Category: Guest Post

Friday Update: Pandemic Book Launches

PANDEMIC BOOK LAUNCH 27.3.20

Announcements are continuing to come in on a regular basis at the Pandemic Book Launch on Facebook and the number of members has grown considerably. Remember you can find out more about Jim McLeod’s vision for the group here. For more information, please go back to the Facebook page to find out event and/or publishing details, or you can click on the purchase links which I have included below (where available). 

If you buy, please also consider leaving reviews for the authors and even dropping them a line on twitter or their websites to have a chat with them about the book.

If you see that an announcement has been removed from the listing, don’t panic! Horror Tree uses a program which drip-feeds its posts across social media at defined intervals over the coming year so you will continue to receive publicity that way. 

I will retain book launches whose date has passed for a couple of weeks before they are removed from the latest listing.

Pandemic Book Launches 

Note: All links – where available – are given to kindle versions but please feel free to use the link to direct yourself to the print copies! I have included just the UK and US amazon sites for simplicity.

 

March

PS Publishingall 6th March (more info here

The Mysteries of the Faceless King: The Best Short Fiction by Darrell Schweitzer Volume 1

The Last Heretic: The Best Short Fiction of Darrell Schweitzer Volume 2

Apostles of the Weird, ed. S.T. Joshi

His Own Most Fantastic Creation, ed. S.T. Joshi

 

Hidden Magic (Magic Underground Anthologies Book 1) ed Melinda Kucsera, pub Magical Mayhem Press, 10th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Blood Red Sky by Paul Kane, pub Silver Shamrock Publishing, 10th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

A is for Aliens (A to Z of Horror Book 1) ed P.J. Blakey-Novis, pub Red Cape Publishing, 13th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

 

PS Publishing – all 13th March (more info here)

Best of Best New Horror Volume 1, ed. Stephen Jones

Best of Best New Horror Volume 2, ed. Stephen Jones

Dead Trouble and Other Ghost Stories by Aidan Chambers

The Curse of the Fleers by Basil Copper

 

Ghastly Tales of Gaiety and Greed by E.F. Schraeder, pub Omnium Gatherum, 14th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

 Borne of the Deep by Michael Patrick Hicks, (The Salem Hawley Series, Book 2), pub 15th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

 

 

Keida-In-TheFlames by Matthew Cash, pub Burdizzo Books, 16th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

The Breach by M.T. Hill, pub. Titan Books, 17th March, 2020, amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

The Evil Within (Dark Devon Mysteries, Book 1) by S.M. Hardy, pub. Allison & Busby, 19th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.  

How to Destroy the World: An Author’s Guide to Writing Dystopia and Post-Apocalypse by A Trevina, pub 20th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

 

PS Publishing – all 20th March (more info here)

Warts and All by Mark Morris

The Storm by Paul Kane

Forever Konrad by Martin Goodman

 

The Magpie Coffin by Wile E. Young, pub 20th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

 

 

Coleridge by Tom Eady, pub. Silver Shamrock Publishing, 24th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

The Return by Rachel Harrison, pub. Penguin Random House, 24th March, 2020.

Operation Congo by William Meikle, pub. 25th March, 2020. Available here.

 

 

Sole Survivor (Rewind or Die Book 6) by Zac, pub Unnerving, 26th March 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Lilitu, The Memoirs of a Succubus by Jonathan Fortin, pub Crystal Lake Publishing, 27th March 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

 

PS Publishing – all 27th March

The Companion And Other Phantasmagorical Stories Volume 1 by Ramsey Campbell

The Retrospective And Other Phantasmagorical Stories Volume 2 by Ramsey Campbell

Ramsey Campbell, Probably by Ramsey Campbell

 

Pandemonium by Luke Walker, pub Hellbound Books Publishing LLC, 27th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Unreal: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction: Volume 1 ed. Aditya Deshmukh, pub 28th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Scream Ride by D.I. Russell, pub 31st March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

 

April

We all Hear Stories in the Dark by Robert Shearman, pub. PS Publishing. Due out April. Watch out for Ginger Nuts of Horror review.

Darkened Wings Flutter by Lou Yardley, pub. 3rd April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Rise by Jackson R. Thomas, pub. Alien Agenda Publishing, 3rd April, 2020. No purchase links available yet.

 

 Arterial Bloom ed Mercedes M. Yardley, pub Crystal Lake Publishing, 3rd April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

 

 

 

 Seven Cleopatra Hill by Justin Holley, pub. Silver Shamrock Publishing 7th April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

 

PS Publishingall 4th April

Studio Of Screams by Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon, Stephen Volk, Mark Morris And Stephen R. Bissette

England’s Screaming by Sean Hogan (Electric Dreamhouse Press)

 

 

The Ruin of Delicate Things by Beverley Lee, pub 7th April, 2020. Available for pre-order. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com. Kindle only at present.

Awakening: Queen of Spades Book 1 by EJ Dawson, pub 10th April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

We All Hear Stories In The Dark by Robert Shearman, pub. PS Publishing, 10th April, 2020

John McNee’s Doom Cabaret by John McNee, pub Sinister Horror Company, 24th April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Q by Christina Dalcher, pub HQ/Berkley, 30th April. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com. Note: this is titled Master Class in the US.

 

Happy reading.

Steph

 on behalf of Stuart and the Horror Tree Team

 

Feature: Pandemic Book Launches

In these difficult times, the horror community has done what I have noticed it always tends to do, support those who are currently in need of help or who may need help in the near future. It is one of the friendliest, most caring and inclusive communities you could wish to be part of. It is a family. This is never clearer than when hard times strike.

Many of you will already be aware of the famous (or infamous!) Jim McLeod, genius behind the wonderful Ginger Nuts of Horror review site. On Monday evening he came up with a fantastic idea to support writers and created a public Facebook group – The Pandemic Book Launch. He introduced it as aFacebook hub for authors and publishers to run online book launches in response to the corona virus pandemic.’ From Jim:

‘This is for the authors and publishers who are now without a physical launch for their new books due to the Covid pandemic. We have set up this group to offer live book launches via Facebook Live as well a place to leave a post about your new book along with a purchase link. If you don’t have the facility to create a universal Amazon link drop me an email with the info and I can create one for you. My thoughts are one post for each book and you can use the post as a sort of micro blog where you can add to the post comments things like links to reviews, Ask Me Anything Posts, giveaways etc. If there are people who want to use FB live, drop me an email and we can work out a posting schedule so we aren’t standing in each other’s spotlight.’

As you will see when you visit, it is a work-in-progress and is being supported by a number of volunteers. It is a public group, so all can apply to join, subject to moderator approval. You can hear much more from Jim, here

I’m over there doing what little I can to help and Stuart has agreed for Horror Tree to create a post on Fridays which will be a list of upcoming launches as announced on the Facebook group thereby giving the authors a signal boost. This is Stuart’s continuing way of supporting the writing community, the reason he created Horror Tree in the first place.

For more information, you can go back to the Facebook page to find out event and/or publishing details, or you can click on the purchase links which I have included below (where available). Please note the format of this will probably evolve over the weeks as well. 

If you buy, please also consider leaving reviews for the authors and even dropping them a line on twitter or their websites to have a chat with them about the book.

Pandemic Book Launches 

Note: All links are given to kindle versions but please feel free to use the link to direct yourself to the print copies! I have included just the UK and US amazon sites for simplicity. At the minute, all I’ve got are book publication dates but as things move on, I expect to be able to include media events relating to these works.

The listing is in publication order. Any mistakes, just let me know and I’ll amend.

Flashing Steel, Flashing Fire: Ten Tales of Valor and Imagination by Matthew W. Quinn. Pub. Flashing Steel Enterprises. Reformatted version, launch should have been The Atlanta Sci-Fi and Fantasy Expo. Repub from 2014.  amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

The Plague by Richard Meldrum, pub. Demain Publishing, 26th Jul, 2019. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

My BFF Satan by Kyle Rader, pub. 20th Jan, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Hidden Magic (Magic Underground Anthologies Book 1) ed Melinda Kucsera, pub Magical Mayhem Press, 10th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Blood Red Sky by Paul Kane, pub Silver Shamrock Publishing, 10th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

A is for Aliens (A to Z of Horror Book 1) ed P.J. Blakey-Novis, pub Red Cape Publishing, 13th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Ghastly Tales of Gaiety and Greed by E.F. Schraeder, pub Omnium Gatherum, 14th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

Borne of the Deep by Michael Patrick Hicks, (The Salem Hawley Series, Book 2), pub 15th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

The Breach by M.T. Hill, pub. Titan Books, 17th March, 2020, amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

How to Destroy the World: An Author’s Guide to Writing Dystopia and Post-Apocalypse by A Trevina, pub 20th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

Coleridge by Tom Eady, pub. Silver Shamrock Publishing, 24th March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Lilitu, The Memoirs of a Succubus by Jonathan Fortin, pub Crystal Lake Publishing, 27th March 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

Scream Ride by D.I. Russell, pub 31st March, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com

We all Hear Stories in the Dark by Robert Shearman, pub. PS Publishing. Due out April. Watch out for Ginger Nuts of Horror review.

Darkened Wings Flutter by Lou Yardley, pub. 3rd April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Rise by Jackson R. Thomas, pub. Alien Agenda Publishing, 3rd April, 2020. No purchase links available yet.

Arterial Bloom ed Mercedes M. Yardley, pub Crystal Lake Publishing, 3rd April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Seven Cleopatra Hill by Justin Holley, pub. Silver Shamrock Publishing 7th April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

The Ruin of Delicate Things by Beverley Lee, pub 7th April, 2020. Available for pre-order. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com. Kindle only at present.

John McNee’s Doom Cabaret by John McNee, pub Sinister Horror Company, 24th April, 2020. amazon.co.uk, amazon.com.

Thanks to Janine Pipe for helping me produce this listing.

Happy reading.

Steph

 on behalf of Stuart and the Horror Tree Team

Guest Post: The Quantum Nexus: My Paranormal Life

Disclaimer: Our articles may contain affiliate links.
I like writing in the early morning hours before anyone is awake. That is when I am usually most creative. I can also write when the hustle and bustle of the house begins, but that noisy time is better for editing. For inspiration I often take meditative walks (2.5 to 4.5 miles). During those “spirit walks” I practice my mediumship, pray, and listen to audio books or music. I am a historian by trade, so non-fiction is my bread and butter. I have written seven history books on conventional topics such as foreign policy, women leaders, the Vietnam War, and a survey textbook.

The last four years I have dedicated to writing about my paranormal experiences just recently completing a trilogy: Timeless, Timeless Deja Vu, and Timeless Trinity. The Timeless trilogy has documented 89 true paranormal stories including telepathy, telekinesis, mediumship, ghosts, demons, angels, aliens, and UFOs. I guess you could call me a paranormal lightning rod. Some of these experiences have been horrifying, some amusing, some enlightening, and others just plain weird.

What I have learned from the experience of writing my paranormal books is that we must be authentic and not confine ourselves to certain genres and thereby stunt our development as human beings and as writers. Readers appreciate candor, honesty, humility, and risk taking. Writers are not oysters.

Timeless Trinity is the completion of Solheim’s paranormal trilogy of true stories. Trinity goes beyond the first two Timeless books as it details the authors continuing contact with Anzar, an ancient alien mystic, UFO sightings, alien abductions, animal spirits, ghosts, hauntings, demons, an encounter with the infamous original American mass murderer Dr. H.H. Holmes, and concludes that the spirit world, the alien world, and the quantum world are all the same. Dr. Solheim’s Timeless Trinity is a personal glimpse into a truly paranormal life. Gary Dumm again provides the illustrations and world renowned hypnotherapist Yvonne Smith provides a forward.

Timeless Trinity is available on Amazon.

Other Works In The Series
Timeless is the first book in the Timeless trilogy and documents 34 of the author’s paranormal experiences. Starting at age 4, Solheim has led a paranormal life and encountered angels, ghosts, demons, haunted houses, spirits of all kinds, cryptids, telekinesis, telepathy, and more. He is truly a paranormal lightning rod.

Solheim’s first Timeless book offered readers an entertaining chronological survey of his remarkable paranormal adventures. Timeless Deja Vu goes further and deeper with 31 more stories of the paranormal and supernatural where you will experience the impact of Solheim’s mediumship and encounters with spirits of all kinds, learn about a theoretical framework for understanding these phenomena, and even discover how aliens and ghosts have something in common. You will be introduced to his Nazi aunt, take a ride in his demonic car, meet his spirit animals, contemplate the wisdom of an ancient alien, and visit Elvis and John Wayne along the way. Dr. Solheim’s new book is shocking, revealing, inspirational, frightening, humorous, and thought-provoking. Gary Dumm again provides his superb illustrations. The Paranormal Professor strikes again!

Bruce Olav Solheim

Bruce Olav Solheim

Author

Bruce Olav Solheim was born on September 3, 1958, in Seattle, Washington, to hard-working Norwegian immigrant parents, Asbjørn and Olaug Solheim. Bruce was the first person in his family to go to college. He served for six years in the US Army as a jail guard and later as a helicopter pilot. He earned his PhD in history from Bowling Green State University in 1993.

Bruce is currently a distinguished professor of history at Citrus College in Glendora, California. He also served as a Fulbright Professor in 2003 at the University of Tromsø in northern Norway. Bruce founded the Veterans Program at Citrus College and cofounded, with Manuel Martinez and Ginger De Villa-Rose, the Boots to Books transition course— the first college course in the United States designed specifically for recently returned veterans. He has published nine books, one comic book, and has written ten plays, two of which have been produced.

The Thrilling Intersection: Ideas for Your Next Sci-Fi Horror Novel

Are you a science fiction writer considering a trip into horror country? Or a horror writer ready to swerve into the sci-fi lane? Either way, you’re in luck. The sci-fi horror subgenre is ripe for the picking. It offers countless unexplored avenues and alleyways, just waiting to be discovered.

 

Ethan Reid, author of The Undying, once contributed to an article on Simon & Schuster’s literary blog. The post was entitled “When Books Live at the Thrilling Intersection of Sci-Fi and Horror.” I’ve always liked that phrase, the thrilling intersection. What better way to describe the blending of these two genres?

 

You start down one path, the science fiction one in most cases, and it feels familiar. You’ve been there before. You recognize the landscape. But then you enter a shadowy cross street where something terrible emerges. Buckle up … you’ve reached the intersection.

 

Despite the many stories that have been written within this subgenre, there’s still room for innovation. The modern speculative fiction writer has myriad avenues to explore. A good way to start is by listing the common components of each genre:

 

  • Your science fiction list might include things like time travel, dystopia, space exploration, AI, robots, alien races, future technology, etc.
  • Your horror list might include demons, vampires, zombies, serial killers, witches, madmen, hauntings, etc.

 

Next, take an element from your sci-fi group and merge it with something from the horror group. Try one after another. Keep going until you find something that makes your heart race and your wheels turn. 

 

Maybe you end up with an apocalypse of witches. Or a zombie outbreak on a generation ship. Or a tale of demonic possession that takes place on Mars. You get the idea. Point yourself toward that “thrilling intersection,” and step on the gas.

 

Generating Ideas for a Sci-Fi Horror Novel

 

Here are some additional ideas for a sci-fi horror story generated from the method above. Want to use one? Be my guest. Just let me know when the book comes out. I’d love to read it!

 

  1. Android serial killer

 

Has anyone written an android serial killer novel? If they have, I haven’t read it. And even if they have, there’s plenty of room for creativity here. Lots of ways to approach the intersection. I can see a murderous hacker using hijacked androids to commit his murders, while an intrepid FBI agent races against time to track him down. Sort of a Silence of the Lambs meets Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

 

  1. Science as entertainment gone horribly wrong

 

Jurassic Park, a popular sci-fi horror novel before it became a movie franchise, used the “science-as-entertainment” model to chilling effect. Michael Crichton had been struggling with the concept of dinosaur cloning in a screenplay he was writing. Then he came up with the idea of a theme park full of living dinosaurs and wrote a novel around it. The rest is history.

 

But there’s unexplored territory here as well. All you have to do is consider the individual pieces. In mathematical terms: Scientific advancement + greed and exploitation = something horrible happening. 

 

Your job, as the writer of such a tale, would be to choose those ingredients and see where they take you. What kind of scientific or technological advancement could be exploited for entertainment purposes 20, 50 or 100 years from now? How might they go south?

 

  1. A mysterious signal from deep space

 

The whole signal-from-space thing has been done before, in both novel and movie form. But again, there’s a lot of room for innovation. After all, the signal itself is just the inciting incident. It sets the story in motion. What humans find when they explore that signal, and how it changes them, is where the real story lies. 

 

This concept starts as pure science fiction. You could take it to that thrilling intersection in a number of ways. Maybe the signal turns out to be a distress call on auto-repeat, luring explorers toward the same hostile lifeforms that wiped out the originators. Maybe a member of the team goes mad along the way, turning on the others. Maybe they encounter a pathogen unlike anything humans have seen before. 

 

Want some inspiration? Start by looking into fast radio bursts (FRBs) and the so-called “Wow signal.” That should get your creative wheels turning. 

 

  1. A rogue group releases a chilling bioweapon

 

Like the “signal” idea above, the bioweapon here is just the inciting incident. It gives you, the writer, a way to create something new and terrifying, something we haven’t seen before. 

 

Writer Alex Garland employed this concept when he wrote the screenplay for 28 Days Later. He created a disturbing new plague that spreads rapidly and turn humans into violent, animalistic killers. He created his own rules for the transmission and symptoms of the disease. He shaped the virus to support the kind of story he wanted to tell.

 

If you can imagine it, you can write it. How might you use this concept for your next novel? How could you innovate, twist and shape? What haven’t we seen in the deadly plague subgenre yet?

 

  1. People wake from a years-long cryosleep to find…

 

Cryosleep is part fact, part fiction — and full of storytelling possibilities. The current science behind cryosleep (or “torpor,” as it’s known) is pretty limited. But in sci-fi, you can take the concept of suspended animation and do with it as you please.

 

You could have a group of people lie dormant for hundreds of years following an apocalyptic event, only to discover a terrifying new threat to humanity upon waking. You could use it to send humans into the farthest reaches of space, where unknown dangers dwell. Possibilities abound.

 

Science fiction stories cater to our sense of wonder, our dreams of a future or alternate existence. Horror stories play to our fears, both real and imagined. Put them together, and you’ll take readers on a thrilling journey they won’t soon forget.

Brandon Cornett

Brandon Cornett

Author

Brandon Cornett is a longtime writer whose stories have appeared in the Mississippi Review and other journals. His first novel, Purgatory, is a horror-based thriller with a reality TV tie-in, available now on Amazon. His next novel will be out in 2020. Brandon also blogs about speculative fiction with a nerdy level of enthusiasm over at https://www.cornettfiction.com/blog/.

WIHM: How women writers shaped Gothic Literature

My horror story tendencies began in the 90s with Tim Burton. To be very specific,  it started with my young and tiny self calling out “Beetlejuice” three times and waiting for him to show up. It was followed by a crush on Edward Scissorhands (played by Johnny Depp, so can you blame me?) and from then on it was downwards into the hellish gates of the horror genre. But have you ever wondered where and how it all began? Well, grab yourself some popcorn, here is a story for you.

In the late and gloomy 1700s, an English guy named Horace Walpole decided to write a book. For starters he was obsessed with everything medieval, and than he was rich enough to have his own printing house. How rich, you ask? He had his own castle and redecorated it in a Gothic fashion, which still stands to the day, known as Strawberry Hill (yes, I know, sounds more like a reality show, but bare with me, here).

So the term “Gothic” was first used in architecture meaning medieval or “medieval like”, the Notre Dame Cathedral is probably the most well-known example of Gothic architecture. Horace Walpole was the first to use it literature, though, and the first to write a novel with medieval elements, which didn’t just include the setting, but a good amount of superstition and supernatural events. In 1764 he published “The Castle of Otranto: a Gothic novel”. That being said, it brings us to the end of ‘Mr. Walpole appreciation post’, now let’s get down to business.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you, the ones picked up the baton and carried on with the Gothic novel, shaping it into a whole new genre, you guessed it: the ladies. In 1778, Clara Reeve, publishes “The Old English Baron”, which she herself called “an offspring of The Castle of Otranto”. To lay it plainly, as much as I loved Walpole’s novel, it was short and full of plot holes. Reeves attempted to rewrite, mend, but also bring in a more realistic perspective to the events, even if they are of a supernatural nature, she attempted to write them in a light that seems plausible to the reader when taking into account the world created in the novel. That, my friends, is what we call Gothic literature, which at this point consists of: a castle that has seen better days, a story that takes place in medieval times and the your occasional not-so-friendly ghost. This slowly progressed throughout history into the shaping of horror and contemporary literature. So let us give this lady a round of applause, she deserves it!

Allow me to present you an army of ladies summoned up by Clara Reeve and her novel (and you can now play “Who runs the world” by Beyonce in your head). Her novel was followed by Sophia Lee, who wrote “The Recess” or “A Tale of Other Times” in 1783, and five years later, Charlotte Smith publishes “Emmeline: The Orphan of the Castle”. A decade later, we have Eliza Parsons with “The Castle of Wolfenbach” and “Mysterious Warning”. In 1798, Regina Maria Roche published “Clermont” and in that same year, Eleanor Sleath’s “The Orphan of the Rhine” came out.

Now, you’ll excuse me for leaving the timeline for a bit, but it’s for a good cause. I give you the Goth Queen (spoiler alert: not Christina Ricci): Ann Radcliffe. She was the one responsible for the acclamation of Gothic literature, as her novels were widely popular at her time, and yes, not all artists have to die to become successful (forgive my goth humor, I felt the topic called for it). To mention but a few of her works, surely you are acquainted with “The Mysteries of Udolpho” (1794) or “The Italian” (1797). She was known at her time as “The great enchantress”, and I have self-proclaimed her “Queen A”.

Now onto the 19th century, we have “Zofloya” (1806), by Charlotte Dacre, which portrays a necromancer as one of the main characters. Let us not forget Jane Austen’s “The Northanger Abbey” (1818), which although a parody of Gothic genre, brings to light how fiction and reality are closely intertwined, basically stating that “you can run, but you cannot hide from Gothic novels”. Austen’s work also marks the beginning of the reshaping of the Gothic genre which takes up scientific and more realistic elements, of which a perfect example is Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” (1820). 

A lot of Gothic literature was shaped in the late 1800s and during the Victorian age, and now you know why goths love a corset, a frilly shirt and looking extra pale. You see, in the Victorian era, tuberculosis was a thing, by that I mean, many people died from it, and yet it was fashionable to look extra pale and sickly (if that doesn’t make you question fashion goals, I don’t know what will). Although, truth be told, who hasn’t ever bought the wrong foundation shade and ended up looking like a vampire? I know I have, so cheers: the goth in me salutes the goth in you.

To wrap up this journey (of which I hope you have taken notes and come up with an extensive reading list), we have Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” (1847) and her sister, Emily Brontë’s “Wuthering Heights” (1850). In 1866, Louisa May Alcott wrote “A Long Fatal Love Chase”, during the same period of time in which Elizabeth Gaskell’s tales came out, such as “The Doom of the Griffiths” (1858), the title being self-explanatory, all her tales revolved around ancestral family curses — although I have my doubts as to what family isn’t, we all have that funny/not-so-funny uncle, don’t we?

Enough with the time travel, this all adds up to modern day horror fiction, and to name a few contemporary female writers we have: Joyce Carol Oates, Anne Rice and Susan Hill. Hope you have enjoyed this little excerpt, farewell and remember that only the strong and bold can handle reading the hereby mentioned novels at night. Sweet dreams!

Nat Rondan

Nat Rondan

Nat Rondan, is a gothic/horror/thriller fiction writer by the pen name N. A. Rondan. Brazilian born, currently based in southern Spain, grew up around the globe and writes in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Most of her fiction work has been published independently on Amazon with the exception of the participation in several anthologies. A die-hard Edgar A. Poe fan, amateur violin player and proud mother to a black cat.
 
Instagram: @n.a.rondan

WIHM: A Legacy of Horror

By: Angh Chu

I’ve always had a disturbing passion for the macabre. Not to say I would want myself or anyone else to experience the bleak outcomes that come with the territory. I feel there is a unique sense of awareness when theoretically indulging in the psychological notions associated with characters enduring horrific events. 

For myself, love and happiness are emotions I enjoy, but something as pivotal and awakening as fear holds a stronger bond and can be the most impactful. It can be found even in the most sought after emotions, fear to have love broken, fear for happiness to end. It is the underlying precipice many face in their daily waking lives. 

Not a living soul can escape it.

I knew one day I would be asked to divulge why horror is my preferred genre for writing. For many writers, I believe the greatest reward is when we can convey our art form to evoke such powerful feelings in our readers. I think in order to successfully do this, to convey with the intention to evoke, one must identify the underlying cause. 

I feel vulnerable divulging that I have shared many horrific events in my life. Pivotal and detrimental moments which have left me with my own opinions of fear and what that encompasses. I prefer to write visceral horror because of these experiences. I find the greatest terror to be the existential “monsters,” palpable horrors that occur every day. I am intrigued by the seed which spurs inherently good people to commit atrocious acts. I find the spectrum of societal association intriguing with who/what can be classified as frightening. These psychological, physical, emotional and environmental elements all contribute to a person’s well-being or state of mind. 

Everyone is capable of becoming a monster. 

Writing has played an instrumental role, for my consciousness, and therapeutically helped me accept some of the everyday “monsters” I’ve encountered throughout my life. Writing has given me an opportunity to dissect the circumstances; to understand the nature and intention of the conflict. 

The process of writing assists with viewing circumstances from both the protagonistic and antagonistic perspectives. Bringing your characters through their conflict and climax is essential to developing a story and can be an enlightening experience. 

If a piece of my writing can evoke emotion and/or resonate with my reader, I have successfully accomplished my prerogative. Writing is not a lucrative career. In fact, it can be devastating, painstaking, and horrendous for self-esteem. However, the rewards of a single positive interaction supersedes the negative aspects ten-fold. Touching an audience is liberating. More than passion, it can feel risky, exposing my soul, dignity and sometimes even my sanity. All the frustration and draining thought processes will allow me to complete a final piece that is unique to me and my essence. When a draft is finished (is a draft ever really finished?), the outcome is emancipating. 

I cannot think of a greater legacy to leave my children than my art, my craft, a lingering remnant contributing to my immortality.

Angh Chu

Angh Chu

My name is Angh Chu, born 2013 to fateful circumstances. I guess you could say it was kismet.
Sharing my sometimes-bleak outlook with my readers is a favorite pastime. As a prisoner in my own mind, I’m fond of the outdoors.
When I am not writing, I’m usually in an undisclosed location garnering experiences to write about.

Stay tuned.

WIHM: Re-Shape Horror To Re-Energize Your Writing

Re-Shape Horror To Re-Energize Your Writing

By: Robyn Alezanders

 

The ebb and flow of writing is simultaneously as smooth and tumultuous as the ocean waves they’re akin to – when you got it, it’s a rip tide in your head that demands attention and action. But when it starts to recede, and at its worst, becomes a dry spell, how do we get it back?

 

Of course there’s the initial cause of why it has retreated. Sometimes it’s a specific catalyst, such as health, financial, or personal concerns. Other times it’s just life in general, throwing diversions into your writing goals and plans, and creating that wistful “I’ll get back to it when….” And then there’s that dreaded bane of writers’ existence, the block resulting in a blank screen/paper, tears, cursing, and the occasional pacts with demons. 

 

In lieu of blood-inked contracts with snarky entities, one remedy is to try other art mediums as a means to explore and inspire. Those ideas and musings that for whatever reason can’t come through in words transform, and form their own footings.

 

I often turn to drawing to help decompress and when necessary, take the self-imposed pressure off to write and compose a story. Tapping into the visuals that often echo descriptive scenes and characters presents a fresh perspective that helps re-shuffle my artistic energy. We all know what it’s like when we’re in that groove, and the vocabulary runs smoothly. We also know how it is when pitches, word counts, specific themes, and deadlines are at play, which either propels the momentum or adds to standstills. Yet when you take away those decisive variables, and just pick up the pencil, paintbrush, or whatever other tool call to you (I’m also partial to charcoals and pastel crayons), you bring forth another amazing foray into the genre we adore.

 

One piece that I’m particularly proud of was a pastel rendering of Hellraiser’s Lament Configuration  embraced by A Perfect Circle’s orange crescent symbols, and accented by the runes for joy and transformation. It was indeed that – personally rewarding and inspiring to craft something horror related in a different format. Sure, this did require some concentration because of the puzzle box’s design, but it elicited a very relaxed focus. It got me thinking about what the box represented and how I might be able to one day create a world with such a potent catalyst. It hangs on my wall, as a source of pride, inspiration, and representative of how my love for horror translates in its own unique way.

 

I’ve also worked with plaster casting to create a model of part of my body, to be one of the central pieces of a multi-media project involving dark themes. Additionally, there are sketches and outlines for photographic projects. Even baking sometimes takes a spooky turn, which I take advantage of: I’ve used food-grade “blood” to make “vampire cheesecake,” make devilish faces on cookies, and made gingerbread coffins.

 

Acting has been another exploration and motivation for writing. Last year I wrote about 

theatre’s influence, playing a feral baby-eating vampire vixen in a production of Dracula. This past Halloween season, I was a haunt actor, which became a bucket list check-off and definitely affected me, as a person, and as a writer – all for the good. That experience has already evoked sketches, and  will continue to find its way through, when I have the time to dedicate to it. 

 

On the note of sketches, don’t discount something as seemingly trivial as doodling. Those little etchings are like rough outlines or first drafts. Some are perfectly fine as is, while others have led to fuller produced art, which is the point. Whether dabbling in other mediums remains a go-to practice when writing isn’t there, or turns into a complementary pursuit, it all ultimately becomes blueprints and worthy creations unto themselves.

Robyn Alezanders

Robyn Alezanders

Robyn Alezanders made her horror debut with the short story, “ Soul Stains,” in Des Lewis’ critically acclaimed Nemonymous 5, and earned an Honorable Mention in the 19th Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror. Her work has also appeared in The Mammoth Book of the Kama Sutra, Eternal Haunted Summer, a Colleen Anderson Women in Horror guest post about female vampires in the age of #MeToo, and a Little Geek Lost Women in Horror guest post about how paranormal experiences and paganism affect writing. Find her on FB, posting about scary stuff, witchy musings, vegan baking, her jedi master chihuahua, and whatever else is on her creepy yet loveable mind.

WIHM: Writing Horror Is A Nightmare

By: Colleen Anderson

For some writers, everything is easy: the flow of words, the subject, the conflict and the resolution. For others, there are areas that are a struggle. And sometimes, you must hunt and trap the muse because it just doesn’t want to inspire.

But writing horror: oh yeah, that is its own special nightmare. 

Don’t get me wrong; there are many reasons that any type of writing is difficult for the best of us.

  • You write alone, whether in the dark or not.
  • You can make many stories that are never sold.
  • It’s not as easy to get someone to tell you what they think, say, as showing them your painting, sculpture or song. They have to read your whole novel!
  • Rejection: forget about being ghosted by someone you had one date with. Writers face numerous rejections on their stories and poems all the time.

Now, I didn’t think I had a love of horror when I first started writing. I mean, I hate gore movies, didn’t really watch any spinetinglers, did not read horror novels and didn’t know much about the genre. Of course, I never thought that when I was watching all those old shows like The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits that I was watching horror. Or that when I read Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allan Poe that they were horror. Or that I loved anything with Vincent Price and all those old Universal monster flicks, and they were gothic and horror. 

When I found that publishers were turning down my subs because they didn’t “do horror” and that I was nicknamed “Splatterqueen” at Clarion West and that I started selling more horror and dark stories than other types, that maybe, just maybe I was into horror. Call me a slow learner.

But this is the worst part of writing horror and dark stories: the research. You’re probably thinking Oh, poor baby. Not! but researching dark themes can be truly disturbing. Horror isn’t called horror because it makes you feel all bright and fluffy. No, it’s all about unsettling you, making you jump at a creak in your house, checking those shadows twice, and eying your fellow humans, wondering what is just wriggling beneath the skin. 

To write effectively in the realm of darkness, you must dig into the viscera. Sometimes it’s exploring the motives of humans. I’m fascinated by the sociopathic mind, and judging from the popularity of Dexter, which I never saw, many people are. Sociopaths at their worst are really a different race of being. To be human we understand and relate to the human condition—the pains and worries, the loves and joys that make each of us individuals. But sociopaths cannot relate and do not feel any empathy. I had to research this mind, to be accurate and realistic in my portrayal. And then, of course, I had to try to think like a sociopath. If you aren’t one, it’s not easy. To have my character in “Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” torture and kill animals and experiment on a child was extremely difficult to write. My mind kept shying away. In fact, I had too much detail at one point and had to pull back. The point wasn’t to completely disgust the reader but to make them feel as uncomfortable as I felt, to see the alien aspect.

I also had to research decomposition and the number of insects in the world. To find out that if you added up all the insects and all other species, the insects outnumber every other living creature, and that it’s a very fine ecological balance before they overrun the earth—well, that is truly, absolutely terrifying. It’s no wonder so many alien invasion movies feature insectoid invaders. It’s also a cautionary tale about climate change.

I’ve written several stories on sociopathic minds. I’ve sometimes presented my characters with the most awful choices and the consequences. I’ve lost sleep over my tales. So, yes, writing horror is a nightmare, but it wouldn’t be a good story if it didn’t ring true. A tale that stays with you is effective. It makes you think and see from a different perspective. I will reluctantly face this nightmare again, the next time I research and write something we might prefer stays in the shadows.

Colleen Anderson

Colleen Anderson

Author

Colleen Anderson is a Canadian author who has been twice nominated for the Aurora Award in poetry, several times for a Rhysling award, and longlisted for the Stoker Award in fiction. As a freelance editor, she has co-edited Tesseracts 17 and Aurora nominated Playground of Lost Toys. Alice Unbound: Beyond Wonderland (Exile Publishing) was her first solo anthology. She has served on Stoker Award and British Fantasy Award juries, and guest edited Eye to the Telescope. Over 270 works have seen print with some new or upcoming pieces in Polu Texni, The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias, Thrilling Words, Nameless Magazine, and many others. Her fiction collection, A Body of Work was published by Black Shuck Books, UK. She is also working on a poetry collection and alternate world novel. www.colleenanderson.wordpress.com

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