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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Everybody Loves Malfi!

I enjoy loaning out my blog to fellow writers, especially those I've become very close to over the years. I'm very blessed to have made some great friends during these few years of being a published writer. Some of those friendships are with people I read years before my first book was published, such as Ronald Malfi--Ron to others, Malfi to me. 

Malfi is very loved in the Rufty household, so much so, we consider him a member of our family. Not only has Malfi been there for me while I scratched and clawed and suffered myriad rejections as I tried to sell my first book, he's been a close, personal friend. Always offering support, advice, and guidance when times were tough. He was also the first person I told when my wife and I found out we were having another baby. Malfi is a good guy all around, a true friend, and the best partner in this bromance that's been brewing for many years. My son once accused Malfi of losing his street cred, but I was given the OK to say he earned it back thanks to an online video that depicted Malfi biting off a man's rat-tail (True story, the video's out there).

Proof of how much we love Malfi is this framed picture on the shelf, among other framed photographs of family members. 

Malfi's newest book, Little Girls, is a prime example of how to do fiction right. Not just horror fiction, but perfect storytelling that will bring any writer to covetous tears. This book is truly terrifying, with pristine writing that's as smooth as glass. As with all of Malfi's books, I had to stop many times to reread passages because they were so well-written that I wanted to take note on what immaculate prose truly is. Perfect storytelling from start to finish, I was reminded, many times, of talented favorites such as Charles L. Grant and Peter Straub while reading Little Girls. I thought December Park would remain my favorite Malfi book, but Little Girls dethroned it. 

Here's a rundown of the plot: 

From Bram Stoker Award nominee Ronald Malfi comes a brilliantly chilling novel of childhood revisited, memories resurrected, and fears reborn…

When Laurie was a little girl, she was forbidden to enter the room at the top of the stairs. It was one of many rules imposed by her cold, distant father. Now, in a final act of desperation, her father has exorcised his demons. But when Laurie returns to claim the estate with her husband and ten-year-old daughter, it’s as if the past refuses to die. She feels it lurking in the broken moldings, sees it staring from an empty picture frame, and hears it laughing in the moldy greenhouse deep in the woods…

At first, Laurie thinks she’s imagining things. But when she meets her daughter’s new playmate, Abigail, she can’t help but notice her uncanny resemblance to another little girl who used to live next door. Who died next door. With each passing day, Laurie’s uneasiness grows stronger, her thoughts more disturbing. Like her father, is she slowly losing her mind? Or is something truly unspeakable happening to those sweet little girls?

Here are some links to pick up this chill-inducing book:

Usually at this point, I begin asking questions, or turn the blog over to my guest for a special post. With Malfi, though, we're going to do something a little different. See, Malfi and I have had this idea for a screenplay for a few years now. We've even attempted writing it on more than one occasion. Though we've never reached the end, one day we'll finish it. Malfi has decided to give a sneak peek into one of our random conversations, in a screenplay format. Of course, he's taken some fictional liberties in our talk, but I'll leave it up to you, reader, as to which parts he sensationalized. 

To see us reenact this scene, and many others, come to Scares That Care next week, July 24-26 in Williamsburg, VA. We'll be sharing a table there, and I'm sure we'll be the loudest of the bunch! Just follow the sounds of obnoxious laughter and the appalled faces of attendees like breadcrumbs to our table. 


By Ronald Malfi


KRISTOPHER RUFTY, 30s, sits at a table signing books for eager fans. He’s got a pleasant and approachable face, a workmanlike sensibility, and the brim of a ball cap tugged low over his eyes. Once his legion of fans dissipates, RONALD MALFI enters, clutching a glass of scotch, two days’ growth at his jowls, his eyes bleary from staying up too late the night before. He sits beside Rufty and offers him a sip of his scotch, which Rufty declines.

Rough night last night?

Yeah. I think my heart stopped.

When?  Last night?

No, just now.

So have you given any thought to that screenplay we talked about?

In fact, yes.  But that’s about all I’ve done. The writer’s block has eaten a hole through the center of my brain, I fear. I can hear something wormlike squirming about in there.

You’re thinking about it too hard. Don’t you have a book due this year?

Yes.  Don’t you have like five due this year?

Six, actually.


So tell me about this script idea.

Well, it starts off with this writer who’s tasked with writing a guest blog on his friend’s website.

For like a book promotion?


Okay. Go on.

Well, see, the guy is strapped for something clever to say. You see, this friend of his, he’s a fellow writer, too, and anyway, they’re good friends, and this guy, this writer guy, he just wants to write something unique and groovy and something that will, I guess, knock his buddy’s socks off.

There’s no such thing as a unique guest blog. They’re all the same.

I know, I know! But, see, maybe this writer dude comes up with some original concept...like, maybe instead of a blog post, he writes it in screenplay form--

Because maybe these two guys have been talking about writing a screenplay together?

Yes! Exactly. So, yeah, he writes it in screenplay form...

But what does he write about?  There still has to be a point to it.

(considering this)
Well, he’s obviously gotta plug his new novel. It’s the whole point of the guest blog, right?

Just like you’re going around currently plugging Little Girls.


Which, by the way, is an outstanding novel.

Thank you.

Seriously.  I’m not just saying that because we’re friends. It’s quite possibly the best novel I’ve read all year. Or, for that matter, in the past ten years.

No shit?

Ask anybody. It’s all anyone is talking about.

At this moment, STEPHEN KING saunters by, his big shoulders stooped, his arms laden with used paperbacks he’s purchased from one of the vendors. He pauses before Rufty and Malfi’s table and nods enthusiastically.

It’s true, Ron. Loved the book.

Thanks, Steve-o.

Think I can get your autograph?

Not now, man. We’re busy talking. I’ll catch you later in the bar.


Dejected, King skulks away.

So then what happens in the script?

Maybe someone gets killed? I think someone should get killed. It’s a horror script, after all.

Good idea.

Beneath the brim of his ball cap, Rufty’s eyes darken. He withdraws a curved knife out from behind his back, the ten-inch blade gleaming beneath the lights of the showroom.

Wait, wait, wait—wouldn’t it make more sense for me to kill you? You’re the guy pumping out twenty books a year while I’m suffering over one at a time. Shouldn’t I murder you in a fit of...I don’t know...jealous rage?

Or maybe I kill you because your hungover, unwashed appearance keeps all my fans from coming up to our table...

Okay, fair enough. Listen, I’m gonna get another scotch.

But what about the murder? I’ve got the knife right here ready to go.

Listen, I’d love to help you out, but as I’ve said, man, it’s the writer’s block, that damn worm eating my brains. I can’t finish the script. I can’t write the murder. Not even my own.

Sounds like a cop-out to me.

Malfi shrugs. He gets up and meanders away from the table. Disappointed, Rufty slides the curved blade back behind his back and out of sight. A moment later, an attractive female fan approaches the table. She appraises Rufty with something more than mere admiration.

I thought that drunk idiot would never leave.

With any luck, he’ll wander out into the parking lot and get run over by a truck. It would be the perfect ending to the script.

Is his new book really that good?

Not a chance!

Rufty’s laughter grows until the girl joins him. Soon, Stephen King returns, and the three of them laugh like maniacs as we--



Sunday, April 26, 2015

Audio Books!

PILLOWFACE and OAK HOLLOW audiobooks are now available from Audio Realms!


Oak Hollow

I'm extremely excited these books are available in audio format. It's been a dream of mine for so long, it's feels a bit surreal it's finally happened. A DARK AUTUMN, ANGEL BOARD, THE LURKERS, and THE NIGHT EVERYTHING CHANGED will be available before the end of the year.  

Bigfoot Beach!

Thunderstorm Books released BIGFOOT BEACH in a limited, hardcover edition on April 15th. The e-book and paperback are available as well. I usually have a blast writing books, something I feel truly blessed to be able to do, but this book might just have a softer spot in my heart than the others. Why? Well, it was an idea that began during a conversation with my son and daughter. 

I went to eat lunch with my son at his school, and since my daughter's lunchtime was close to his, I was able to pull her out of class a little early so she could join us. It was late spring, and we were excited to have warm weather again. My kids began talking about beach trips for the summer, which somehow led my to son showing me his shoes. He made me push down on the toe so I could see how much his feet had grown since my wife and I bought him the shoes a month before. I made a comment that inspired an idea in my kids' heads. 

"If your feet keep growing, somebody's going to see your footprint in the sand at the beach and think there's a Bigfoot running loose on the beach!"

My kids laughed, then began encouraging me to write a story about a Bigfoot running loose on a beach. I told them some ideas while we ate, and nearly all off them wound up in the book. Though they still aren't quite old enough to read the novel yet, I dedicated the book to them and I think when they reach a good age to read it, they'll be pleased. At least, I hope so.

Thunderstorm Books just have a couple copies left. If you're a collector, and are interested in buying the book, you may do so HERE!

The e-book and paperback can be found on Amazon HERE!

And KOBO right HERE!

iBooks and Nook forthcoming. 

Here's a synopsis, basically word-for-word what I said to my kids that day at the lunch table:


A bizzare, brutal murder. A missing woman. And a giant footprint in the sand. Now, the dying beach community known as Seashell Cove finally has a hook to attract the tourists—a Bigfoot on the beach! As the summer season winds down, the tourists go home and the town begins preparing for the colder months.

Soon, more strange footprints are found, other mysterious sightings are reported. Then the deaths begin. Could there really be a Bigfoot running loose in Seashell Cove?

A tracker with a personal agenda, the local sheriff, a hero whose fifteen minutes of fame expired a long time ago, and a female reporter looking for a scoop will team up to find out for sure.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Jagger and another kind of Horrorhound

Here we are, in March. That's important for many reasons. First of all--my son turned twelve last week. He's growing so fast!

Second, I had a new book released this month. JAGGER, from Sinister Grin Press. This is my second book through SGP, the first being JACKPOT, which was cowritten by David Bernstein, Shane McKenzie, and Adam Cesare. The idea for JAGGER was something that had been bouncing around my head for a few years now, and I'm very happy with how it turned out. Sure, it gets a bit tough in parts, but overall, I had a fun time writing it. This was a book that poured out of me, and I'm pleased to share it with the world.

To buy, click HERE! The Kindle version is .99 for just a short while longer. Also available in paperback.

My final reason that March is significant is I will be making my third appearance at Horrorhound in Cincinnati, Ohio. Always a good time, and this year should be no different. I'll be there signing books at the Samhain Publishing table with some fellow Samhain scribes. If that's not enough, there'll also be a lot of Horror celebrities and a few The Walking Dead cast members.

AND if that's still not enough, Tom Atkins will be there. TOM ATKINS!

To see the full guest list, click HERE!

Two weeks ago I was interviewed by the Horrific Podcast. The show should air soon. I'll be sure to post links when it goes live.

I hope to see as many of you as possible this weekend.