Tag Archives: demons

Spooky Guest Article by Catherine Cavendish + Review of Saving Grace Devine

Today I have a SPOOKY guest article by the amazing author Catherine Cavendish (yes, SPOOKY, I got scared as I read it and now I don’t want to go to bed tonight). From across the pond in the UK, she’s just released her Saving Grace Devine novel with Samhain Horror Publishing. I had the terrifying opportunity of reading her book and it is excellent for all the many Gothic and haunting paranormal lovers, with an eerie mystery and a time slip to 1912.

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Her premise, “can the living help the dead?,” had me curious. I am not usually just a straight haunt story reader, because those stories scare me more than anything and I can’t sleep, but with her Gothic style (for those familiar with Victoria Holt and Daphne Du Maurier style of European or Victorian Gothic) I knew I’d love it.

Her protagonist, Alex is a modern woman, set on a vacation to an isolated island with her husband, Greg. She does feel as if she has a specter near here, but she’s never been sure what it all means. She likes to explore and sight see and visit museums and when she sets foot in to a small, local museum near where they are staying she discovers a family history and a painting that she is familiar with. It seems her specter has followed her….or maybe led her….and need her help. Slowly, she beings to unravel the mystery to the sordid and evil family history, being propelled back in time to 1912 by a family member with demonic powers.

It seems that the case is true, to break a curse sometimes deals are made with the devil with after effects you’d never think will come. At the moment you may think you have no choice, and in the end you pay the price.

I loved the mystery she incorporated into her novel. I loved her character development of Alex. I thought differently about one section of it, like who needed to do the forgiving, but I can’t say much or I’ll spoil. It was only because I cared so much about the characters though that I even  had that emotion. I think her book was contemporary and yet she switched easily to the past creating an eerie environment just right in Gothic literature. I could picture both the modern and the past as separately. She offered just the right details at the right time.

I loved the time slip part the best and the ending, yet I was so saddened by the ending. It really did shock me quite more than I expected it too. She wrapped it up nice and neat, then she tore my heart out. Ah, I still can’t believe it. Quite unnerving and terrifying. Then the book came full circle back to the beginning.

On the front half of the book, it was a delightful summer spooky read, but on the back end it left me unsettled and quite sad, which is what it was supposed to do. She messed with  my emotions and now she owes me wine and scones!!  I can’t wait to read more of Cat’s work. If you love Gothic literature, Cat’s the new author on the prowl you should be reading.

Enjoy her guest article!

The Ghosts of Brookdale Lodge
by Catherine Cavendish, Author

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In my new novel, Saving Grace Devine, a young girl is drowned, but her spirit returns to haunt the lakeside where she met her untimely end. She seeks help from the living, to help her cross over to the afterlife.

From my research, it would appear that my fictional Grace is not alone. Many people have reported seeing ghosts of drowned girls who are all apparently earthbound – searching for something, or someone. In need of help from the living to help them join the world of spirit.

In this account, the ghost of a drowned little girl is not the only spirit haunting the site.

In Brookdale, California, in the shade of giant redwood trees, Judge J.H. Logan built a lodge in 1890, on the site of the old Grover lumber mill. In the 1920s, Dr F. K. Camp built the now famous dining room, with a natural brook running through it, so that diners could enjoy their meal beside the flowing water.

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Today, this lodge is the residential Brookdale Inn and Spa, but back then, it was called Brookdale Lodge, and witnessed plenty of drama and more than one drowning. As a result, it is estimated some 49 spirits now reside there, and many guests have been all too aware of at least one of them.

The beautiful dining room created by Dr Camp is known as the Brook Room and exists to this day. It has certainly seen some interesting events and some colourful characters over the years. The Lodge itself had its heyday between 1922 and 1945 when famous stars such as Hedy Lamarr, President Hoover, Joan Crawford and Rita Hayworth stayed there. Songs were written about it, such as My Brookdale Hideaway. It was also a place where secrets were kept and questions went unasked.

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1955 Photo of Joan Crawford

Dr Camp sold the Lodge in 1945, and from then on through the 1950s, it changed hands a couple of times. Its fortunes changed and it became a hideout for gangsters and others of dubious reputation. Secret passageways and hidden rooms were installed and rumours circulated of bodies buried under the floorboards.

It was during this era that six year old Sarah Logan, niece of the then owner, drowned in the dining room brook. It is her ghost that is most frequently reported. She is often seen, wearing a 1940s style white and blue dress – probably her Sunday best – as she walks through the lobby or near the fireplace between the living room and the Brook Room. She is clearly at home in the building as she has also been reported sitting in the Fireside Room and playing on the balcony of the Brook Room. Owners and visitors alike have reported their sightings and it seems she appears in solid form, rather than as a translucent wraith.

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In the Brook Room, after the guests have gone, the glasses and plates still tinkle, and people carry on their chatter. A ghost of a woman has been seen, apparently crossing the brook, using a bridge that has long since been demolished. Could this be Sarah’s mother, looking for her? When the woman is sighted, she is often accompanied by the smell of gardenias – although none exist in the building. Her perfume maybe?

Are Sarah and her mother trying to be reunited? If someone could help them do so, would their hauntings cease? Even if they did, Brookdale could still lay claim to a ‘Most Haunted’ title. In addition to the sounds of ghostly diners, phantom dancers whirl and twirl around the Ballroom and, in the Fireside room and the Pool Room, if you listen carefully, you can still hear the big band play…

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Here’s a flavour of Saving Grace Devine:

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Can the living help the dead…and at what cost? 

When Alex Fletcher finds a painting of a drowned girl, she’s unnerved. When the girl in the painting opens her eyes, she is terrified. And when the girl appears to her as an apparition and begs her for help, Alex can’t refuse.

But as she digs further into Grace’s past, she is embroiled in supernatural forces she cannot control, and a timeslip back to 1912 brings her face to face with the man who killed Grace and the demonic spirit of his long-dead mother. With such nightmarish forces stacked against her, Alex’s options are few. Somehow she must save Grace, but to do so, she must pay an unimaginable price.

You can find Saving Grace Devine in multiple e-formats at:

Samhain Publishing

Amazon.com 

Amazon.co.uk 

Amazon.ca 

Amazon.com.au 

B&N 

Kobo

and in paperback here:

Samhain Publishing

Save 30% off at Samhain for the month of July and save 50% off paperback with code Paperback50 at checkout!

Catherine Cavendish, Biography~

Catherine CavendishCatherine Cavendish is joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology competition 2013. Her winning novella – Linden Manor – is now available in all digital formats and the print anthology will be published in October. She is the author of a number of paranormal horror and Gothic horror novellas and short stories. . Her novel, Saving Grace Devine, has just been published by Samhain Publishing.

She lives with a longsuffering husband in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.

When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.

You can connect with Cat here:

Website

Facebook

GoodReads

Twitter

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Feature Articles, Guest Posts

Accomplished Screenwriter, Director, and Author Frazer Lee Discusses His Newest Novella, Writing, and His Pesky Eating Habits

Today I have an interview with the amazing screenwriter, director, and author Frazer Lee. Straight from England, he and I had an amazing time talking about books and writing…and we laugh….alot! It’s one of a couple of my favorite interviews so far. Whether you’re a reader, writer, or film buff, I recommend making time on your agenda to read this one and leave us some comments.

Frazer’s The Lucifer Glass, the first novella in a series, just published yesterday from Samhain Horror (June 4, 2013) and you can get it for a couple bucks. Here’s the cover. You can read more about it and click links at the end of the interview. You’ll also get to view the cover for his upcoming Fall title, The Jack in the Green! Enjoy!

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Hi Frazer! So happy to have you by Oh, for the Hook of a Book today and look forward to a rousing interview of epic proportions (no pressure or anything –  ha!) I jest, but really…glad to have you hear to discuss your newest novella series (The Lucifer Glass), upcoming novels, and whatever other questions come up!

Frazer: Thank you Erin. It’s a rousing pleasure of epic proportions to be here, and feel free to apply the pressure!

Erin: Get ready then….Let’s plop back with a cocktail of choice (find any good ones from that cocktail contest you had for readers?) and discuss…

Frazer: Sounds good to me. I’ll mix a couple of Frazizors, a brutal cocktail of my own devising – though neither of us may live to tell the tale. The last one i made melted the glass…

Q:  You’re an author, director, screenwriter, and I believe give college lectures as well! When you aren’t scaring students into major creative breakthroughs for the screen, how do you divide your time to accomplish it all?

A: I’m guilty on all counts – Jack of all trades, master of none, ha! It is difficult to cram it all in, but somehow I stretch the days (and sometimes nights as well) to hit my deadlines. A lot of my novel-writing happens on train journeys and in hotel rooms, and when I’m working on screenplay commissions concurrently I often split the day – so I do half a day on the novel and the rest on the screenplay. The craziest time of year for me is when all the grade marking comes in from the Universities, I have to put my own creative work aside for a few weeks during that period as the coursework submissions are in the hundreds. Then, as is the case right now, I get straight back into it.

Q:  When did you first decide you wanted to become “a writer?” What inspired you and guided you on your creative course?

A: I started telling stories when I was a kid, in school I helped other kids with their reading as I was just blazing through as many books as I could read. When I had homework assignments to write stories I really enjoyed them, and just became hooked.

Q:  What type of creative outlet did you first begin with and why?

A: The story writing and my love of movies converged when I started writing and performing little radio plays – sequels to the movies I was a fan of at the time – and recording them (with music and sound FX) on my little mono tape recorder (I’m a child of the 1970s and was seven years old when Star Wars was released). Luckily none of the tapes survived! But in retrospect I do think that was a very early, very naive attempt at screenwriting.

Lamplighters72LGQ:  Your debut novel, The Lamplighters, came out last year (published by Samhain Horror) and you immediately felt writing success by being bestowed as a Bram Stoker Award Finalist for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. How did you decide to take the plunge into publishing a novel? What inspired you to do so?

A: The Lamplighters was one of these ideas that just wouldn’t let go of me. It was wriggling around in my brainpan just insisting to come out. At first I thought of writing it as a screenplay, but I just knew somehow that it had to be a novel. I’d had some short stories published, which boosted my confidence, and author friends of mine encouraged me to read ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. I did so, and found it to be hugely inspiring, I highly recommend it to anyone starting out. I wrote chunks of the novel at The British Library in London, and did a lot of my research there. Getting into that routine helped discipline me to treat novel-writing as a job of work.

Erin Comments: That’s great advice as well for others looking for inspiration.

Q:  Has the positive reviews and acknowledgment caused you to say you’ve done enough, or has it propelled you into further writing challenges?

A: Well, I never really stop working, so by the time that praise and the award nomination came in I was already well underway on other things. Anything positive like that really helps of course, you need as much energy as you can get to keep going. But the bad reviews keep you on your toes too, there’s always so much more to learn. All I can hope for is to learn more from, and keep growing with, each project. If it ever stops feeling like a challenge, then I’ll stop too.

Q:  Your newest publishing adventure, again with Samhain Horror, is The Lucifer Glass (Daniel Gates Novella #1). It’s the first part of a novella series. With all the serials emerging, as well as short stories and novellas, how did you decide to create a series of novellas, and why?

A: The character, Daniel Gates, drove me in that direction, toward writing a series. I found that when I’d completed a series of drafts of The Lucifer Glass, Daniel Gates was still present in my mind, vividly so. And I realised there were story elements I’d edited out of earlier drafts that might later pave the way for future installments featuring the character. So readers can expect two or three more Daniel Gates novellas at least, and I really hope they enjoy them as much as I am enjoying writing them.

 Erin Comments: Since I’ve been promoting it as a three-part series, I think you’re stuck. *wink*

Q:  What is the basis for The Lucifer Glass? What inspired it? What’s it about? Why might readers enjoy it?

A: The Lucifer Glass is inspired, in part, by the ‘derring-do’ adventures I read as a teenager by the amazing author Dennis Wheatley. That cigar-smoke scented world of gentleman’s clubs, ancient artifacts and occult rituals – I was a sucker for all that, and still am. I think any writer must have obsessions, and the novella draws on many of my own. If you like what’s loosely termed ‘weird fiction’, with a robust dash of the occult, then this might be the one for you.

Erin Comments: I like what you said about obsessions (or interests), as that is what makes writers unique.

Q:  Did you have to do much research for The Lucifer Glass novella series? If so, what and how extensive was it? If not, make something up to fill the space. Kidding….

A: Well, I had to fill that damned glass with plenty of single malt whisky as part of my ‘extensive research’ (hic!) And when I’d sobered up… Just kidding!? (Erin Comments: Ha!)

I’ve been reading about the occult since…well, since I could see basically, so a lot of it was stored up just bursting to be used somehow. It’s fun working little references and in-jokes into the text, I so enjoy that aspect of writing this particular series. For the next novella I’ve been reading up on my demonology and a few other dark and nasty surprises that lie in wait for Daniel Gates.

 Erin Comments: Sounds awesome, really! The realm of the occult is frightening, but such a vast space to draw from for writers who are intrigued with the topic.

Q:  How does your mind come up with such creative ideas? Do you think of them anywhere and everywhere or does it take quiet, peaceful moments alone concentrating on an idea?

A: Thanks for calling them creative – not all ideas pass muster, I can tell you that. They come to me as images, sometimes fragments, and sometimes entire scenes. Often when I’m travelling, or walking/running in the woods – or taking a shower! I really have to focus and hold onto the ideas so I don’t forget them before I can write them down. Sometimes I leave myself voicemail, and I once text-messaged a passage from The Lamplighters to myself. Oh, the pre-Smartphone era! 🙂

Erin Comments: Funny thing about the shower…..I always do my best thinking there too! And what did we do without smartphones? Write on napkins, I guess.

Q: Are you a writer that writes quickly and without outline or are you methodical, planning it out and staying to your notes?

A: For novels I rough out an outline, but if the characters take me off in another direction I just go with them for the ride and see where it takes me. My screenplay work always follows the methodical 1-pager, treatment, beat sheet/scene breakdown approach as that’s usually contractually required by the producers anyhow. Best of both worlds.

Q:  How do you describe your writing style in regards to books? If it varies by book, go ahead and describe each and why?

A: I don’t know if I even have a style! If I did, then what I would hope for is for it to be visual, sensory, and above all else – unsettling. But that is really not for me to say. I just write ’em how I see ’em.

Q:  How does your writing style for books differ from your writing style as a screenwriter? Also, how are the various styles different in general and how can authors use the skills of screenwriting to create better books?

A: Technically, the styles of screenwriting and novel writing are vastly different, and the word counts are insanely different too. But the voice is always mine, so in one project I might be dragging you screaming into the darkness and dumping you there alone, to claw your own way out. In another project I might be gently coaxing you, leading you gently by the hand into a dark place. That tone of voice varies project-to-project, whether for page or screen. Both forms are immersive in their own way, but I think both can benefit from hard editing – “kill your darlings” as The King once said.

Q:  When you lecture on screenwriting, without giving a course I’ll need to charge for on my site, what are a couple main things you urge them to remember? Might be good advice for aspiring or current authors looking to improve their novels?

A: Some of my post-graduate students are working on debut novels for their final project. A couple of them in the past told me that the advice I gave them in class regarding screenwriting, namely ‘show don’t tell’ and ‘less can be more’, along with the overall main character focus, was invaluable to their novel rewrites. And a couple more decided to adapt their own novels into screenplays during the course. I think the discipline of writing and rewriting (whether for the screen or books) can only come with hard work and a willingness to try things out, even if you ultimately change them back afterward.

Reading material aloud is a great way of cutting the crap – there are always sections that come across as “too much”, or are simply too convoluted and difficult to read aloud. I believe experimentation is also key to writing what you love, and then you’ll maybe love what you write. But hey, what do I know? Just write!

panic_button_novelQ:  What are some of your director or screenwriting accomplishments you’d like to share? I’ve heard you have a great book novelization on your hit movie Panic Button?

A: I had a lot of fun working on Panic Button. The producers had read a spec script of mine and invited me in to talk about their story idea. I turned that idea into a screenplay for them, several drafts, and they went and raised the finance, got a director, cast and crew on board real quick. While the movie was in post-production they floated the idea of me writing the novelization for them, but the deadline was insane. Never one to turn down a challenge, I went for it and had an absolute blast revisiting the material. Both the movie and the book have had some great reviews so I’m real pleased about that. I’ve been a rabid fan of movie novelisations since I was a kid, so it’s an ambition fulfilled for me to have my name on one. I would definitely do more.

Erin Comments: That’s so interesting. I didn’t think many books started as movies first. I’m interested in reading one. I should have asked you what some other good ones are…

Q:  Some of your favorite all-time films?  What are some of the best films ever made, in your opinion?

A: Ah, we could be here for weeks if I went into all of them. I have to enthuse about Robert Wise’s The Haunting, because it teaches us how to do so much with so very little. Clive Barker’s Hellraiser stopped my in my teenaged tracks because I thought I knew all I needed to know about horror at that point – but how wrong I was. I stayed in the theatre and watched it a second time – it was a real game-changer for me, that film.

I also obsess about Argento, Carpenter, Cronenberg, Del Toro, Bava, Von Trier, so many greats – like I said, we could be here for weeks! I used to dream of buying an old crumbling cinema so I could curate endless film festivals. But I’m lucky to have attended a lot of film festivals through my work, and to have seen so many classics old and new on the big screen.

Erin Comments: I would so help you run that restored cinema and maybe attach a bookstore to the side of it….ah, dreams…

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Q:  Do you feel that horror related movies and books are becoming more main stream and more widely accepted (I suppose I am speaking from a US perspective)? Why?

A: I think the YA market has perhaps helped open the genre up to younger readers and viewers, but there are always people for whom horror is just too much, and they say they “can’t even look at it”. But if a car crash happens, we’re all taking a peek. If the rolling news has some atrocity with “images we might find disturbing” we all watch through our fingers. The genre is so vast, so wide, with everything from dark psychological pieces, through brutal pain and gore, to romantic fantasies about gym-bodied werewolves – there really is something for everyone right now. Perhaps even for those people who say they “can’t look” at horror.

And hey, show anyone a picture of a guy in a cape with pointy teeth and they’ll know he’s Count Dracula, right? When I was studying, I wrote a paper on the popularity of the Freddy Kruger character and I remember how shocked a lot of my fellows were when I projected images of Freddy lunchboxes and pillowcases during my presentation! That trait of being fascinated by a villain runs deep in so many of us.

Erin Comments: So true, so many facets of horror. The word gets a bad rap sometimes. It’s like my mom said about  sprouts…don’t knock it till you try it. You might find you like something you never thought you would….

JackInTheGreen72lgQ:  You have another full-length novel coming up at the beginning of October as well, called The Jack in the Green, which encompasses a village with green rolling hills (I am picturing) and their strange pagan ritual. How did you come up with the idea for this novel? It sound like it’s based on a legend.

A: You pictured it just right! The Jack in the Green is partly inspired by old rites and ritual and my travels to pagan sites in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, along with some dodgy political moves here in the UK where the government tried to sell off some of our ancient forests to big business. Those two worlds, paganism and commerce, clashing together in my fictional forest village setting of ‘Douglass’ made me excited about the possibilities for some good old-fashioned rural horror. Bottom line though, I am just a little bit too obsessed by trees and forests and needed to put that somewhere.

Erin Comments: I am SO EXCITED about this book!!! I want it to be a movie too.

Q:  Why do so many nightmares we have as children transform into stories in our adulthood? Are they planted there as seeds for aspiring authors? Or are dreams phenomenons without explanation?

A: Great question. I think dreams, nightmares maybe help prepare us for the real traumas in our lives. And as we grow and experience those traumas, our dreams and nightmares help us to siphon them off, to process them. They become parables, cautionary tales – or else a way of expressing the idea that, “Hey, it could always be worse. Much, much worse. There was once this dark old house where…” And that’s where us authors cynically come in and try to make a quick buck out of them!

Q: How do you make time for all your writing in your life? What advice do you have for other authors?

A: There are times when other things, like a social life, have to be neglected while you write. I would advise, if you want to write then just get to it and keep at it. Write, and read, as much as possible. And then switch the bloody internet off and write and read even more. Concern yourself less with what the other guy is doing and focus on your own shit. Have a sense of genre, yes, but write characters and their stories first and foremost, paint pictures, build sensory worlds. Let it come out of you how it comes out. Then be prepared to alter some, or all, of it. And if you don’t drink coffee, I’m sorry but you are probably not going to make it.

 Erin Comments: I couldn’t survive without coffee…

Q: What has been your biggest challenge? Why? And in contrast, your biggest success?

A: Completing the first draft of The Lamplighters was gruelling. There was a lot of personal stuff going on in my life, a lot of death and madness and pain that took my eye off the target. My biggest success was to have The Lamplighters to channel all that stuff into. It just took me a little while to figure that out.

Q: What else are you doing to keep busy? Any summertime plans?

A: Well I have a couple of books and screenplay projects on the go, along with post-production on my new short film The Stay. Oh, and moving house!

Q:  Share with us something not many people know about you….strange habit? Hobbies?  Just don’t freak us out too much.

A: Some people are surprised to hear that I’m a vegetarian (well, pescetarian actually – I started eating fish again about 4 years ago). “A vegetarian horror author?” they ask, incredulous. “Sure,” I say, “you mean you’ve never heard of Count Duckula, the vegetarian vampire duck?”

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Erin Comments: My children were cracking up when I told them this one! LOL 😉 Very funny. In our house we only eat things with feathers or fins. We’d prefer to be herbivores.

Q:  If you’ve done any reading this year, some of the best books you’ve read recently…or if not, some of your all-time favorites for us please.

A: I have to say Redheads by my new Samhain Horror labelmate Jonathan S. Moore is a fantastic debut novel. But be warned, if you’re a redhead it’ll have you eating your fingers down to the bone… As far as all-time favourites go, look no further than Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It has everything you could possibly need from a book and I am yet to find its equal. Probably never will.

Q:  Where can people connect with you at?

A: When I’m not writing and I switch the modem back on, my website/blog is at http://www.frazerlee.com and I’m on Twitter http://twitter.com/frazer_lee and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/AuthorFrazerLeecome say Hell-o!

Erin:  Frazer, I am honored and happy that you’ve joined us today and really enjoyed our discussion. Look forward to talking to you again soon and best of luck with your writing! Thank you!

Frazer: Erin, it has been an absolute pleasure and I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my cold, dark heart. Now, about that Frazizor cocktail…

Erin: Another? You’ve made me at least five and I’m barely able to see straight……

Author Frazer Lee, Biography~
 
Frazer-LeeFrazer Lee’s debut novel, The Lamplighters, was a Bram Stoker Award Finalist. His novella, The Lucifer Glass, published June 4, 2013 and his next full-length novel, The Jack in the Green, publishes in October 2013, both from Samhain Horror. His short stories have appeared in anthologies including the acclaimed Read By Dawn series.  Also a screenwriter and filmmaker, Frazer’s screen credits include the award-winning short horror movies On Edge, Red Lines, Simone and the horror/thriller feature film (and movie novelization ) Panic Button.  Frazer resides with his family in leafy Buckinghamshire, England. When he’s not getting lost in a forest he is working on new fiction and film projects.
 
The Lucifer Glass, Synopsis~
‘The Lucifer Glass’ is the first in the ‘Daniel Gates’ occult series by Frazer Lee
 
LuciferGlass-The72lgIt may cost you your soul.
 
Daniel Gates is a fixer. Whatever his client wants, he can get – for a price. But the price of his latest assignment is a high one indeed. He is to travel to Scotland to exchange a rare demonic text, a grimoire, for a consignment of even rarer whiskey. Reading the grimoire, Gates learns of the legend of Lucifer’s Glass and the unholy trinity of green-eyed demons who protect it. As he does battle with the demons, Daniel realizes too late that there is much more to his assignment than meets the eye. He is locked in a struggle to save his very soul from damnation.
 
 
 
 
 
Buy from Samhain Horror (at 30% off for limited time which makes it less than $2):  http://store.samhainpublishing.com/lucifer-glass-p-7277.html
 
 

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Celebrate National Comic Book Day with a Guest Post by Author Hunter Shea!

We’ve got a SPECIAL GUEST POST just in time for NATIONAL COMIC BOOK DAY!!  For comic lovers around the Globe, what better weekend than the premiere of The Avengers AND National Comic Book Day (Cmon, FREE comic books)!!!!

What will you pick up? Have you seen Avengers?

In the meantime, check out our guest post from Author Hunter Shea in honor of National Comic Book Day and share your comments below.

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All Hail Comic Book Day! 

By Hunter Shea, Author of Forest of Shadows and Evil Eternal, Samhain Publishing

It’s safe to say that my love of reading grew from my love of comic books, and both have greatly shaped my life as a writer.

As a very young kid just learning to read, I was thrilled whenever I got new issues of Casper, Sad Sack, and yes, Archie. By the time I was about six, I had moved up to Plop!, Mad, and the gamut of superheroes from Spider Man to The Hulk. I was hooked, big time. When I had a free moment between games of wiffle ball or freeze tag, my head was in a comic book.

My favorite day of the week growing up was Wednesday. I called it Comic Book Day. As a Catholic school student, we got a half day every Wednesday so the public school kids could come to our classes for religious education. I went to my grandparents’ house every week, and every week my grandfather would walk me around the block to the stationery store to buy a few comics, and if it was warm out, an ice cream cone. Decades later, nothing still compares to Comic Book Day.

I was around ten when I drew a line in the sand and pledged my allegiance to Marvel, though I did secretly buy Green Lantern & Green Arrow  and the occasional Flash issue from time to time. My parents encouraged my comic obsession because it got me to read…a lot! I always had subscriptions to 4 comics at a time. The two mainstays were Captain America (still my fave, and I have the shield tattoo to prove it) and Fantastic Four. I’d alternate between X-Men, Marvel Two-In-One, Iron Man and the ill-advised Shogun Warriors and Rom Space Knight. Getting those issues in the mail each month wrapped in brown paper was like winning Wonka’s golden ticket.

By the time college came around, my comic book obsession was replaced by novels and movies, but I’ve never stopped completely. I eventually moved more into graphic novels and have marveled at the superior craftsmanship that goes into them. And now as a horror writer, I reflect back on the stories and characters that thrilled me as a kid and have channeled that emotion into my own work.

As an example, without even knowing it, I had crafted a particular story of mine into, basically, the script for a graphic comic. When that didn’t pan out (because creating a comic book is NOT easy), I expanded on it and made it a full length novel called Evil Eternal (see info at bottom of post). It has all the pomp and circumstance of ultimate bad versus ultimate evil, and as I wrote, I pictured illustrated panels in my brain from start to finish.  It’s a little trick that I’ve used again and again to drive my stories.

In fact, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have this horror writing career if it wasn’t for comic books. They are a part of my DNA, and I’m not alone. Almost every writer I know cut their teeth on comics. It’s an interesting correlation that’s worthy of study by a gaggle of university eggheads, on the condition they report to Stan Lee.

So thank you Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Ghost Rider, Green Lantern, Dead Pool, Wolverine, Swamp Thing, Man Thing, The Thing, Batman, Daredevil, Peter Parker, Kazar, Conan, Vampirella, and yes, even the Shogun Warriors.

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About Hunter Shea, Author

Hunter Shea is the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. Luckily, I’ve managed to make a love of all things ghostly and beastly into a career. It’s nice not to have to write for free anymore.

I’ve published several books and a slew of horror short stories over the years in magazines like Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, The Harrow, Tabard Inn, Deadline & Ethereal Tales, just to name a few. My latest novel, Forest of Shadows, is available through Samhain Publishing and their new horror line. Evil Eternal, what’s been desribed as Gran Guignol at its best and bloodiest, will be available in May 2012.

I’m also proud to be be one half of the Monster Men podcast, where my partner in crime Jack Campisi and I talk about all things horror with our own, sarcastic twist. All horror and no humor makes Hunter and Jack dull boys.

Feel free to contact me any time at huntershea1@gmail.com. Writing is lonely work.

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About Evil Eternal, Just Out May 1!!

Hunter Shea had a visual in his mind while writing Evil Eternal of it being a graphic novel. It’s in regular book form now and published by Samhain Publishing’s Horror line, but imagine how action packed and full of visual details this book is! I haven’t read it yet, but sounds like a great novel!  And…..if anyone out there in comic book land who wants to still turn it into a graphic novel, you should drop him a line! 

What’s the book about?

Only one priest can battle the ultimate evil!

An evil as ancient as time itself has arisen and taken root in New York City. Father Michael, the mysterious undead defender of the Church, answers the call to action from the Vatican, while Cain, a malevolent wraith that feeds on fear and blood, has taken the life and form of the city’s mayor and readies a demonic army to ignite the apocalypse.

With an unlikely ally, Father Michael will prepare for the grim confrontation as he grapples with his sworn duty to God and the shreds of humanity left beating in his immortal heart. The time is ripe for Cain and the fulfillment of dark prophecies. Father Michael must battle Cain and his horde of demons in a final showdown that could very well herald the end of mankind.

E-book available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain Publishing and wherever e-books are sold. Check it out today! One sale for limited time from Samhain Publishing link!

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Filed under Guest Posts, New Books I've Found

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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