Grave Robbing – 21st Century Style

At what point does it become okay to dig up someone’s final resting place, photograph them, and put them on public display?

Archaeologists have been doing it for hundreds of years. Museum curators scramble to acquire the most popular corpses they can afford to draw in the crowds. Early funeral directors and embalmers would often put an embalmed corpse on display in their front window as a type of advertising so people passing by in the street could see what a great job they did.

But, if Cousin Joe goes to the cemetery where great Grandma Eunice is buried, digs her up, and displays her respectfully on his kitchen table, suddenly he’s some sort of sicko. Yet, perhaps a one or two hundred years from now, maybe the cemetery Grandma Eunice is at is discovered anew by a historian, he and his team dig her up, photograph her remains, and sell them to a museum for public display, and suddenly it’s okay again?

How is it okay for government approved “professionals” to loot the graves of the Ancient Egyptians, Mayans, or a Chinese emperor, yet not okay to poke around in Civil War cemetery or the wreck of the Titanic, out of respect for the dead and their families?

I don’t get it. How is one the act that of a sick and twisted individual while the other is perfectly acceptable and rewarded? Both are grave robbing. Both are disturbing the dead.

What do you think? Where do we draw the line between grave robbing or desecration and calling something being done in the name of science and anthropological research?

My Writer’s Book Bag

How wonderful it is to be able to open all my doors and enjoy some fresh air or better yet, to sit out on the back deck in the morning with a cup of coffee and a good book. It seems summer has finally arrived in the Finger Lakes.

LochN_SheaI must confess I haven’t done a whole lot of actual reading the past four weeks, but I did  finish up Hunter Shea’s Loch Ness Revenge quickly enough. It’s no wonder he’s been banned from Scotland. Poor, defenseless Nessies, just innocently swimming along minding their own business! Or… maybe not so much that. Great fun!

Although I’ve not been reading quite so much, I have been listening to audio books. I found two old favorites I’ve not read since my high school days and decided it was time for a refresher. I think I love them even more the second time around.

Wicked_BradburyFirst, Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. This is by far my favorite Bradbury novel. When the evil carnival folk come to town, it’s best if you just stay away even with nary a clown in sight! Our heroes have a lot more horrifying things to worry about that some silly, old clown. The slow and steady built up to the end is pure delight. And, the movie that was based on this book, I have to say, a wonderful job.

Castle_JacksonShirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In The Castle is equally as well-written. I’d forgotten a lot of this story and after this re-introduction, I am wondering if there was a certain aspect of it that stuck firm into the back of my brain and took deep roots all these years until I came to find myself writing Dark Hollow Road. They aren’t the same by any stretch of the imagination, but a few scenes struck familiar chords in the story I created around Mary Alice Brown compared to the life of Merricat (Mary Catherine Blackwood), including the first names! It never even occurred to me until I was listening. The middle names differ, but I did name my Mary’s little sister Katherine. Also, I was delighted to see there’s a movie adaption in the works for this book. Looking forward to that especially after I saw that Crispen Glover is cast as Uncle Julian!

Boggy_BlackburnWhat little actual reading I have been doing is Lyle Blackburn’s, Beyond Boggy Creek. If you have any interest in the many names, sightings, and stories of Bigfoot as found in the American south, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and the rest, this is the book for you! I had no idea there were so many.

Short and sweet this time around, but I still have plenty of books in my TBR pile that I’m determined to get through.

 

2017 Bookshelf-To-Date

January
Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea

February
Maledicus by Charles F. French

March
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe,
The Beast of Boggy Creek by Lyle Blackburn

April
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
Sinister Entity by Hunter Shea

May
Ann Radcliffe: The Great Enchantress by Robert Miles
Dreaming At The Top Of My Lungs by Israel Finn
Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea

June
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (audiobook)
We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson (audiobook)
Beyond Boggy Creek by Lyle Blackburn

Author Interview – Jason J. Nugent

Welcome to the June edition of my monthly Author Interview blog. This month (or at least this weekend) it’s all about Jason J. Nugent, author of two short story collections and a brand-spanking new YA Sci-Fi novel called The Selection.

Pamela: Welcome, Jason and thanks for agreeing to being placed under a white-hot light bulb in an otherwise pitch-black room. Tell me a little bit about how you became interested in writing. Have you known since an early age or is this something new you’ve recently started to get involved in?

Jason: I wrote sappy poetry as an angst-filled teen. Once in college, I wrote stories in English class. Instead of pursuing a degree in creative writing, I chose History, going on to earn a Master’s Degree in Early Medieval History. I always wanted to try fiction but was too scared to. About eight years ago, I had a good friend convince me to give NaNoWriMo a try. I failed miserably! I tried the following year and failed again. I then “won” at my third try. That was all the motivation I needed. I proved to myself that I could do it and decided to make writing a priority. I started writing all kinds of flash fiction and short stories, almost all with strange or dark twists.

Pamela: Whether by choice or by fate, we’ve both gone the self-publishing route. What have been your biggest challenges and your greatest rewards as an Indie Author?

Jason: My greatest challenge—by far! is finding new readers for my work. There are so many  Jasonchoices for readers today and to get them to spend their money on a relatively unknown quantity is difficult. The greatest reward has been meeting other writers who enjoy what I write and share it with others. The indie community, in my experience, has been super supportive and always helpful. Having those advocates means everything to me. The first review I received was from writer and blogger Mike Wolff. I had no idea who he was at the time, but he gave (Almost) Average Anthology an excellent review. I’ve come to know him since then and we support each other all the time. He’s a great guy and knows his stuff. Without writing, I would never have met him or Aaron Hamilton, or Thomas Gunther, or the crew from Inklings Press (Stephen and Brent), or the excellent writer Maria Haskins, or yourself. I can list a ton of other excellent writers I’ve met and they’ve all been encouraging.

Pamela: I see you are part of a Science Fiction game development team. That’s pretty neat. Can you tell me more about ‘The Status Quo Project’, your role, and how you got involved in it?

Jason: Yeah, this has been an amazing experience. Status Quo is a game where there are seven races, seven planets, and three factions. There is combat in space and on the planets. It’s going to be one heck of a game!

statusquoI was introduced to “Cheshire,” the lead project manager for “Status Quo” through Alex (I always knew him as Dolphi) a gaming buddy of mine. He knew I wrote stories and he put me in contact with Cheshire. I was given a test assignment of writing bounty hunter missions for one of the planets and it went over so well, I was given another planet to write bounty hunter missions for. I nailed that and was offered the opportunity to write ALL the missions–three factions worth and civilian missions–for an entire planet. I did almost all of those missions so when you play the game and end up on the planet Arthas, almost every mission you do there was written by me. I still can’t wrap my head around it! The team Cheshire assembled to work on this game is amazing! I cannot wait for it to come out.

Pamela: April was a busy month for you. Your YA Sci-Fi novel, “The Selection” was released and you had a short story appear in Sci-Fan magazine. Was making the transition from short stories to a novel a difficult one for you?

Jason: Thanks! It was a pretty good month for me! The transition from short stores to novels wasn’t too difficult. I enjoy the longer form as it allows me to explore a character in greater detail. I’ve got four NaNoWriMo “wins” under my belt which helps me plan and write a longer piece of fiction. If I need a break from the novel, I’ll write a short story or revise one I’ve written so I can keep the writing going while not burning out on any one project.

Pamela: There’s an old adage that writers should ‘Write What You Know’. Can you explain how someone who’s studied Early Medieval History extensively uses that to bring life to your work as a Sci-Fi author? What sort of research is involved in all that? It must be tremendous.

Jason: Yeah, historical research can be daunting for sure! I think studying history allows me to bring a sense of realism to my writing. When I studied Early Medieval Ireland, I had to research people and incidents in depth to get at the answers I wanted. I feel that’s helped me to make my stories relatable, no matter the setting. I want you the reader to feel at home even if you’re on a planet thousands of light years away with strange creatures.

Pamela: What can we look forward to from you next and where can readers find out more about you and your work?

Jason: I’ve got a short story coming out in August in an anthology titled “Twilight Madness.” It will be an ebook and paperback release from Schreyer Ink Publishing. I’ve started a sequel to “The Selection” and I’m looking to rework an earlier novel as well. You can find out all about me at jasonjnugent.com. While there, feel free to sign-up to my mailing list and you’ll get a free ebook copy of my first collection of dark fiction short stories (Almost) Average Anthology.

Thanks, Jason! I really enjoyed learning more about you. Best of luck with The Selection and with its sequel.

Next month we’ll learn more about … The Sisters of Slaughter!

Promo-Sale! “The Selection” by Jason J. Nugent

For a limited time, grab the thrilling young adult sci-fi adventure novel “The Selection” from author Jason J. Nugent for only .99!

Humans colonized the planet Kepler 186f after Earth’s near total global collapse. Soon after, supply missions ended leaving the colonists to themselves, renaming the planet Anastasia and building a new society far different than Earth’s.

As population imbalance threatened stability in the settlements, a horrific and brutal institution known as The Selection was created.

Centuries later, haunted by the screams of his dead older brother, eighteen-year-old Eron fears the unknown terror waiting for him and all boys his age in The Selection. He has thirty days to survive to Victory Point and reunite with his crush Mina. He will have to endure brutal circumstances and forge unlikely alliances if he’s to survive The Selection.

Time is short. Threats are constant. Survival means life. Failure means death—or worse.

Between June 9th and June 11th, you can get this action-filled story for only .99! Go to mybook.to/the-selection today before time runs out!

Jason Jason Nugent was born in Cleveland, OH in 1974. He moved to rural southern Illinois in 1992 and lives there today with his wife, son, and mini-zoo of three cats and two dogs.

He is the author of two collections of dark fiction short stories: “(Almost) Average Anthology” and “Moments of Darkness” and the young adult sci-fi novel “The Selection.”

Jason has written for Sum’n Unique Magazine and game missions for an independently produced video game titled “Status Quo.”

He writes regularly on his (Almost) Average blog.

The Horrors That Grew Me – Vampires

Welcome to the first installment of The Horrors That Grew Me. Each month for as long as I can come up with ideas, I will be posting a blog about specific authors, actors, books, movies, and maybe even some personal experiences that have fascinated and led me down this dark and spooky path I now walk as a horror novelist.

Not long ago I wrote a blog called Why I Love Horror where I tried to explain WHY I love and prefer horror over romances, sci-fi, and other genres. Since then, I’ve given a lot of thought to being more specific because, believe it or not, not ALL horror appeals to me.

Some of my earliest and fondest memories involve sitting with my mom on a Saturday afternoon enjoying a show called “Monster Movie Matinee”. They showed all the Universal Studio classics, Frankenstein with Boris Karloff, Dracula starring good old Bela Lugosi, and Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolfman. They were the first to bring me The Blob starring Steve McQueen, and Them a tale about giant ants. In a nutshell, as the show’s title implies, Monster Movie Matinee specialized in MONSTER movies. My favorite monsters? Vampires!

If you were to ask anyone who knew me as a teenager what I was interested in, one answer they’d surely give you is, vampires. Vampires, vampires, and more vampires. I couldn’t get enough!

LeeDracCount Dracula takes the throne, but there were so many other books and movies out there about vampires other than those involving dear old Vlad. Everyone knows about Dracula and Bram Stoker. Though I wonder how many of you have read his follow-up Dracula’s Guest that was published in 1914, two years after Stoker’s death. Odd as it may seem, I never thought of Dracula as a monster. He was the misunderstood bad guy.  I always cheered for him to escape whatever method of destruction was being employed.  This is probably why I was also a huge fan of the British Hammer Films starring Christopher Lee as the immortal count. They may have killed him at the end of one movie, but someone always found a way to resurrect him for the next.

And talk about sex appeal. Oh. My. God. For as much as I love Lee as Dracula, I must confess that Frank Langella’s version of the count langelladraccertainly made my teenage blood simmer just a wee bit more. Here’s a little secret for you, especially any of my classmates out there reading this who asked, “Don’t those books scare you?” to which I’d dreamily reply, “No, not at all.” Dear friends, do you have ANY idea how much sex goes on in vampire novels? Yes, even back in the 1970s and 1980s when I was doing the majority of my vampire novel reading, the vampire genre was chock full of the sensual.  Hell, even Dracula was considered damned racy in its day with the wanton and buxom women going down on their knees and licking their voluptuous lips. But enough about the Count, let’s move on.

Everyone reading this has probably heard of Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire (1976) and all the books that followed. Frankly, I got my fill of Lestat after Memnoch The Devil and haven’t read much beyond that of the Vampire Chronicles. I’d even bet the majority of you are aware that Stephen King wrote a vampire novel back in 1975 called ‘Salem’s Lot, so that’s all I’m going to say about either of those.

FeastOfBlood_CollinsI have a little book of short stories that was published in 1967 called A Feast Of Blood that contains my all-time-favorite vampire short story, Blood Son (aka Drink My Red Blood) written by Richard Matheson in 1952. Matheson always penned I Am Legend (1954) which I first saw as a movie titled The Last Man On Earth (1964) starring Vincent Price. I still prefer it to the Will Smith version. I loved Blood Son so much that for my pubic speaking class final, I chose it as one of my readings for my final … in a dark room, with a red spotlight. Jules, the young boy featured in the story, is totally obsessed with vampires. I found the story completely relate-able. The first time I read the ending I got all goose-bumpy.

DracTape

In 1975 Fred Saberhagen came out with a little something called The Dracula Tape. Love! This is Dracula told from the perspective of the Count on a series of cassette tapes found in the back of a car owned by Arthur Harker of Exeter, England. As mentioned above, another story that spoke to my sense of Dracula not being the horrible monster everyone makes him out to be.

ColdHand I have the short story Pages from a Young Girl’s Journal in the 1977 collection by Robert Aickman called Cold Hand In Mine, although I believe the story itself first came out in 1975. This is the tale of two journeys. The first is a journey of the traveling-across-land kind. The “young girl” in question, who is English, is touring with her parents in Europe, mainly to Italy, in the mid-1800s. The second journey, and the far more interesting one, is the mental and physical transformation of the girl from one of an innocent virgin into a creature of the night. As with Jules in Blood Son, the character’s thoughts and desires were completely relate-able to me as a vampire-obsessed young girl.

Anne Rice wasn’t the only author back then working her way through a series of vampire novels. I was equally as enthralled with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s leading man, Saint Germain. The thing with St. Germain is, he’s based on a real person. The legend of Saint Germain is explained in Wikipedia as:

Count_of_St_Germain“St. Germain, as one of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, is credited with near god-like powers and with longevity. It is believed that Sir Francis Bacon faked his own death on Easter Sunday, 9 April 1626, attended his own funeral and made his way from England to Transylvania where he found lodging in a castle owned by the Rakóczi family. There, on 1 May 1684, Bacon, by using alchemy, became an immortal occult master and adopted the name Saint Germain and became one of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, a group of beings that, Theosophists believe, form a Spiritual Hierarchy of planet Earth sometimes called the Ascended Masters.

Thus, according to these beliefs, St. Germain was a mysterious manifestation of the “resurrected form” (or “resurrection body”) of Sir Francis Bacon. Some write that his name St. Germain was invented by him as a French version of the Latin Sanctus Germanus, meaning “Holy Brother”. In the Ascended Master Teachings (but not in traditional Theosophy), the Master R, or the Master Rakóczi, also known as the Great Divine Director (a term introduced by Guy Ballard in the 1930s) is a separate and distinct being from St. Germain – the Master Rakoczi is regarded in the Ascended Master Teachings as a name used by the Great Divine Director when he was functioning as Saint Germain’s teacher in the Great White Brotherhood of Ascended Masters.”

Whether or not he was Sir Francis Bacon aside, there was a man named Comte de Saint Germain who was an adventurer in Europe during the 1700s with a very obscure birth and history. He was also an acclaimed occultist. Wikipedia has a pretty good biography on him to get you started if you’re curious about the real man behind the legend and the books of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Count of St. Germain – Wikipedia

What Yarbro did was make him into a vampire HotelTrans and with that she follows him on his various adventures through the ages and around the world. Starting with Hotel Transylvania in 1978 she published five St. Germain novels that were followed up with many, many other shorter works in later years.  Wonderful stuff, though be prepared to read a lot of description. Yarbro likes to put a lot of detail into what people are wearing and the world in which they live, at times, a bit too much. But still. She and her hero were certainly main contributors to my love and understanding of vampires.

A lesser-known George Romero movie called Martin is like no other vampire movie out there. Honestly, and I’ve seen hundreds! Martin’s parents have died and as part of his uncle’s family-duty, Martin is sent to live with him and his cousin, Christine, in Braddock, PA, a small town just outside Pittsburgh. Martin His uncle believes the young man to be cursed and immediately sets to work hanging up garlic, crucifixes, mirrors, and even arranges an exorcism, all of which Martin, rather sadly, shakes his head at, sighs, or just ignores saying, “It’s not like that.” The ending was a real gut punch. At my first viewing I just sat there, stunned into being able to utter only one word, “No,” with tears trickling down my face. It really is a must-see.

It’s hard to even fathom it’s been 30 years since The Lost Boys came out! Talk about my dream movie! Vampires on motorcycles! Who could ask for more? I was riding my own motorcycle back in those days (1985 Honda Rebel, for those who are curious) so may have done a bit of day dreaming about such things while on the road. Not a huge fan of Kiefer Sutherland, but I’ll make an exception in this case. He was pretty hot as the lead vampire.

sarandon_dandridge

Chris Sarandon as Jerry Dandridge

Finally, and to serve as a segue for next month’s Horrors That Grew Me, I must mention Fright Night starring Roddy McDowall and the oh-so-sexy Chris Sarandon as the vampire Jerry Dandridge.  As with Frank Langella in his role as Dracula, Chris Sarandon was, um …yeah. Is it getting warm in here or am I just having a hot flash? I’m feeling a little light-headed now, too, so we better stop there. You get the idea.

I could go on forever.  Once upon a time I had no fewer than 200 vampire novels and research books on my bookshelves. In recent years, I’ve whittled that down to about thirty of my all-time-favorites while keeping all the research material. Although my totally obsessive days may be behind me, (to which my mother is surely saying, “Thank, GOD!”) vampires played a huge leading role in The Horrors That Grew Me. I’m in the early stages of re-writing a vampire novel I first had published close to ten years ago and look forward to sharing it with you sometime soon.  It’s time to release my own vampire bad boy back into the night again.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first installment. I look forward to writing again next month on the actor I so adore and his role in growing my love of horror – Roddy McDowall.

Reviews – Two Books & A Movie

According to my Blog Calendar, this is the weekend I should be posting some sort of review, be it a book or a movie. This time around, being as I’ve been so intent on finishing up the first draft of my next Barnesville Chronicle novel this past month, reading anything too long and deep just hasn’t happened.

I haven’t watched any movies worth reviewing. Unless stating that The Adventures of Baron Munchausen isn’t my cup of tea, counts as a review. Technically it’s not a Monty Python movie, but Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle were both involved in its creation, as was Robin Williams! You’d think with that sort of line-up, it’d be something more amazing than I found it to be. It just left me confused and wondering what sort of drug Gilliam was on when he came up with all this. About halfway through, I decided I had more interesting things to do, like sort through my dresser for old clothes worthy of being donated somewhere.

Moving along, I did do a bit of reading.

Dreaming At The Top Of My Lungs by Israel Finn is a collection of short stories of the horror variety. There’s always a touch of envy in me for people who can pull off a successful short story. In a mere 112 pages, Israel managed to keep me fully engaged and amused for about ten days. As with any collection or anthology, by even the most famous of writers, there are going to be stories that readers will enjoy more than others. I have to be honest and say that there were a few in this collection I didn’t quite ‘get’ or felt like they were lacking somehow. However, the majority of them I thoroughly enjoyed and enough so that I’d easily consider picking up more work from this up-and-coming author. My biggest complaint about this book is that it was far, far too short.

Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea was another quick read for me, coming in at 141 pages. Hunter is a pro at sucking the reader in and half-chewing them before spitting them back out covered in blood, goo, and whatever other sorts of partially digested stomach contents may have been in there at the time. And I mean that in nicest way possible. If you enjoy monster killing mayhem and madness, you really should check out not just Loch Ness Revenge, but all his other cryptid tales. I have the same complaint with this as I did Israel’s book – too short. I wanted more details about the characters and their lives, but with these shorter books, Hunter’s skills and talents as a story teller aren’t being put to their full potential. I really do prefer his novel length works. For me, a story is only as good as how well I get to know the players.

Short and sweet this time around, folks. I have some thicker works reaching the top of my TBR pile now and with first draft of my latest Barnesville Chronicle, The Witch’s Backbone finally done, maybe I’ll find some breathing room to do more reading.

My Writer’s Book Bag

It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of May already. Spring has been desperately trying to spring here in the Northeast. Here’s hoping our recent bought of warm and sunny weather is going to stick this time! April proved to bring us a plethora of rain. May has certainly blessed us with flowers. One of my four lilac bushes is literally drooping to the ground under the weight of its own flowers. The small murder of crows I’ve been trying to lure in with peanuts and cat kibble are slowly making a comeback by perching in the trees outback and cawing at me. Our back yard is mostly set up and ready to go for a summer’s worth of friends, family, evening fires, fair weather, and food. In between all of that, along with writing and submitting a couple novels and a bit of dark poetry to some publishers – one of which has already been accepted – I’ve managed to get in some reading time.

In last month’s Book Bag, I’d just started Ann Radcliffe: The Great Enchantress by Robert Miles. I’m happy to report, I’ve emerged victorious from this adventure into some serious literary analysis, yes, Sigmund Freud even showed up! It reminded me way too much of all those English classes where the instructor insists that the color of the chairs is symbolic of the four Cardinal directions as specified in some mystic’s dream book from the early 15th century. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I don’t use a lot of symbolism when I write and the one time I tried to be clever that way, I got so bogged down in trying to remember what represented what that I completely lost track of where I wanted to go with the plot. I tend to believe the chair was blue, red, yellow, or green because the writer liked that particular color and thought it would be nice, but maybe that’s just me. That aside, I learned the difference between ‘horror’ and ‘terror’ as it was defined back in the late 1700s and that Romances weren’t considered Novels. An interesting and educational read despite the academic dryness.

While slogging my way through that, I managed to get in some good old short stories from Israel Finn’s collection, Dreaming At The Top Of My Lungs. I’ve been eyeballing this book for a good long while and finally decided it was time to give it a read. As with any collection or anthology, you’re going to find some you really enjoy, some that leave you confused, or some that just don’t hit the spot. Happily, most of Finn’s stories were very enjoyable and better still, memorable! My biggest complaint on this one is that it was way, way too short! I’m hoping to add more of Israel’s work to the TBR pile in the future.

I recently dove back into the dark and murky depths of another Hunter Shea cryptid book. This time it’s poor old Nessie that he’s picking on. Hot on Shea’s aquatic tail (see what I did there?) is a Lyle Blackburn book that takes us beyond the realm of Boggy Creek to look at other cryptids of the ‘Squatchier kind found deep in the American South, but we’ll save any further details on those for next month.

2017 Bookshelf-To-Date

January
Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea

February
Maledicus by Charles F. French

March
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe,
The Beast of Boggy Creek by Lyle Blackburn

April
Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
Sinister Entity by Hunter Shea

May
Ann Radcliffe: The Great Enchantress by Robert Miles
Dreaming At The Top Of My Lungs by Israel Finn
Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea

Author Interview – Hunter Shea

Welcome to the fifth installment of my monthly Author Interviews! Over the past year, the works of Hunter Shea have pretty much dominated my reading list. It all began by answering a simple call to be part of a Blog Tour in which I’d receive a book, read it, and review it within a given time frame. I was sent Island of the Forbidden, a lovely romp on an isolated island with murderous ghosts! About two days ago, I started one of his cryptid tales, Loch Ness Revenge.  I’m never disappointed when it comes to a Hunter Shea novel. We’ve chatted and emailed on and off, me usually seeking advice, and he graciously giving it. So you can imagine my delight when he quickly accepted my request for an interview!

And so, without further delay … Here’s Hunter!

1. Every writer has a story on how it all began for them. When did you first begin to realize you had a knack for story telling? Was there someone that influenced\encouraged you down the path to being a writer?

HunterShea

Horror Author – Hunter Shea

I’ve always been a huge reader and fan of horror. At one time, I dreamt of being a horror director, back when Jason was terrorizing the silver screen. I wrote awful stories and worse poems and songs, then college came along and I discovered free kegs and ten cent wings and my creativity was funneled into creating party themes. It wasn’t until I got my first horrible, soul-deadening corporate job that I got the itch to write. My good friend Norm Hendricks was writing a horror novel in the cubicle next to me and I got curious. Norm is the one who got me sucked into this, and I thank him all the time. It became an addiction, and I have no desire to kick the habit. Of course, it took me years before I wrote anything worth a damn, but that’s part of the journey.

2. As kids we’re always being asked what we want to be when we grow up. Beyond writing, what other careers did you have in mind for yourself?

From about 9 until 14, if people asked me what I was going to be, I would tell them a Playboy photographer (much to my mother’s chagrin – I think dad was proud). Then I wanted to pitch in the major leagues for a while, until college where I studied to be on the radio, either as a DJ or engineer. I’d secretly always wanted to do that ever since WKRP in Cincinnati came on the air. Once I realized how little the job paid, I gave that up. Funny how everything in radio has changed. Everything I learned back then is now obsolete. I was a master at splicing tape.

3. Really looking forward to reading your latest release We Are Always Watching.  While writing it, you mentioned to me that some of it’s based on real events.  Can you give more details on that?

we-are-always-watching-tour-graphic

Hunter’s Latest Release

Sure. The whole idea was inspired by what’s still happening to this house in New Jersey. A couple bought a million dollar home in a sweet little suburb, only to find out someone who calls themselves The Watcher claims the house and all who inhabit it are his. The Watcher leaves cryptic, terrifying notes all around the house. The family picked up and ran for the hills. They’ve been trying to have the house razed but have been turned down by the town zoning board. They rented it out to someone else, who recently started getting even more sinister notes from The Watcher. Crazy stuff. And it’s scary, because it’s really happening.

4. You and Jack Campisi have a podcast called Monster Men over on YouTube. How did you two meet and what made you decide to create the show together?

We worked together at a technology company. When we found out we both owned and loved the Spider-Man rock opera album as kids, we were bonded for life. We loooove horror, and talked about it all the time. Once podcasting became a thing, we decided to just go for it and let the world watch 2 horror fans, who’ve had a few drinks, talk about the genre. We’re 120 episodes in and counting, which isn’t easy considering it’s a video podcast.

monster-men-set

Hunter & Jack – The Monster Men

5. They say authors often put themselves into at least one of their characters in every book. Is this something you’ve experienced? If so, which of your characters do you feel most resembles yourself?

Oh, hell yeah. Bits of us are scattered like ashes across the pages of each and every single book. John Backman in Forest of Shadows was all me, complete with crippling anxiety (which I beat, unlike poor John). There’s a lot of me and one of my daughters in West Ridley in We Are Always Watching. Strangely enough, I’d go so far as to say you’ll find pieces of me in Jessica Backman in Sinister Entity and Island of the Forbidden. It’s impossible not to take from yourself and imbue it within your characters. It also helps give true notes of authenticity to the work. Readers know when you’re totally faking it and when you speak from experience.

6. What’s next for Hunter Shea? Can we look forward to more cryptid-based tales or are you going to go in a different direction for a while?

Oh, so much. This summer, my series of novelettes will come out through Lyrical Press. They’re based on the crap you could buy in comic books in the 70s and 80s. They’re called Just Add Water, Optical Delusion and Money Back Guarantee, and they’re pure campy fun. Megalodon in Paradise will be released through Severed Press this summer. Sure to be a pleasing beach read. I have a few other special releases up my sleeve. Folks need to stay tuned and see what’s in store. Hope you all hop on over to www.huntershea.com and join my Dark Hunter Newsletter to get the inside scoop. Oh, and I give lots of free stuff away to subscribers, too. 😉

Thanks so much, Hunter for taking the time to sit down and answer a few questions! It was great learning just a bit more about the man behind the monster madness!

Next month I’ll be grilling author Jason J. Nugent – low and slow with just a touch of lemon pepper!

Until then … Write On!

 

 

Movie Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Rated R – Psychological Thriller starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr. – Directed by Dan Trachtenberg

If you haven’t seen Cloverfield, go and do that first. Although you don’t NEED to have seen it to enjoy this sequel, it will help give you a better overall feeling for what’s going on.

After an argument with her boyfriend, Michelle (Winstead) packs up and leaves town. While on the road, her car is struck and crashes in a roadside ditch. On waking, she finds herself hooked to an IV, wearing a knee brace, and chained to the wall. She soon meets her captor, Howard (Goodman) who is just another crazy, conspiracy-theorist prepper who’s gone to the trouble of building a fallout shelter in his back yard, which is where they now are. A third member of the group, Emmet (Gallagher), confirms what Howard is saying, that something, and he’s not exactly sure what, has happened, but something that has resulted in the surface being uninhabitable for at least two year.

Howard is full of crazy talk, but just how crazy is he? If he’s not crazy, then some very, very bad things are going on topside. If he is crazy then some very, very bad things are going on underground because Howard isn’t being completely honest about elements of his story and explanations. Either way, it’s all good for us viewers. 10 Cloverfield Lane is full of suspense and it’s going to keep you guessing until the bitter end at just exactly where Howard stands on the Sane to Insane scale.

This is my kind of movie, the psychological thriller, and it lives up to that genre exceptionally well in my opinion. I love how it incorporates elements of the original Cloverfield, yet it still holds up well as a standalone story. The acting was well done and I was very impressed with Goodman’s portrayal of a nut job!

Five out of Five Ravens!

Book Review – Sinister Entity by Hunter Shea

Even at the tender age of eighteen, paranormal investigator Jessica Backman has seen and experienced more than her fair share of things that go bump in the night. She’s always worked alone, until a series of emails arrives from Eddie Homes, a total stranger. Who is this clown and how has he learned so much about her? Jessica has always been very careful about keeping her privacy, but Eddie knows things he absolutely should not know. When Eddie tells Jessica that her dad sent him, she takes notice. Jessica’s father died horrifically when she was only six, and boy does Dad have a job for her and Eddie to do!

Sinister Entity is the prequel to the first Hunter Shea book I ever read, Island of the Forbidden. After reading this I’m just itching to get the first book of the series, Forest of Shadows.

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Whether he’s dealing with skunk apes that have run amok, zombies, the Jersey Devil, or a topic that seems so cliché and old school, like a haunted house, Hunter has an amazing talent of making it new again, adding his own twists, and drawing you into the characters and settings of each of his books. He could probably make a tin of Altoids frightening and thought-provoking. Sinister Entity is no exception.

I will say I did have a bit harder time getting invested in this one as I have his other books. Not sure why. It moved along quickly enough and the action was good, I just found my mind wandering off. That’s something I’ve never had happen before with a Shea novel. Maybe there was a bit more back story being explained than in others? Whatever it was, once I got through it, I was completely hooked and really had to know how Jessica and Eddie were going to tackle this particularly nasty and sinister entity.

4 out of 5 Ravens.