December Is Here, Time To Write!

December – the month of joy, happiness and to finish what you started.

Anonymous

I’m not sure how accurate the above quote is but I do like the idea of finishing things. I’ve had a ton of outstanding additions to the site which I’ve been wanting to do as well as ideas I’ve wanted to write and plan on doing as much as possible in the upcoming month and hope you do as well! I’d love to hear your #AmWriting achievements in the month to follow so; please do share any progress with @HorrorTree!

On a side note, I would like to give an extremely warm welcome to our *4* new Patreons this month! As our community grows it provides more opportunity to everyone who follows Horror Tree, and we’re thrilled to have you on board!

Also, if you’ve had a chance to pick up a copy of ‘Trembling With Fear: Volume 1‘ we’d love it if you could leave a review! It’d be awesome if we can hit 10 by the end of the year!

What Is New At The Horror Tree?!

We had a chance to try out two new types of posts this month and I’d love to hear what you think about them! The first of which was our first “Unholy Trinity” which is a set of 3 stand-alone drabbles that also work together to tell a larger story! The second of which was the first installment of “The Tools We Use” which will be a feature that goes into the various applications the site and writers use for various tasks. If you have any thoughts on either of them, please let us know!
Articles: Suggestions To Fit Writing Into A Busy Schedule, Brain Babies: Writing Through The Pain, The Tools We Use: Stencil, Story Worms: You are More Than your Wordcount, Creative Ways To Brainstorm New Ideas
Book Reviews: The Way of All Flesh
Video Refresh: The Planning Issue, Liz Butcher Interview, The Crossroads, Derek Brown Interview, The Overwhelming Effect
Interviews: Nikki Nelson-Hicks, Carmelo Chimera Of Chimera’s Comics, Andy Lockwood, K.R. Rowe., Eric S. Brown, Marc Vun Kannon
Blog Tour Stop: ‘Arithmophobia’ Blog Tour – The Terror Tree

What Is About To Grow At The Horror Tree?

So last month I mentioned that I was working on a chatbot for the site. Unfortunately, it is still in development Hell. With surviving the Day Of The Turkey as well as The Blackest Of Fridays and everything else going on in Fall – It has been delayed.

That being said, I’m hoping to still launch it in the upcoming month.

Also on the agenda? Officially opening the Horror Tree store! Those who follow us on Facebook have seen samples of some of the products which will be available, and we’re just a couple of designs (and a bit of site layout) away from making them into a reality!

I’d also like to start exploring having an official logo for ‘Trembling With Fear’ designed (both the full logo and a shorthand of TWF), but I’m not expecting to have that happen in the coming month. Anything is possible though!

Looking to contribute to The Horror Tree?

We’re always on the lookout for more help at The Horror Tree! Patreon is always a great way to become involved!

We also always have a STRONG need for book reviewers!

A couple new ideas as of late would be for people able to help with our YouTube video creation, possibly a podcast, meme creation, and as always more article writers!

However, if you’re looking to add your personal touch to things there are other options!
From ongoing contributors to web developers that would be interested in working with us on online applications for authors, to guest blogs, to someone willing to track open markets, to being a stop on your blog tour, and so on. If you are interested please drop us a line through our contact page today!

Wondering What Fiction We Could Use?

Our Trembling With Fear submissions have been going strong (keep them coming!) However, we’re also looking for some specific types of fiction coming up:

  • The Unholy Trinity – We’re looking to have 3 stand-alone drabbles that link together either in theme, character or to expand upon one another. They need to work alone but there has to be some connective tissue!
  • Serial Killers – On the opposite end of the spectrum, we’re hoping to print a few more serials. Stories which can easily be broken up into 4-10 installments of 1,000-1,5000 words or so in length (we’ll go longer or shorter a bit as long as it works!) We’re not looking for a story to just be cut up though, these have to work as mini-chapters for the overall tale being told.
  • Finally, in January we’ve got a call for authors in the LGBT+ community or stories that would fit in that area!

Have anything you’d like to see us add in the future?

We’re here for you so if you believe there is a service, column, or anything else we could list that you’d want to see please reach out via our contact page!

A Brief Social Update!

Once again, we’re trying to share how the Horror Tree is growing socially. I need to keep a focus on this as it is hard to find ways to grow our social media and keeping track shows how many authors and readers we’re able to reach!

  • Horror Tree’s Twitter – We’ve gone up 10 followers and are now sitting at 6766
  • Horror Tree’s Facebook –Has jumped from 1844 to 1866 likes! If you know anyone who would love the site please ask them to give us a like on here as we’d love to break the 2k barrier!
  • Horror Tree’s Instagram – I have no idea what happened here but after our Stan Lee quotes got quite a few shares we skyrocketed up to 5360 followers. THANK YOU for checking us out!
  • Horror Tree’s Pinterest – I almost removed this from the list this week but our follow count went up by 3 to a whopping 15! Even though there isn’t much in the way of follows here, we do get quite a bit of views thanks to hashtags and the platform randomly sharing our posts to people. So that’s something!
  • Horror Tree’s YouTube subscribers have changed from 35 to 37! We’re still trying to put an effort into growing this one for when we move past just doing our previous article listings and would love a few subscribes out there!

As always, I hope we’re helping you out and we’d love to see your comments with any suggestions or thoughts on what we’re doing! Thanks for being a reader!

 

Also, if you’re in need of a bit of a break, don’t forget to play The Horror Tree Game!

The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview with Dan Weatherer

Stacey – Welcome to The Horror Tree, Dan. It’s great to have you. Tell us a little about yourself and where you’re from?

 

Dan – I’m from Staffordshire, which is a small county in the centre of England. It’s famous for Alton Towers, Arnold Bennett and a local dish known as an Oatcake.

I started writing full time five years ago after being made redundant from my office based job. I became a full-time dad to my daughter (then aged three) and decided to try creative writing in what little downtime I had.

My first short story was based on a local myth that had always captured my interest. ‘The Legend of the Chained Oak’ was picked up for publication by Scath Beorh (Haunted Magazine), and it all kind of snowballed from there!

 

Stacey – You’re not only an author but a playwright and screenwriter, as well. Which is quite impressive. What inspired you to make the leap from books to screen?

 

Dan – The first film happened completely by chance and only came to fruition because of the dedication of the individuals involved in the project. Again, this project was based on my first story, ‘The Legend of the Chained Oak’.

I heard that a film producer had previously attempted to make a film based on the legend, and, filled with the new found confidence a first publication instills, I approached him and pitched my story.

I wrote a screenplay that incorporated aspects of my original short story, but took place in the present.

A lot of people worked hard for free on the film, and we were fortunate to win several awards. The film has since played at festivals worldwide, and I recently sold distribution rights to the Found Footage Critic channel.

I have written several other screenplays, and have seen a stage play of mine adapted to film. ‘Beige’ can be viewed on the British Comedy Guide Website. (Don’t let the comedy aspect fool you – the film is suitably twisted!)

I recently penned a book detailing my experiences as a novice playwright. The Dead Stage, is out now courtesy of Crystal Lake Publishing and contains a wealth of advice for aspiring playwrights.

 

Stacey – You’ve also collected quite a few awards according to your website. I couldn’t help but see the Bram Stoker award amongst them. What was it like to be honoured in such a way?

 

Dan – We did win a Bram Stoker for ‘Legend of the Chained Oak’, but it is not the HWA Bram Stoker Award. (I’m still working hard towards that achievement!)

The award we won was presented by the now-defunct Bram Stoker International Film Festival, which took place in Whitby (Dracula fans will understand why) every autumn.

We received the Best short award. The trophy is truly unique, and sits on my desk, reminding me of a time when the words flowed!

 

Stacey – Which author or playwright living or dead inspires you?

 

Dan – When I first started to write, Poe, Barker and Lovecraft were a source of great inspiration to me.

As I began to develop my voice, I looked at the work and influence of Arnold Bennett, who is the area’s most prominent author. Bennett inspires me to create opportunities for others; the area I am from is regarded as one of the poorest areas in the country, where literacy rates are low, and unemployment is high.

I work extensively in the local community to promote the art of creative writing and helped initiate both the Arnold Bennett Literary prize and A Poet Laureate for Stoke on Trent.

 

Stacey – Do you draw inspiration from real life experiences?

 

Dan – Absolutely. I imagine most writers do. My stories contain elements of my life, good times and bad, as well as the hopes and dreams I harbor for my children.

 

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

 

Dan – I don’t write daily. I don’t believe writing should be forced. I wait until I “feel” there is a story to be written. It can take a while…it seems to take longer these days, but I’m in no rush. I’m thirty-nine and believe I have many more tales to tell.

 

Stacey – Where do you write? Indoors? Outdoors?

 

Dan – I write from my bedroom. I have a desk with a PC, several notebooks, various bits of stationary and whatever the children have left for me to puzzle over that day.

At one time I had a dedicated office, with a shelf full of oddities I have collected over the years (a memento mori brooch, an electro-shock treatment machine, an infant vampire model etc.), but with an expanding family, space was at a premium and my daughter moved into the room.

 

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

 

Dan – I have to write in silence. I cannot concentrate if there is any noise. I can’t even edit to music! I don’t notice however as when I work I become totally engrossed to the point of it mentally exhausting me!

 

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

 

Dan – Ignore what everybody else is doing and write your way. Once finished, leave it to settle a while – you’ll know when to come back for the rewrite because you won’t be able to think about anything else.

Also, don’t strive for perfection, because it is an unreachable goal. Work towards producing a piece of writing you feel is a decent representation of your efforts.

 

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

 

Dan – I hate to admit, but I’m really bad for this. I find it hard to keep my attention on anything for long. I think this is why I write in short, sharp bursts.

I find collections much easier to finish than novels. I hate to admit it, but I STILL haven’t finished Stephen King’s IT.

 

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

 

Dan – The Thing, this past Halloween. I saw it as a child and it terrified me. It still stands up today (as does any decent horror film). The film absolutely nails the atmosphere of distrust. Also, it is still suitably gross.

 

Stacey – What scares you?

 

Dan – I fear something bad happening to my children more than any threat that may come my way. I think any parent does.

 

Stacey – Do you believe in writers’ block?

 

Dan – No, in the sense that if you have nothing to write about, you just need time to go and do other things. Ideas come and go. I find that an idea needs time to settle internally before I will begin the process of writing it. Those times between ideas? Some might call it writers’ block, but I prefer to look at it as your mind having a cooling off period.

 

Stacey – What are 5 things you cannot live without?

 

Dan – My family, my imagination-Fuel (I don’t drink coffee) painkillers (I suffer awful migraines) and laughter.

 

Stacey – Out of your own works, which is your favourite and why?

 

Dan – Surely the most difficult question of all! I have to say it is always my most recent work because I like to believe I improve with each release. That may not be the case, but a positive outlook is a must if you want to succeed as a writer.

 

Stacey – What are you working on at the moment?

 

Dan – I recently finished a story that I wrote for my children. ‘The Necessary Evils’ is a story about two kids who find the entrance to Hell at the bottom of their grandmother’s garden. (The story is a horror of sorts, although nothing bad happens to or is witnessed by the children.) The piece is a comment on the evaporation of innocence, and it is currently with my agent.

My debut novel, The Tainted Isle: English Gothic, is released next Spring courtesy of PS Publishing. The book follows the cases of the UK’s first paranormal investigator, Solomon Whyte, and is based on many, lesser known UK legends.

I’ve also a further novel and novella that I am hoping to place soon!

 

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

 

Dan – Please enjoy this recent short that appeared in my regional newspaper’s Halloween edition!

 

Pigman

 

In the heart of England, lies a forest spanning several hundred square kilometres. Hidden among the birch and bracken of Cannock Chase, are (among other, older things) a disused World War Two airfield, an abandoned 17th century village (complete with cottages, chapel, and a set of wooden stocks), and an unusually shaped rock formation known locally as the Moss-Firth Tower, which can be seen from several miles away.

 

There is no doubting the area’s natural beauty, though few locally venture into the woodlands by day, and all do their utmost to avoid the area entirely by night.

 

A legend attached to the Chase, tells the tale of a young girl, whom, pregnant and afraid, was driven from her home amidst accusations of witchcraft. With nowhere else to go, she gave birth in a secluded glade, far enough from the village so that the painful cries of childbirth would be swallowed by the forest.

 

The baby, cursed with Witch’s blood, was born hideously disfigured. Knowing the community would look upon her son as an omen of ill luck, the girl chose to abandon the child beneath the shadow of Moss-Firth Tower. Praying that the woodland spirits who dwelled there would accept her gift to them, she returned to the village to repent of her evil ways.

 

The following winter, the girl succumbed to a fever, taking the secret of her son’s fate to her grave.

 

It was around this time that stories of a fearsome creature began to spread throughout the village. Massive in size and with hideous, pig-like facial features, the beast had been seen skulking in the tree line, watching the children play.

 

Over the following months, several livestock were taken in the dead of night; their grisly remains found strewn across the ground.

 

There followed an unseasonably harsh winter, and amidst stories of children disappearing into the woodland never to return, the village was abandoned.

 

Centuries passed, and untouched by man, the forest grew dense and the secrets of the village and its surrounding area were buried beneath impenetrable brushwood. It remained unexplored until recently, when a group of scouts visited on retreat, with the intention of camping through the night. Of the fourteen boys that entered the forest, only one was to leave.

 

The surviving boy claimed that, after a day spent wading through streams, climbing trees, and making leaf rubbings, the group, in good spirits, pitched camp near to Moss-Firth Tower. As they settled around the campfire, enjoying their toasted marshmallows and a shared ghost story or two, talk turned to legends of the Chase. Arkela, having been born nearby, began to recount the tale of Pigman, known to all locally as a foul beast, born of the devil’s bride, abandoned and left to forage in the woodlands, several centuries ago.

 

Arkela stated that many believed Pigman to be responsible for numerous disappearances throughout the Chase’s history (disappearances that scarcely made the headlines, but were well documented in regional folklore) and that attempts to capture the creature had proven futile. He added that Pigman could be summoned by the recital of a rhyme popular in local playgrounds. So long as you were located somewhere within the confines of the Chase, and were sat near to an open fire, saying the rhyme aloud would coax Pigman from hiding.

 

As boys will be boys, they dared Arkela to recite the rhyme aloud:

 

“Pigman, you’ve no family,

 

None love you, that I can see,

 

Pigman, such a tragedy,

 

Won’t you come and play with me?”

 

According to the boy, there was a long silence, where only the crackle and spit of the fire could be heard.  The boys looked at one another, nervously waiting for someone to speak, fearing something dreadful might happen if they did not.

 

It was then that a pitched squeal erupted from behind them, and from the shadows came a lumbering shape, its flesh slick with sweat, its pinprick eyes reflecting fury and fire, its snout-like nose, twitching, and its yellowed tusks dripping with saliva.

It squealed a second time, flinging an upturned tree stump in the air as it did so, flinging lumps of damp soil this way and that.

 

The Scouts fled, scuttling off in all directions, but the boy, transfixed by terror, remained. The creature ignored him, its attention focused firmly on the fleeing scouts. To its left, one of the smaller scouts had fallen, his ankle caught among a tangle of shrubs. The creature lumbered towards him, and, with a sickening pop, brought a gargantuan fist crashing down onto his head.

 

It was at this point that the surviving member of the scouts passed out. When he came too, the camp was completely ransacked. Torn tents and a mix of personal belongings littered the clearing. Among them was a small, blue teddy bear, its seams split down one side, the exposed stuffing matted with blood.

 

It is said that Pigman’s squeals can still be heard echoing through the forest, should you pass their outer limits after sundown. Ask locally after the creature and many will laugh in your face, and call you a fool. Ask them to join with you on a walk through the forest, however, and they will quickly fall silent.

 

If you are to take away anything from this tale, heed this warning: if you feel eyes upon you while braving the woodland of Cannock Chase, if you hear a shrill squeal and a rustle of bushes, then, by all means, do be afraid. Tremble, cry, even close your eyes; but do not run, for those that do seldom survive the Pigman of The Chase.

 

 

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

 

www.fatherdarkness.com

 

Video Refresh: The Overwhelming Effect

This is a quick video refresh of our previous article ‘Setting Self Doubt on Fire: The Overwhelming Effect’. In it, Nicole Simms shines a spotlight on five ways to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed with your writing! . If you’d like a few ideas on the topic, 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: https://horrortree.com/setting-self-doubt-fire-overwhelming-effect/.

Epeolatry Book Review: The Way of All Flesh

Disclosure:

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: The Way of All Flesh
Author: Ambrose Perry
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Canongate Books
Release Date: 2 October 2018
Synopsis: Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.

Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.

Simpson’s patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognises trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of his intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education.
With each having their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh’s underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.

“Possibly because to some, being found with a sick whore was no better than being found with a dead one, so why draw attention to yourself? That was Edinburgh for you: public decorum and private sin, city of a thousand secrets.”
(more…)

The Horror Tree Presents…An Interview with Marc Vun Kannon

Lucien – It would seem that you have a wide variety of interests including software engineering and bug hunting. How is it that you came to pursue writing?

 

Marc: I was originally a Philosophy student. I have a BA and I was pursuing a PhD when I had the dreams that led me to write my first novel, a fantasy story called Unbinding the Stone. I don’t usually remember my dreams, so I mentioned them to my wife, who uttered those fateful words, “That sounds like it might make a good book.”  A few days later the first sentence popped into my head. I wrote it down and said, “What next?” I hate descriptive prose and didn’t want to write it, so I ended up creating a technique for describing the setting in terms of what the character is perceiving, not necessarily what he sees and certainly not what I see. Everything in the story is presented from a character’s POV, making the book not only character-oriented but character-driven as well, something that suited my philosophical outlook very well. It was not a technique I’d seen in any of the books that were available at the time. That’s probably what kept me going as a writer, beyond that first book, the fact that I was writing stories that I wanted to read.

 

Lucien – Does your bug hunting and/or engineering background come in handy in your stories?

 

The two have a lot in common, if you think of bug-hunting as looking for editing problems, which they often are. The skill sets overlap. For me writing and editing a novel involves following the logic of the story. When a story has a logic failure it trips me right up, and a computer program is often the same. I have also noticed a number of occasions when the story itself contains elements that are similar to what you might see in a computer program, but I try to avoid doing that.

 

Lucien – It also looks like you’re a bit of a genre hopper between fantasy, science fiction, and even paranormal based stories. What are your favourite aspects within of these genres? Do you have a favourite of the three genres you write for?

 

I started out in fantasy, which is a great genre for presenting abstract concepts like good and evil, right and wrong, in concrete terms. The downside is that you have to make up everything about the world yourself. That’s one of the benefits of writing from the perspective of the characters, I don’t have to invent everything, just the part that matters to them, which is also the part that matters to the story. If I genre-hop it’s partly because I hate doing things I’ve done before, so I’ll switch to a different genre simply for the variety of it. I think the different genres also force me to come up with different structures for my stories. The more ‘real-world’ the story, the more structurally complex they seem to be, at least to me.

 

Lucien – Who would you consider to be your top three influencers in your work?

 

This is probably the hardest question to answer, since I try to be as different from everything I’ve already seen as I can be. So to me an influencer would be a negative influencer, someone I tried not to be like, and there can be lots of reasons for that. I remember one book I kept available when I was writing my first novel because I thought it was very badly written and kept it as a bad example, but I may think they’re good writers in a style I don’t like, or I like the style but try to avoid being like them. I don’t know that anyone did or does what I do.

 

Lucien – Do you have any advice for new authors? Or advice you wish you had when you were starting out?

 

Do it for love. Remember that you are your own first reader, so write a book that you want to read. Writing to a demographic is writing for nobody, and nobody might like it.

 

Lucien – On your website you state in your About section that “the story and the storyteller should be the same thing”. Can you elaborate on that in terms of relating your real self to your stories? Do you think it’s easier or more challenging to put yourself into “genre fiction” rather than something like contemporary fiction?

 

The Character should come out of the storyteller, and the story should come out of the character, that’s what I mean by character-driven stories. When I create a character I don’t think of the plot and pull together all the characteristics my hero will need to handle it. I rip a hunk of my soul out and throw it on the page, then watch it to see what it will do.

 

I don’t write fantasy novels, I write novels about people who live fantasy lives. They get lemons and they make lemonade, but the lemons are fantasy lemons. The lemonade making is the same as anything any of us would do. My werewolf novel isn’t about the werewolves, but the people who become werewolves, the guy who hunts werewolves. How do you go through those 29 days, knowing that on the thirtieth you’ll turn into a ten-ton death machine? How does the hunter deal with his 29 days, knowing that on the thirtieth he’ll have to kill someone who’s innocent all the rest of the time?

 

I don’t think I’ve ever written contemporary fiction, but I think that I’m taking a contemporary fiction approach to genre fiction, if that makes sense.

 

Lucien – You have written for both long and short form narratives. What’s easier for you to write, novels or short stories?

 

Short stories are good for the more straightforward stories. They don’t have the room to get overly complicated plot-wise, but good strong characters will really shine in those. I have a dark sci-fi series of short stories I’m doing for a new magazine called Black Infinity. I’m not normally a dark writer, so it’s good practice for me, especially since it’s a series, so I can develop the MC over the series while focusing on a particular conflict in any particular one.

Novels are good for really getting deeply into the minds of the characters, especially in combination. That’s where the stories become the most interesting, since each character has their own plot, which may have nothing to do with the MC’s plot, and how do they react to each other? The longer the form the more characters can be brought into play. Novels take me much longer to write, though, years, whereas I can put together a short story in just a few weeks.

 

Lucien – Which of your stories would you recommend to a new reader who wanted to get the best example of your style?

 

My style is always evolving. Each book changes me as I write it, and I never write the same way twice. I would recommend my second fantasy novel, A Warrior Made, sequel to Unbinding the Stone, but just a little more intricate, the beginning of my experimentation with structure. For short stories you can try Boarding Party, which appeared in Black Infinity 2. It’s a science fiction story with a darker tone (creepy monster slime). On the comic side I would suggest Steampunk Santa.

 

Lucien – You can learn more about Marc and his work via his. Links to both his website and where to buy his books are below.

 

Website: http://authorguy.wordpress.com

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marc-Vun-Kannon/e/B0076OUKWQ

 

 

Video Refresh: Derek Brown Interview

This is a quick video refresh of our previous interview ‘The Horror Tree Presents… An Interview With Derek Brown’. In it, he shares what motivates him to write and a bit of his style. If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to check out our full interview with Derek Brown 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: https://horrortree.com/horror-tree-presentsinterview-questions-derek-brown/.

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