The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Jim Goforth

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Jim. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself?


Jim – Salutations, Stacey, and cheers for having me here. Predominantly, I am a husband and father, but in addition to that I am a horror author. Formerly based in Sydney, I now reside in Albury where I maintain a full-time job along with writing. I’m also an editor and run WetWorks, which is the extreme horror and bizarro imprint of J. Ellington Ashton Press. I’m a massive heavy metal aficionado, in particular the extreme subgenres (black and death), and often cross-pollinate my horror writing with forays into musical realms.


Stacey – As a complete novice to extreme metal music, what drew you to it in the first place. Was it a band or a particular song?


Jim – My passion for extreme metal runs in some ways parallel to my passion for horror. As an impressionable youngster I gravitated towards dark elements in both fiction and music early, and constantly expanded my search for new heavier, and horrific things. I grew up with music always playing in my household, as well as always having books around, so I cultivated an appreciation for all kinds of both. Reading was encouraged, appreciating music too, and as I delved deeper into heavy metal, and grew up with it, I discovered a penchant for the more extreme side of things. This went hand in hand with my explorations of horror, and an affinity with all of it. No particular bands or songs played major parts since I was into a very wide spread of acts from all over the world, but I certainly have an abundance of favourites.


Stacey – Was music what drew you into writing Horror or was there some other influence?


Jim – Music has always been influential and inspirational, not just metal, but all different types, but it wasn’t what served as any catalyst for writing horror. When I first started writing stories-which happened not too long after I learned to read-I was writing all kinds of different things in a vast array of genres. Back then of course, as a kid, I didn’t have too much of an idea of genres, but I have written tales that could be considered fantasy, science fiction, urban, I even used to write Westerns. What was the principal inspiration for all of this was reading. I read a hell of a lot of books of all types of genres, and I was often inspired to write my own tales. As I did with music, gravitating towards the heavier side of things, my reading tastes soon included horror, and while I continued to read an assortment of different genres, it was horror that became my prime obsession. My stories reflected that as a result, and soon enough I realised writing horror was exactly what I wanted to do, where I wanted to be.


Stacey – You have quite an impressive list of titles under your belt according to Amazon. How long have you been writing?


Jim – I’ve been writing forever it seems like, and essentially that is true. As I made mention of before, I started writing not long after I learned to read. As a kid I didn’t just write stories though, I actually made my own books, drew my own illustrations, synopsis, covers, the whole lot.  I wrote stories, poetry, lyrics, a couple of novels through my high school years, and then continued to write on and off in one form or another throughout all the years following that.

In terms of actually being published however, that didn’t happen until early 2014 when my first book Plebs emerged. That came after a fairly long period where I wasn’t writing horror fiction at all, but was involved in other pursuits, such as working in the extreme metal scenes. Considering this involved writing reviews and so forth I was still technically writing, though not in any fiction capacity.


Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?


Jim – I draw inspiration from just about anything. I wouldn’t exactly say I have written too much based around my real-life experiences, not in any great detail or focus in any event, but rather a case of taking snippets here and there to enhance other stories.

I find inspiration everywhere. From daily events, to a random piece of conversation heard in passing, from news headlines to music, anything at all. One of my favourite methods of conjuring up a story is to merely find a single image-old houses are often a great source-and create an entire tale based around that sole picture. My novel The Sleep was largely conceived and written in this manner. The image that appears on the cover is the very one that the whole book was based around.

Other books and stories have drawn inspiration from all manner of sources, though any real life experiences or personal experiences of mine would be well blended in with themes and subjects of a far more fictional nature.


Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing?


Jim – My greatest challenge in writing is finding enough time to write everything that I want to write. There are never enough hours in the day, and even as fast as I often write, I’m still being bombarded with ideas for other projects I want to get to work on. I almost always work on multiple projects at any given time, but even so, there’s never enough time.


Stacey – Do you write daily?


Jim – Yes, I do. How much I get written each day is variable, but I do make a point of writing something every day. Now and then for various reasons I might happen to miss a day here and there, but as a general rule I do write every day.


Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?


Jim – Either works just fine. I often write to a soundtrack of music which runs the gamut through the expected range of different metal genres, to sixties rock, industrial, even dance music, horrorcore, old school rap, all kinds of things. Other times I have no music at all, but that doesn’t essentially mean I’m writing in complete silence. With two little kids running around the house, there is rarely anything resembling complete silence. I’m attuned to just focusing on whatever it is I’m working on regardless of the surrounding sounds or background noise.


Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?


Jim – This will be the same advice I’ve given each time I’m asked this, and that is because I maintain the same stance there; it never changes.

If you want to write, or love to write, then just write. Write what you want to write, how you want.

I’ll expand on this a little and add something which may or may not work for everybody, since each person has their own method of approaching writing. If you’re aiming to tell a story, then tell the whole story before worrying about whether it is perfect. It’s entirely up to each writer whether they want to edit as they go, but personally I never do, and never have. Sitting around agonising over a line or a paragraph, then going back over and over it multiple times, rephrasing, restructuring, completely altering it or what-have-you as you write tends to stunt the flow of the story and might ultimately end in you never getting anything finished.  If you have the story in your head, get it out, and then concern yourself with beating it into shape if it so requires.

After all, first drafts exist for a reason.

In addition to that, I’ll toss this out there too. If you haven’t already got a thick skin, then be prepared to cultivate one. Whatever it is you write isn’t going to appeal to everybody, and there are always going to be myriad critiques and opinions floating around, so be ready to take all that in your stride.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?


Jim – To be honest I can’t think of any book I couldn’t finish reading. If I start something I usually persevere with it, even if it isn’t really captivating or holding my attention. It will take a whole lot longer to finish reading than a book that does keep me fixated, where I might go weeks or longer in between periods of reading it, but generally it does get completed.


Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?


Jim – The Autopsy of Jane Doe.


Stacey – What scares you?


Jim – Aside from something untoward happening to my kids and family, nothing really. I don’t scare easily.


Stacey – From the Vault is a collection of poetry and lyrics? Which is more rewarding? Poetry or Short Stories?


Jim – Writing stories and novels, novellas etc. is definitely where my main writing passion lies, so consequently, they are much more rewarding to me. In actuality, I haven’t written anything in the way of poetry or lyrics for many, many moons. From the Vault is quite literally from the vault. It is comprised of a collective of lyrics, songs, and poems which were all written way back in the mists of time. With the exception of a handful of them, they haven’t previously been published, so while they’re all quite old to me, they will be largely new to everybody else. I have a pretty sizeable assemblage of poems (all of which were originally written as lyrics), so this probably won’t be the only collection of its kind to surface. There will be others some time down the track, and since I have a body of unpublished novels, stories and so forth also written way back in the day, they too might be on the agenda to appear at some stage in the future.


Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?


Jim – As usual I’m working on myriad projects. They include Plebs 3, numerous other collections, a couple of novellas and several other novels. They’ll all jostle for the main focus of my attention until one wins out and I end up spending most of the time aiming to complete it. I’d like to say that will be Plebs 3, but we’ll see how that pans out. Anything can, and usually does, happen.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


Jim – No, I seldom, if ever, share excerpts of unpublished work. I know there are plenty out there who do for an assortment of reasons, and if that’s what they choose to do, that’s their prerogative, but personally I never really understood the logic behind it. Sharing an unedited excerpt, which anything of mine would be, considering I don’t edit as I go, I get the story written first, means that excerpt might not even make it to the final product, it might be wholly changed, restructured, you name it. I appreciate why some might want to share their work before it reaches the stage of publishing, but it’s not something I do.


Thank you so much for your time Jim! If you would like to find out more about Jim and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.


Video Refresh: Story Worms: For Love or Money

This is a quick video refresh of our previous article ‘Story Worms: For Love or Money’. This hits on the key areas of the article where Angeline Trevena shares her thoughts on the differences between For The Love and Paying markets as a new writer. I’m actually thinking about reaching out to her and seeing if her thoughts have changed on the subject in the past five years!

After watching the video, please like, share, and subscribe to our channel!

This is a new format that we’re playing around with for articles, interviews, and potentially Trembling With Fear. Please let us know if this is something that you’d like to see more of!

You can read the full article here:

Creative Marketing Tips From Authors Round 1

Welcome to another set of posts that we’ll be sharing with you over the next year. In this set, I’m looking at the various ways that authors can market their works. I’ve reached out to authors, publishers, and content marketers to get a wide range of ideas as to original ideas of getting the word out about your work.

You know, ideas that don’t involve spamming your Twitter and Facebook feeds that you want someone to buy your book.



Buy my book

Take advantage of Amazon’s promotional pricing structure which helps with sales — both giving the book away for free or using a graduated pricing structure where for example it starts at .99 and builds each day until it’s full price again.

Use hashtags and trending topics on social media — anything that is relevant to your book — to bring attention to the book.

Jerry Mooney

Jerry Mooney Books

Jerry Mooney Books

Jerry Mooney is the author of three books, including his latest novel, History, Yoghurt and the Moon.

Mooney has also written a screenplay based on History Yoghurt and the Moon as a way for cross promotion.

I self-published my book last year by Balboa Press. Falling into Joy eight simple steps to allow your body to become your best friend. I decided to use their PR agency for 12 weeks.  I did get blogging and articles for related magazines. I was underwhelmed with my coverage.
I decided to write articles about topics in my book and use Facebook and Instagram for exposure.  Then I made videos that were about five minutes long on each chapter in my book.  They explored a more in-depth look at the simple steps to take care of your body.
  That worked really well.  I put them on my book website so I could send people there to view and use at anytime.
I’ve done monthly workshops related to topics in my book and anytime I can use as a give away at a networking meeting or as a free giveaway for events I do.
I speak at many Women’s events and I use my book as my calling card.  Instead of my speaking fee, I’ll have them buy my book for the participants.
I won’t say it has been easy at all.  I am committed to getting my book and myself out there.
Conni Ponturo

Conni Ponturo

Conni Ponturo is a leading authority in the field of pain-free living, which includes the harmonious connection of movement, meditation, and mindset. As an acclaimed and enthusiastic speaker, her greatest joy is sharing her knowledge and actionable practices to keep you living pain-free.

You can follow Conni’s work at


Surround yourself with fellow writers who share your genre and skill level. Promote each other’s work and build a community!

Kate Bitters

Kate Bitters

When I’m not working as a writing coach or editor, I write fiction. I’ve won a handful of awards, including one in which Neil Gaiman read my short story on stage.

You can follow Kate’s work at

I’ve been working with authors for the past 15 years, after a corporate career working for a directory publisher. Earlier this year, I released a book called An Author’s Guide to Online Marketing, available from Amazon.
The most common thing I find is that authors don’t even think about marketing BEFORE they write their books. That’s when they need to do some essential marketing research that can actually shape how they write the book.
In fiction, there are dozens of genres – even within the Horror genre, there are multiple more specialized genres. An author needs to know which genre their book fits into, then learn everything they can about that genre to understand where their book fits into the mix. How will it be different from all the other books being released at the same time? Why should people read it? Who will most likely want to read it? What things might entice more people to read their book? So my first tip on being creative with your marketing would be to do your homework before you write the book. That will open up all kinds of things you may not have considered before.
Here’s a second thought: I once ghostwrote a book for a client who wanted to tell the story of his childhood in rural Mississippi during the Great Depression. He told a great story and it was a really interesting look at what life was like for poor white people at that time in history. It also had plenty of laughs and tears. The title he had in mind for the book was Mississippi Boys. Descriptive, but not anything that would make people want to pick it up and read it unless they were from Mississippi. As we were getting toward the end of the book, he told a story about when he joined the Navy and went to basic training. Describing the way his CO looked at him, he said that guy thought he was just some dumb kid from nowhere, and I thought, “Zing! We have the book title, right there.” We named the book Just a Dumb Kid from Nowhere, and he used that branding for a very successful book. Everywhere he went, he told people he was that dumb kid from nowhere, and he’d sell every book he took with him to signings. So my second tip would be to be fluid with your book title and see what emerges during the writing process. Don’t be afraid to be a little outrageous to capture people’s attention.
Lynn Maria Thompson

President, Thompson Writing & Editing, Inc.

Lynn Maria Thompson

The author of An Author’s Guide to Online Marketing, Lynn Maria Thompson has been helping others tell their stories since 2003 and speaks about author marketing at conferences. Soon she will release The Feline CEO to offer a fresh perspective on leadership through the lens of cat behavior.


I saved what I felt was the most original advice in this round for last!
– Stuart

One thing authors could try doing when promoting their book is using Reddit and joining appropriate subreddits where their target audience ‘hangs out’. With Reddit being one of the most visited websites in the world, it can potentially be a great way to build awareness for their book as well as drive targeted traffic back to your website.

The key with Reddit though is that a writer needs to be willing to spend some time within the various subreddits and provide value before they try to ‘market’ or ‘sell’ to the community. While it’s a good idea to provide value on any social network, it’s even more important on Reddit as their users are good at spotting marketers. If an author is just blatantly looking to sell their product, at worst they’ll end up getting banned from the particular subreddit they’re trying to sell in… at best, their post will just be ignored.

So how can you use Reddit effectively? Figure out who the appropriate target audience is for the book that’s tried to be sold and then finding appropriate subreddits to join (this can be done via a search on Reddit or using a site like Snoop Snoo (

As an example, if an author wrote a horror book, a few subreddits that might be of interest:

Once an author has compiled a list of subreddits, they should take a few minutes to familiarize themselves with the rules.. For example, /r/suggestmeabook is for people looking for book suggestions, so if an author were to just create a post about their book it would go nowhere. However, it could be a worthwhile subreddit to become a valued community member of as there are probably people in the subreddit who are looking for books and would be interested in their book.

After getting familiar with a subreddit, it’s time to start the process of becoming a valued member of the community by providing insightful commentary on posts, upvoting other people’s posts, and providing valuable content that isn’t directly related to their book.

After becoming a part of the community, the next step is to try and identify the top time to post as well as how to style a post to match tone/voice that resonates best within the particular subreddit. This can be done by looking at each subreddit’s Top section and filtering by the past month.

Finally, when it comes time to post about the author’s book, to get the most engagement, it all starts with creating a great headline that relates to their particular audience and pulls them in. Then use the body of the post to discuss a bit about the book and why the people in the community would potentially be interested in reading it. Finally, the author should drop a link back to their website or place where the book can be purchased.

Josh brown

Sales & Orders

Josh Brown

Josh Brown is part of the marketing team at Sales & Orders which manages and optimizes Google Shopping campaigns for ecommerce businesses.

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Thomas Raymond

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Thomas. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself?


Thomas – I was born and raised in California, where I lived all but 5 of my 46 years of life. I am a Union electrician in addition to being a trained Dairy manager for Grocery stores, a MANPADS military crewmember, certifiably insane (if the doctors are to be believed) while surviving PTSD from childhood and adult abuses and dealing with the depression that comes with them. Happily married to wife 2.0 and currently living in New Mexico (fewer people, more rain).


Stacey – What is your favourite holiday spot?


Thomas – I was going to say the beach, but wife 2.0 has family in Minnesota/Wisconsin with beachfront property on a small lake that is heaven any time of the year. I will always be a ocean beach bum at heart though.


Stacey – What’s one place real or imagined that you’d love to travel to?


Thomas – Heaven. They have some explaining to do. Right after I visit Hell.


Stacey – Which author living or dead inspires you?


Thomas – There are so many. Jonathan Maberry immediately comes to mind. He has done so much for me and with me. Early on: J.R.R. Tolkien, Piers Anthony, David and Leigh Eddings, Gary Gygax and the rest of the D&D world. Today: Jim Butcher, Dana Fredsti, Raymond E. Feist, Christopher Moore, Hal Bodner, Del Howlison, Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire, Janny Wurtz, to name a few.


Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?


Thomas – When I do, things get scary, but, yes, many of my life experiences come out in the terror that my characters feel and the ruthlessness of my villains.


Stacey – Do you find anything particularly challenging about writing? Do you write daily?


Thomas – Doing it daily. Since I am not able to be a full-time writer, and having moved 4 times in the last 2 years, I have not devoted to the time writing that I should. Additionally, I am “splurge” writer in that I can sit and type out 5,000 words and actually have half of them be useable. I can do this for a few days at a time, then the well dries up and I don’t type again for several days. The story is still going in my mind however and it usually gets weirder before the next splurge.


Stacey – Do you need music or complete silence to write?


Thomas – I have used both and it depends on if it is on when I start. I don’t have set playlists or anything and the silence is usually broken up by mad laughter or arguments with my characters.


Stacey – What’s the best writing advice you could give someone just starting out?


Thomas – Write every chance you get. Take notes when you are not typing. Keep a notebook and pen/pencil handy to write down conversations your characters are having. NEVER GIVE UP.


Stacey – Has there ever been a book you couldn’t finish reading? Which book and why?


Thomas – Lord of the Flies…it bored me, even in high school. All Quiet on the Western Front… I knew more about war than the teacher did. I don’t usually pick up a book unless I like the author or the content, so I can’t think of any others off the top of my head right now. I will admit to not reading much non-fiction however.


Stacey – What’s the last horror movie you watched?


Thomas – Get Out. Probably one of the best movies I have seen in the last few years.


Stacey – What scares you?


Thomas – Failure. It is my hardest thing to fight against and not give up hope on. There are many days where I fight to get out of bed and many more where I fight to go to sleep because of the sense of failure that stalks me.


Stacey – Do you believe in writers’ block?


Thomas – All blocks are either made to be broken or built upon.


Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?


Thomas – A vampire novel where the vampires are actually evil and not driven by human desires. Additionally, they don’t die easily… if at all.


Stacey – Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share?


Thomas – “One thing about being around dead bodies in dark woods, alone, at night, with just a flashlight: your senses are on overdrive. My sense of smell had given up over the stench of death so close to me and the garlic on my neck, while my eyes were trying to look in a million different directions at once. Touch was consumed with being used as little as possible and there wasn’t ANYTHING I wanted to taste there. But my ears were free and not really being consciously used because there wasn’t anything to hear in woods at night except for insects. The problem was, I didn’t hear ANY insects. That was the only warning I got before I was hit by a wrecking ball across my back and shoulders. I fell flat on my face and started rolling to my left to try and see what the hell had hit me.

One good thing about learning a little bit from every fighter I could when I was a kid: I didn’t fight with any one style, I fought to win and I was more than willing to fight dirty to do so. As soon as I felt the ground solid under my back, I hunched myself up like an upside down turtle. Sure enough, the next thing I felt was something on top of me and so I clawed at the area where a face should be. I was rewarded with a grunt of pain that told me two things: there was a person there and I still had my gloves on. Still, it was a start and when I felt the pressure of the body on top of me shift from being flat against me to a more sitting position, I flexed my back, bucked out with my legs and twisted my hips to dump this guy off of me. This allowed me to grab my first toy.

The next time I felt something grab me, I quickly placed the stun gun against it and reveled as it screamed and let go. This time I was able to get to my feet and grab a smaller flashlight off the other side of my belt. Turning it on, I finally saw my attacker and knew I had been lucky so far. It was the same male creature I had seen last night. Its hair was dirty and matted, not just unwashed, but with clumps of dirt and leaves sticking to it. His hands were long with broken nails at the ends. He wasn’t wearing shoes, socks or much of anything else for clothing. I noticed he was starting to move and so I reached down and hit him with the stunner again; he screamed, twitched and then became very still. For some reason, this worried me more than anything so far and so I scanned around for my backpack and quickly ran to it once spotted.

By the time I had grabbed a stake and the hatchet, I could literally feel the vampire stalking me. I looked back at where I had left him and saw nothing other than the disturbed earth from our scuffle. I placed my back against a tree and tried to quiet my breathing like last night so I could get an idea of where he might be. As I stood there listening, I tried to figure out why he had been able to attack me when I had been wearing my garlic! That was when I noticed the weight of the necklace was gone and a quick look down proved that the garlic was missing and my clothes were ripped to shreds! The bastard had clawed my necklace off of me and ripped my shirt! If not for the stunner, I would probably be vampire food right now.

That thought brought back the memory of that poor girl: torn, broken, being fed upon, asking “why?” over and over. I REFUSED to end up like her and with that thought foremost in my mind, I crouched lower against the tree, grabbed my pack and started circling around the tree. I felt foolish for grabbing the stake now when my vampire was not yet in a position to be killed.

My flashlight was useless to me as it was busy lighting up the area near their bodies. This meant I needed light and quickly! Keeping a tree at my back and listening for the approach of my enemy, I dropped the stake and grabbed out a road flare. To light it I had to drop the hatchet as well, but then I lit three of them in rapid order; tossing one to my left and one to my right. I didn’t see any menacing shadows coming towards me and so I prepared to light the third one when my inner street smarts finally broke through and I snapped my head around to look above me.

There, not more than 20 feet away and already crouched to hurl himself towards me was my vampire (geesh, “my vampire”). I could see the redness of his eyes and the redness of the flare light on his fangs and nails. He hissed something as he flew towards me and so I dropped the flare and pulled out a new toy for his nastiness: my crucifix!

He dropped down in front of me even as I brought the crucifix up and out towards his face, while moving towards my left. Imagine my surprise when he didn’t recoil from me in horror, but actually LAUGHED at me.

“You are no hunter! You are just food pretending it can hunt. I will enjoy eating you for the little pain you have caused me….”

I am sure he said other things but there is a funny thing about creatures that “know” they are stronger than you, they like to talk and they like to threaten you; I think it is a testosterone thing. Whatever it is, it allowed me time to dig around at my feet for my backpack and pull out of a side pocket something I prayed would make an impact, my holy water!

By the time it was in my hand though, he had finished whatever he had been saying and I found myself with vampire on my chest and my back on the ground. Now, mind you, having your crucifix laughed at can be disheartening; but when you hit a vampire in the head with a mason jar of holy water, there is a VERY satisfying moment when just the IMPACT of the jar hitting his dead flesh and his gasp of surprise at the suddenness of the attack makes him flinch, giving your left hand time to bring up the hatchet it found next to your prone body and bash the OTHER side of his head. Unfortunately, that had the same impact as if I had hit him with a nerf bat instead: no blood, no cracked skull, and no dead vampire.

It did help rattle his brains more though and instead of pushing his attack, he staggered back and away from me. With that brief opening, I used the hatchet to break the mason jar and fling the broken glass and water onto him. For once, something worked! I was rewarded with his screech of pain as he started clawing at the remains of his clothing to remove the holy water that had splashed onto his chest. My hand, almost of its own volition, dropped to my belt and snatched the pepper spray out of its pouch; I shook the can as I brought it up, pointed it at my vampire and sprayed.

If I thought he was hurt, I was wrong. He dodged the spray easily and even as I tried to get ahead of him with the spray, there was soon a tree blocking my line of sight and I lost him. That didn’t last long though as he appeared from the other side of the tree and sucker punched me so hard I was certain he had broken my jaw.

I was knew I was going to die at this point.”


Thank you so much for your time Thomas! If you would like to find out more about Thomas and his writing endeavours, check out the links below.


Facebook Page:

Instagram: @ibew11sparky

Twitter: @T_Ray_Author



Video Refresh: Timothy W. Long Interview

This is a quick video refresh of our previous interview ‘The Horror Tree Presents: Author Interview: Timothy W. Long’. This hits on the key areas of our interview with Tim Long by Liz Butcher, if you’d like to learn more, please be sure to click on the direct link to the article below!

After watching the video, please like, share, and subscribe to our channel!

This is a new format that we’re playing around with for articles, interviews, and potentially Trembling With Fear. Please let us know if this is something that you’d like to see more of!

You can read the full interview here:

Epeolatry Book Review: C.H.U.D. Lives: A Tribute Anthology


Our reviews may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the links in this article we may receive a small commission or referral fee. This happens without any additional cost to you.

Title: C.H.U.D. Lives: A Tribute Anthology
Editor: Eric S. Brown
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing LLC.
Release Date: 27 April 2018
Synopsis: C.H.U.D. is a genre defying, cult classic film featuring monsters living in the sewers below New York. The stories in this anthology expand the world created by the film and add depth to the C.H.U.D. universe like never before. From stories of apocalyptic horror and all out monster action, to tales of underground parties interrupted by uninvited guests and evening strolls that end in death, this anthology will leave you both smiling and breathless.
Relive the fear as these original stories take you beyond the movie to events that occurred before, during, and after the scenes we remember so well.
Includes C.H.U.D. related stories by Jonathan Maberry, Tim Waggoner, JG Faherty, Mort Castle, Michael H. Hanson, Martin Powell, Ben Fisher, Jason White, Chad Lutzke, Ross Baxter, Philip C Perron, David Bernstein, Nick Cato, Alex Laybourne, Christopher Fulbright, Angeline Hawkes, David Robbins, Robert Waters, Greg Mitchell, Ryan C. Thomas, and Eugene Johnson.
With an introduction by David Drake. Compiled by Eric S. Brown.
C.H.U.D. Lives! also features in-depth interviews with Andrew Bonime (producer) and Parnell Hall (screenwriter), as well as never before seen behind-the-scenes photos from the classic 80s horror film.

I can’t sleep. Visions of Eliot gleefully swaying his arms against a glowing backdrop haunt my dreams. I woke to his voice, talking in hushed, urgent whispers with the others.

They are beings that dwell beneath.
They are beasts that feast on flesh.
They are creatures not of this earth, and yet, they are.
They are…C.H.U.D.

Paying homage to the 1984 horror cult classic of the (relatively) same name, C.H.U.D. Lives is a collection of short horror stories based in a world plagued with NYC sewer monsters known only as Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers (or the much catchier and titular C.H.U.D.). Now, this is a rather unique take on the horror anthology, having several stories from varying perspectives centred around one piece of media, especially one different than its source material. Eric S. Brown has compiled quite the gallery of fan-based world-building, expanding a quick concept done in two hours to something that transcends its cinematic boundaries. Each story is not held back by the old medium, and translates well to the page, the variety of stories allowing for a steady pace that offers new surprises with each new tale told.
The book surrounds itself with additional content, interviews with crucial players in C.H.U.D.’s origin, providing some extra background into how the film eventually became the revered product it is today. It acts as a kind gesture towards fans, and an way to intrigue newcomers as to what made the film so endearing to its creators.
The film itself totes underlying themes of political corruption and environmental awareness that allows for more dimensions to appear more than a standard B horror picture, to which the writers take full advantage. Some tend to discuss the sheer horror of encountering such ravenous and ruthless monsters, while others lament the means of their very existence, commenting on the true source of the city’s calamity, the root of these beasts’ creation. This exploration of monster flick and green-initiative never feeling mutually exclusive to one another.
The primary location does well to help centre these tales. NYC being a hub of multiculturalism aids itself to the abundancy of perspectives and acts as an excellent backdrop to both pieces, leading to interesting locales both above and below ground. Authors paint detailed subterranean landscapes and haunting urban jungles, danger and safehouse entwined in a maze of concrete and filth.
Now as someone who had not personally seen the film beforehand, I never felt disengaged or excluded from the content I was reading. While some film characters are mentioned or even make heavy appearances in some stories, none lose the reader and have them question if they had missed integral information. This is where each author excels, investing readers in their own self-contained weave allowing for easy duck-in/duck-out reading sessions. Sharing a basic group of themes allows for a sense of coherency between tales, as if all the stories are happening in the same world and really makes C.H.U.D. Lives feel less like an anthology and more like a unified novel.
There should be something here for every horror reader. Featuring deliciously brutal descriptions of death and gore, ripe with vivid dismembering, and those with a character-oriented approach for more of an emotionally charged journey. This working in tandem with the surface-level and sub-textual themes the film promotes, lends itself to a more three-dimensional experience to keep everything fresh.
From Samsa’s Party, a very personable tale of a man’s slow descent into the throes of madness to That’s Entertainment! providing a (albeit on-the-nose) commentary on the rocky relationship between traumatic events and modern media.
However, it is important to note that with such a formidable selection of stories included, the subjectivity of quality has the hazard of being an issue for some readers, certain tales standing far higher above the others.
As ambitious and extensive as its catalogue is, many tales can feel repetitious and appear a retread of something previously written, be it similar scenarios or character backgrounds without too much iteration to help separate them. The overabundance of the homeless, death by evisceration, and the blatant mention of toxic waste (hinthint) may have worked in the timeframe of a film, but when coming from several different voices in a decently sized book, it can become rather grating. This along with both the film and the book proudly displaying its main attraction: C.H.U.D. prominently in both title and story, plots can get relatively predictable once readers are a good portion of the way through. The authors themselves also making sure readers know what the titular acronym means.
And this is ultimately where it fell short for me. While I did enjoy my time reading, I couldn’t help but want more from these stories, sensing an unearthed potential. With each story being restricted by length, no story truly had an established enough character to satisfyingly wrap, leaving many stories feeling hollow and without much life, evidently so in the ones that seek a more introspective experience.
I can see where C.H.U.D. Lives will entertain and scare, but for me it left me with something a little more to be desired.
If the beasties don’t scare you, or perhaps if they do, C.H.U.D. Lives is an interesting read for both fans and strangers alike. Unless they happen to reside in the Big Apple.

C.H.U.D. Lives can be found at Amazon:

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