a language Big Mike had never heard before. He whirled in his seat. Abigail sat up suddenly. Her eyes were rolled back to whites.”

I re-read this one prior to this review and was just as blown away the second time around.

Short story, but I’ll give it 5 stars anyway!

The Witching House

This was a quick and fun read. Who can resist an evil house haunted by a witch! After reading the lead-up to this one, Moreland’s even quicker, The Girl from the Blood Coven, I was expecting a little more. That’s not to say this one isn’t good or even a disappointment. It has more to do with how much I loved the other story (short as it was). What I got in The Witching House was great fun, but what held the promise of an absolute work of horrific brilliance may have overshadowed this one. That said, The Witching House is a nice addition to the Samhain collection, and another great slice of horror from Mr. Moreland. I would recommend this one to any horror fan.
I give it 4 stars!

Vagrants

Vagrants is another great piece of horror from Brian Moreland. I’ll read anything this guy puts out. Vagrants is the story of a writer who decides to live as a homeless person for half a year to better understand their way of life. His heart is in the right place as he plans to bring to light one of the biggest issues plaguing our country today, but it might not be that easy.  At the end of his time on the streets, Daniel stumbles across a crazed homeless cult leader and the adventure really begins.
Moreland can proudly hang this one next to Dead of Winter and Shadows in the Mist.

I give it 4 stars!

Darkness Rising

“…a wise man once told her, Poetry has an invisible power that transcends the soul.”

Far and away the best new piece of fiction I’ve read this year. With Darkness Rising, Brian Moreland reminded me why he’s one of my two favorite (not King, Laymon, Ketchum…etc.) authors out there (the other being Ronald Malfi). I’m a huge fan of his novel, Shadows in the Mist, but I think this novella rivals it.

Darkness Rising goes so many places; it’s hard to get across just how awesome this novella is. It is dark and gritty in places and beautiful and poetic in others. It is completely vicious in spots, but counters that with moments of uplifting magic.

I connected instantly with the main character, Marty Weaver, the same way I did with Laymon’s Ed Logan in Night in the Lonesome October (my favorite Richard Laymon book). That alone speaks volumes for me. And much like that Laymon novel, Moreland’s ability to balance the light and dark sides in a romantic waltz over a floor made from dead flesh and macabre visions is nothing short of inspiring.

Add in a soundtrack featuring the Stones, The Doors, and possibly some Alice Cooper…and you’ve got me hook, line, and sinker.

Darkness Rising is a perfect example of how amazingly good novellas can be. This is a Moreland masterpiece.

5 stars. Easy.

This collection needs to be on your shelf. Worth every penny!

I give Blood Sacrifices a total and overall rating of 5 stars!

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Blood Sacrifices tour graphic

Blood Sacrifices houses four tales of terror by one of the masters of horror, Brian Moreland. Previously only available in digital format, these stories are compiled into one book and can now be ordered in print!

Follow along the tour with the hashtags: #BloodSacrifices #4TalesofTerror #BrianMoreland

Synopsis for Blood Sacrifices: Four Tales of Terror

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2016
  • Publisher: Samhain
  • Publication Length: 282 pages

Some evils require sacrifices.

From the author of Dead of Winter and The Devil’s Woods come four tales of blood-tingling horror:

The Girl from the Blood Coven

In this short prequel to The Witching House, when Abigail Blackwood claims her hippy commune family has been massacred, Sheriff Travis Keagan and his deputies investigate. They discover there’s more than weed smoking going on at Blevins House. Much more.

The Witching House

Sarah Donovan is scared of just about everything, but she helps her adventurous boyfriend investigate the old, abandoned Blevins House, scene of a forty-year-old unsolved massacre. Little do they know the house is hungry for fresh prey…

Darkness Rising

When Marty Weaver encounters three killers who like to play sadistic games with their victims, his own scarred past is unearthed. And when his pain is triggered, blood will flow…and hell will rise.

The Vagrants

Beneath the city of Boston, evil is gathering. While living under a bridge with the homeless, journalist Daniel Finley witnessed something that nearly cost him his sanity. Now, with a book published about the experience, he’s caught between the Irish mafia and a deranged cult preparing to shed blood on the street.

This is a collection of books previously published in digital format.

Purchase Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Samhain

 

Brian Moreland, Biography

Brian Moreland is a best-selling and award-winning author of novels and short stories in the horror and supernatural suspense genre. In 2007, his novel Shadows in the Mist, a Nazi occult thriller set during World War II, won a gold medal for Best Horror Novel in an international contest. The novel went on to be published in Austria and Germany under the title Schattenkrieger.

Shadows in the MistDead of Winter, and The Devil’s Woods are his currently available novels, as well as his Kindle short-story The Girl from the Blood Coven and the novella it led into called The Witching House.  Now, he has released the full-length The Devil’s Woods. His novella, The Vagrants, was released in 2014, and another, Darkness Rising, in 2015.

He loves hiking, kayaking, watching sports, dancing, and making guacamole. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel.  When not working on his books or books for other writers, Brian edits documentaries and TV commercials around the globe. He produced a World War II documentary in Normandy, France, and worked at two military bases in Iraq with a film crew.

Brian lives in Dallas, Texas. You can communicate with him online at www.brianmoreland.comTwitter, or Facebook.

Praise for Brian Moreland

“For horror fans wanting a healthy dose of the small-town stuff a la Stephen King, be sure to pick up a copy of this (The Girl from the Blood Coven) memorable and frightening short story, a wonderful teaser that will whet your appetite for the main course, The Witching House, where the twisted story continues.” -DarkEva/Hellnotes

” Very much in the tradition of HELL HOUSE, THE WITCHING HOUSE is a creepy, modern turn on the haunted house story.” -Tim Potter

“Far and away the best new piece of fiction I’ve read this year. With Darkness Rising, Brian Moreland reminded me why he’s one of my two favorite (not King, Laymon, Ketchum…etc.) authors out there (the other being Ronald Malfi). I’m a huge fan of his novel, Shadows in the Mist, but I think this novella rivals it.” -Glenn Rolfe, author of Blood and Rain, on Darkness Rising

“Brian Moreland writes a blend of survival horror and occult mystery that I find impossible to resist. I know, when I’ve got one of his books in my hands, that I’m going to be lost to the world for hours on end. He’s just that good.” -Joe McKinney, author of Dead City and Flesh Eaters

“A thrilling, wholly-engrossing read that masterfully crosses multiple genres and leaves the reader breathless. Moreland weaves one hell of a history lesson, rich with brilliant characters and incredible plot twists. Highly recommended!” -Brian Keene, bestselling author of The Last Zombie and Ghoul, on Dead of Winter

“Dead of Winter is an exceptionally well crafted horror novel that tells a gripping story of dark religious doings, a horrific serial killer, and a sympathetic Inspector, in a dark and fascinating historical setting of 19th century Canada. The atmospherics are outstanding and the story offers plenty of surprises right up to its shocking and violent conclusion. Highly recommended.”
– Douglas Preston,  New York Times bestselling co-author of The Monster of Florence and Cold Vengeance

Brian Moreland’s fiction is taut and spellbinding, often blending varied themes to form a dark genre very much his own.  From his WWII occult thriller Shadows in the Mist, to the haunting chiller The Devil’s Woods, Brian’s work is at once versatile, original, and deeply engaging.” Greg F. Gifune, author of The Bleeding Season

“The Devil’s Woods is an awesome horror novel, filled with nerve-wracking suspense and thrilling action!” – Jeff Strand, author of Wolf Hunt

Want to Feature Brian Moreland?

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

Simple but So Damn Cool! A Tweet from Jack Ketchum

Friday afternoon my friend Max Booth III (I cal him MB3) messaged me…. I clicked the link

And this popped up:

 

: Glenn Rolfe’s THINGS WE FEAR, summer fun and psychopaths…

It’s no Glenn Rolfe is amazing and makes me want to be a better writer…but it’s pretty damn cool!

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I met Jack Ketchum in 2014 at the World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon. He was super cool and we actually had a pretty great conversation earlier in the day. He was excited to find that I was working with Don D’Auria and had nothing but nice things to say about Mr. D and wished me well with my then first novella (Abram’s Bridge).

Fast forward a little less than two years and BAM!  I get that Tweet!

Ketchum’s influence is apparent in my latest piece, Things We Fear. We all know about his ability to scare the shit out of us with a group of creepy people living in a cave down by the water…but the stories that really get to me out the ones where Ketchum paints monsters out of the people we run into every day. In Red, he gave us a family of assholes. In Cover, we get a vet who slips too far over the edge, in The Girl Next Door…well, that one takes the cake, doesn’t it? The horrible woman who puts innocence in harm’s way without a glint of remorse.

In TWF, I made a monster out of the gym teacher from high school with the perfect smile and pile of muscles. Mr. Too Good to be True. I take our Perfect Smile and turn him into a cold, sadistic killer. A trick I learned from one of the masters.

At the end of the day, I am uber-plussed by this shout-out from one of my heroes. I hope to continue busting my butt, challenging myself to writer better, and trying to follow in his massive footsteps.

Thank you, sir!

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I also learned how to NOT look at the camera from him….

Pick up an eBook copy of THINGS WE FEAR today at any of the following links:

AMAZON     Barnes and Noble  Google Play    Samhain Horror

If you prefer reading Print, TWF also appears in my new novella collection, WHERE NIGHTMARES BEGIN alongside ABRAM’S BRIDGE and BOOM TOWN, available in print edition at the following links:

AMAZON     SAMHAIN HORROR

 

 

Blood, guts, and gory meet character and heart: The Gentle Art of Finding the balance

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This week, I started writing a brand new novel. Anyone who has paid attention to me knows that I’m already working on more than four other pieces. So, what the hell am I thinking starting something else? That’s just how my ADD writing brain works. Part of the inspiration was trying to choose my summer re-read (every summer I like to re-read one of my favorite books). This year, I was trying to choose between one of my favorite Richard Laymon novels, The Woods Are Dark, and Jonathan Janz’s Savage Species. Holding the two righteously vicious novels and thinking about my first Laymon-inspired debut, The Haunted Halls, I felt that old familiar pull to scribble another chainsaw attack of a horror story. One that would make Ketchum or the late Laymon smile.

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I decided to go with Laymon’s re-stored classic.

I got ready to read it and a light bulb went off in my brain.

I opened a new word document and started typing.

In less than 24 hours I typed up the first 8K words for a new novel I’m calling, The Last Show.

Unlike with The Haunted Halls where I had to go back and re-work the story to make it more than just a outright trail of blood and scares, this time around, I want to add great characters and a dump-truck load of heart. Will I succeed? That’s the real trick, isn’t it? Finding the balance between vicious and tender. Heart and outright gore-a-palooza.  Sometimes these mad romps of killers tearing apart semi-innocent campers and travelers don’t really call for any Love Me Tender moments, but I believe the ones that stick with us have other memorable characters outside of our violent death dealers. There can be more magic moments than the jaw dropping scenes that scorch our brains. Scenes like, well, almost any in Ketchum’s Off Season, or the fantastic kickstart opening to Laymon’s Woods…(A hairy, half-bodied man who chucks a severed hand at two girls driving down a back road????). These things stick with us, for horror writers, the do a little more. These scenes stain us.

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My favorite thing about a guy like Laymon is the surprising helpings of heart he manages to slip in between the line of entrails and the cock with razor sharp teeth that is also a pleasure machine. The Traveling Vampire Show’s childhood romance between its two main characters brought me back to those early episodes of The Wonder Years. Watching Winnie Cooper and Kevin Arnold kiss for the first time.

How can we replicate this masterful art of blood and beauty? Well, it ain’t easy or everyone would do it. I think the key is one word: honesty.  Keep it real (as real as your monsters will allow). It is far easier said than done.Our imaginations can get pretty fantastic. It is easy to get lost on the dark side. To get caught up in the crimson pool of guts that we paint the page with. Sometimes, that’s all a story calls for. I couldn’t write that way, but I know some authors who do and pull it off. For me, I have to push a couple more buttons on my readers. I have to hit those buttons in myself first. I bring up my own guts, my own pain, my own joys, and then I let the monsters terrorize the hell out of all that goodness, all those emotions, all of the honesty.

I hope when I write THE END on the last page of The Last Show, I’ll have accomplished all of that.I promise you one thing–I will give it my best shot.

Here’s to heart, horror, and that crazy Laymon inside of us all.

Cheers!