Killing Your Friends: Another Inside Peek at The Haunted Halls

Okay, so writers know that they have to build characters that you (constant reader) care about. Unfortunately, being in the horror business, some of these lovable folks have to die. We’ve read this article/this advice before. Now, how about this? How about we write our “real” friends into our horrible, macabre masterpieces, and then we murder them for you?

This is another true tale from the creation of my debut novel releasing later this month, The Haunted Halls.

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So if you read my previous post on the long journey this novel took to come to fruition, you know it started as a short story for the serial novel site, JukePop Serials. Well, once that first chapter (which turned into the prologue) went live on the website, I needed to write what happened next. I needed a story, and I needed characters–some cool characters to make you care about that story. Who could these people be? I honestly had no idea what I was doing when I started this book. I’d written one novel, one novelette, and a handful of short stories. I wasn’t sure where I was going, but I had that idea. The old “haunted hotel” trope. How do I make it my own? The first thing that occurred to me was I’ll use my friends! Who do I know better? Who do I already care about? Without telling them, I went about creating these “characters”. And eventually, they had to start dying.

Of course.

Once I started putting the first few chapters together, and my real friends (including my wife) started taking on characteristics of their own, I felt compelled to share with these fine folks just what I was up to.  I PM’d them on Facebook. They were all stoked! And after posting about it, I had other friends raise their hands, “Kill me, kill, me, kill me next!”  Now, this happens quite a bit. I’ve seen writers big and small offer to add their friends into their stories. Some do it at a price, some run contests. I’m not being uber-original here, but I think my friends will see how true to them I tried to stay (before I had their eyes poked in, or their skin torn off).

Anyways, I had a lot of fun killing my friends. And I’m sure they felt the same about my literary treatment of them.  I hope if and when you decide to walk down my haunted halls with me, you get to meet and love these guys and gals, too. You can even root for them to make it through! Maybe your favorite will survive, maybe they’ll be the next spattering of brain matter and skull fragments on the in-room microwave. Whatever the case, and however it turns out, I hope you’ll join me  in my debut novel. Maybe I’ll kill you in the next one.

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For Kurt, Geoff, Rhiannon, Eric, Jimmy, Lee, Tina, and Meghan–Thank you for letting me fuck you up.

For my latest novel, Becoming, I decided to keep the trend going 😉  Check it out sometime. Michele would appreciate it!

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Get your copy here: BECOMING

Stay tuned for more madness!

 

 

The Haunted Halls is available here: THE HAUNTED HALLS 

 

Eric Gentry is the lead vocalist of the pop pink band, The Adorkables. He still dabbles in music and has mad love for Phantasm.

Kurt (Costello)  Baker is a well-respected rock ‘n’ roll machine. Check him out!

The Strange Journey of The Haunted Halls, and the People Who Have Taken it With Me.

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The release of my debut novel, The Haunted Halls, is weeks away. I’m sort of excited.  I figured I would take a minute and let those of you not familiar with me or my work in on the history of this book.

It all started with a short story I wrote in November of 2012, “Night Swim”. I work the front desk at a hotel in Augusta, Maine. One night while doing the night audit I walked past the pool and imagined something crawled out. I ran down to my laptop and wrote “Night Swim”. A few weeks later, while surfing Duotrope for a place to send the story I stumbled upon JukePopSerials.com. They were paying for serial novels. I had never written a serial novel, but recalled the way Stephen King originally unleashed The Green Mile back in the late-nineties and decided it might be fun to try.  I looked at “Night Swim” again and thought, “Hey! That could really be a great opening chapter.” In late December (of 2012), the people at JukePop Serials thought so, too.

At JukePop (at the time), after you submitted your chapter, there was no way to edit it. I didn’t have an editor and was still pretty new at this writing game. Within my first few weeks working with the site I found a number of horrifying mistakes.  These errors were so bad that I didn’t want to share my story. That’s when I took a look at Amazon’s world of self-publishing. I devised a plan. I would release the Haunted Halls on my own. I would carry on the serial idea by releasing the story in volumes. In order to get JukePop to give me back the story I had to offer them a new one.

Throughout 2013, with the help of my artist/musician friend, Jason Lynch, doing the amazing covers,  I managed to release the first five (out of six) volumes of the story. It was perfectly clear as I released volume five that the story was good, but it still needed a professional edit. Volume five went up and came back down within a couple of weeks. I then took down volume two, three, and four, while I began my search for an editor. I spoke online with Robert S. Wilson about taking a look at the manuscript and he was all for it. It took me a few months to scrounge up some cash to move ahead with Bob, but in that time, I found my publisher, James Ward Kirk.

Four of my short stories have been published by James in various James Ward Kirk anthologies. When James heard I had a completed manuscript, he was instantly excited and told me he’d love to put it out. We hatched a plan to release the book in February of 2014…then March of 2014….and then summer of 2014.  Okay, Bob is a busy, busy guy. He writes, he edits…oh, and he runs a little indie publishing company called, Nightscape Press. You know, the guys that have produced the last two Bram Stoker Award-winning books in the Best First Novel category? With Jason, Bob, and James busting their humps for me, The Haunted Halls is finally the shining gem we all thought it could and would be.

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The date isn’t exact (July 9th is the one I’m using), but the novel will be available next month. James agreed that the print version should also include all six of the volume covers that Jason created. Jason agreed to craft a brand new piece for the front cover. That cover will be revealed this week!  Whether it’s Thursday on HorrorNovelReviews.com or Friday here on my blog, is still up in the air (Matt from HNR is also a VERY busy fella).

I want to take this minute to say thanks to some of the special people who have had a hand in this novel’s journey from JukePop, to Amazon, to next month’s official release:

Jodi and Jerry at JukePopSerials.com. Anyone who voted for the first batch of chapters while they were live on the site. Jason Lynch for the brilliant covers and friendship. Matt Molgaard at HorrorNovelReviews.com for being one of the first to review volume one way back in February of 2013. Erin Sweet-Al Mehairi at Oh, For the Hook of a Book! For coming into my life soon after. She has been a HUGE supporter of this novel since getting her hands on volume one. She beta read a bunch of the volumes that followed. Joe Hempel at HNR and Topof theHeapReviews.com. Joe covered each released volume and called me out when I missed a step. Thanks, Joe! My best friend, Ben Pinard, for pushing for Lee Buhl. Ben was my keeper of the Mendoza line. Thanks for your honesty, man. Bob Wilson for his edits and challenges. And of course, James for working with me and allowing me to do this the way I want to do it.

There are others who helped out and supported this baby over the last year Jeanann, Lisa, Amy, and anyone else who reviewed a piece of the original story.

Another couple of thank yous to two authors who read volume one. Rena Mason, for telling me that I  had a good voice. It meant a lot to hear that. Thank you. And to Ronald Malfi who posted on his Facebook page that volume one was “…deliciously creepy…” and shared the link. He didn’t have to do that, but he did it anyway. Ronald has been a bit of a quiet mentor to me since 2012. Ronald, your time and opinions are appreciated.

We’re almost there. Stay tuned for the official cover reveal and the official release date.I can’t wait to share this with all of you.

 

Say hi to my friends:

Erin at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Matt at Horror Novel Reviews

The artwork of Jason Lynch at Jlynchgraphics.com

Discover and follow some great serial novels at JukePop Serials

 

and keep up with me at my website:  Glenn Rolfe Horror