Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hunters of the Damned!

Hunter Shea is no stranger to my blog. Any time he wishes to stop by, I'm more than happy to have him on. His books are some of the best out there, and I've enjoyed them all. But his newest, Tortures of the Damned, exists on a plateau that's all its own. Intense, fast-paced, and incredible, this book doesn't let up from the moment the story begins. At times I had to close the book so I could take a breather, dab my brow with a napkin to dry the sweat. It's scary, emotional, and a good time that's seldom achieved these days in fiction.
Not only was the book impressively written (that's expected), it was written by a guy who has become a dear friend. I got to spend some more time with Hunter this past July at Scares That Care II in Williamsburg, VA. Readers flocked to his table, snatching up everything he had available to sell. A reader named Jan visited my table many times and chatted about many things, but usually our conversations migrated toward Hunter and his books. A long-time reader of his, she'd purchased his two latest novels: Tortures of the Damned and The Dover Demon. She couldn't say enough good things about him, nor can I.
Horror fiction is in good hands with people like Hunter Shea. He not only blesses the genre with his talents, but he also shares a child-like love for monsters and things that go bump in the night that is infectious. His books leave you giggling like a kid at a sleepover who should have been asleep hours ago. Why? Because you share a secret with Hunter, just as all fellow horror and monster lovers do. This is a genre where it's okay to be scared, okay to leave the real world behind for a few hours. That's the secret that all of us monster-lovers share, and with a grand storyteller like Hunter at the helm, we have myriad shocks and suspense just a page away.  
And now, I turn the blog over to Hunter. Thank you, my friend, for stopping by.
Suffering for Your Craft
by Hunter Shea, author of Tortures of the Damned
 You are what you write. And you write what you are.
Well, not entirely, but sometimes what you put on the page and the emotions that explode out of every pore go pretty much hand in hand. It can be overwhelming when it happens but more times than most, it serves the story well.
Case File – Hunter Shea – Author of Tortures of the Damned – Tortured While Writing
Deciding to write a thriller based on a terrorist attack in the city where I call home was never going to be easy. When the towers collapsed on 9/11, from my house I could see the plumes of black smoke rising from the wreckage. Since then, we’ve lived in fear of something like that happening again…or worse. So basically, this book was going to lay bare all of my nightmares, a quarter of a year spent living in the worst of times, at least in my head.
I made a decision to write small chapters, 2-5 pages each, small bursts of action that would drive home the sense of urgency. The original title was Run Like Hell, and my goal was to take a normal family and put them through hell, running for survival with a shifting light at the end of the tunnel. Each chapter was a little adrenaline burst.
And that’s exactly how my body reacted all throughout the writing process. The more chapters I wrote in a sitting, the more keyed up I became. Sometimes, it would get so bad, I’d have to knock back a drink or two or even pop a Xanax to settle down. My hands would tremble, my brain refused to shut down, even my body ached. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Day after day, I wrecked myself. Talk about suffering for your craft!
Through it all, I kept thinking, if this is what’s happening while I write, what will become of the people who read it?
The answer that eventually came to me – hopefully it will tug at all of their emotions and get them to cringe, shriek, cheer, hold their breath, think, cry, smile, hope, pray and plan for their own future. Lord knows, that’s what was going on in the Shea lair.
People are already asking about a sequel. When I think about it, my body has an actual visceral reaction. Of course, that doesn’t mean no.
I do have some leftover Xanax.

Big thanks to Kristopher for hosting me on his site. He’s an awesome writer that everyone should be reading. If the world goes to shit, you want good guys like Krist on your side.
Hunter Shea is back again with a Pinnacle/Kensington paperback following his smash hit of The Montauk Monster last summer. This time the world could be ending!
Follow along using the hashtags: #TorturesoftheDamned #Apocalypse #RunforYourLife
Tortures of the Damned, Info and Synopsis-
·        Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
·         Publisher: Pinnacle (July 28, 2015)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 0786034777
·         ISBN-13: 978-0786034772
First, the electricity goes—plunging the east coast in darkness after a devastating nuclear attack. Millions panic. Millions die. They are the lucky ones. 
Next, the chemical weapons take effect—killing or contaminating everything alive. Except a handful of survivors in a bomb shelter. They are the damned.
Then, the real nightmare begins. Hordes of rats force two terrified families out of their shelter—and into the savage streets of an apocalytic wasteland. They are not alone. Vicious, chemical-crazed animals hunt in packs. Dogs tear flesh, cats draw blood, horses crush bone. Roaming gangs of the sick and dying are barely recognizable as human. These are the times that try men’s souls. These are the tortures that tear families apart. This is hell on earth. The rules are simple: Kill or die.
“A lot of splattery fun.”—Publishers Weekly
 “Harrowing, bloodsoaked.” —Jonathan Janz, Author of The Nightmare Girl
“Frightening, gripping.”—Night Owl Reviews

“Old school horror.” —Jonathan Maberry,  New York Times bestselling author
Hunter Shea, Biography-
Hunter Shea is the author of the novels The Montauk Monster, Sinister Entity, Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, and Evil Eternal. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales and the Cemetery Dance anthology, 
Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror.
His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on. He lives in New York with his family and vindictive cat. He waits with Biblical patience for the Mets to win a World Series. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com.
You can purchase Tortures of the Damned in mass market paperback at more retail stores nationwide, as well as bookstores, both independent and chain.
You can also buy online at:
One signed book from Hunter Shea of winner’s choice (or e-book) and a bookmark.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Brian Kirk's a monster!

Maybe not a real monster, at least not in my eyes. Brian Kirk is new to the Samhain brood, but I think he fits in just fine. We're happy to have him. In a raspy, evil deadite voice: He's one of us now...

Kirk's debut novel has gotten a lot of praise, and I couldn't agree more. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend that you pick it up. It'll stay with you for a long time. And look at that cover! The color of yellow has been proven to inspire creativity. Love the design and execution for the way it just grabs you and doesn't let go--much like the story on the pages behind the cover.

I asked Brian to stop by my blog and talk a bit. I couldn't be happier to have him here.


Do you ever feel that instead of living a life you’re playing a game? You look in the mirror after a long day of sales calls or surgery or scaling fish and you don’t quite recognize the face? It feels fake, somehow. More like a mask. And you’re not sure why it took this form or how you became the person with all its strange trappings – the starched shirt, the wallet chain, the suburban Land Rover. And in moments like this you wouldn’t be all that surprised to hear a disembodied voice say “GAME OVER” and find yourself in a life simulation console inside an arcade of some alien boardwalk having spent your tentacled Mom’s last dollar bill.

Okay, maybe I took it too far there at the end. That happens.

My point is… Shit, what was my point?

Oh yeah, my point is, doesn’t it sometimes feel like we’re play acting a role?

I grew up loving to tell stories. Scary stories, more often than not. And writing has always been the activity that provided me with the most inner joy. But then college came and I figured it was time to choose a field of study that could become a career. My dad was in advertising, so I figured I’d do that. And that’s what I did. For nine years I worked at a large ad agency, climbing the corporate ladder, counting down the days until I could retire and roam free. I made it through about 2,000 of the requisite 12,000 days.

Pretty early on I knew it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t the work. It wasn’t the people. And it wasn’t the pay (although it was pretty abysmal at the beginning). It was the fact that I felt like a fraud. I felt like I was playing the role of an Ad Exec rather than being my authentic self. And it seemed like everyone around me was doing the same thing. Assuming this stiff, awkward posture, wearing clothes they wouldn’t normally wear, speaking in some strange language I never heard outside the office, “net-net, value add, core competencies (that no one would want to have)”.

How about this? Have you ever been with a close friend, a drinking buddy per se, and have them unexpectedly run into someone from work? Notice how their whole demeanor changes? It’s like they got caught with their pants down and must scramble to pull them up.

What is that? Why do we do it? Why do we allow ourselves to wear that phony mask?

This is one of the themes I address in my debut novel, We Are Monsters. In fact, I considered a cover design concept that looked something like this.

My book takes place inside a mental institution and studies the attempted restoration of mental health. I had an epiphany when considering this environment. It seemed to me that the patients with their crippling mental disorders were living more authentically than some of the doctors likely were. Sure, it may not be how they would choose to live. Schizophrenia doesn’t sound like fun. But they weren’t putting on a pretense. Whereas the doctors may have emotional burdens they were hiding from or shoving deep down inside.

I wanted to unmask the doctors and see what I’d find underneath. What demons lay buried there.

If that sort of thing interests you, I humbly invite you to check out my debut novel, We Are Monsters. It’s okay to read while wearing a mask. Maybe a Richard Nixon one. Or Winnie The Pooh.
Thanks for having me, Kristopher! Here’s my contact info in case anyone wants to stay in touch.