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?

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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.

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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!

 

 

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.

Book Giveaway – FINAL COUNTDOWN!

There are only 10 days left of the book giveaway going on over at Goodreads!

People have this to say about No Rest For The Wicked

Hunter Shea (author of Island of the Damned & The Jersey Devil) – “If you’re looking for a chilling ghost story filled with mystery and escalating tension, look no further. No Rest for the Wicked is the real deal – an expansive, unfolding riddle between the living and the dead. It’s a true haunted house tale with a delightful twist.”

J. Williams – “It’s hard to scare me, but all three books I’ve read by this Author have managed to give me nightmares.”

S. Cobb – “I couldn’t read it at night….It picks you up from the very beginning and you don’t want to put it down until the end.”

Click Here To Enter: NO REST FOR THE WICKED GIVEAWAY!

 

 

Author Interview – A Very Haunted Plantation

Happy Halloween, Everyone!

As promised, I have something special to share with you all today, a couple of somethings actually.

First off, I bit the bullet and No Rest For The Wicked will soon be available as an eBook through Amazon. I make no promises about the precision of the formatting. If it’s a mess, I apologize. I was having a heck of a time doing it. Some of it looked as if it had been done before, other parts, well… I beg your forgiveness. Self-publishing has its drawbacks and this is one of them. UGH! I’m a writer not a formatter!

And now the BiG NeWs!

I’ve been reading, loving, and reviewing the works of Horror author Hunter Shea for a couple of years now. So, imagine my surprise when Mr. Shea contacted me and asked if I’d send him one of my books. I was both delighted and terrified at the notion. As the first Hunter Shea novel I ever read was his haunted tale Island of the Forbidden, it seemed appropriate I respond with a ghost story of my own.

This resulted in the following interview with Hunter not too long ago.

A Very Haunted Plantation – Interview With Author Pamela Morris

I can’t thank Hunter enough for showing interest in my work and inspiring me to keep doing what I love so much to do – writing horror that keeps people up into the wee hours reading and sleeping with a light on after.

Have a happy and safe Halloween night, everyone!

 

Book Review – THEY RISE by Hunter Shea

Because apparently sharks, jellyfish, sting rays, electric eels, fire corral, lion fish, sea snakes, stone fish, octopus, and squid are just not enough to keep some people out of the water, author Hunter Shea has come up with yet another nasty creature of the briny deep. His creation, the Chimaera fish (aka Ghost Shark), isn’t entirely fictional but let’s hope to Poseidon these things never actually become a hundred percent real.

Hunter specializes in monsters and cryptids. In “Swamp Monster Massacre” he takes on the legendary Big Foot\Skunk Ape.  In “The Montauk Monster” we get to meet his version of well, the Montauk Monster, a pseudo-cryptid that first washed up on the shores of Montauk, NY back in 2008.  Ghosts become deadly in Island of the Forbidden and zombies of all shapes and sizes populate the streets of Yonkers, and maybe even the world, in Tortures of the Damned.

For “They Rise” Hunter Shea takes us deep sea fishing off the coast of Florida. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but things go bad fast when the fish at the end of the line ends up eating, instead of begin eaten by, the fishermen. What appears to be an isolated incident soon turns into an aquatic nightmare as it’s discovered these apparently extinct prehistoric fish have grown to gargantuan proportions with appetites to match. And there’s not just a few, but thousands of them! Human flesh rates high on their menu to the point of ramming and capsizing boats and jumping on decks to get to whoever is foolish enough to stand out there.

For a book of only 150 pages, “They Rise” packs in a lot of information, intrigue, blood and guts gore action, and suspense.  Hunter Shea does not disappoint in the plot department at all and I enjoyed almost everything about this book. My only disappointment was central core character development. I didn’t feel like I got to know them as well as I would have liked and that left my sense of caring about what happened to them somewhat lacking. From reading several of his lengthier books, I know Hunter can do this quite well. “They Rise” would have benefited from a similar treatment.

Despite that, an overall enjoyable and fast-paced read. I’d maybe not suggest it for anyone who plans on doing any deep sea diving or ocean fishing in those warm, southern seas this summer. I know I won’t be and despite this creature being primarily fictional, I’m still going to add the Chimaera fish to my fast-growing list of reasons not to swim in those sorts of places just to be safe.

Be sure to check out all of Hunter’s twisted world at: https://huntershea.com/

3 out of 5 ravens.

Welcome To Yonkers, NY. Kill or be killed.

Review – “Tortures of the Damned” by Hunter Shea

What was once an easy walk or drive across town has turned into a nightmare for the Padilla family and their forward thinking neighbors, Buck and Elizabeth Clarke. Yonkers has a problem, a big, big problem. New York City as a whole is in trouble. The entire state, it seems, may have fallen under the same fate. So, too, America. Maybe the whole world! Thanks to Buck they have all survived, but after two weeks in his underground bunker, they are all getting antsy. With tempers starting to run high and supplies running low, they want out. All communications and electrical devices are down. They have no way of knowing what’s out there, but it’s better to die free than locked up in what is looking to become one very large mausoleum.

Welcome to the Apocalypse as envisioned by author Hunter Shea. It isn’t pretty, but it’s a real page turner. I started reading this 400+ page novel on Monday. I finished the following Saturday afternoon. I haven’t read a book that fast in years.

From the moment we emerge from the protection of the bomb shelter until the very end, Shea bombards us with one danger, one decomposed body, one feral, crazed animal and the occasional psycho human at a time or en masse, after another. It quickly becomes clear there is no law. The police and military are blatantly missing. It’s every man, woman and child for themselves. Kill or be killed is the new order of the day.

After reading Shea’s “Island of the Forbidden”, I knew I’d found an amazing story teller. And for as much as I enjoyed my time ghost hunting on Ormsby Island, the time I spent in Yonkers avoiding being killed while reading “Tortures of the Damned” was even more intense and satisfying. He has definitely improved on his craft from one book to the next. He offers just enough description to give you a feel for what’s going on while also allowing your own imagination to fill in the more gory details. That isn’t to say Shea doesn’t provide a healthy dose of the graphic. He does.

At the end I was left with some lingering questions. I’m hoping this all means there will be a follow up to “Tortures of the Damned”, because I really, really want to know more. If, however, there is no more, then I am woefully disappointed on a few key points.

I look forward to reading other Hunter Shea novels. Check out this title and all his other works HERE!

On Ormsby Island They Do Kill People

Book Review: “Island of the Forbidden” by Hunter Shea

Step by frosty step, Hunter Shea welcomes you to Ormsby Island. I hope he told you to bring a warm coat, for you see, despite this being summer in South Carolina, you’re going to need it here on the island. Oh, it has nothing to do with the weather. No. This type of cold radiates from the very soil of the place where three generations of unspeakable acts ended in the mass murder of hundreds of innocent children. The residents of nearby Charleston have tried to forget, but the children who suffered haven’t and they are not about to let anyone else forget who dares step foot on their personal, little island Hell.

Seasoned paranormal investigators, Jessica Backman and Eddie Home, are lured in by the island’s new owners, Tobe and Daphne Harper. They just want the place to be made safe for their own children, Alice and Jason. The bait works and by the time Jess and Eddie realize they are being used, it’s too late. The hook is too deeply embedded to be removed without causing everyone involved a great deal of pain and suffering.

There’s no way to escape Ormsby Island now. The ghost children have seen to that. They mean to have revenge on those that put them here and to bring to light what really happened all those years ago, so don’t even try to get away. It’s up to Jessica and Eddie to figure out the secret and put this place to rest. But it looks like even they, with all their experience and psychic abilities, may have met their match on the “Island of the Forbidden”.

Hunter Shea does a superb job of reeling in his readers, one child-sized step at a time. Each secret is revealed with perfect timing. As with any good haunted attraction, you think you’re looking in the right direction when suddenly it lurches out at you from a completely different angle. This was my first Shea book and I’m quite certain I’ll be seeking out more of his work in the very near future.

***

Giveaway
Enter to win one of five Hunter Shea books being given away! Two signed copies of Montauk Monster, one signed copy of Sinister Entity, and two e-books of choice of his titles are up for grabs! One book to each winner, given in order of random drawing. Enter to win at the Rafflecopter link. Must use valid email that winners can be contacted by. Print books are U.S. residents only. Contest ends Feb. 28, 2015. Any questions, contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Direct Link:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/231aa30b17/?

Purchase Links
GoodReads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23622071-island-of-the-forbidden

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Island-Forbidden-Hunter-Shea-ebook/dp/B00PDJV156/

Samhain Horror:
https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5298/island-of-the-forbidden

Barnes and Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/island-of-the-forbidden-hunter-shea/1120724210?ean=9781619226906

Raves for Hunter Shea:

Forest of Shadows
“A frightening, gripping story that left me too frightened to sleep with the lights off. This novel scared the hell out of me and it is definitely a creepy ghost story I won’t soon forget.” –Night Owl Reviews

Sinister Entity
“This is the real deal. The fear is palpable. Horror novels don’t get much better than this.” –Literal Remains

“. . .Culminates in a climactic showdown between human and spirit that keeps you glued to the pages!” –Horror Novel Reviews

Evil Eternal
“Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and
elegant. . .a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare.” –Jonathan Janz, author of The Sorrows
Swamp Monster Massacre

“If you’re craving an old-school creature-feature that has excessive gore. . .B-horror movie fans rejoice, Hunter Shea is here to bring you the ultimate tale of terror!” –Horror Novel Reviews

Hunter Shea, Biography

Hunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, Sinister Entity, HellHole and Island of the Forbidden, which are all published by Samhain Horror.

The June 3, 2014 release of his horrifying thriller Montauk Monster was published by Kensington/Pinnacle. His second Kensington novel, Tortures of the Damned, will be published later this year.

He has also written a short story to be read prior to Sinister Entity, called The Graveyard Speaks (it’s free, go download!), and a book of stories called Asylum Scrawls. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines: Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists, and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on.

He is also half of the two men show, Monster Men, which is a video podcast that takes a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.