Tag Archives: horror writers

Interview: Haunting and Horror Writer Pamela Morris Talks Books, Women in Horror, and Historical Locations #WIHM #womeninhorror #historicalhorror

Tomorrow is the last day of February and the closing of Women in Horror Month, but I know that I for one won’t stop celebrating women all year long. Stay tuned in March for a little announcement on how I will do that even more on schedule than I have before on this site, even though a majority of people featured here has always been predominately women.

Today, join me for a last segment in my mini women in horror month series. Pamela is a cool horror writer I met online years ago through our mutual friendship with horror author Hunter Shea. She likes her ghouls and haunts and history and so this will be a fun and interesting interview to read. Enjoy!

____________________________________________

Hi Pamela, welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I’m so glad you could join us. I have strong coffee or tea, whichever you’d prefer, or stiff drink. Take your pick, and if the former, tell me how you take it.

Pamela: Hey, Erin. It’s nice to be here. *checks the time* Coffee sounds great, with a double shot of Jameson and some whipped cream sounds about right after that chilly walk over here.

Erin: That sounds incredibly wonderful! Let’s carry them into the dining room and begin our chat!

I’ve known you for quite a few years, meeting you online from Hunter Shea. I know you are a fan of the paranormal and write many books in that vein. Can you tell my readers a bit about that and what you write?

Pamela: I have always been interested in all things occult and paranormal. It was something I grew up being very curious about and was never discourage away from learning. I’ve also been an avid reader all my life, so I guess the two just went hand-in-hand. First you read it. Then, in my case, you start writing about it. My first paranormal story was a three-page tale titled “The Strange Well” that I wrote when I was ten.

As I grew older, the stories got longer until now, I focus mainly on novels. My first two supernatural novels also happened to be murder-mysteries and are set in Barnesville, the fictionalized version of the small town I grew up in. Barnesville is home to a secret coven of witches who keep an eye on things. Currently I have four books set in Barnesville and there will be more eventually. These books lean towards the YA crowd.

In addition to The Barnesville Chronicles, I have a psychological horror that is very dark and deals with some taboo subject matter: abuse, rape, incest, murder, etc. Not YA in the least. Lastly, I wrote ghost story where a lot of the story is told from the perspective of the three ghosts involved. You don’t just see or hear what they are doing, but you get to know them as they were in life and why they are doing what they are doing, not just to the living but to their fellow trapped spirits.

Erin: What is your newest book and what’s that about? What did you find the most fun about writing that one and why?

Pamela: Last year I released a novel and a short story. The novel was the second part and conclusion to “The Witch’s Backbone” one of my Barnesville books. It’s very much a coming-of-age type tale. Five kids living in a small town decide to find out the truth about their local urban legend. The legend involves a witch named Rebekkah Hodak who is rumored to haunt a narrow ravine just outside town. It’s said that if you go to where her body was found, see her, and meet her gaze, you’re cursed to die an early, and possibly gruesome, death. One of the kids, twelve-year-old Tara Fielding, accidently sees what she believes to be this witch. Her panic and belief in the legend are what spawns the organization of a camping trip into the nearby woods. Horror ensues.

The short story is all about my personal fear of spiders, “Because, Spiders.” It’s about a nine-year-old girl whose fear is even greater than my own. She’s convinced there’s a giant spider hiding in the shed behind her house and she’s pretty sure it caught and ate the neighbor’s dog, too.

Erin: Do you feature any strong female in starring or supporting roles in your novels and stories? Tell us about a few and what their traits are?

Pamela: Most of my lead characters are women. In The Barnesville Chronicles, that would be Nell Miller. She’s the local small town librarian, who also happens to be a member of the coven mentioned earlier. She’s very out about being Pagan and confident in her magic abilities. She’s a bit of an instigator, always wanting to know more, do more, take action. She’s no Nervous Nellie, that’s for sure. She’s not one to turn down a challenge and will often drag her reluctant friends into helping her out.

In “Dark Hollow Road”, the psychological horror, one of the lead female characters is Mary Alice Brown. She’s the eldest of four and after the death of their mother, she’s the one responsible for taking care of all the rest. She struggles a lot with all that entails, including dealing with their abusive, alcoholic father. She does her best to protect them from him, even if that means she gets hurt in the process. She’s very shy, not well educated, and the victim of a lot of bullying both at home and around town, but she retains her sense of what is right and wrong, she has her hopes and dreams. She’s a fighter.

Erin: I love mysteries and historical research as well. How do those two loves of yours factor into your work?

Pamela: Every year for many, many years I’d get at least four Nancy Drew books for Christmas. I’d have them read by the end of January and craving more. That’s where my love of mysteries started and what greatly influenced what I write. Later I’d graduate to Agatha Christie and Wilkie Collins, but Nancy Drew was really the one that taught me that a mystery doesn’t always have to involve a murder.

My maternal grandmother was really interested in family genealogy so I think that may be where my love of history started. She liked antiques and all that. From 2004-2011, I was an American Civil War reenactor. That required a lot of research to know what the heck I was doing or talking to others about as my living history persona. The two main ghosts in “No Rest For The Wicked” are from that time period. I like to keep things as historically accurate as I can so all the research I did for my reenacting, was poured into them. The witches of Barnesville are descendants of the people accused of witchcraft in Connecticut from 1647 to 1663. No Salem witches for me – too typical. I wanted to be different, at last a little bit anyway. So, yeah, lots of real history worked in to everything I write – including that secret Barnesville coven that allegedly existed in my real hometown when I was a teenager!

Erin: What is one piece or location of history you’d like to explore of have explored for your writing or just for general interest? What interesting things have you found?

Pamela: Probably the Salem Witch Trials. I wrote my final high school English paper on the possible causes of the events that took place there. At the time, my mom was working at the main research library at Cornell University and that gave me magical access to the collection of documents housed there on the topic. I got to sit in a locked room with nothing but a pencil, paper, and some of the original document from which I took notes. With those and a few other books I owned at the time, I put together my paper. In 1989 my first husband and I went to New England for our honeymoon and decided we needed to spend the day in Salem. It was a rather whirlwind tour of the place, but still pretty neat. It wasn’t until many, many years later that I’d learn one of the women accused was a distant relative! It was also much later while doing some genealogy research for a friend that I learned about the Connecticut Witch Trials that preceded Salem by about thirty years. It was from this research that I drew the founders, and first coven members, of fictional Barnesville.

Erin: That’s so cool!! How hard do you feel it is to write mysteries and tie up all the points? How do you do so? Outline? What are the challenges and what are the rewards?

Pamela: Only my first two books were murder-mysteries and it was a lot more difficult than I’d initially thought. I’m normally a pantster (meaning I don’t outline … at all), I just write and kind of know where I’m headed or want to head. The mysteries wouldn’t allow that much freedom. Not only do you have to know who committed the murder, why, and how – but you have to come up with believable alibis for all the suspects, the reasons they might have committed the crime, and a secret they have that would cause them to lie about their whereabouts or motivations. Good grief! Plus, if you’re going to touch on police procedures that’s another layer of research to look into. All this is a bit more restricting than I like being, but … the reward of pulling it off, for misdirecting successfully, and it all still making sense in the end feels great.

Erin: You grew up watching horror, I believe. What are some of your great influences and what do you prefer to watch now? Same then with the reading, let us know reads you’ve loved and those who influence your work.

Pamela: Yes, I’ve been watching Horror since I was a wee thing. It started with the local Saturday afternoon horror show, “Monster Movie Matinee’. With the cartoons over, it was time to sit on the floor with a little tray of lunch and take in the creature feature. They showed mostly Universal movies – Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Abbot and Costello Meet The Wolfman, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken – family friendly horror, I guess. I grew into the Friday and Saturday night programming after that, darker stuff that started after the 11 o’clock news. Hammer Pictures, a lot of Christopher Lee. I love me them vampires! “Let’s Scare Jessica To Death”, “Night of the Living Dead”, “The Haunting of Hill House”, and “The Legend of Hell House”, “The Other” and “Dark Secret of Harvest Home” are the most memorable ones. Once in a while they’d have a great Made-For-TV movies on. “Night of the Scarecrow” was terrifying to me and my novel “Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon” was directly inspired by it. Elements of “The Other” also come into play in my book. Lastly, being from Rod Serling Country in Upstate New York, I adored both Twilight Zone and Night Gallery.

Oddly, I have a harder time coming up with books that influenced my writing. The style of certain authors inspired me, but maybe not so much the stories themselves. Tanith Lee, a British author, had a collection of kind of Horror\Sci-fi stuff that involved twisted fairy tales. Before her, I’d never heard of doing such a thing. I thought it was super cool and tried my hand at it with varied success. The fine art of short stories eludes me, though I keep trying. I liked Stephen Kings whole ‘small town – weird secret’ theme, too. That can be found in the Barnesville books. Of course, there’s good old Nancy Drew, again. I really enjoy books that make me think more about what’s going on, stories that misdirect the reader and have a lot of unexpected twists, endings that make me sit there and go, “Huh. I never saw that coming at all.” That’s what I try to do.

Erin: I’m a history buff too, and I know you were a Civil War re-enactor for a decade. What role(s) did you play? What was exciting about it? What type of horror or haunts did you learn? Have you used any of your time doing this in your writing?

Pamela: I played the wife of a field embalmer – aka an undertaker. It was very uncommon at the time, but not unheard of. It was also a very lucrative business. A lot like selling life insurance. My job was to gather the personal items of the deceased, write the letter home to his family, and mourn the poor soul appropriately. That involved sitting next to the coffin while dressed in black, wearing a black veil, and weeping (or pretending to weep). Those Victorians viewed death a lot differently than we do, mourning and a proper Christian burial was paramount. Embalming was a new science – formaldehyde hadn’t been invented yet so there was a variety of embalming fluid recipes. All very morbid to a lot of people. A lot of visitors wouldn’t even stop at our display. As I mentioned earlier, the two main ghosts in “No Rest For The Wicked” are from this time period and the man, Beauregard Addams, was the owner of a funeral parlor as well as having been a field embalmer and surgeon during the war.

Erin: That’s so interesting! Also, a mutual fan of road trips, do you take any to historical or haunted locations?

Pamela: No, we have not intentionally sought out haunted or historical locations. My husband isn’t into the whole paranormal or horror thing as much as I am, though I did manage to drag him to Granger, Texas to see the house used in the 2003 remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It’s not far from where his mom lives. So, that was cool. I also dragged him out to Terligua in West Texas for the Day of the Dead in the cemetery there. He humors me in all my ghostly, cemetery, haunted weirdness ways.

This summer we are hoping to make a delayed trip out to Boston Harbor to see the USS Constitution, might swing by Salem, but I want to go to Danvers, Massachusetts to see the homestead of Rebecca Towne Nurse who was one of the woman accused and hung for witchcraft back in 1692. She was also my 7x great aunt so I’m kinda curious about all that. We also plan on swinging over to Plimoth Plantation followed by Fall River to see Lizzie Borden’s old stomping grounds then west to wander through Sleepy Hollow for a bit before heading home.

Other road trips are much shorter, day trips or a weekend long adventure on the motorcycle. Anything beyond a four hour ride gets a bit sore on the old bottom!

Erin: Oh nice! That came in once near where son is in DC (the USS Constitution and other tall ships) and he loved it. He’s huge on that stuff (me too). That sounds like some amazing road trip stuff! I want to do all of that too. haha!

What are you working on now and what are your plans for the near future in terms of your writing?

Pamela: I am just finishing up the 4th draft of what I’m calling a Texas Gothic Horror titled “The Inheritance”. It should be ready this summer. I’m a big fan of the classic Gothic genre, old stuff, like Bram Stoker, Poe, and Wilkie Collins and really wanted to write something along those lines. But, I also wanted it to be contemporary, so I set it in the West Texas desert, added some bad ass bikers, and a band of really pissed off Apache spirits. Good times! This was great fun to write! And using the traditional plotting schemes of a Gothic novel really made things zip along. The most fun maybe was doing the research for this – ya know, actually being in the West Texas desert and taking notes, soaking it all in. Creating the biker gang was a blast, too.

Erin: What tips do you have for other women in horror in support of each other or sharing work?

Pamela: I’m really happy that I’m seeing more and more female writers in the Horror genre. There were so few that I knew of as a kids and for as much as I loved King, it would have been every nicer to have had more women to look up to.

I’ve always written what I loved to read and that’s the first thing you need to do, male or female. If you love monsters and freaky creatures, write about them. If you love vampires, write about them. If you love ghosts facing off against bad ass biker chicks, write about them! Your personal passion will come through in your writing. Start there and run with it. Read other female Horror authors. I’ve found their work so much more relatable. Where the men tend to go for the more violent, blood-slinging slasher, women, at least in my readings, tend to be more subtle and devious. But, hey – if you’re a lady and enjoy wielding that machete or ax, swing away!

Enjoy yourself and with any luck at all, those who read your work will enjoy reading it as much as you did writing it. It’s all about having fun after all, right?

Erin: Thanks so much for joining us today, Pamela! You’re welcome anytime, especially if you’ve got a good haunting story. Haha! Let us know where readers can find you, please.

Pamela: It was great chatting with you, Erin. All my titles can be found on Amazon and everything is available in both paperback and Kindle formats. I also have a website, pamelamorrisbooks.com. There are a few free short stories there and a blog where I babble about crows and other random weirdness, sometimes Horror-related, sometimes not. On Facebook, I can be found at Facebook. Folks are welcome to Like an Follow me there, of course. I’m pretty active on Twitter if folks want to follow me there, @pamelamorris65.

Thank you for having me over and letting me babble on about my work. I must say, you make a mean Irish coffee. And with that, in the words of Morticia Addams, “Have a delightfully dreary day!”

Erin: HAHA!! Anytime. It’s rather snowy here so I shall have a freezing night for sure. 😀

Pamela Morris Biography –

PamelaMorris_2019_2Raised in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, but forever longing for the white sands of her birthplace in New Mexico, Pamela has always loved mysteries and the macabre. In high school she quickly found herself labeled ‘That Witchy Chic.’ And school dances? Forget about it! You’d be far more likely to find her at the local small town library on a Friday night or listening to a Horror movie soundtrack in her darkened bedroom.

When her nose wasn’t buried in a vampire novel or any number of books penned by her favorite authors such as Poe, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Bram Stoker, Tanith Lee, Shirley Jackson, and Wilkie Collins, Pamela was probably watching ‘Monster Movie Matinee,’ ‘Twilight Zone,’ ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker,” and a myriad of Hammer Films that further fed her growing obsession with Horror.

All grown up now, Pamela has raised two children and enjoys drawing and painting, watching bad B-Movies, remaining ever vigilant to the possibility of encountering a UFO or Bigfoot, an taking road trips with her husband on the Harley. She feeds the local murder of crows in her back yard and still hasn’t quite figured out how she became the Cvlt Leader for The Final Guys Podcast.

TWB1_Curse_CoverFrontThe Witch’s Backbone – Part 1: The Curse

It’s 1980 and the dog days of summer have settled over the small farming community of Meyer’s Knob. Five friends have spent their time at the local creek swimming and gathering crayfish, riding bikes, and mostly just trying to avoid boredom.

When tomboy Tara Fielding reports she’s spotted what she believes to be the witch of their local urban legend, and is now subject to that legend’s deadly curse, her friends rally ‘round and decide they’re going to prove there’s no such thing. After lying to their parents about where they’ll be, the friends head out to The Witch’s Backbone where, the legend claims, the witch waits for foolish travelers who dare pass that way at night.

What the group witnesses during this late summer field trip and what they find out after they return to civilization, does little to put anyone’s mind at ease, least of all Tara’s. Not only do they now believe this long-dead 19th century witch is real, but that she has friends who are still practicing the Black Arts, friends that will see to it that the legend’s curse is carried out.

Are there evil witches stalking the woods and sun-starved ravines between Meyer’s Knob and the neighboring town of Barnesville? Or have the kids just let boredom, the oppressive summer heat, and their own imaginations get the better of them?

Link to Amazon

NRFTWfront_coverNo Rest For The Wicked

 Theirs was a hatred that lived beyond the grave.

A powerless domestic who searches for escape. Naked and screaming, the ghost of Sadie Price wants nothing more than to strike terror into all who dare enter Greenbrier Plantation.

A murderous wife who seeks justice. Lucy thought shooting her philandering husband and his mistress would bring her peace, but her subsequent suicide only creates a more hellish existence for her in the afterlife.

A sadistic doctor who refuses to relinquish control. Dr. Addams stalks the house and grounds of Greenbrier Plantation using his dark powers to control his Earth-bound spirits and anyone living who dares get in his way.

Can peace ever come to these tortured souls or are they eternally damned to walk the earth as proof that there really is no rest for the wicked?

Link to Amazon

DarkHollowRoad-FrontOnlyDark Hollow Road

 A past filled with terror.

On Dark Hollow Road, Mary Alice Brown and her siblings know little more than poverty and abuse at the hands of their father. Getting rid of their tormentor seemed the answer to bringing joy back into their lives. But when that doesn’t work, Mary takes it upon herself to see that justice is served.

A present full of dread.

After an unusual visit from an elderly woman looking to borrow sugar, the theft of his coloring book, and complaints about other kids bothering him in the middle of the night, six-year-old Brandon Evenson, who lives within sight of the house on Dark Hollow Road, goes missing.

A future obsessed with revenge.

Desperate, Brandon’s parents seek answers from Lee Yagar, a local who’s warned people time and again of the dangers lurking at the old Brown place. But, Lee’s suggestion that Mary is involved in Brandon’s abduction makes little sense.

Mary is presumed dead, as she’s not been seen in decades, but is she? And is the house truly as empty and abandoned as it appears to be?

A psychological horror driven by hate, fear, and every parent’s worst nightmare.

Link to Amazon

WiHM11-GrrrlBlack

Thanks for following along!

Leave a comment

Filed under HookonWiHM, Q and A with Authors, women in history, women in horror

Guest Article: Seeing Doubles by Gothic Fiction Author Tracy Fahey #WiHM #womeninhorror #gothic

Welcome back to another segment in the small Women in Horror (WiHM) Series I’m running as we prepare to usher out February. Today, I have a guest article from Irish Gothic writer Tracy Fahey. I think most of you know how I myself feel about Gothic work, both in my own reading, writing, and study. I’m all in, so I’m pleased to present this to readers on my site today.

In 2017, Tracy’s debut collection The Unheimlich Manoeuvre was shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award for Best Collection. In 2019, her short story, ‘That Thing I Did’ received an Honourable Mention by Ellen Datlow in her The Best Horror of the Year Volume 11, with five stories on Datlow’s Recommended Reading list for 2019. Her short fiction is published in over twenty-five Irish, US, and UK anthologies. She holds a PhD on the Gothic in visual arts, and her non-fiction writing has been published in edited collections and journals.

Today, she talks about the lastest installment of her work and her infatuation with doubles. That’s right, check this out twice if you find that uncanny. Join us!

______________________________________

Unheimlich Manoeuvres: Doubling Up On The Uncanny
by Tracy Fahey, author of Unheimlich Manoeuvres

I’m obsessed with doubles. They fascinate me. Doppelgängers. Twins. Fetches. Reflections. Mirror images. In a world where so much is made of the virtue of individuality, what is more terrifying than the idea that you exist elsewhere? Or the notion that you are somehow (even worse) divided within yourself? This is something that’s been a recurrent theme in my writing. In March 2020 my publishers, the Sinister Horror Company are releasing two collections, the third, deluxe edition of The Unheimlich Manoeuvre and the chapbook Unheimlich Manoeuvres In The Dark, both of which explore the idea of the uncanny double. But why this fascination? It’s been a long-running obsession.

As a child I followed Alice through the looking glass into the shadow-world beyond, and consequently spent hours in front of my own bathroom mirror, watching my image closely for signs of tell-tale deviation. As a teenager I devoured Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll And Mr Hyde and savoured the queer thrill that came from contemplating a truly double life; one where the very self was sundered and broken, one where the self was plunged in a morass of unease, unable to even remember what the divided self had done. Later I would become absorbed in Ira Levin’s tales of replaced women (Stepford Wives) and clones (The Boys From Brazil). Movies fed and continue to feed this obsession with uncanny doubles: Invasion of the Body Snatchers with its narratives of paranoia and pod-people, Coraline, the sublimely uncanny tale of a doubled, ‘other’ world. More recently, there’s been It Follows, a clever, twisted movie where contagion rages and no-one is what they seem, and of course, Jordan Peele’s Us, the horror of which is almost entirely premised on otherness and doppelgangers. Us doesn’t entirely work—it suffers from an excess of ideas—but when it does, it is magnificent. Who can forget that superlative, long shot of the shadow-family standing silently at the foot of the driveway? Those unmoving, dark silhouettes that equate exactly to the panic-stricken five looking at them—it’s a marvellous, and utterly uncanny moment.

US JP

But why is the double such a terrifying figure? Well, firstly because embodies the very definition of the uncanny – Freud’s 1919 essay on ‘The Uncanny’ refers to ‘Schelling’s definition of the uncanny as something which ought to have been kept concealed but which has nevertheless come to light.’ He also discusses specifically the idea of the double, and Otto Rank’s ‘Der Doppelgänger’ which outlines the various modes of double from mirror-image to shadows, souls and to Egyptian sculpture as funerary repository of ka, or spirit. Freud points out that the double profoundly upsets our sense of self—it becomes an object of terror.

In both the new edition of The Unheimlich Manoeuvre, and in the accompanying chapbook Unheimlich Manoeuvres In The Dark, I want to thoroughly explore the different dimensions of the uncanny, using the unifying trope of the Gothic home. A significant part of this was exploring the double. In doing this, I was not only drawn by Rank, Jentsch and Freud’s writings on the doppelgänger, but on the uncanny double that haunts Irish folklore, the fetch a double that appears at the moment of death to fetch the soul away. And so, images of the dark, mirrored self flow through the stories. There’s the theme of the self divided by illness in ‘Coming Back’ and ‘Something Nasty In The Woodshed.’ There’s a doppelgänger that flits through the pages of ‘Ghost Estate, Phase II.’ There’s an examination of twin as uncanny double in ‘I Look Like You, I Speak Like You, I Walk Like You.’ In both chapbook and new edition, there’s also an additional story, ‘The Wrong House’; a tale populated by troubling doubles of the protagonist, his wife and his daughter, and a previously unpublished story, ‘Possession,’ where the main character feels her sense of self erode in the anxiety that arises from that most terrifying of all possibilities—that she no longer knows who exactly she is.

So, welcome to my nightmares. I invite you into my world where nothing is as it seems, a world where every mirror image is charged with a dark power, a world where we may (or may not) exist in multiple, fractured forms. For me, the double continues to be a haunting and compelling evocation of the uncanny. Given that our sense of self, how we perceive ourselves, is a corner-stone of our mental health, the idea of the uncanny double is one of the most terrifying concepts in horror literature.

As the protagonist of one of my unheimlich stories puts it:

“I look like you. I speak like you. I walk like you.

But I’m not you”

The Unehimlich Manoevure –

The Unheimlih Manoeuvre Deluxe EditionIn 2020, the deluxe edition of The Unehimlich Manoevure will be released together with a companion chapbook of new material, Unheimlich Manoeuvres In The Dark, both published by the Sinister Horror Company. Both contain a new essay, ‘Creative Evocations of Uncanny Domestic Space,’ five new stories, a print and piece entitled ‘Remembering Wildgoose Lodge,’ and complete story notes on all nineteen stories in this new edition.

The Unheimlich Manoeuvre explores the psychological horror that occurs when home is subverted as a place of safety, when it becomes surreal, changes and even disappears…

In these stories, a coma patient wakes to find herself replaced by a doppelgänger, a ghost state reflects doubles of both houses and inhabitants, a suburban enclave takes control of its trespassers, and a beaten woman exacts revenge.

Unheimlich Manoeuvres in the DarkJust as the Heimlich Manoeuvre restores order, health and well-being, The Unheimlich Manoeuvre does quite the opposite.

This new edition contains revised versions of the original stories and a brand new tale, “Something Nasty In The Woodshed.”

Praise –

“A modern-day gothic whose Kafkaesque otherworldly stories are beautifully disturbing.” – Lol Tolhurst, The Cure

“It is, quite simply, pure art, and we can only wonder what works this writer will produce in the coming years.” – This Is Horror

“This a very assured first collection…. Although there are twists, Tracy Fahey never plays for cheap shocks.” – Priya Sharma, Shirley Jackson Award winner

Tracy Fahey, Biography –

Tracy Fahey photoTracy Fahey is an Irish writer of Gothic fiction.  In 2017, her debut collection The Unheimlich Manoeuvre was shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award for Best Collection. In 2019, her short story, ‘That Thing I Did’ received an Honourable Mention by Ellen Datlow in her The Best Horror of the Year Volume 11, with five stories on Datlow’s Recommended Reading list for 2019. Her short fiction is published in over twenty-five Irish, US and UK anthologies.

She holds a PhD on the Gothic in visual arts, and her non-fiction writing has been published in edited collections and journals. She has been awarded residencies in Ireland and Greece. Her first novel, The Girl in the Fort, was released in 2017. Her second collection, New Music For Old Rituals, collects together her folk horror stories and was released in 2018 by Black Shuck Books.

In 2020, the deluxe edition of The Unehimlich Manoevure will be released together with a companion chapbook of new material, Unheimlich Manoeuvres In The Dark, both published by the Sinister Horror Company. Both contain a new essay, ‘Creative Evocations of Uncanny Domestic Space,’ five new stories, a print and piece entitled ‘Remembering Wildgoose Lodge,’ and complete story notes on all nineteen stories in this new edition.

More information at her website www.tracyfahey.com

Thanks to Tracy for this wonderful article and to all of you for reading along in this #wihm series. Stay tuned for one or two more and then I’ll announce something I’ll be doing for women in horror all year round.

WiHM11-GrrrlBlack

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Feature Articles, Guest Posts, HookonWiHM, women in horror

Interview: Hauntings with Writer Janine Pipe #WIHM #womeninhorror

Thanks for following along here this month and joining me to meet these fabulous women in horror! As a goal, I try to not only feature accomplished and established women of horror (the top names) ONLY, especially being around myself with this site for nine years, but also to support those upcoming writers of all backgrounds who are working hard at their craft and visibility. It’s not about views for me, but about supporting others.

Today, I would like you to meet Janine, just as I did recently. This is the first year she’s heard of women in horror month, which makes it clear we still need to promote it, and she, as well as I, met women in horror we didn’t know before through the awareness campaigns. I have every year. This year, I met Janine. She picked up the ball and ran with a whole month of features on her own blog with women in horror. I very much appreciate her interview with me. Now, I’d like to introduce you to her.

Stay tuned for a few segment in the #WIHM series to come.

_________________________________

Hi Janine, welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I’m glad you could join us as part of women in horror month. Please let me know your choice of coffee, tea, or drink, and if the former, how you take it? I’m hoping you pick tea as I have English Breakfast tea brewing and shortbread. But whatever you like is fine, you’re the guest!

Janine: Thank you so much Erin for inviting me. I’m a latte lady, but since I am British I would love a cup of tea. And shortbread sounds delightful.

Erin: Great, I love lattes too! Next time we’ll have those. Let’s carry this all into the library and have a seat to chat.

When do you first discover you wanted to write horror? What type of horror do you write?

Janine: I think that because horror has always been my favourite genre to read, it was just a natural progression to writing it too. I started with shorts and poems in my teens. Life sort of took over and writing fiction went on the back-burner, but over the last year I have started again in earnest. I write both supernatural and classic horror, often with a twist. I also like lore, urban legends and creepy pasta.

Erin: What are some of the first goals you have for yourself as a writer?

Janine: To be published in print. To see my name on Amazon or when I walk into Waterstones. To know people are reading my work. But I also know this isn’t an easy game and it will take some time. I mainly write short stories so I tend to submit to anthologies. I have the semblance of an idea for a full novel though, once I get the time to do it.

Erin: You have some of your stories read on podcasts or radio? How did that come about? Were they stories you already had written, or did you write stories specifically to be read on air? 

What was it like the first time you heard your stories being read out loud like that? 

Janine: The first story, “The Boy,” which was featured on Ghost Stories the Podcast, was also the first short I had written for many years. I submitted it and just hoped they might like it. Same for my second, “Adam,” which was read aloud on Tales to Terrify. The third, “The Christmas Ghost,” I wrote specifically for audio and that was on a Patreon episode of Graveyard Tales. I have become friendly with Tyler, the host of Ghost Stories the Podcast, and recently had a second story used. That was based on fact and again was written specifically for the show. Almost an origin story for my writing.

The radio interview with BBC Somerset came about as I saw the presenter tweet out that he was looking for spooky tales about Somerset for a Halloween radio special. We got to chatting and he thought it would give the show an extra boost to have an actual ghost writer come on and talk about local legends.

I won’t lie, the first time I heard my work read aloud, I cried a little. It was pride. A sense of, wow, I wrote that? It felt great.

Erin: From reading a little of your blog, I see you like ghost stories – reading, writing, and real ghost stories? What do you love about ghosts the most in any of those areas or all?

Janine: I will let you in on a little secret – I am terrified of ghosts. That sounds crazy for someone who is fascinated with them and writes about them I am sure, but it actually helps me. I can spook myself sometimes with my stories. What I like most about them is that they are (often) believable. Which is equally why they scare me so much. I am 99.9% sure that I will never meet a vampire, but I have actually witnessed paranormal activity…

Erin: Yes, that’s what scares me about it too! Are you from the UK or America? I’m just prefacing that because I want to ask who you feel has the better ghost stories and why? (I’m originally from England – personally I think the UK stories are better just because the ghosts have had many more years to percolate in their haunting there haha!)

Janine: I am UK born and bred. I suppose due to the history, we are bound to have more stories here and there are some good ones, But because I love the US, I actually prefer American stories. Boston is one of my most favourite places in the entire world, and we did a fantastic graveyard and ghost trail there. NYC also has a plethora of hauntings, and the deep south. I find these fascinating, especially around the Carolinas.

Erin: I love Boston too and all the hauntings in the older and historic cities we have. But the US is only about 250 years old and these stories come from these time frames. I suppose that’s why I like the First People’s legends and stories. I love the stories that come from England and Ireland, seeped in such deep, deep lore. I suppose it’s all intriguing!

What’s the best haunting story you’ve come across reading?

Janine: I suppose it has to be the Enfield hauntings, and 50 Berkley Square in London. Mainly as I fist read about them as a child as it terrified me haha.

Erin: I’ll have to look those up now.

Do you like other types of horror for reading and/or writing?

Janine: Oh yes, I like most types of horror, especially what I refer to as classic horror (monsters, lore etc.) and slasher/serial killer stuff. I like vampire and werewolf stories, and early King books.

Who are your writing influences and why?

Janine: As I just mentioned, Stephen King is my main writing influence, especially his earlier work and books like It. I love nostalgia and varying time-lines. Part of that stems from being an 80’s child myself.

Erin: Who’s books inspire you today and why?

Janine: My latest literary hero is the fantastic C J Tudor. I have read all three of her books, and they are phenomenal, and have been likened to King again. Her writing style reminds me of the way I write, and I can only hope and pray that one day, I might be even half as good as she is at creating a masterpiece.

Erin: I love CJ  and her books too. She an excellent dark thriller writer. I don’t think she is too much like Stephen King myself, because I think she writes tighter, which is a compliment. haha! I love many of his works though too. CJ is one I know will also give us a good read, and beyond that, a humble and cool person. Keep aspiring! It happened to her almost overnight so you never know.

What is the biggest current challenge you’re finding as you start your writing career?

Janine: Time and rejections. Time as with a lot of people starting out, because I have a job, a family, a house to run. And rejections just suck. I know they are part of a writer’s life and I need a thicker skin pronto, but it still burns to hear – no thank you time and time again.

Erin: Yes that’s true. I think it’s time for any of us no matter how long we’ve been writing especially if we have other work and a family. It’s the same for me. Rejections will always suck, but also it’s not always about you or your writing, but what an editor is looking for as a whole and the puzzle of an anthology or their yearly calendar. There are so many writers out there, and with the publishing market not being profitable, it just makes it hard for them to take on too many. That’s why so many are going to self-publishing these days and it works. Keep that positive thinking going and persevere.

What has been the best part to you about being a writer? Have you had any help whether schooling, writing help books, websites, people?

Janine: The best part is seeing a story come together, and people actually enjoying it. I have had some help via other writers. I am very lucky to have met another horror writer and publisher in my own home town, Graeme Reynolds. He is my unofficial mentor, and will edit and check through work for me.

Erin: What’s next for you with your writing. Your big plans for 2020?

Janine: To continue the blog, keep submitting to anthologies and hopefully, see my name in print.

Erin: I realize you are also a huge Disney fan. It’s amazing how diverse the interests are in those who write horror. What do you like most about Disney and your favorite movies? Do their stories or characters ever inspire your writing?

Janine: Oh I LOVE Disney!!! I have been writing for Florida based blogs and websites for years. Our house is like a Disney Store. What do I like most? That’s a tough one. For me, it is not just about the movies, or the rides at WDW. I love to know about the history of the parks. I love the trivia. Actually, my daughter is the first published author of the family. She is one of the reviewers in The Unofficial Guide to WDW for Kids haha! I guess my most favourite thing about Disney is kind of cringy. But it is how I feel when I am there, in the parks. I feel happy, relaxed and like I am Home.

My favourite movies are The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog and Fantasia. My favourite rides are The Haunted Mansion and The Tower of Terror.

Thus far, I have steered clear of anything Disney related in my work. Another reason why I like CJ Tudor so much? Another huge Disney fan. As is Brian Moreland!

Erin: That’s so cool! I like Disney so much too as do all three of my kids, even my son, who is now in college loves The Lion King. They do have a way of making you feel wonderful. Though I live in the states I’ve never been to Disneyworld though!

How long have you known about women in horror and how has the month, or social media, allowed you to meet more women in horror? How has it been?

Janine: I will be 100% honest, this is the first year I had heard of it. I think it is a fantastic thing. I have met some fabulous people I might not have interacted with via social media had it not have been for this. I think that it is an amazing way to help promote women who’d for some reason remain underrepresented in horror.

Erin: That’s so good to hear. So many question if we should still have it and this is a good reason why!

You have a great site where you post stories, reviews, and interviews with other horror authors, primarily women this month! Were can readers find that? Where else should they follow you?

Janine: Thank you! I try my very best to post daily, you can find me at Janine’s Ghost Stories.

Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/disneynine and Facebook.

Erin: Thanks so much for coming by Janine. Stop by anytime. I’ll be rooting for your writing success!

Janine: Thank YOU Erin, it has been my absolute pleasure.

Janine Pipe, Biography – 

Janine PipeJanine has loved to write spooky stories and tales with a twist since she was at school. She is a huge fan of Stephen King, first devouring Salem’s Lot at the tender age of just nine. Her work is heavily influenced by this. She also loves C J Tudor and credits fellow Swindon horror writer Graeme Reynolds as an unofficial mentor.

You can find her stories on Ghost Stories the Podcast, Graveyard Tales and Tales to Terrify. She shares some of her original shorts and flash fiction on her blog, Janine’s Ghost Stories, where she also reviews and interviews authors of horror.

She loves to chat about all things horror and Disney related over at @Disneynine on Twitter.

WiHM11-GrrrlBlack

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Horror/Thriller Author W.D. Gagliani Talks About Writing Like a Film Director: Does It Work?

This afternoon I welcome to my blog the great and amazing W.D. Gagliani, the author of the Nick Lupo Werewolf Detective Series. He’s a wealth of writing knowledge (and well, on most other things as well) and he’s one of my best friends in the writing business and all around for that matter. He’s a great writing teacher and this guest article will give you a glimpse…..

A Bram Stoker Award Finalist Author for Wolf’s Trap, the first book that started it all, his series has been well-received and it isn’t over yet! He just released book five this year and is working on six. If you’ve read them you know how amazing he is, and if you haven’t, then there is always time to catch-up. He also has some other hard-noir thrillers and stories out and is a man of many writing talents. Today, he’s with us to talk about writing like a film director! In the next week or two we’ll have a PART DEUX and will feature an interview. But for now, take it away, Bill…..but don’t run too far away with my blog.

*****************************************************

POV in the Nick Lupo Series: Using Shifting Points of View Like Movie Directors
by Bram Stoker Award Finalist Author W.D. Gagliani

BillI’ve decided I would make a rather poor film director, yet that doesn’t stop me from writing my novels exactly as if I were directing a movie.

There’s the whole “filming scenes out of sequence” trip, which is messy and sometimes gets me into trouble, but I keep doing it. I could write thousands of words about that. In fact, maybe I will. Just as soon as I get myself out of my latest trouble.

But here I just want to explain (and explore) my obsession with being a low-rent director. I’m sure that’s what I would be. Influenced by Hitchcock, but hampered by reality and limited talent. So, no, I wouldn’t be directing any classics. But that doesn’t mean I can’t steal the movie techniques that help me tell a story more effectively. Call it an obsession if you want, but I always find myself wrapped up in a directorial mess. Maybe, who knows, it’s the only way I can work. The only way I can be forced to finish, and the only way I can best tell my story.

One of the ways I follow through on my obsessive behavior is to use a variation of a movie director’s shifting points of view (POVs). It’s one thing many beginners use incorrectly. I see this all the time – the writer lets the point of view slide inadvertently and unnecessarily from character to character in the same scene until the reader can’t quite figure out who’s seeing and thinking. The key words there are “in the same scene.” I won’t lie, some of the big bestselling authors do it, too, right in their blockbuster books. But it’s still usually a bad idea, and at least they do it more carefully than the beginners who may be doing it inadvertently. Beginners want to be in everyone’s head at all times… to the point that readers will be undoubtedly confused by the action and the thoughts sliding from character to character. (Add another beginner mistake, a few overly colorful metaphors and similes in the narration, and you have the recipe for narrative disaster.)

But I will also admit that their instinct may be partly on target, because both thrillers and horror tales are best served by multiple POVs – I believe they just have to be kept under control. I’ve always enjoyed the claustrophobic feel of a strict First Person POV in thrillers and mysteries (especially in hardboiled detective stories), but one must recognize the limitations. Choosing to tell the story that way limits what the writer can do, and what the reader can see, because the protagonist isn’t privy to any information he/she doesn’t witness or experience. It’s so limiting a POV that it must be used sparingly, maybe even lovingly and in a way that embraces the difficulties. You rarely see a strict First Person POV used in a movie because you would literally never leave the protagonist’s side, which would be difficult to sustain without causing boredom.

In my Nick Lupo series, starting with Wolf’s Trap, I made a conscious decision to present multiple characters’ points of view, taking as my model, in part, William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. I liked how in that classic work each chapter was narrated from a different POV, and by labeling each section with the name of the character it’s always obvious whose head you’re in. But unlike in Faulkner’s novel, I chose to present the different POVs not as separate First Person accounts, but as Third Person limited. So in essence we look into each character’s head in an omniscient way, but not into anyone else’s within the same section. The technique allows me to create a sort of quilt or tapestry, with some sections overlapping as the same action is seen and described by different narrative points of view, while other actions occur elsewhere and are experienced by different characters – all to connect (hopefully) into a coherent whole by the end.

Occasionally I’ve taken some heat from reviewers/readers who find the jumping around confusing, especially since I also employ parallel stories along two separate timelines. One reader referred to it as (paraphrasing) authorial ADD. “For one thing it jumps around from character to character too much,” another reader complained. Well, that’s certainly part of the reason I use the technique. Whenever I’m stuck or blocked, with no clear “next move” ahead, I will jump forward and take another plot point or section from farther up the timeline (or in the past) and start fresh from that point, trusting my quilting skills later on to patch the pieces together. In essence, I’m “filming scenes out of sequence” and trusting I’ll fix it in the “editing room.”

More often than not, it works. When it does, I am rewarded with the feeling that maybe I wouldn’t be so bad a film director after all. But the process can be excruciatingly painstaking, and there’s the reason I keep saying I’ll stop doing it this way. I’ll stop with the next book.

W.D. Gagliani, Biography~

W.D. Authorpicgambit-210W.D. Gagliani is the author of the horror/crime thriller WOLF’S TRAP (Samhain Publishing), a past Bram Stoker Award nominee, as well as WOLF’S GAMBIT (47North), WOLF’S BLUFF (47North), WOLF’S EDGE (Samhain), and the upcoming WOLF’S CUT (Samhain). WOLF’S TRAP was reissued by Samhain Publishing in 2012. Gagliani is also the author of the hard-noir thriller SAVAGE NIGHTS (Tarkus Press), the collection SHADOWPLAYS, the novella THE GREAT BELZONI AND THE GAIT OF ANUBIS, and the holiday-themed short stories “The Christmas Wolf” and “The Christmas Zombie,” all available for the Kindle and other formats.

A collection of collaborations between David Benton and W.D. Gagliani, MYSTERIES & MAYHEM (Tarkus Press), is available for Kindle and all other formats. Five collaborative short stories are included, as well as one solo short story from each author, and several bonuses along with a guest short story.

Gagliani is also the author of various short stories published in anthologies such as ROBERT BLOCH’S PSYCHOS, UNDEAD TALES, MORE MONSTERS FROM MEMPHIS, WICKED KARNIVAL HALLOWEEN HORROR, THE BLACK SPIRAL, THE MIDNIGHTERS CLUB, THE ASYLUM 2, ZIPPERED FLESH 2, MASTERS OF UNREALITY, DARK PASSIONS: HOT BLOOD 13, MALPRACTICE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF BEDSIDE TERROR, and ZIPPERED FLESH 2 (the last four with David Benton), and more.

He has also written book reviews, articles, and interviews that have been published in places such as THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, CHIZINE, CEMETERY DANCE, HORRORWORLD, PAPERBACK PARADE, CINEMA RETRO, HELLNOTES, FLESH & BLOOD, BOOKPAGE, BOOKLOVERS, THE SCREAM FACTORY, HORROR MAGAZINE, SF CHRONICLE, BARE BONES, and others. Also published in the Writers Digest book ON WRITING HORROR (edited by Mort Castle), THEY BITE! (edited by Jonathan Maberry and David Kramer), and in the Edgar Award-nominated THRILLERS: THE 100 MUST READS (edited by Morrell & Wagner), published by Oceanside for the International Thriller Writers. In October 2011, THE WRITER magazine published his article on writing werewolf epics.

His interests include old and new progressive rock, synthesizers, weapons, history (and alternate history, secret history, and steampunk), military history, movies, book reviewing, and plain old reading and writing. He is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and the International Thriller Writers (ITW). He lives and writes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

You can find W.D. Gagliani online at his website www.wdgagliani.com or on Facebook and Twitter.

Newest releases is………..

Wolf’s Cut, Synopsis!

WolfsCut72lg-330resizeThe Nick Lupo Series Book Five.

Nick Lupo: A cop, a werewolf…and a target!

Homicide detective–and werewolf–Nick Lupo is hoping to finally have a chance to focus his attentions on the woman he loves, instead of the Wolfpaw mercenary werewolves who tried so hard to kill him. Lupo survived that battle–barely–and brought down Wolfpaw. But Wolfpaw was backed by a super secret group within the Pentagon whose sinister plan is already in motion. And a new enemy has set its sights on the local casino. Nick Lupo thought he was home free, but whenever he tries to get out, they drag him back in…

Wolf’s Cut is fourth novel following the Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel Wolf’s Trap, so it is the fifth in the savage series of horror/thrillers about the werewolf/cop. These “North Woods Noirs” are set mostly in the wilds of Northern Wisconsin, where werewolf legends abound and the moon paints the treetops silver. Warning: adult content. The next book in the series will arrive in 2015.

Wolf’s Cut is a stellar addition to Gagliani’s Nick Lupo series. An impressive and addictive read… cements Gagliani’s place at the top of the new wave of horror/crime fiction.”
–Dreadful Tales

“With his series of Nick Lupo books, W.D. Gagliani has done more than pump a little oxygen into the tired werewolf thriller. He’s resurrected the entire genre and added a rush of nitrous oxide excitement. Do yourself a favor and pick up Wolf’s Cut, a nice addition to this superior series.”
–Gene O’Neill, author of Dance of the Blue Lady

“W.D. Gagliani’s Detective Lupo series is the best of the werewolf genre. Top-notch writing, nail-biting suspense, and a ferocious mix of serial killers and werewolves… Gagliani continues to deliver fast-paced horror that will get your heart pumping. Highly recommended.”
–Brian Moreland, author of Dead of Winter and The Devil’s Woods

“Being Italian and a former cop I can relate to Lupo on many levels. The whole series is a big hit at our store with several of our staff. We can’t wait for the next book. Keep howling!”
–Tony D’Amato, Chief Armorer of The Gun Store, Las Vegas, NV

“Let out a howl, because Lupo’s back, and badder than ever!”
–John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Violet Eyes and NightWhere
Wolf’s Edge is an exciting page-turned full of suspense, mystery, and thrills. Don’t miss it.”

–The Horror Zine, on the 4th Nick Lupo novel

“Riveting, disturbing, gut-wrenching — and entertaining as all get-out — and I loved every page!”

–Jay Bonansinga, author of The Killer’s Game and co-author of The Walking Dead Series, on Wolf’s Trap, the 1st Nick Lupo novel

“Gagliani once more proves that werewolves are scary as hell.”
—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times-bestselling author of The Dragon Factory

“Gagliani has brought bite back to the werewolf novel!”
–CNN Headline News Book Lizard

“The best werewolf novel since The Howling!”
–J.A. Konrath, author of Whiskey Sour on Wolf’s Gambit

Buy on Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/Wolfs-Cut-W-D-Gagliani-ebook/dp/B00GMKWLUE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397364156&sr=8-1&keywords=Wolf%27s+Cut

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts

Giving Thanks: What it’s All About and Writer Friends I’m Thanking!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers, fellow writers, book lovers, friends. So many of you make my day so much brighter and this weekend, I give thanks to you! I suppose to me it doesn’t really matter if you live in America or not, we all have something to celebrate with this holiday: coming together, working together through differences, and being thankful for what we have, especially when many people might not have as much as us. That is a world-wide sentiment, is it not?

Of course, most know (or at least I hope!) that the pilgrims came across the sea on the Mayflower from Britain. If you didn’t, I suggest watching Snoopy in his Mayflower cartoon at the very least!  As I see it, several kind First Peoples helped the Pilgrims through a time that they might otherwise not have lived through. Squanto (who had quite the story of being kidnapped to Spain, escaping to Britain, and then back to North America…whew) taught them to plant corn and fertilize with fish, and others taught them how to clear and build. It was a peaceful time in history that is far from highlighted. A year later, as the crops grew to be abundant and life of a settlement had begun, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans feasted together, giving thanks for what nature and the land supplied in order tfor them to survive. Wha-la! Thanksgiving!

First Thanksgiving

‘The First Thanksgiving’ Painting Source: Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

We can all take so many lessons from this, can we not? How extending a hand is sometimes still advantageous (and worth it) as there are still people who truly will be thankful (look at how hundreds of years later we are still celebrating the Native American kindness) or how we can find a peaceful way to get along and work beside people who are different from us whether that be race, religion, beliefs, or what not.  It’s all what is in your hearts, so stop judging and start living! Live in thanks, not in fear!

I hope this Thanksgiving that you not only give thanks for those people closest to you, but for the rest of the people all over the world. For people who are making a difference by forging alliances with those different from us so that one day seeds will be planted and the fruit of kindness will grow further into the world. Where love for others in not only their similarities but in their differences will be had and we will all sit at one big world table learning about each other and GIVING THANKS that we have meals on our tables when so many others do not.

Blessings to you and yours on this day. It’s why it’s one of my most favorite holidays. To quote my 10 year old daughter, “Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is the day I get to be thankful for all I have.” That blew me away….!! Which is true as it reminds us, amid food and football and games, during the Christmas tree decorating or the fervent shopping, to remember how good most of us have it compared to many others who will spend the holidays freezing in gloves with holes on the street, begging for a piece of turkey bone from the trash.

As far as books and writing goes, I am so very thankful for so many like-minded people in my life. You all are the source of my best smiles and days (outside of my children) and my inspiration. I love to write and to read and I am so happy that there are so many of us to share our joys in with out there in the online world. I appreciate my readers of this blog and hope you’ll grow that with me this next year. I appreciate the authors who contact me and send me books for review and who offer to do posts and take on my lengthy interviews. It is my complete pleasure to review what I can as I can. You are mostly all so patient and understanding about my time-table and my life.

I appreciate those authors who want my thoughts on a first glimpse of their books, those who hire me to do work for them, and those that I brainstorm for and with. It is the best part of my life, outside of writing my own stuff and being a mom. I am passionate for you to succeed each and every day.

I have complete gratitude for my writer friends who encourage and motivate me each day, even if it is something they don’t realize they do, and how much they truly mean to me. To my friend circle of Hunter Shea and Kevin Sheehan, W.D. Gagliani, Craig Schaeffer (Jonathan Janz), Brian Moreland, Kristopher Rufty, Ronald Malfi, Russell James, David Berenstein, Sandy Shelonchik, and Frazer Lee…I couldn’t get through a week without your amazing personalities. Thanks to many of you for being there for me in so many ways with my crazy life, my intense personality, and for encouraging my writing (both pointedly through emails and by example of what you do). Never would I have though I’d write anything near horror (just had the YA and history going) but then you all landed in my lap (not literally..lol). Hugs to Keith Rommel for his friendship and trust. Thanks further to David Searls and John Everson for always making me laugh or making me hungry and to Jonathan Moore, for his ability to remind me how to find calm in order to write. And to Glenn Rolfe for always writing WAAAAAAY too much so that I pound my head wondering if I can keep up. Great authors, great writers, great people. SERIOUSLY, THANK YOU!

I love my historical author friends who lead by example as well and especially those women who I admire like Nancy Bilyeau, Sherry Jones, Jennie Fields, Eva Stachniak, Cathy Buchanan, Ania Szado, D.J. Niko, Jennifer Epstein. For making me laugh and giving me so much to enjoy is Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Stephanie Thornton, Kris Waldherr, Susanna Calkins.  For Melika Lux and her never ending friendship and chats! To Christopher Gortner and David Blixt for their passion and lively Facebook posts. To Amy Bruno, owner of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, for her organizational skills, friendly emails, and making it easy to feature authors here on my blog.  There are too many wonderful historical writers to name in this post and they all make me want to learn more, be more, write more, and even better, research more. I would be eternally grateful to one day finish my historical novel and be published beside them.

To Dandi Mackall, for first encouraging me to continue my quest to write novels and teach me how to learn from my surroundings. For igniting my spark during college and for continually impressing me with her kindness and her writing. To Tracy Higley for her exotic historical adventures, trust in me to read her novels, and her pursuit of spirituality which makes me think.

To lovely friends Matthew Turner and Linn Halton who makes me transcend beyond every day life and death with their thoughts and insights. And I am so thankful for so many British authors who truly give me emotional connections to books and write the best new adult, mystery, and historicals out there.

I am GRATEFUL for the talent of writing I’ve had my whole life. When I thought I’d lost it, when I got too busy with my former job and life, when I was told I couldn’t write, I didn’t listen. I kept fighting to write because you know what? I CAN. And I am THANKFUL. So very thankful to be free through my writing. The more I read, the more my muses swirl around me–the more I write, the more they whisper.

This Thanksgiving Season, be thankful for your talents, your support circles, your writing friends, the authors you like, and for the ability to read, and if you write, to write!

Eat lots of pumpkin pie and enjoy a good book or do some writing over the weekend!

Snoopy-Woodstock-Thanksgiving-Dinner

GRATEFUL for YOU! Happy Thanksgiving!

8 Comments

Filed under Feature Articles

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.

8 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Q and A with Authors