Monday, July 7, 2014

The Huntauk Sheaster

I came on the horror scene with Hunter Shea during Samhain Horror's launch almost three years. In fact, he was the first fellow author to reach out to me and offer congratulations. I will always remember that. Since then, we have become close and I am happy to have him as a friend. His books have influenced my own writing as heavily as some of the classics I grew up reading. I enjoy how he writes, the stories he tells. He's also somebody who can match me on horror trivia. 
Hunter is in the middle of a big tour for the Pinnacle release of his book, The Montauk Monster. To find where he's already been and where he's going, be sure to check HERE!

Hunter was kind enough to stop my little blog and chat about writing, his new books, and more. 

KR: Reading THE MONTAUK MONSTER reminded me a lot of those ‘70s Roger Corman, nature-run-amok movies that would have played to packed crowds at the Drive-In. Were those movies an influence to this book and your writing in general? They are with mine, for sure. There was a great AIP (American International Pictures) town-in-peril vibe as well, and that’s a compliment from me. 

HS: That is scary that you said that. And by that, I mean scarily intuitive. When I was working on the idea for the book with my editor, Gary Goldstein, we talked about bringing a classic Roger Corman movie to life in book form. That’s right. We specifically wanted to pay homage to the man who has entertained us for decades. Having you bring it up really makes me feel like I accomplished exactly what we set out to do. 

My two-book deal with Kensington specifically states that they involve ‘nature gone wild’. With The Montauk Monster, I initially planned to have just a few of the beasties hit the shore. You all can thank my editor for making it dozens and really amping up the scares and action. You know me and how much I love my monsters. Writing this book was about as close to heaven on earth as I’m going to get.

KR: Which three authors inspired you to become the writer you are now? Was it a certain book of theirs that led you to pursue writing?

HS: The very first ‘big people’ book that I read was Stephen King’s Night Shift. I’ve been hooked on and influenced by him ever since. I don’t think there’s a horror writer under the age of 50 who hasn’t been influenced by The King. The other two authors actually have nothing to do with the horror genre. First is Hemingway. I devour his books and short stories. Can you imagine totally reinventing the way books are written? Along with him is Elmore Leonard. Both taught me how to write lean and pack as much punch with an economy of words. Make every word count, have them move the story along without getting bogged down in unnecessary details.

KR: Do you have a particular routine you try to adhere to when it comes to writing or does your schedule even permit a routine? Are you a day writer or night writer, or both?

HS: When I’m working on a book, I write every day. That includes Christmas, birthdays, when I have the flu, you name it. I work a day job, so most of that writing is done at night, right after dinner. As long as I can get at least an hour in during the weekdays and about three on Saturday and Sunday, I’m happy. I’ve learned to write anywhere. The perfect writing space isn’t always available. Aside from my home office, I tend to write a lot in the kitchen in the midst of mayhem. I also work in libraries, airports, hotels, park benches and even, sometimes, my car. The key is to get something written every single day. My good friend Brian Moreland says he writes more like a sprinter, getting in large chunks over a short period of time. I’m more of a marathoner. I just took my first real break in 3 years this past month and it feels both great and weird. My mind is already writing the next book I plan to start very soon.

KR: If you could only read one book over and over for the rest of your life, which would it be?

HS: So far, that book has been Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. I’ve been re-reading it every summer for about the past 20 years. I’m envious of all the amazing artists he befriended (then turned on) during his time in Paris. If I feel my writing batteries running low, I pick up that book and recharge. 

KR: Being a fervent paperback collector, I was very thrilled that The Montauk Monster was released in mass market form. Do you prefer the trade-sized paperbacks, or are you an avid supporter of the paperbacks you can carry in your pocket? 

HS: Having The Montauk Monster come out in paperback is a dream come true. When I started out writing, that was my main goal. I grew up devouring paperbacks, and still do. I have a Kindle but just can’t get into reading books with it. That sucker is collecting dust on my dresser. To me, hardcovers are cumbersome. Trade paperbacks are fine, especially now that I’m older and appreciate the larger type. But paperbacks hold a very special place in my heart and life. I’m literally the guy that walks around with a paperback stuffed in his back pocket.

KR: What are you working on now? And what can we expect to find in bookstores from you in the near future?

HS: I just had my next book with Samhain hit the shelves, a horror-western called Hell Hole. It’s set in an abandoned mining town in 1905. There are cowboys, former Rough Riders, Teddy Roosevelt, black-eyed kids, wild men, ghosts and even the Djinn. It’s a crazy one. My father was a big western fan, so I wrote it for him. In January, my follow up to Sinister Entity will be out. It’s called Island of the Forbidden. It takes place 3 years after SE and I put Jessica Backman, our stalwart ghost hunter, in a very, very bad place. She’s still mad at me about it. :) 
I also recently turned in my manuscript for my next paperback with Kensington. Right now, it’s titled Run Like Hell. I don’t want to give away anything. Let’s just say that if you crave action and thrills, this will satisfy your hungers. 
Later this month I’ll start working on a new book that will be a statement on the sate of our country and its impact on future generations. As Marcellus said in Pulp Fiction, things are very fucking far from OK with our country. This is going to be a dark one.

HUNTER SHEA--Bio

I’m the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. I don’t just write about the paranormal. I actively seek out the things that scare the hell out of people and experience them for myself.

My novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre , Sinister Entity and The Waiting are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line.  A horror shorts collection, Asylum Scrawls, is available as an e-book, straightjacket not included. My first thriller novel, The Montauk Monster, will be released June 2014 as a Pinnacle paperback. I live with my family and untrainable cat close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits.

I’m also proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with my partner in crime, Jack Campisi. Our show is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. We explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun.

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


 
  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Author Spotlight: Brian Moreland

People often say things to me like: 

"You write horror? Really? You seem so normal!"

"I had no idea you write that kind of stuff, you're a nice guy!"

"Horror? Really? But...you...I mean..." Then their head bursts into a blossom of gooey red and bone.

Brian Moreland is one of those guys I bet hears that quite often as well. I have met many horror authors in my short career as a writer and, if I had to pick a horror writer bestie, it would be Brian Moreland. People like Moreland, Ronald Malfi, Jeff Strand and Hunter Shea have showed me a humbling amount of altruistic support and appreciation that makes me strive to be more like them.

I got to chat with Brian Moreland recently. With his new book The Vagrants releasing this week, I have decided to post our talk for others to enjoy. Even in this quick interview, it's easy to recognize a true passion for writing and Brian's selfless nature.



1. When was the moment you realized that, without any doubt, you wanted to write stories? And why was it horror stories that intrigued you the most?

I had always loved monsters ever since I was a little boy. Whenever I had paper and crayons, I’d draw monsters--Frankenstein, Wolfman, Dracula, and my favorite:  Creature from the Black Lagoon. From age 7-12, I used to watch monster movies with my mom every Saturday when one of our local TV stations played a double creature feature. These were all the black and white horror movies of the Fifties and Sixties--Godzilla, Day of the Triffids, the original The Thing--and some of the color movies of the Seventies like Squirm, Snowbeast, Horror Express and Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. I collected monster toys and comic books, and for was drawn to werewolves, vampires, aliens and any other creatures that roamed in the shadows. I also read magazines like Famous Monsters of Film Land and Fangoria. For me, watching scary movies was an adrenaline rush, a couple hours of absolute fun and terror. 
When I got into my teens, I discovered horror fiction. I picked up a paperback copy of Stephen King’s Night Shift. It was the red copy with “Children of the Corn” on the cover and the arm holding a sickle above a cornfield. When I got home, I gleefully read “Children of the Corn” and “Graveyard Shift”, and from that moment on I was hooked on horror fiction. I had thought watching monster movies was the pinnacle of fun, but reading horror touched me on a deeper level. It was a more intimate experience and much more terrifying, when I was reading alone in my bedroom. After reading several Stephen King stories, I explored other horror authors like James Herbert and Clive Barker. Barker’s Books of Blood series took my imagination to a whole new realm. He showed me that horror fiction cannot only include facing our darkest fears, but our darkest desires as well. 

By the time I got to college I had read countless horror short stories and novels, adding Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, and John Saul to my collection of favorite horror authors. Reading Dean Koontz’s Watchers and Phantoms had a lasting impact on me, inspiring me to write my own fiction my Freshmen year at college. Ever since I was that little boy, I’ve had an active imagination. Watching all these horror movies and reading fiction by horror masters, my mind began to blossom with story ideas and monsters that I had yet to see in movies or books. I was discovering that I had my own stories to tell and that maybe writing horror was my calling. So at age 19, I wrote my first novel “The Degba Dynasty”, which I rewrote and polished 25 years later and published it as The Devil’s Woods.

2. The Devil's Woods was one of the best books I read last year. How much research did you do before writing the novel? And where did the idea come from originally?

Thanks, I did very little research, actually. That story just came to me straight from my imagination. The version that I wrote in college was inspired by many of the horror movies of the ‘80s, in particular Evil Dead and Demons. There was also a comic book that I had read long ago, which I can’t remember the title, but this super hero was fighting a thousand demons in some hellish underworld and that vision stuck in my subconscious. As with many authors, my writing is influenced by everything I read and watch, as well as what I experience and observe in the world around me. I’ve always loved the great outdoors, so I wrote the setting to take place at a cabin in the woods. Also, whenever I’m alone in the dense woods I feel this almost mystical sensation that the woods are alive and watching me. 
I had originally set the story in Colorado, but after hiking through the wilderness of many areas in Colorado, I realized it wasn’t secluded enough to conceal an ancient forest. Everywhere I went I ran into other people hiking or camping. So I moved my story up to the northern tip of the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, Canada, where much of the wilderness is uninhabited. Much of the core story and original characters, like Kyle, Elkheart and Jessica, made the final cut. I actually added Kyle’s brother Eric in the second revision. 
The logging town in my original Colorado version was called Pineville and populated by a bunch of backwoods people. When I moved the story up to Canada, I decided to make the town its own character. I placed it on the coast of a beautiful lake with mountains all around. I changed Pineville’s name to Hagen’s Cove and gave it a Danish origin, founded by the town’s forefather, Hagen Thorpe, back in 1882. I did do some research about when the Danes migrated from Denmark to Canada during in the late 1800s. I also studied Danish folklore and demonology. I learned that the word “nightmare” comes from “mare” which was a mythical demon that climbs on top of your chest and sits there looking at you while you sleep. I wove some of my findings into my story. For instance, the legend of Beowulf fighting the creature Grendel is a part of Danish folklore, so in my book I described a tapestry of Beowulf and Grendel in the tavern where Kyle and Jessica go to eat lunch. Most of the research I did was to add rich details to the story. But the terrifying horrors that readers will discover when they enter the Devil’s Woods, I believe are ancient archetypes that come from the deepest darkness of my imagination.

3. The main character in The Devil's Woods is a writer as well, do you find writing stories with writers as the central character easier or a greater challenge? And are you a pilot like Mr. Kyle Elkheart, or is this something you learned for the book?

The answer to your first question is both easier and harder. Being a writer, it’s very easy for me to identify with a lead character is who also a writer. I put a lot of myself in Kyle Elkheart, and out of all the protagonists from my novels, Kyle is the most like me. I could easily get into Kyle’s head and know how he was feeling in any situation. I knew how he would react to certain conflicts like being attracted to his brother’s girlfriend, Jessica, and identified with his fears and emotions. At the beginning of the story, Kyle is a hermit who rarely goes out and mostly escapes into writing. There have been times in my life when I was reclusive and would go for days not seeing or talking to anyone, just writing, just escaping into another world. 
The challenge of making a writer the main character is how to make him an interesting hero when his profession is mostly sitting at a computer and typing words on a screen. It’s much easier to write about protagonists who have active professions like a detective or a soldier or a spy. With Kyle, I decided to make him more of a detective--he’s searching for his missing father. And Kyle has a unique gift--he can see into the spiritual realm. He sees and hears ghosts and can get psychic visions of events that happened in the past--like when he witnesses the murder of an Indian girl from twenty years ago. As a horror author, Kyle became rich and famous writing a ghost detective series. The ghost detective, Alex Winterbone, has become Kyle’s alter ego and pushes Kyle to solve the mystery of the Devil’s Woods.
To answer your second question, I’m not a pilot, and before writing the book knew very little about flying. Both my grandfather and father were pilots. My grandfather flew C-47s back in WWII and dropped the paratroopers over Normandy during the D-Day invasion. My father started out as a Navy pilot, flying cargo planes and landing on aircraft carriers. Dad went on to fly commercially for airlines like Braniff, Muse Air, and spent most of his career flying Captain for American Airlines. I consulted my dad about flying and got some basic flying information. But in my story, Kyle flies a seaplane, which neither my grandfather nor father ever flew. So first I researched seaplanes to find out the type Kyle would be flying up in Seattle. Out of several different choices, I decided to go with the de Havilland Turbo Otter seaplane. I love how those pontoon planes can take off and land on lakes. Once I chose my plane, I decided I needed to talk with a pilot who actually flies one of these so I can correctly describe how Kyle operates the plane. I contacted a flight school up in Seattle and interviewed a flight instructor who flies the de Havilland. He explained how to take off, the proper altitude to take the plane, and how to bring the plane in for a landing on a body of water. I love doing this kind of research for books, because I always learn something new and I believe it adds some authenticity to the story.

4. At Horrorhound Indy this past September, we were lucky enough to spend a great deal of time talking about writing. Our conversations helped motivate me for months. Is this something you find helps you as well? Discussing the love of writing with other writers?

HorrorHound Indy was a blast and I really enjoyed hanging out with you and talking about horror novels and movies. Yes, I love discussing the love of writing with other writers. Where I live, very few people in my circle of friends and family are writers. And my local friends, who are writers, don’t read or write horror. So when I go to horror cons and get to hang out with writers like yourself, I feel like a kid who has finally found a group of like-minded people who share my passions for horror fiction. I remember we talked for hours on end and it was a lot of fun. Hanging out with you and other Samhain horror authors definitely motivated me to go home and get back to writing. I immediately went home and finished my novella The Vagrants, which earned me another book deal with Samhain Publishing one month later. Our talks definitely played a part in keeping me motivated.

5. What will we see we see next from you? After reading The Witching House and The Devil's Woods, I'm overly excited to read the next Moreland book. I've compared you to Graham Masterson and Dean Koontz, so I keep your books on the shelf next to theirs.

Thanks, that’s an honor to be compared to those two masters, especially Dean Koontz, since I studied his writing style voraciously back in college when I was first learning how to write a novel. I loved his fast-paced storytelling and always aimed to write my books so readers keep turning the pages.


My next book The Vagrants will release as an eBook June 3rd, 2014. While most of my books are set in the woods, this one takes place in Boston. It’s a mix of Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft.  

Here’s the synopsis:

Beneath the city of Boston evil is gathering. 

Journalist Daniel Finley is determined to save the impoverished of the world. But the abandoned part of humanity has a dark side too. While living under a bridge with the homeless for six months, Daniel witnessed something terrifying. Something that nearly cost him his sanity. 

Now, two years later, he’s published a book that exposes a deadly underground cult and its charismatic leader. And Daniel fears the vagrants are after him because of it. At the same time, his father is being terrorized by vicious mobsters. As he desperately tries to help his father, Daniel gets caught up in the middle of a war between the Irish-American mafia and a deranged cult of homeless people who are preparing to shed blood on the streets of Boston.

Lastly, I’m working on a collection of short stories which I’m aiming to release in October 2014. 

To read an excerpt of The Vagrants and see some cool videos of abandoned subway tunnels, go to here. 

If anyone would like to receive updates about my publications, they can join my mailing list at http://www.brianmoreland.com/.

Krist, thanks so much for interviewing me for your blog. I look forward to hanging out with you again at horror cons later this spring and summer.
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Author Bio: Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His books include Dead of Winter, Shadows in the Mist, The Girl from the Blood Coven, The Witching House, and The Devil’s Woods. His next book, The Vagrants, will release in June 2014. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror novel.

Follow on Twitter: @BrianMoreland




 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Skin Show on Kindle!

Spent the weekend at HorrorHound, signing books, meeting constant readers and new ones, and hanging out with other Samhain authors. And during the good times I neglected to inform everyone that The Skin Show would be available on Amazon today. You may purchase it for your Kindle HERE!

Other formats will come soon, with a paperback closer to the summer. The hardback is still available, though the supply is very limited.

Here's the eBook/paperback cover. I hope those who read the book enjoy it.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Horror Happens and new hardcovers...

Last night I made my radio interview debut on Horror Happens Radio. The host, Jay, was very knowledgeable in not just my books, but horror in general. It was a good time. The archive should be available HERE soon.

On Monday, Thunderstorm Books released limited edition hardcovers of PILLOWFACE and THE SKIN SHOW. Check out their covers below. As of this update, I'm not sure of the in-stock numbers on  each book. You may purchase the books HERE while they're still available!



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Some of my favorite books of 2013!

I've never written one of these, or at least I don't remember writing one. Probably because I can never pick just a handful of books. Also, the majority of the books I read are old. This year, however, I read a lot more newer books than usual. Here's a short list of some I enjoyed--though some of them might not have been released in 2013. 

And here they are!

1. The Devil's Woods by Brian Moreland. 
2. The Late Night Horror Show by Bryan Smith
3. Joyland by Stephen King
4. Stalking You Now by Jeff Strand
5. The Tree Man by David Bernstein
6. Header by Edward Lee (reprint)
7. Darkest Lullaby by Jonathan Janz
8. Voracious by Wrath James White
9. Death Depot by Alan Spencer
10. The Witching House by Brian Moreland
11. The Narrows by Ronald Malfi (2012)
12. Bigfoot Crank Stomp by Erik Williams
13. Tentacle Death Trip by Jordan Krall (2012)
14. An Occurrence in Crazy Bear Valley by Brian Keene (reprint)
Right now I'm reading Prey Drive by Wrath James White and it just might make it to this list before Christmas. I should finish it in a day or two. 

The list could have kept going and going, but I had to stop at some point. I should start keeping track of the number of books and comics I read per year. It's a large count, I'm sure. I also read a ton of old paperbacks that I should make a completely separate list for because there are several I read this year that I really enjoyed.

Anyway, this was a hard list to assemble, not because I had trouble picking some. There were just SO many good books this year. My favorite list of movies would be much shorter, so I'm not bothering with making one.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. Remember it's not the quantity of what's given but the quality of the time spent together. Rejoice in every moment, no matter how tough it gets. That's some advice I can take as well.    



Monday, November 4, 2013

New book out, new cover revealed.

My new novel Prank Night is now available on Kindle and in paperback. I am very happy with this book and hope that you kind readers enjoy it as much as me. The emails I've received from readers so far have been overwhelmingly positive. It's a step away from my usual flare, but still dark and bloody in very sense. Here is the synopsis, taken from the back of the paperback:

In Autumn Creek, Halloween is no longer a harmless holiday of make-believe for children. It’s a night of survival. 
The onslaught starts with the brutal murder of a woman. The following night, cars are vandalized, stranding the residents, rendering them vulnerable to the looming chaos. With no chance of escape, the town becomes a battleground as, one by one, the residents fall prey to Prank Night. Terror will flow through the quaint village, flooding the streets with blood.

For now, Prank Night is available exclusively on Amazon. You can pick up a paperback or download the Kindle eBook HERE

My next novel through Samhain Publishing's horror line is Proud Parents. Here is a sneak peek of the cover for my sci-fi horror story about reproductive medicine with horrible side-effects.

I hope Halloween treated all of you well. It was the best one I can remember. It's unbelievable that Christmas is less than two months away. Time to start breaking out the Christmas-themed horror movies that I adore to get in the spirit. 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Book Signing, new book, and Monsterfest

This Saturday, I will be joining author Ronald Malfi at Barnes & Noble in Chesapeake, Virginia to sign books and meet readers. We will be there from 12:30pm until 5:00pm. But, before the signing, please stop by the Chesapeake Library for Monsterfest, where Malfi and I will be from 10:00am-12:00pm. There are a lot of events planned at Monsterfest, something for all fans of horror. 

The address for Barnes and Noble is:
1212 Greenbrier Parkway, Chesapeake, VA

For more information about Monsterfest, visit their website HERE








Next week, my newest novel Prank Night will be released. It will be an Amazon exclusive for a few months. A hardcover and other special editions will be announced later. Here's a sneak peek at the cover and back cover copy:

In Autumn Creek, Halloween is no longer a harmless holiday of make-believe for children. It’s a night of survival.

The bloodshed starts with a brutal murder of a woman. Then all across town cars are vandalized, stranding the residents, rendering them vulnerable to the looming chaos. With no chance of escape, the town becomes a battleground. One by one, the residents fall prey to Prank Night. All night long, terror will flow through the quaint village, flooding the streets with blood.