Tag Archives: Dead of Winter

How Would YOU Survive? Win a Signed Copy or E-book of #Horror Novel Dead of Winter / #SpringHorrorRAT

Blog Includes~

*My quick update

*Housekeeping about Challenges

*Challenge #4 and Giveaways:  List 10 Things You’d Take with You to Survive Wilderness to WIN a signed copy of Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland or an e-book of the same book.

 

My Update~

Getting any reading done ? I’ve completed Frozen in Time, an indie book by Marie Symeou, which is slightly about vampires and more about the wars between Gods and reincarnation. I’m almost 80% through and will complete by tomorrow, a super good horror book that I am pre-reading for an author. I wish so much I could tell you all about this book, because I love it. Hopefully, some time soon so I am not trying to tease you. It’s great supernatural, suspense horror that really keeps you moving through the pages.

Challenge Housekeeping~

Beyond that, I know you all (as usual with read-a-thons) are having a hard time completing and organizing getting challenges done as well as reading and everyday life. I’ve worked hard to try to give you some easy answer challenges and starting with 2 and continuing on, decided to give you the week the complete so you can flex your time. But it’s fun and I hope you all are having fun too! And I’m so very thankful for all the wonderful author friends I have that gave us so many books to giveaway. So join in the fun!

You have until Sunday at 11:59 p.m. EST to enter Challenge 2, 3, or this one, which is 4. YOU GET +5 extra entries for completing this Challenge 4 by 11:59 p.m. your time Friday evening.

Challenge 4 and Giveaway~

Today’s giveaway is for one of my favorite books ever: Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland (see about it below). It’s a horror novel with history, suspense, supernatural, gore, and bone-tingling chills. Here is the link to my review and interviews with Brian Moreland about Dead of Winter, CLICK HERE and HERE. Also, there is a link to his website HERE.

So what do you have to do to get it? Here we go.

FRIDAY’S CHALLENGE~

IF YOU WERE TO HEAD TO THE WILDERNESS OF THE NORTH EAST UNITED STATES OR CANADA (THINK REMOTE, DESOLATE) and HAD TO CAMP IN THE FOREST, WHAT WOULD YOU TAKE? IT PROBABLY IS A REMOTE VILLAGE, RESERVATION, OR CAMP. YOU’VE HEARD IT MIGHT BE HAUNTED.

NAME AT LEAST 10  THINGS YOU’D TAKE WITH YOU TO SURVIVE THE TRIP. YOU’LL BE CAMPING THERE FOR 5 DAYS. Get an entry for each thing you list up to 10.

The prizes are 1 (one) signed copy of Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland and 1 (one) copy in e-book. Please let me know which one you’d like in the comments!!!!! If you do extra entries, tell me if you want to divide them up and how much between each.

Extra Entries~

You get +1 for following me on Twitter. I want to connect with you all!

You get +4 for tweeting about this challenge (which is number 4).

You can get +2 for tweeting about Challenge 2 and +3 for Challenge 3.

You get +2 for adding @BrianMoreland on Twitter.

You get +2 for following him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/almehairierin#!/HorrorAuthorBrianMoreland.

You can get +2 for following my blog on networked blogs or by going to homepage and giving your email.

Rules apply as usual. We prefer to mail paperbacks only to U.S. due to cost, unless you have an idea and you can contact me. Anyone can try for the e-book. You must be a signed-up participant in the Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon.

You have until Sunday at 11:59 p.m. EST to enter Challenge 2, 3, or this one, which is 4. YOU GET +5 extra entries for completing this Challenge 4 by 11:59 p.m. your time Friday evening.

Complete CHALLENGE 3, the survey on horror by clicking HERE.

Complete CHALLENGE 2, list your Stephen King books, by clicking HERE.

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment or contact me.

I appreciate your participation!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Read-a-Thons

A Conversation with Supernatural Horror Author Brian Moreland: Sneak Peek at The Devil’s Woods!

I’ve got a second interview with one of my FAVORITE writers!! Sit back in your seat and take some time to read this fabulous, mind-picking (promise no ice picks used) conversation with supernatural horror author Brian Moreland (www.brianmoreland.com). He wrote my favorite book of 2011, which I reviewed here (CLICK HERE to read DEAD OF WINTER review and our FIRST INTERVIEW!)….then keep reading for our second interview. I promise, it’s worth it…why?

I promise he is not as scary as his books!! We’ve got some great discussion ranging on how religion and horror connect to cupcakes, so I promise it’s deep AND fun. We also get a…gasp, SNEAK PEEK at the opening chapter of this third novel, The Devil’s Woods!!! Don’t miss that as you get further into the interview. And after the blog, Brian and I will be chatting below in the comments section and we’d love for your to join us or post your thoughts.  Pull up that blanket around your chin, lock your door, and open your mind. Let’s get to the interview!

Intro

Welcome Back, Brian!! I am so happy to visit with you again and hear how 2012 is treating you! I hope your novel, Dead of Winter, is having huge success. I can’t wait to talk about what else is coming up the pike for you (besides a canoe, which would be fun though wouldn’t it?)!

Thanks, Erin, it’s great to be back. And I love paddling in canoes. The year 2012 has already started out as a good one. I completed my third novel The Devil’s Woods in February, so I already feel like I’ve accomplished one of my New Year’s resolutions. Now if I can just get myself to stay on my exercise routine. Maybe when it gets warmer this spring, I can get on the lake near my home and get in some kayaking or go canoeing on one of our Texas rivers.

Q1:  How has the feedback for Dead of Winter been and what new things did you learn about your writing from publishing it and from reader feedback?

A1:  Feedback from over a dozen reviewers, as well as a plethora of readers, has been mind-blowingly positive. We’ll say over 90% of people have thoroughly enjoyed reading Dead of Winter. One reviewer told me the book gave her nightmares and said she couldn’t sleep with her back to the door. She kept dreaming about the demons in my book. I took that as a great compliment since my goal was to write books that scare the be-Jesus out of readers. What I’ve learned from a variety of reviews is that some readers have different tastes than mine. I stand behind every chapter I wrote and wouldn’t change a thing about the book. I’m quite proud of it.

Q2: How much time did it take you to delve into the research needed for the historical content of this book? Where did the idea come from and how did you research it?

A2:  I did about two years of research while writing Dead of Winter. The idea came from reading a non-fiction book about legendary monsters of ancient cultures. One chapter talked about a demon spirit that stalked the woods every winter and terrorized the Great Lakes tribes in Michigan, Minnesota, and Ontario. I found those native campfire tales fascinating, so I built a story around a supernatural killer stalking a fur-trading fort in Ontario and turning people into cannibals. I love mixing real history with fantasy.

The entire novel is set in Canada in 1870, so all my research was done through reading history books on the fur trade in 19th Century Canada and using the heck out of Google to find websites about the history of the Jesuits, Algonquin and Ojibwa Indian legends, and the early settlers of Canada. I even read books on cannibalism to understand this mental disease which really exists, even today. Also, because one of my main characters, Father Xavier, is a Catholic exorcist, I read a lot of books on exorcism by living priests who still perform exorcisms today. I learned so much that I could probably exorcise demons myself. So if you have a demon that needs to be exorcised, just email me. Kidding, of course.

Q3:  How much of Dead of Winter is based on fact or legend as it is surrounded by your imaginative characters and plot?

A3:  While indeed a work of fiction, I wanted this book to feel real. Throughout the story I interweave several facts I pulled from history books and an interview I did with a descendent from a Canadian Ojibwa tribe. I learned that back in the 1800s, the Algonquin tribes migrated every winter because of their superstition of this winter demon spirit that wandered the woods feeding on humans. Some tribes even performed a ceremonial dance to ward off this evil spirit, which I included in the book. This legend also spooked the white fur traders, like the Hudson’s Bay Company, who lived in isolated forts all across Canada and traded with the Indians [First Nations to be politically correct, but back in the 1800s they were called Indians or “heathens”].FortPendletonis a fictitious fort named after one my characters, a tycoon by the name of Master Avery Pendleton. When the mysterious killings start plaguing the colonists living within his fort, Pendleton hires Tom Hatcher to solve the case. Tom teams up with an Ojibwa tracker and shaman, Anika Moonblood. She doesn’t believe the killer is a man or animal, but something much more terrifying. In the book, everyone in the neighboring Ojibwa tribe is spooked by the stalker out in the woods.

 As I researched this legendary evil spirit even deeper, I discovered an article about a real isolated fort inQuebecwhere all the colonists went crazy and turned cannibal. In the late 1700s, a Jesuit priest who visited this fort documented the case in his journal, describing the deranged colonists as possessed by the devil. This is all factual and documented by the Catholic Church. I also did extensive research on the history of frontier life of Canada in the 1800s. During the long winter months out in the wilderness, cannibalism became a way of survival for isolated villages that ran out of food. And sometimes soldiers would arrive at a fort to find that everyone was dead except one man, who survived by eating the others. So, a lot of this book is based on real facts. As you reach the end of the book, you’ll see that my imagination just went wild.

 Q4:  The bloody circular symbol on your book cover for Dead of Winter, and mentioned in your book, really intrigued me. Around the time I was reading your book, my 8-year-old was drawing the same symbol in pretty colors all over multiple pieces of artwork. It had to be a coincidence, but it certainly did freak me out a little. Can you explain about the symbol and why symbols as a whole have seeped into many fiction novels of this decade? (And please tell me that my daughter drawing those symbols was coincidental!!)

A4:  You just gave me chicken skin. Symbols have been around since man first started engraving hieroglyphics on stone. Symbols are very powerful because their meanings bypass the conscious mind and into the unconscious mind. If they are given a special meaning and show up over and over in art, teachings, architecture, or propaganda, that meaning begins to become a part of people’s belief systems. Think about the holy cross, the sitting Buddha, or the swastika and how those symbols have influenced the masses. The spiral is an ancient symbol that has been used in many cultures from native tribes in America and Africa to pagans in the Gaelic cultures of Ireland. I took the liberty of using that symbol to be a part of the mystery in my book. Your daughter might be highly intuitive or maybe she saw it on TV or in a painting. Sometimes the sun is painted like a spiral. It’s probably just coincidental.

Q5:  I loved your female characters in Dead of Winter, especially Anika. How do you develop your characters with such intricate personalities?

A5:  I love Anika and Willow, myself. Both women were really fun to write. I did my best to make them complex as they secretly battle one another over Inspector Tom Hatcher. Part of developing character personalities is spending over a year with them. They usually start off as sketches of people with a few traits and a little back history to get me started. The more I write my characters in scenes and see how they respond with other characters and the dangerous situations I put them in, I begin to see who these people really are and what they’re made of. It’s amazing what you learn about a person when you put them face to face with a serial killer or the devil. Characters like Father Xavier rise to the occasion, while other characters succumb to their dark sides.

It may take a few drafts before I come up with the complete back story of the character. For instance, the book’s villain, Avery Pendleton, plays the violin and fiddle, and has a red violin that he made with his grandfather when he was a boy. All of that detail and back story got added two years after I started writing the book. Sometimes I feel like a character needs more depth, and I will keep adding details about who this person is–their likes, how they dress, beliefs, and temperaments–as I go through a number of drafts. I usually write more than the reader needs to know and cut a lot of the back story to keep the main story tight. In Shadows in the Mist, I had intricate back story for every soldier in Lt. Jack Chambers’ platoon. I knew their birthdays and hometowns and childhood events that shaped their lives. That helped me see them as people rather than just characters. Most of that back story got cut, but the main story is about Jack Chambers and everyone else is in the story as a supporting character.

I might change character names half a dozen times before I end up with just the right one. I believe names define a character, think Hannibal Lecter. That name just sounds menacing. For my serial killer in Montreal that was Tom Hatcher’s nemesis, I thought long and hard as I came up with the name Gustave Meraux, the Cannery Cannibal, and his complex history. He was another character who evolved over many drafts until I felt like he could just walk right off the page and into nightmares. For me, creating characters is the most fun part of writing.

Q6:  I’m a lover of Native American fiction, non-fiction, and culture. Does their history and culture intrigue you? Why or why not? How do you feel their culture and legends impact us today in America?

A6:  I’m a lover of Native American culture because it’s part of our country’s history. I’ve also studied shamanism, witnessed shamanic pipe ceremonies, and endured the sweltering heat of sweat lodges while a shaman chanted. The native tribes of the previous centuries were deeply connected with the land and animals and the spirit world, at least in their beliefs. I find their legends fascinating and very translatable to writing horror fiction. My next novel, The Devil’s Woods, also deals with a Native Canadian mystery, although this one is more from my imagination than from historical fact. I don’t know how their culture impacts us today in America. For the most part, I think our tribal ancestors have been pushed aside and now they mostly represent sporting team mascots and casinos. If you go to places like New Mexico and Arizona and Vancouver, there are still tribal descendants who keep native traditions alive.

Q7:  How do you feel horror novels of the psychological variety parallel religion and its role in society?

A7:  Wow, that’s a heavy question. I hope I can do it justice. I write mostly supernatural and often include religious characters or mysteries based on religious history. Like worshipping an invisible God, supernatural horror explores the unknown. H.P. Lovecraft was a genius at creating horror stories based on mythos and otherworldly gods. Since my stories are battles between light and darkness, good and evil, they suggest that unseen forces exist behind all good and bad that happens in the world. Perhaps with free will, man is free to express his goodness and his dark side, influenced by his inner demons. Horror fiction gives us a place to pit those two sides of man against one another to see which prevails. Stories about heroes battling monsters date back thousands of years. Whether they are told in mythology or religious books, they serve as metaphors. Moral choices we must make. I think horror stories serve society in that they give us outlets to express our relationship with the unknown and all the complex emotions we have going on inside us. They help us in our search for deeper and greater meanings of our existence.   

Q8:  I know you loved comic books as a kid, is it still a guilty pleasure? If so, what comic books do you like today? What comic books inspired your imagination?

A8:  I did love comic books as a kid and read them well into my twenties. Big influences were Batman, Spiderman, X-Men, Aliens vs. Predator, The Thing, and some of Clive Barker’s comics. I’ve since outgrown reading comics for the most part and mainly read fiction and non-fiction. I do enjoy movies based on comic book heroes. I’m looking forward to seeing The Avengers this summer.

Q9:  My stove is heating up in the kitchen, what kind of cupcakes am I baking you?

A9:  How about chocolate cupcakes decorated with faces from the Monster Mash–Frankenstein, Dracula, Werewolf, Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, plus some ghosts, witches, and Jack-o-Lantern faces? Really, you can’t go wrong. I love all flavors of cake.

Q10:  What are some of the films that cross from entertainment and into the realm of literary genius?  Do you find that some of the best are usually stemmed from books?

A10:  I’ll mix in some recent movies with some of my classic favorites–Alien, The Exorcist, Prophecy, The Shining, Shawshank Redemption, Saving Private Ryan, and more recently Black Swan, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Lord of the Rings. A lot of great movies stem from books. Occasionally a screenwriter pens a brilliant script like Pulp Fiction and The King’s Speech. I love movies that make you feel and make you think.

Back to serious questions…let’s talk about your novels…

Q11:  Dead of Winter has been out in e-book since October and now available in paperback as well. This was your first novel with new publisher Samhain, who launched their new horror line in October 2011. What’s the latest news on your debut novel, Shadows in the Mist, coming back into print?

A11:  My first novel, Shadows in the Mist, has had a successful journey so far. I originally self-published it back in 2006 in trade paperback. In 2007, it won a gold medal for Best Horror Novel in an international contest, and I got to go to New York to receive my medal. Then Berkley/Penguin bought the rights to it and re-released it in small paperback in 2008. In 2010, a German publisher released it in Austria and Germany under the title Schattenkrieger, where it is still selling today. After three years with Berkley, I got the rights back to Shadows in the Mist and signed a new book deal with Samhain Horror, who published Dead of Winter. This gave me an opportunity to revise Shadows in the Mist based on feedback I had gotten over the years from reviewers and fans. I’ve tightened up the opening chapters and even eliminated a few scenes to get to the World War II part of the book even faster. With Samhain Horror, I’m also getting to use the original blue cover that I designed with renowned artist Les Edwards back when I self-published the book. For those who haven’t read my first book, Shadows in the Mist will re-release as an e-book and trade paperback September 4th, 2012. The cover can be seen above and at my website http://www.BrianMoreland.com.

 Q12:  What is Shadows in the Mist about and what inspired you to write it?

 A12:  The historical novel is a supernatural thriller set in the foggy woods of Nazi Germany in World War II. After 60 years of silence, a secret pact between two war heroes is about to be broken. Buried beneath the blood stained soil of Germany lies a Nazi relic that could destroy armies if fallen into the wrong hands. Now the diary of WWII hero Jack Chambers is being delivered to the U.S. Army to reveal a dark conspiracy. This is the untold story. The real reason Jack Chambers’ entire platoon vanished in October, 1944.

The story opens in present day, when retired war hero Jack Chambers is an old man haunted by his past. The story flashes back to World War II where Lt. Chambers and his platoon are fighting the Germans inside the bloody Hürtgen Forest. As they cross enemy lines on a top-secret mission, the platoon comes across something supernatural that is killing both American and German soldiers. Lt. Chambers and a few survivors from his squad take refuge in an abandoned Catholic church in the woods and discover a Nazi bunker where occult-obsessed Nazis had unleashed something deadly into the woods. I won’t give away too much more of the premise. It’s all based on historical facts I uncovered about the Nazis and the occult and it blends the genres of war history, conspiracy theory, and supernatural horror. Some reviewers have described it as Band of Brothers meets The Da Vinci Code.

Q13: I know you mentioned to me that your grandfather inspired some of this novel based on his military service.  The story of your grandfather is so amazing.

A13:  Thanks. I believe that article tells the story best, so I’ll let readers click the link below to read my grandfather’s true story and watch clips from the documentary that I filmed. My grandfather was a real-life World War II hero who did inspire me to write Shadows in the Mist.  It was so freaky that after I wrote the book, he was contacted by a museum in France that had his C-47 airplane. There are scenes that happen in my novel that ended up happening in real life about three years after I released the book.

How wonderful for him to travel to France and be recognized there, honored as an US service man who helped to save France, and his (and your) experience, as he was reunited with his famous airplane after many years of thinking it lost. 

I’ve linked to an article and the photos on your blog that you wrote some year back: http://brianmoreland.blogspot.com/2008/08/war-hero-returns-to-normandy.html

 Q14:  Do you have any more novels in the works? I know many readers that loved Dead of Winter are itching for more from you. What say you??

 A14:  As I said earlier, I just completed The Devil’s Woods. My third horror novel is about a secret forest on a Cree Indian reservation up in British Columbia, Canada where a lot of strange things are happening and people are vanishing. This one has both ghosts and some really cool creatures. I don’t know why I keep setting my books in Canada. I guess because there are some places up there that are still isolated. Plus, I love the wilderness, and British Columbia is absolutely beautiful. The story starts out with an archeologist disappearing while on a mission inside the ancient forest. Then his two adult sons and daughter–all half Cree–return to the reservation in search of their Cree father. They begin to unravel the mystery behind all the disappearances and why their reservation is haunted. This novel has plenty of scares and ties in a lot of the Native American [First Nation] culture we discussed earlier.

My aim is to release The Devil’s Woods in 2013. For those who would like a sneak peek, here’s an excerpt of the opening chapter:

 SNEAK PEEK at THE DEVIL’S WOODS!!!!

=>>>>http://brianmoreland.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/excerpt-of-the-devils-woods-coming-2013-10-2/

 Q15:  What are your goals for 2012 and what do you want to accomplish?

 A15:  Well, first I’d like to finalize the book deal for The Devil’s Woods and get that one into production. I’ve got some local book signings lined up to promote Dead of Winter and in the fall I’ll have two books to promote with the release of Shadows in the Mist. It’s important to keep writing, so I plan to work on some short stories, a novella, and start my fourth novel, which at the moment I’m not sure what that will be. I will continue to study the craft of writing and read novels by other authors to sharpen my skills. I also plan to attend some horror cons and get out there and meet fans of horror.

 Q16:  Again, how can readers connect with you?

They can email me at Brian@BrianMoreland.com.

Friend me on Facebook by looking up Author Brian Moreland, and tweet me on Twitter @BrianMoreland.

My website is http://www.BrianMoreland.com.

I love meeting fellow book lovers and writers and welcome people contacting me. I also have a blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com where I post news and interviews.

 Brian, it is also so nice to have you come and visit with me. You’re an amazing writer and a super great fellow. I wish you continued success in your writing. Stop back soon!

 Thanks, Erin, I’ve enjoyed both interviews and appreciate all that you’ve done to help promote my books. I wish you lots of success with your own PR business and writing your own novels. Hopefully, one day I can sample some of those delicious cupcakes you’re always baking.

(Erin: Thanks for that Brian, I appreciate you!!)

Cheers, Brian
_______________________________________________________

Who is Brian Moreland?

I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I come from a large extended family from both West Texas near Lubbock and South Texas near San Antonio. I admit to having a pair of cowboy boots and enjoy two-steppin’ and spinning a lovely lady around the dance floor. I love football and am a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. Since I graduated from U.T. Austin, I also bleed orange and root for the Texas Longhorns. Hook em’.

My writing journey began over twenty years ago when I started my first novel and wrote a few short stories. I studied creative writing and screenwriting at the University of Texas at Austin.

I haven’t always been a professional writer. While living in Dallas, I spent several years working as a producer and film/video editor. I edited the documentary Band of Champions, as well as hundreds of corporate videos. I traveled to Iraq twice with the Tostitos and the USO to film TV commercials with the troops. My commercials played during the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, and the 2011 BSC Championship football game. One of my proudest accomplishments is a WWII documentary I produced about my grandfather.

I’ve lived most of my life in Texas. For an amazing year and a half, I got to live in Hawaii, on the tropical island of Maui and learned a lot about myself. Today, I’m back living in Dallas. I am writing my next horror novel and editing and designing books for other authors.

I also write a blog, Dark Lucidity, about the exciting and often bumpy career of writing for a living. I’m also an amateur photographer, so I like to include plenty of photos of my outdoor adventures.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Q and A with Authors

Dead of Winter, by Brian Moreland, is Dead Ringer for Book of the Year!

No matter how much I love books and respect every author out there for having the guts to tell his or her story, it isn’t often that I am BLOWN AWAY by a book. Dead of Winter, by Brian Moreland, is the best book I’ve read all year and I believe that Brian, in terms of talent, is one of the best writers I’ve ever read.

In Dead of Winter, Inspector Tom Hatcher just can’t get over what happened when he was on the case of serial killer, the Cannery Cannibal.  It haunts him.  You can’t begin to believe how dark and terrible this killer really is as he craves human meat, killing women to feed his growing hunger.  Father Xavier, an exorcism specialist on assignment with the Catholic church, visits the serial killer in an asylum. As he realizes the mental patient is possessed by a demon, we sense that the Cannery Cannibal is far more powerful and deadly than anyone could have imagined.

Now in 1870 at a fur trading fort set in the deep and dense Ontario wilderness, Hatcher confronts his own demons while investigating some gruesome murders. It becomes apparent that a predator from the forest has unleashed a deadly plague among the colonists in which they begin to crave human flesh with an insatiable hunger and take on supernatural powers and body shape to obtain it. Once the shape shifting begins, there isn’t ending it and death abounds.

Based on a real historical Native American legend, Moreland crafts his tale to include the spirituality of the Native American culture who lived in these woods and the conflicting arrogance of the white man who often lived at the forts and outposts.  Inspector Hatcher doesn’t know if he can stop the rampage this time, as good is pitted against evil in an amazing battle of wills. Father Xavier arrives to assist him as no other priest has been able to manage or live through, along with passionate Native American Anika, who is disregarded by everyone but Hatcher, accused of being a witch and used as a slave.  Together, they unravel a mystery of epic proportions.

Will Tom be able to overcome his depression and believe in himself? Will the Church be able to fight this powerful evil? Will anyone survive this carnage, this flesh-eating disease that is turning everyone on everyone else? What is this predator in the forest? You definitely don’t want to miss the answers to these questions and much more.

Brian’s writing takes you somewhere out of your daily life as you become entranced by the story. His detail and cinematology, coupled with his unique story telling ability, keeps you turning page after page. As a reader, I was absorbed by the story and enthralled with each suspenseful chapter. He has an amazing way of keeping you wanting more after each tidbit. His style of writing in short chapters and juxtapositioning between characters and scenes will keep you on the edge of your formerly comfortable chair, which will now have hand marks on it from your gripping it so fiercely. That’s right, I’m warning you…you’ll be scared out of sitting comfortably. You will encounter evil so deadly.  You’ll read about blood and gore so detailed you’ll smell it. You’ll feel what these characters feel and see what they see. You’ll have an inside view to their world and be pulling for Tom and Anika until the very end.

Dead of Winter is so frightening, I could only read it during the day. If you aren’t an emotional wreck about things going bump in the night like me, then go ahead, read it at night in bed and be even more flipped out by how scary it is. Because it’s an adrenaline rush of fright. If you think Stephen King sends chills up your spine, then be prepared for your hair to stand on end. Brian Moreland crafts a tale as fine as Stephen King ever has, in my opinion, and I love Stephen King. Truly I do think he’s the master.  However, Brian Moreland sets a new bar with his writing style, succinct sentences and emotionally gripping chapters of suspense that are so detailed you can see the story as a movie in your mind. In my opinion, his novel has the greatness to make him the next greatest horror and suspense writer.

For Dead of Winter, I loved how Brian took a true unexplained Native American legend from the late 1800s and spun a story as fright, interwoven with Native American culture, legend, and spirituality warriors. There are so many ways to love this book. It made me think harder than I usually do, question myself, become aware of my beliefs, and I had an overwhelming emotional response to it. I can’t wait to read his next novel, but in the meantime, I hope you read Dead of Winter!

Dead of Winter is 30% off at the Samhain Publishing link below during the month of October 2011!! Check it out. And keep reading past the contact information for an EXCLUSIVE interview by me with Brian Moreland. See what makes his mind tick. This just could be Moreland’s most personal interview to date, so read on! And let us know what you think.

Contacting Author Brian Moreland

Website: http://www.BrianMoreland.com

Personal email: Brian@BrianMoreland.com

Follow on Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Facebook: Author Brian Moreland

Goodreads:

(http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1150022.Brian_Moreland_Author_of_Horror)

My Horror Fiction blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com

Interview with Author Brian Moreland, Part 1:

Erin:   Welcome to my Oh, for the Hook of a Book blog, Brian! I am so glad you agreed to stop by and share a little about your work and about yourself to my/our readers. I’ve long thought that it’s so interesting to actually learn more about the person behind the gift(s) they put out in to this world. A book is little piece of art and I like to learn about penstroke behind it, as well as the person behind the pen.

Brian:  Hi, Erin, it’s great to be featured on your blog. The photo of the spines of old books above makes me feel like I’m in a cozy library at some book collector’s home. There’s even a fire burning in the hearth and a loyal dog sleeping nearby. The image just gets my imagination going, because I love books. They can transport us into so many worlds. Thanks for having me here.

Erin:  Wonderful, I love your thinking!  I picture us sitting in high back red leather chairs by the fireplace in my library, sipping a hot cup of coffee and talking.  Let’s see if I can prick that brain of yours and come up with a reason why you are so creative! May our imaginations be prodded and enlightened by you and possibly just a tad bit scared. You are a paranormal horror writer you know….

Brian:  Pick away, although you may find some scary things hiding inside my head.

Q: Dead of Winter is your second novel available Oct. 4 (we’ll get to that below), but tell us how you began writing. Where did your dream of becoming a writer begin?

A: It started with my love of science fiction and horror movies. As a kid I loved all the old creature features of the ‘70s and ‘80s and the adrenaline I felt being scared. And I loved monsters of every kind and superheroes and read lots of comic books—X-men, Spiderman, Swamp Thing and dozens of others. There was something about escaping into fantastic stories that got me all excited and couldn’t wait to return to the store and check out the comic book racks. Growing up we lived in a house that backed up to a creek. Our backyard faded into these thick woods that got really spooky at night. My younger sister and I and some neighborhood kids explored those woods a lot and pretended there were monsters in there. We’d hear barking echoing from somewhere down the creek, and I swore it was a pack of feral dogs chasing us. Deep in the woods we found an old house that had burned to the ground and was nothing but a concrete foundation with a lot of charred wood and broken glass scattered about. It was weird. This house wasn’t anywhere near a road. We swore it had belonged to an old witch or a man who liked to abduct children. I liked spooking my sister and friends. I was always hiding behind a tree and jumping out and scaring them. I was kind of devious in that way. Later, when I was a teen I discovered the joy of reading novels and short stories. Because I was drawn to horror and monsters, I read a lot of Stephen King, James Herbert, John Saul, Robert McCammon, and Dean Koontz. These authors inspired me to turn my active imagination into writing my own fiction.

I attempted to write a few times in high school, but I didn’t have the focus and discipline to stick with it. When I was 19, in my freshman year in college, I was a business major, and I got the hair-brained idea that the way to get rich and never have to work was to write a great novel and become a best-selling author. Back in the late 1980s, authors like Clive Barker, Stephen King, and Anne Rice were mega superstars, and I wanted be successful like them. I also wanted to see my books made into movies. Silly me, I thought that kind of success could happen overnight with one book. That inflated dream propelled me to write my first novel that freshman year (and to skip a lot of classes). My first horror novel was a whopping 113 pages and I was damned proud of it. I submitted immediately to a literary agent and just as quickly got rejected; the novel was a wee too short. The agent called me personally to tell me not to get discouraged. (That never happens, but I was twenty and the agent must not have had the heart to crush my dream.) He said he thought I had talent and that I needed to spend a few years learning the craft of novel writing. He also told me to add about 200 pages to my novel. That first novel is laughable when I read it today. But I learned I could start and finish a novel, and I discovered that I love the whole process of writing from first draft to revisions to editing. My sophomore year, I started the next book, one about a snow beast terrorizing a ski lodge, and never looked back.   

Erin’s Comment: I have always loved comic books too and everything about superheroes and the fight between good and evil. Something about the art and storylines mixed together as enough to make me run to the comic stores and bask in the beautiful characters, vibrant colors, and exciting story lines.

I am so glad you kept following your dream of being a writer. I always wanted to be a writer so I can relate. I am sure you were very talented even back then. You are one of the most talented writers I’ve ever read. I applaud you for going after what you want and never letting your dream die. 

Q: What were your most memorable stepping stones along the way?

A: Wow, there are so many. I’ll list the highlights. In college I took some creative writing courses, screenwriting courses, and a workshop on how to write a novel. Those teachers taught me the difference between a rough first draft and an edited draft that’s polished and ready to share with readers. For the first time, going to class was fun, and so was the homework. I also studied screenwriting and filmmaking, which helped me write what I call “cinematic” writing. That means when I write my chapters, I focus more on one of my characters acting out a scene as opposed to just having a character thinking about what’s going on. In screenplays a scene is all action and dialogue, so I write my fiction the same way. A lot of my readers tell me they can see my books as movies in their heads, and I think it’s because I studied how to write for the big screen.

Erin’s Comment: Absolutely, that’s exactly what happened to me when reading your novel. I could visually see everything happening and your detail is superb. And since I could view it, it became more a part of me, just like really good movies never leave my head.

A, continued:  Here’s another stepping stone. When I was just starting out, I was told the road to becoming a published author is paved with rejection letters. The authors who succeed keep on following a steady path. Well, I earned plenty of rejections with my first novel, which never saw the light of day. At that time I was getting really discouraged and about to give up. Then I met bestselling thriller author, Robert Crais, at a book signing and told him that I aspired to be in his shoes one day. He told me to never give up on my dreams and even wrote that in the book he autographed for me. That fated meeting gave me the emotional boost I needed. After that, I started writing a new novel—a supernatural WWII thriller titled SHADOWS IN THE MIST, based on real history about the Nazis and the occult.

Later, in my early thirties, when I was still unpublished and struggling to finish my WWII thriller, I was again feeling like I was fooling myself that I would ever be a published author. I was feeling alone, writing all the time, and while I had supportive friends and family, none of them were writers. I needed to be around other writers to share the process of writing novels. So I treated myself to a nine-day writer’s retreat inRome with about forty writers. I studied the craft of writing with bestselling authors Terry Brooks, Dorothy Allison, and one of my heroes, horror author John Saul. I believe that hanging around successful authors rubs off on you. Writing for a living becomes a tangible thing. In Italy, we got to hang out with the authors and tour the Tuscan wine country, eating pasta, drinking wine, and discussing writing everywhere we went. I told John Saul about my struggles with finishing my novel and, being a rather blunt fellow, John told me, “Just finish the damn book.” Later, when he autographed a book for me, he wrote those same words again. Hearing those words from a highly accomplished bestseller turned a light on inside me. I went home and made myself write every day until I finished my manuscript.

I didn’t really start to see success until my late thirties and early forties (I turn 43 on November 28). I eventually published SHADOWS IN THE MIST and now, DEAD OF WINTER, a historical horror novel set in 19th Century Canada. It was persistence that kept me going from one stepping stone to another. I tell how I finally published my first novel later in the interview.

Q: What were your most difficult challenges and how do you feel you’ve overcome them?

A: I think the two biggest challenges I’ve dealt with are writer’s block and getting writing done in spite of distractions. There are also loved ones who need to be given attention to. I used to be married early on in my career, and I remember how difficult it was to make time for writing while being in a relationship with my wife and working day jobs for a living. At that time, writing was just a hobby, a pipedream, that didn’t earn any money. I had a lot of manuscripts of short stories and half-written novels, but no published works to show the world, and my wife, that I was a serious professional author. My wife was actually very supportive. It was me who felt guilty for not having a book deal to show for my efforts. I struggled with justifying that all my lonely hours spent writing—which was time away from quality time with my wife, friends, and family—was going to someday pay off. It was easy to feel discouraged and doubt that I was focusing my attention on the right dream. The way I overcame this doubt was I made a decision that even though I wasn’t a paid writer yet, I told myself, “I am a writer! Writing books is the career I was born to do and I am in this for the long haul. So hunker down and keep writing.” I told my wife, friends, and family that storytelling is my number one passion and that I needed their support and encouragement. Also, I started calling myself a writer, and when people asked me what I do, I told them, “I write novels.” And when they asked, “Have you published anything?” I responded, “Not yet, but I will soon.” Calling myself a writer and telling the world I was a writer made me believe it and then it started becoming a reality. Now, all my friends and family see me as fiction writer.

Erin’s Comment: I hope, as they should, that the whole world thinks of you as a fiction writer!

A continued:  I’ll give you one more challenge I faced during my career. This may be revealing too much, but I know a lot of artists can go through a dark period, especially when they reach their late thirties and their career hasn’t quite panned out like they had dreamed it in their twenties. A couple years back I battled depression, and during that time I lost my passion for writing. Months went by without me writing a single page. You would think having an abundance of free time means you can get a lot done. But at that time I was struggling to make ends meet and lost sight of my purpose, and then I lost the flame that burns in my chest and drives me to create. I realized the depression stemmed from being out of work and having too much idle time on my hands. To shift my depression, I made myself do activities. Anything and everything. I got busy. I took some creative classes. I explored other arts, like painting. I went to the gym, took yoga, swam laps at the pool. And I went back to working a job that wasn’t related to writing but boosted my income. It was a rough period and took a few months to stabilize, but then I got my muse back and started happily writing again. I used those hours of darkness to add depth and realism to my main character in DEAD OF WINTER, Inspector Tom Hatcher, who not only battles grief but also a deranged serial killer, the Cannery Cannibal, who knows Tom’s deepest, darkest fears.

Erin’s Comments: I’ve been through the same depression and life of hard knocks. Amazingly, some of my best poetry came from dark times in my life. Without being able to feel, good or bad, it makes it hard to write.

Q: You look more like a handsome movie actor than a scary horror writer….just how does your mind come up with the scenarios you write?

A: Thanks, Erin, I’m flattered. Honestly, I don’t know where it comes from. I’ve always had an active imagination and a love for monsters. As a kid, I played make-believe with my Star Wars action figures and G.I. Joe soldiers, and inevitably I’d make up stories that monsters were attacking, picking my characters off one-by-one. When I grew up (in years at least) my make-believe games turned into fiction writing. And it seems like every time I sit down to write, even if the story starts out as a romance (which I’ve attempted), it eventually turns supernatural, and then the creatures start to emerge from the darkness. That’s just where my mind goes. I’m sure Freud would have a heck of a time analyzing the dark dimensions of my mind. I like to think of those dimensions as Lovecraftian and hopefully a gift to the planet. Funny thing is most horror writers I’ve met are pretty happy and sane. They get their demons out of their heads and onto paper.

Erin’s Comments: Yea, I get what you are saying! That’s probably because isn’t full of happy times. I mean nothing is perfect. Look at fairy tales, we all think about the happily ever after, but there is usually some awful, dreadful, and sometimes violent path the character takes before getting the perfect ending. In meeting you, and seeing what a friendly and fun person you seem to be, I immediately thought of Stephen King. People, of course, associate his name with horror, but when you think of the man himself and read his recent interviews and see his picture, he just looks so happy with life and eager to share his best loved hobby with the world.

Q: Do you ever scare yourself silly with your own imagination or writing?

A: Yes, occasionally I’ll write a scene that gives me the shivers. It only happens, though, when I have one of my characters enter an old house or cave or underground tunnel. I have no idea what’s lurking behind the wall of blackness until my characters raise their flashlights, and the wicked thing they shine their light upon plucks the fear chords deep inside my chest. Sometimes it steals my breath and I have to stop writing until the shivers cease. This happened recently in a novel I’m now writing called THE DEVIL’S WOMB. As an author of horror, I live for those moments.

Erin’s Comments: Is that a night you spend sleeping with all the lights on? Hahaha

Q: What is one unique thing that readers might know about you to get a better sense of who you are?

A: Well, I’m hard of hearing and have to wear hearing aids. About five years ago I started noticing that I was having trouble understanding people’s spoken words. Everyone just sounded muffled. And people who were soft spoken—well, forget about it. Their words kept dropping out and I had to ask people to repeat themselves over and over. It was frustrating. I got my ears tested and, sure enough, my right ear was only hearing about 40% and my left at about 60%. So I got these tiny, almost invisible, hearing aids and it’s made all the difference. Now, I understand about 90% of what people say, unless I’m not paying attention. I tend to daydream. Sometimes my hearing challenge is an advantage. When babies are crying on airplanes or the dog next door is barking, I can pull out my aids and turn down the volume.

Q: What are your hopes and dreams for your career as a writer and/or your novels?

A: For the most part, I’m finally living my dream. My whole life I wanted to be a published author of horror novels and I’ve made that happen. I wanted to meet some of my heroes, and I’ve gotten to hang out with many celebrity authors. Now, I’m focused on building a body of work that I can be proud of and leave behind a legacy that entertains millions of book lovers and inspires other authors just as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, H.P. Lovecraft, Richard Laymon, and a cast of others have inspired me. I’d also like to see my books hit the New York Times best-seller’s list, published in multiple languages, and be made into movies. That’s the biggest dream since I was a kid watching monster movies—to go to a movie theater, order a tub of popcorn, and watch a blockbuster movie that opens with the credits, “Based on the novel by Brian Moreland.” I still believe this vision will one day manifest.

Erin’s Comments: I can’t believe it hasn’t happened yet, but it seems like they are destined for the screen and people would love to watch them. And as far as the New York Times best-seller’s list, I’d be surprised if they didn’t. They are spectacular. I suppose if you started dating one of the Real Housewives of Somewhere maybe?? lol

Q: Why do you think that the paranormal, horror, thriller genre is so popular today?

A: You could add the fantasy genre to that question. I could only make a guess, but I think people right now really need a good escape from the realities of a bad economy and seeing wars and crimes in the news everywhere they look. To me all this stress breeds dark feelings on the inside of us and we need an outlet like a vampire, werewolf, zombie, or serial killer to express our feelings through. For instance, the book and TV series DEXTER—which I absolutely love—is extremely popular right now. In a Season One episode called “Shrink Wrap,” Dexter visits a shrink and talks about “the wolf” inside us all that needs to come out every now and then and howl. We all have shadow sides that secretly enjoy doing dark deeds. Horror novels give us that outlet.

Also, there’s a lot of mystery about God and the Universe, death and the afterlife, and paranormal stories with ghosts and angels and even archetypal monsters allow us to explore those mysteries. Zombies are huge right now, and perhaps these post-apocalyptic, flesh-eating nightmares mimic a societal fear that we’re not as in control as we’d like to be. I think all these genres touch us on a deep, subconscious level that we just can’t fathom. Whatever the reason, they’re super fun.

Q: Are you a gruesome and gore horror writer, or do you stick to the paranormal thriller chills and thrills?

A: My books do have some blood and gore, but I don’t write gore for the sake of gore. My aim is that my books feel real. I want you in the character’s head, experiencing every detail they experience. If they come across a mangled body—as Tom Hatcher does at the beginning of DEAD OF WINTER—I want the reader to see what Tom sees as if the reader were standing there looking down at the body. Another character in that novel, Father Xavier, has to do an exorcism on a demon-possessed prisoner at an asylum. Some gruesome things happen in that scene, but I don’t want to give too much away. I describe just enough of the gruesome details for the reader to form a picture in their head, and then I let their imagination fill in the rest. And it’s usually more horrific than what I describe.

Q: What defines the genre of “horror” to you?

A: It’s any story that induces fear, raises your adrenaline, and get’s your heart pumping faster. And it contains either a supernatural element, monsters, or serial killers. Horror stories often look Death right in the face, and some characters outsmart the Grim Reaper, while others die off.

Q: What is your favorite travel destination (is or would be) and why?

A: Costa Rica. I’ve traveled down there five times. I love the tropical rain forests, the waterfalls, the beaches, the wildlife—giant blue morpho butterflies, colorful poison-dart frogs, toucans, and Macau monkeys hooting and cawing and waking me up at five in the morning. When you’re hiking through the virgin rain forest, you can be miles from civilization, and feel the ancient rhythms of the earth. The experience is both primal and spiritual. There are plenty of outdoor activities to do, like kayaking, horseback riding on a beach, and zipping across a zip-line on a canopy tour. I also love relaxing with beer and fish tacos and staring at the ocean. Oh, and the Ticos are very friendly people. Other favorite destinations: Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Hawaii.

Erin’s Comments: Sounds absolutely AMAZING. I love to travel, that’s why I ask the question. Nature revives me and I can’t live without viewing all it has to offer. Enjoying the outdoors is one of my joys in life, quite fascinating what you find and can experience.

Q: What are your other interests beyond writing?

A: I’m glad you asked this question, because I do have a life outside of writing horror. I enjoy hiking outdoors, kayaking, and swimming. I also love cooking. I make a great pot of chili and some zesty guacamole that I believe rivals any restaurant. I’m an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction. I’m generally in the middle of reading five books at the same time. I love watching movies the old fashioned way—on the big screen at a theater with a Coke and tub of popcorn—although I do watch DVDs and Netflix quite a bit too. Probably my favorite thing to do is watch football games at home with family and friends. I love Super Bowl parties. If you’ve got the big screen TV, I’ll bring the guacamole.

Erin’s Comments: Ok, interview Part 2 will have some recipes included….

Q: Tell us the story about how your first book launched your career. It is a very inspirational story for many writers looking to be published.

A: In my late thirties, when I still hadn’t published and was playing the long waiting game with literary agents, I finally took the leap and self-published SHADOWS IN THE MIST. I was committed to putting out a book that could stand up to any bestselling book out there. So I hired an editor, a book cover designer, and an award-winning illustrator, Les Edwards, to paint the cover. When I first released my thriller in the fall of 2006, I did an aggressive marketing campaign, and the novel hit #1 on Amazon’s Mystery & Thriller list the first week. After submitting to an international book contest, my debut novel went on to win a gold medal for Best Horror Novel. This helped me land a mass paperback deal with Berkley/Penguin.

Now I have an agent and in 2009 she sold SHADOWS IN THE MIST to a German publisher (Otherworld Verlag) who translated my novel to German and released it in Austria and Germany in 2012. That was pretty cool. I have the hardback displayed at home and I can’t comprehend a word of it.

After the success of my first novel, I immediately started writing my second, DEAD OF WINTER, another historical novel that blends horror with my other favorite genres—mystery, gothic romance, the detective story, and dark suspense. A year after I finished DEAD OF WINTER, I sold it to Samhain Publishing (http://store.samhainpublishing.com/horror-c-20.html?osCsid=a4701d826c6b9e607eb912790c00f518), who was starting up a new horror line in October 2011. It was divine timing and I’m fortunate that my novel is one of the first to roll out among acclaimed authors like Ramsey Campbell, Ronald Malfi, and W.D. Gagliani, and up-and-coming authors Hunter Shea and Kristopher Rufty.

Q: How has e-publishing changed the game for writers and how can you be successful at it?

A: At first, I felt a little nervous about the growing popularity of e-books, because I love paperbacks and was sad to see a decline in paperback publishing. In fact, the mass paperback market is almost dead for unknown authors. Now, after I see the direction that publishing and book-buying are headed, I think e-publishing has made the game a whole lot more fun and lucrative for authors. Because the costs of printing and paper are eliminated, authors can earn a higher percentage off e-books than paperbacks. That means larger royalty checks. And book stores can return all the paperback and hardcover books they don’t sell and ship them back to the publisher. The publisher then takes the amount of all these “returns” and deducts from the author’s royalty earnings. With e-books, there are no books sold on consignment. And readers who download their books to their e-reader are less likely to return their book. So less returns means more actual book sales that stick.

Also, the ease and instant gratification of downloading e-books within seconds means a better chance at selling books. With physical books, people have to drive to a book store to purchase the book or they have to order from Amazon and wait a week. Those factors can weigh in their decision making on whether or not to buy the book. I’ve procrastinated on buying many books, because I didn’t want to wait a week for delivery. Now, with the instant downloads of e-books, there’s a much shorter window between a person’s decision to read a book and buy it. And e-books are several dollars cheaper too. I don’t even pause at buying e-books at $5.99, but if a paperback is $15 or more, I’ll spend more time thinking if that book is worth the money. 

One last thought about the upside to e-publishing. It’s easier for publishers to take a chance on unknown authors, because the risk is now much lower with e-books and print-on-demand becoming the main publishing platform for publishers. That means more undiscovered writers get a shot at publishing their first book. I’ve seen the future and it looks bright.

Q: Tell readers where they can look for the new DEAD OF WINTER and your first novel, SHADOWS IN THE MIST. As well, please tell us about your short stories and blogs.

A: The e-book for DEAD OF WINTER is now selling everywhere. You can buy it now for the lowest price directly from Samhain Publishing (http://store.samhainpublishing.com/dead-winter-p-6507.html). The paperback goes on sale January 3, 2012. SHADOWS IN THE MIST is out of print temporarily, due to changing publishers, but should release again in 2012.

I also have two short stories “Chasing the Dragon” and “The Dealer of Needs” that you can download or read online. (http://brianmoreland.com/myshortstories.html)

 Q: How can fellow writers contact you? How can readers and fans connect?

A: I love connecting with readers, fans, and fellow writers. I welcome emails and contact on most of the major social media sites.

Website: http://www.BrianMoreland.com

Personal email: Brian@BrianMoreland.com

Follow on Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Facebook: Author Brian Moreland

Goodreads:

(http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1150022.Brian_Moreland_Author_of_Horror)

My Horror Fiction blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com

Erin:  It was amazing getting to speak with you, Brian. I wish you much continued success in your writing endeavors and look forward to speaking with you again. In fact, readers, we have a whole second interview coming with Brian later in October~!! Perfect time to get all your Halloween time spooks and thrills.

Brian:  It’s been an absolute pleasure, Erin. Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog.

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