UDH Presents: In The Rusty Chair-Archives

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May 22, 2021:
Meet Rick Hipson

Author of Dark Bites

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I grew up on a steady diet of books and loved to write my own little stories at a very young age. Along the way, I always enjoyed sharing my passion for any great story or film I had enjoyed. Years later when I was about twenty-four, I began covering the genre I grew up loving with a little indie magazine called Insidious Reflections that, although now defunct, solidified my passion for covering the genre and paved the way for doing something I will likely keep doing until the proverbial wheels fall off..


As for my first professional bit of writing, that didn’t come until much later. Maybe about my mid-thirties. My first pro journalism I published was an interview with Jack Ketchum that Vince Liaguno bought from me for Dark Scribe online. Around the same time, I published a book review – a Jeff Strand novel - for Rue Morgue magazine in their June 2007 issue #68. That was my first time publishing in a pro magazine, a magazine I continue to publish regularly in still. 


What was your idea or original concept for “Dark Bites”?

Dark Bites started as a blog which I began in 2006. My idea for doing it was pretty straight forward in that, when considering most of the publications I wrote for at one time or another eventually folded, I wanted a one stop home for all the stuff I had written. Starting the blog made sense and fit what was needed, and I continued to post new content after it had seen the light of day from whichever place it had been published. I don’t post on my blog as regularly as I used to. Mostly because I’m just too busy and I question whether it’s the best use of my time. 


Why did you want to put together this collection?  What was your motivation for doing so?

Last year, looking back at how productive I had been with book and film reviews and interviews, I decided I still wanted a place to showcase all my writing, but felt posting them to my blog was a late train that had long ago left the station. Like I said, I didn’t have time to keep posting regularly and I found myself with a backlog of content once it had all been published elsewhere. I didn’t want my stuff to fade into oblivion and knew that not everyone who may enjoy what I had covered would have read them in a magazine or online. So, with some prompting from a few people I trusted, I decided to put them into a series of volumes called Dark Bites where folks can easily read all that I have covered any time they want to look for it.


Besides being motivated to capture everything in one place, another motivating factor for me is that I got so much entertainment and knowledge out of not just reviewing the work of my favourite authors and filmmakers and discovering new ones along the way, but I also loved learning how they did what they did and what their journey was like up to the point of creating the content I was lucky enough to be able to cover. I figure if I was able to get so much out of covering the various books and movies and creator that I did, then there might be a lot of folks out there who would also find themselves getting a lot out of my coverage if they only knew where to look, and now they have someplace to start, or so I like to think.

What most inspires you to continue covering the genre and going after new authors and filmmakers?

The most inspiring aspect for me is coming across something I enjoy so much that I can’t wait to share it with my friends, the world on social media, and anyone else who bothers to pay attention. I love sharing my enjoyment with others, always have. Plus, with every book written and every film made, there’s always a story behind the story that’s just as interesting if not more so. I’ve always been an inquisitive person and thrive on learning everything I can about the things I’m passionate about.

Back in the day when renting physical DVDs was a thing, I would often sift through and watch the bonus features first before delving into the actual film because I couldn’t wait to find out how they put it together and why so that I could more fully appreciate what I was about to watch. That hasn’t changed, but now instead of special features on disc, I ask my own questions and learn everything I can about the journey behind the creations I enjoy watching, reading, and sharing among like-minded fans.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

Like anyone who grew up reading and watching genre fare, there’s a lot and each one has their unique reasons why I felt impacted by them. One of the first adult horror novels I read was when I was about nine and read the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. That one made me fall in love with the misunderstood monster, not unlike my reaction to the original Frankenstein film.

Years later, I would discover Clive Barker through his Books of Blood, which I found laying on the floor of my older cousin’s bedroom. The balance of the grotesque and disturbing and the beauty and eroticism of his stories blew me away. Similarly, I found Poppy Z. Brite’s worlds to be poetic and gut wrenching and emotionally captivating on so many strange and unexpected levels.

Later still as I waded through books by King and Koontz and Saul and the like I discovered Jack Ketchum and his human monsters that elicited as much fear and rage as they did hope for our world. I loved F. Paul Wilson’s masterful dialogue and Brian Keene’s blue-collar ease with which he got under my skin whether he was pulling me into his next zombie apocalypse or his small town terror with characters I related all too well with. 

There really are too many to name. On the journalism side, I think there’s even more that inspires me. I mean, Rue Morgue is a magazine I grew up on and to this day every article is a workshop in how to do it right. The late Phil Nutman, who wrote for Fangoria for twenty-some years (who also introduced Clive Barker to North America) had offered me a lot of inspiring support and suggestions with the chats we used to have, many suggestions I still do my best to incorporate in my content coverage to this day. 

The list goes on, truly.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

Well, after Dark Bites Vol 1 went up for sale on Amazon, it was such a grueling, sometimes frustrating, exhausting, drawn out and super exciting learning experience for me that I had to take a breather. About ten minutes later I began compiling content for volume two in a folder on my laptop and am looking forward to working on that next. Sometime between August and October that will be out. A few factors will play into exactly when.

In the meantime, I am always reading new books and watching new movies and conducting new interviews. Although this year has been more about the book stuff than the movie stuff for no particular reason other than that’s what’s been put in front of me to cover.

As of the time of this interview, I’ve got a Ray Garton interview coming out online at Cemetery Dance soon about his werewolf novel, Ravenous. The next issue of Rue Morgue magazine (July/August) will have my review of Brian Keene’s newest novella, With Teeth. Folks can also check out an interview with Brian and me going up at Cemetery Dance in the not-so-distant future as well. I also recently had a great chat with Cemetery Dance founder, Richard Chizmar, about his upcoming novel Chasing The Boogeyman. That will eventually make its way into Rue Morgue as a featured piece, I think in September. 

I’ve got a slew of books lined up for me to read and cover from folks like Barry Hoffman, John Shirley, Thomas F. Monteleone and James Newman I’m looking forward to digging into and sharing with the world.

Other than that I do also have a short novel that I wrote last year at the start of the pandemic. I hear it’s subtle screams from my proverbial drawer for me to finish it, just as soon as I can … eventually, along with a handful of short stories that I look forward to editing and submitting to markets, also eventually when time permits whenever I am all caught up on my non-fic coverage side of things (which I’m starting to think is an inside joke not even I fully understand).


Thanks to everyone for reading this, and thanks to you, Candace, for the opportunity. May you all stay hungry, and … stay dark.


Rick's Bio:

Rick Hipson is a Canadian genre journalist born in Toronto, Ontario and currently living in Kitchener Ontario with his partner in crime, young spawn and two cats who insist they aren’t vying for world domination. For over twenty years Rick has written for a variety of small press publications in print and online which no longer exist through, assumably, no fault of his own. He continues to share his love for dark culture entertainment through his film and book reviews, interviews and articles, which can be found through Rue Morgue Magazine, Cemetery Dance publication and Hell Notes. 

He has also recently published his first collection of non-fiction genre journalism which can be purchased through Amazon.

For ongoing news, updates and free samples, you can subscribe to his newsletter:

https://mailchi.mp/f526d0357229/dark-bites-updates-news-and-freebies 

 

Dark Bites vol. 1

by Rick Hipson

If you love horror, in any capacity, I highly recommend this book of interviews and articles that has been lovingly and painstakingly put together by Rick Hipson. It’s not often that I am asked to review non-fiction material but this was well-worth my time. Full of amazing in-depth reviews of books and movies, along with interviews with so many well-known authors, producers, actors and directors that I cannot name them all here. Having read this, I feel like an evening talking to Rick about his experiences would be time well-spent, just in order to hear more from the man himself. 


This book features book reviews on novels like “Succulent Prey”, “Closing the Wound”, “Tracks of My Tears”, “Night Train” and more. Feature film reviews include “Johnny Gruesome”, “Slumber Party SlaughterHouse”, “Ghost in the Graveyard” and more. The interviews are outstanding, each contain well-written, thoughtful questions and make full use of the time spent with each person. Interviews include John Urbancik, Barry Hoffman, Richard Christian Matheson, Kit Daven, AJ Brown and more. 


I found each page engaging and full of insight for each book or movie reviewed. The interviews were candid and personable and I felt like I was in the room listening to each one unfold. Rick did an amazing job putting together this collection and I honestly hope to see more from Rick soon. This is a solid 4 star read. 

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Meet Mark Hobson

May 1, 2021 Rusty Chair Interview

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I’ve always loved reading and writing. Even as a small kid I was always sitting around somewhere, either reading a book or writing my own short stories. I was quite shy back then and only had a small circle of friends, so I spent an awful lot of time on my own, enjoying my own company. I think this, coupled with the fact I read so much and watched so many movies, kind of gave me a very vivid imagination. Creating make-believe worlds was a huge part of my childhood, so progressing to writing stories was the natural next step I guess. It was many, many years later, however, before I published my first novel. During the Pandemic I found myself, like everybody else, with a lot of spare time on my hands. So during 2020 I wrote WOLF ANGEL, my debut horror book, and released it in October of that year.


Why did you choose to write horror?

Because, out of all the different genres that I read when I was growing up through my teenage years, horror novels had the most impact on me. So I decided, why not have a go myself, to see if I could create something which readers might find frightening.


Do you only write horror stories or do you cross-over into other genre’s? 

I started off writing pure supernatural horror, with ghosts, zombies and so on. Now I have evolved onto what I refer to as horror/thriller books, where my books are more grounded on reality but still contain aspects of the supernatural. For instance, I might write a book about a serial killer on the loose but running in the background is a sub-plot with traces of the uncanny or unearthly thrown in.


What was your idea or original concept for “Wolf Angel” and “A State of Sin””?

The series is set in Amsterdam, otherwise known as Sin City and the murder capital of Europe. It is a seriously spooky place, with old and twisting alleyways full of nefarious characters and dangerous drinking holes. All of the world’s vices are on offer there. 

There have been quite a few thrillers based in the city. But Amsterdam is also the perfect setting for stories of the supernatural. I wanted to combine the two. Plus I am also quite a history buff, and Amsterdam’s dark past just sparks my imagination each time I visit. The place has so much horror book potential!


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else? 

Probably real-life dramas that you hear about. Unsolved mysteries are a real source of inspiration. Much of the time ideas can just pop into my head, often triggered by mundane events.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

I would have to say two authors had a huge impact on my young mind. 

First of all, there is British horror master James Herbert, author of The Rats, Moon, The Dark, to name just a few. His punchy style and action set-pieces are still hugely powerful decades after he wrote them.

The second would be Canadian author Michael Slade. The twisted and crazy psychopaths who feature in his books are probably the most frightening and accurate depictions of unhinged killers ever to appear in fiction.

What was your earliest experience with horror? Movie, book, a real-life moment or nightmare?

I would have to go back to author James Herbert again. I first read The Rats in the eighties. I’d never read anything quite like it. The power and brutality of that book kick-started my love of all things horror-related.


Do you pursue your writing full-time or do you also have a “Day Job”? 

God no, I wish. Maybe one day. My normal job is quite mundane. I am a house painter! Which is great for meeting people and visiting different locations. I’ve worked in quite a few old and empty buildings, places with creaking floorboards and doors with rusty hinges. And yes, I did see a ghost once, which funnily enough wasn’t a frightening experience but was actually quite calming.

What would be your definition of success as an author? 

For people to read my books. Not for monetary gain, but just for readers to enjoy what I write. As most indie authors would tell you, they certainly aren’t in this for the money. So if people get some pleasure from reading my work, that will make me very satisfied. Job done.


What legacy would you like to leave behind?

Hopefully as somebody who scared the crap out of people. Not me personally, but my books!

What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

At the moment I’m working on a mystery horror called GREYSTONES. It concerns a family hiding a terrible secret and the lengths they will go to to keep others from finding out.

Later in the year I will be returning to The Amsterdam Occult Series.

Mark's Bio:

Mark Hobson was born in Yorkshire, England. He still lives in the same area, in a small village nestled in the moorlands and hills. He has three cats to keep him company, Simba, Pipin and Ralf.

A keen traveler and history buff, he has traveled extensively throughout North America, Europe and South Africa, during which time he has drawn extensively on local folklore and legends to write his books. However, his latest project is based right on his very doorstep, in the heart of the English countryside and close to The Pendle Witch district.


To quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

"It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys of London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside."


You can keep up to date by visiting Mark Hobson’s Official Website: www.occultseries.co.uk

To date, he has published two horror books: 

Wolf Angel – Book One of The Amsterdam Occult Series.

A State of Sin – Book Two of The Amsterdam Occult Series.

Book 3 is due late 2021.

 

Reviews for Wolf Angel & A State of Sin

“Wolf Angel” is the new supernatural mystery release from Mark Hobson. This story is set in Modern day Amsterdam with some flashes back to WWII and a special operations unit that carried a mission called “Operation Werewolf”  The unit carried out special missions and also had their hand in some bizarre experiments. The unit was headed up by the young but ice cold Ilse Hirsch who disappeared into hiding after the war. This special unit had been called Werewolf Commando’s. 


Today, there are some especially savage murders taking place in Amsterdam. Murders that divorced and life-weary Inspector Pieter Van Dijk cannot explain. Pieter is called to the scene of a particularly gory murder of a working girl in the red-light district of the city, where strange symbols have been found and a message stating  “Beware, werewolf is watching.” 


As the murders escalate so do the personal issues in Pieters life, including trouble with his often drunk father and his father’s enabling and encouraging drunk lady-friend, Famke, and a newly evolving relationship with the young barmaid Lotte.  More investigation brings to light some connections to the Werewolf Commando’s from WWII and Pieter’s own life and he is quickly pulled into a nightmare with a cult seeking out some higher power. 


I’m going to go right into the sequel here so there aren’t any spoilers for “Wolf Angel”. As you would imagine, “A State of Sin” picks up right where “Wolf Angel” ends. Pieter is back after trying to take a much needed vacation after the police unit’s attempts to catch the mastermind behind the murders and the cult fail. The mastermind who makes sure Pieter knows that they are still close by, still watching and waiting.


Pieter is called to a house fire that turns into a homicide/kidnapping case and he turns to rookie cop Kaatje to assist him even as his Commissioner seems intent on busting his balls at every turn. As Pieter and Kaatje race the clock to solve the case, more and more disturbing events unfold, events that let Pieter know that his mastermind is back and is taunting him at every move.


Again, keeping this short as not to ruin either book, but this is a set of very well-written supernatural police mystery’s with the complex power and intrigue of the occult woven through the heart of it. There are several highly disturbing scenes that gave me chills, scenes that I absolutely did not see coming.


Both novels are very highly researched and woven together with layers of history, excellent knowledge of Amsterdam and police procedures and a hefty dose of occult magic thrown in. Neither book is fast paced or quick reads, instead you’ll find yourself immersed in the Amsterdam underground and every bit as involved as Pieter himself. I cannot wait to see how this series ends. Four solid stars for both novels.

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April 24, 2021:
In the Rusty Chair-
Paul Flewitt

Author of "Defeating The Black Worm"

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

That’s a question with a pretty long and drawn out answer. My Dad was a hobbyist writer, mainly of poetry and the odd short story here and there. He encouraged me to read whatever I could lay my hands on from being a youngster, and I enjoyed losing myself in books from the start. There is a story that my mother arrived to collect me from nursery school, and I was found telling a group of other kids stories that I was just making up. So, I suppose I always was a writer in one way or another from being a little kid. I progressed from that to writing really bad short stories and poetry after I saw my Dad writing a poem. I do remember annoying him with questions while he was trying to write, so he handed me a pen and some paper and told me to write my own poetry. I did that, and it was actually pretty good, so I wrote more. It kinda became a party piece, where my Dad’s friends would throw out a subject and I’d write a poem about it.


As far as writing professionally, that came along in 2012, when the global economic meltdown really hit. I found myself out of work and struggling to find another job in the climate of recession. I was getting a little down on myself, so my wife decided to go find work and suggested that I try and take my writing more seriously. She gave me a year to write and see what came of it. Within a few months, I had my first short stories accepted for anthologies, and my first novel taken by a publisher. It was a bit of a whirlwind, and one I’m still trying to get my head around, if I’m honest. 


Why did you choose to write horror?

I think that was a no-brainer really. I read horror, so its what I know and understand. It seemed logical to go down that route. I am hugely influenced by writers such as Clive Barker, Stephen King, James Herbert, Ramsey Campbell, HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe etc, and I’ve been immersed in those kinds of writers since my early teens. My writing, even when I was young, often took on darker colours, so I guess it was just fait acomplis that I would go into some brand of dark fiction.


Of course, whether I am a horror writer is something that’s up for debate. My stories aren’t necessarily gory, nor are they particularly sickening, which is what some readers seem to expect from horror. My brand is more fantasy oriented, with some creatures lurking in the shadows. Some might say I write dark fantasy, or maybe even urban fantasy, but I definitely have elements that are horror.


Do you only write horror stories or do you cross-over into other genre’s? 

Well, as I alluded to just now, I throw a lot into everything I write. I have some fantasy elements, but I don’t go out of my way to write any particular genre. I write what feels right at the time, and it ends up being what it is. I guess I just write Paul Flewitt stories, if that doesn’t sound too conceited?


What was your idea or original concept for “Defeating The Black Worm”?

Ah, that one was probably the most personal story I’ve ever written. It’s pretty close to the bone for me. I started writing it as a result of experiencing some mental health issues when my Dad became ill with cancer, which is something I’ve never had to deal with before. I was struggling with it, trying to make sense of what it was that I was feeling. I guess I fell back on something familiar, and started to write my feelings and experiences down. What came out was the beginning of Black Worm, and quite a bit of what happens in the first section of that story are things I was experiencing with anxiety at the time. 


I wasn’t going to publish it, but when I read it back a couple of years after beginning, I felt like it could make a pretty good story. So, I built it up to the story that it is. Of course, I added some horror elements, some fantastic elements and embellished it to make it the story it has become. It’s very bleak, very dark and kind of depressing in places, but it’s what I was feeling at that time. It’s certainly not a self-help story, that’s for sure. It’s one I am very proud of.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else? 

It can be anything really. Of course, Black Worm was very personal, as I’ve already spoken about, but that’s not really typical for me. I’ve written a lot of short stories, and writing for anthologies you often have to write to a particular theme. I quite like doing that because it’s just good exercise. My first novel came from a joke between me, my editor and a friend, where I said I was going to write a horror story about a vegan, pacifist zombie accused of murder. It didn’t turn out quite like that, but that was the idea that sparked it.


I think the biggest question that every writer is searching for an answer to is “what if?” We can walk down a street, see a person, an object or a location and we’ll ask that question of ourselves. If we’re intrigued enough, we’ll find a way to answer it and it’ll become a story. 


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

Oh, that’s an easy one. Clive Barker is the hugest influence on me. I discovered him at a time when I was a little jaded by horror and fantasy, which I read voraciously as a teen. There came a time when I felt like I’d worked out the formula, and I could predict the ending within a few pages. My favourite authors started to bore me really, and I feared that I might have fallen out of love with reading. Then I was introduced to Clive Barker, and he showed me exactly what I was looking for in a storyteller. I didn’t know what kind of writer I wanted to be before then, but when I first read Books of Blood, then moved on to his longer work, it was an epiphany to my young mind. For me, Barker is the most important writer to have emerged in the last forty years, and I see a lot of his influence in the modern horror community. Long may that continue.


What was your earliest experience with horror? Movie, book, a real-life moment or nightmare?

This is an interesting question, because I think horror is pretty much everywhere. The first movie I remember being really scared by was Pink Floyd’s The Wall. When the teachers are feeding the kids into the mincer; that scene really got to me and stuck in my mind. 

The first time horror really enraptured me was flicking through a video rental brochure. My uncle took something called the Britannia Music and Film Club, and they would mail out a quarterly brochure with all the latest releases. The back few pages were dedicated to horror movies, and this was the time when we had some really iconic covers. I was mesmerized by the artwork for Nightmare on Elm Street, House and Hellraiser, and always was drawn to those back pages when I was flicking through the brochure with my cousins.


The first horror story I remember reading was in a children’s horror anthology called Cold Feet. In there was a story by Philip Pullman (he of the His Dark Materials books.) It was called Video Nasty, and is a pretty dark modern ghost story. I remember reading that one until the pages started dropping out.

So yes, growing up in the 80’s, I think horror was pretty much everywhere.


Name your top 3 most admired horror authors and/or novels and explain why? 

Wow, now that is a tough one, and my answer could well change on a daily basis. 

Clearly, Clive Barker is my number one. He just took dark fiction in a completely different direction, and was a writer I needed at the time I discovered him. He continuously creates worlds and stories that are completely unique, showing a breadth of imagination that encompasses writers like Tolkien, King, Lovecraft, Burroughs and Cocteau. He really is a maestro of the art, and he never ceases to hold me spellbound.

Next up would be Stephen King. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with his work, but stories like The Stand, It, Carrie and The Shining are undeniable. He is a writer with flaws, but his characters are so relatable, his worlds so familiar that it’s impossible not to be taken away with them.

Lastly, I’m going for HP Lovecraft. Yes, he is a problematic person to talk about in the 21st century, and there are some very questionable views expressed in some of his stories, but his concepts shaped the way we write horror today. The Cthulu Mythos alone has influenced so many writers throughout the late 20th century, and continues to do so today. For me, he is the great grandfather of modern horror.



Do you pursue your writing full-time or do you also have a “Day Job”? 

I’m a writer around being a stay home father. My wife goes out to work (when we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic,) and I look after the house and kids. That gives me time to write … really bloody slowly.


What would be your definition of success as an author? 

I have pretty modest ambitions where success is concerned. For me, just getting a story written and published is success. After that, if someone reads that story and enjoys it, that’s success. Everything after that is a bonus.

All I ever really wanted was to be respected by my peers; to have other writers and readers say that I did something good on the page. When that happens, I’m happy.


What legacy would you like to leave behind?

I just want to write good stories and entertain people for a little while. If I can do that, and leave a body of work behind, then I’m happy. I don’t have any kind of illusions that I’ll change the genre, or that I’ll be some kind of seminal writer. I just want to write stories that people will enjoy.

Other than that, my stories can be something to leave my children; a way to speak to the generations of my family that come later. Then they can all look at each other and wonder what kind of depraved screw-up grandad really was!


What would you most like your fans to know about you? 

I don’t think there’s any mystery in that regard anymore, is there? If readers follow your social media, they pretty much have an insight into the person that you are. The thing about me is that I don’t have a public persona. I am the person I am, and I can’t really be anyone different. So, if you read what I post, that’s me. I’m a pretty open book, so there’s no mystique. I’m just an ordinary guy who raises his kids, loves his family, and I happen to write some stories every now and then. 

Sorry, I’m pretty damn boring. I’ll try harder.

What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

Probably too many hahaha. 

I’m working on a few different projects that are all in various stages of completion. One is a straight up horror story called Architecture, which is with my editor at the moment. I anticipate that I could be submitting that to press later in the year, if things go to plan. I know I still have a little more work to do on that one, knocking a few rough edges off, but I like what I’ve done there.

I also have a dark fantasy trilogy that I’ve been working on for the last two or three years, called The Book of Broken Things. Book one is completed, edited and sitting in a box awaiting publishing. I won’t take the plunge with that one until I’m writing the third book, simply because I don’t want to be a George RR Martin or Clive Barker, both of whom have series or trilogies that are incomplete several years after their beginning. As of right now, I am working on book two, and it’s getting close to done as a first draft. I still have a lot of work to do with that one, but we’re getting there.

Lastly, I have started sketching out a new horror novel, which will be set in the same world as my first novel, Poor Jeffrey. It’s been nagging at me that there is more story to tell there, and I’ve finally begun to formulate an idea for it. That’s in the very early stages of writing, but I do keep adding little bits here and there between the other two projects I’ve mentioned.

I’ve also got a freebie short story up on Wattpad and Inkitt called The Bogs of Tarangay, which I am working on sporadically. That’s more of a bit of fun, just throwing bits up there when I have a spare few minutes.

Paul's Bio:

Paul Flewitt was born in April 1982, and is a horror and dark fantasy writer from Sheffield, UK. He still lives in Sheffield with his wife and two children, where he enjoys playing pool, reading voraciously and spending time in the nearby Peak District.  Since 2012, he has been writing and publishing short stories via an array of presses alongside such luminaries as Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, Shaun Hutson and Matt Shaw.

His debut novel, Poor Jeffrey, was released in 2013 to much praise from industry bloggers and reviewers, and was quickly followed by short stories: Paradise Park (Thirteen Horror,) Always Beneath (Vamptasy Press,) Climbing Out (Lycopolis Press,) Apartment 16c (Matt Shaw Publications,) The Silent Invader (Matt Shaw Publications) and The Last Horror of Edgar Allan Poe (Matt Shaw Publications.) The Silent Invader was also narrated as part of UK TV show Fragments of Fear, made for community television in the south of England and available to view on YouTube via the Fragments of Fear page.

His most recent work, Defeating The Black Worm, was released in 2021 through Demain Publishing, and marks his first solo release since 2013. 

He continues to work on several longer projects, which he hopes to release this year.

 

Defeating The Black Worm

by Paul Flewitt

“Defeating the Black Worm” is a short story that follows the trials of one man as he succumbs to what he thinks are crippling panic attacks and depression. Matthew suddenly wakes up one day, with unbridled fear plaguing his every step. Panic attacks soon follow and it's not long before he is missing work and looking for excuses to not leave his house.  His symptoms become worse with each passing day and he is unable to keep down food. He is being consumed from the inside by the black worm, or as he feels it, anxiety ,panic and depression. 
He gets a doctor involved but does not want to take the meds that he is prescribed. 
The thing living inside him soon begins to speak to him, insulting him and laughing at his weakness with whispers inside his head. 
Within a few short months, Matthew finds himself being evicted, and he flees his house with nothing on but a trench coat. He finds himself sleeping on the street, beaten up and injured with nowhere to go.  A kind man named Jeremiah Quimby finds him and takes him back to the homeless camp where he lives in an old shack. There is more to Jeremiah than meets the eye, and he quickly tells Matthew that he thinks he can help with his problem. Matthew is getting sicker by the day and he humbly accepts. 
This only leads to a series of events that Matthew does not see coming, even at his lowest moment, but what does he have to lose?  Either there is a cure or there isn’t. 
This is a short read, very fast-paced and well-written.  I typically prefer a bit more detail in stories and this did leave me with a few questions but overall it was a quick, well-done horror story with a surprising ending. I am giving this four stars and I will be interested to see other pieces by Paul Flewitt.

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April 3, 2021: 
In The Rusty Chair!

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Meet Dave Jeffery

Author of "A Quiet Apocalypse"

Hi Dave! And Welcome to my Rusty Chair!

Hi Candace, first of all, can I thank you for hosting this interview on your great website. It’s appreciated very much.

You are so very welcome, Dave. It's my honor to have you here. So first question:

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

In terms of the first question, I have to say that I always knew I wanted to be a storyteller, but I didn’t know in what medium this would ultimately be. As I was growing up, reading – be that comic books or novels - was very much part of my life as there wasn’t that much money around and there was a sense of escapism from the day-to-day in seeking out fantastic worlds of fiction. It wasn’t long before I began finding stories dropping into my head and the very real need to express them. It’s been pretty much the same throughout my life, but I have tried many ways to tell stories, through comic books and illustration, song lyrics, poetry, and script-writing, but I have always felt at home when writing novels, novellas and short stories.


My career, for what it is, has been spent working and publishing through small presses as, it’s always been my experience, they have a better understanding of, and are more sensitive to, the genre as a whole. This started out with the wonderful, but now defunct, Dark Continents Publishing back in 2007-8. Currently my work is released through Demain Publishing, Crystal Lake Publishing, Crossroad Press, Grinning Skull Press and Screaming Banshee Press.


Why did you choose to write horror?

I have always found a fascination with the psychology of human nature and the very real need to experience fear in a controlled way. I have spent over 35 years working in the world of psychiatry and psychology and the nuances of the human psyche are as individual as they are multifarious. If I was to drill down as to why horror has a particular attraction for me, then it would be that it is a broad church, with many ways to approach the genre, and therefore the story being told.


Do you only write horror stories or do you cross-over into other genres?

I write across genres. My first true novel was a book called Finding Jericho, a contemporary mental health story involving a mother and her young son living with a relative with bi-polar affective disorder. The real draw is the story, and how best to tell it. Sometimes it can be told in one medium better than another.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else?

It tends to be vary depending on the project. The A Quiet Apocalypse Series and Finding Jericho came from ideas generated from my professional career in the National Health Service. The Necropolis Rising Series came from my love of the zombie genre and all things Romero and Fulci in general. Sometimes the idea just drops in and you think “Where the hell did that come from?”

Quickly followed by “Where’s my notebook?”


What was your earliest experience with horror? Movie, book, a real-life moment or nightmare?

I remember watching the movie Jason and the Argonauts with my dad as the statute of Talos comes to life. I have a real thing about statues and dolls suddenly moving and it certainly originates from watching that movie. Not helped by the Dr Who episode Spearhead from Space (1970) where the Autons made shop dummies come alive! Urgh, I can feel my skin crawling already.


What was your idea or original concept for “A Quiet Apocalypse”?

The idea came from a statement that was made to me by a hearing person when I was working with the Deaf community. They said that being deaf must be ‘scary’ and the notion of losing a sense had me thinking about the consequences of such a loss. The Deaf community do not consider their deafness a disability at all. Instead, it defines who they are and shapes their cultural identity. The conceit of a mutant strain of meningitis (MNG-U) wiping out mankind and leaving the very few survivors either deafened, Deaf or hearing came relatively early on, but it would take over ten years to consolidate the dynamics between each faction and take it to a place where I was happy with it.


How did you come up with the governing concepts, the rules and roles for the people, for the city in Cathedral?

The basis for CaTHEDRAL is what is known as “Maslow’s Law”, a bastardization of psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I was familiar with the model because of my healthcare background and when constructing the society of Cathedral, it had to have grounding. Maslow’s model is based on incremental need with a goal of helping the individual attain self-actualization, becoming the best person that they can be once needs are met. Given that an apocalypse is bound to leave people wanting for so many things, it made sense to use the model, but for Cathedral to function as a societal construct, the top two tiers of Maslow’s pyramid, those pertaining to individuality, have been removed. So, in the resulting trapezium, we have governance structures that meets all basic needs but stop short of individuality, as the underpinning ethos is one of community above all else.


In light of the Covid-19 crisis currently griping our world, did you experience any real-life events that at times mentally put you into this world that you created? Any situations that you faced or heard about that made you stop and think about the similarities between the human behaviors now taking place compared to the ones that humans succumb to in the stories??

I used to think that the fall of societal order depicted in literature and movies was fanciful. But you only have to look at human behaviour in the early stages of the pandemic, where people are fighting over toilet roll and pasta, to see how quickly it all falls apart. Bear in mind that COVID-19 was an unknown illness back then, but there was enough basic epistemological data to know that,

if infected, the mortality rates across demographics were not on the scale of, say, Ebola. Imagine if COVID-19 was as lethal to everyone in the population, how long would we have until chaos descends? Watching those early news items was dumbfounding.


Do you think mankind could fall victim to this type of dystopian society, purely driven by fear and survival instincts? Does that idea scare you?

Based on my previous answer, I would have to ask: would people choose to sign up to behaviours that ordinarily they would abhor, in order to have all their needs met at a time of abject crisis and the crushing sense of hopelessness that would invariably follow? In all honesty, I don’t know how we would avoid a change in societal outlook in a changed world. You’ll always have opportunists, but there is a very real danger that their perspective on life becomes prevalent, and that would perhaps drive like-minded souls to extremes to shut such a cynical ethic down. I’m not sure how you can do this without losing aspects of what I term ‘old ethics’. As we know, moral constructs are in a constant state of flux, and quite rightly so. What happens when no-one is able to challenge convention because they fear it is keeping them safe? That is the fundamental conflict in the book CaTHEDRAL; what are the benefits and what are the risks, and what people are prepared to sacrifice - both physically and psychologically - in the name of security. On the one hand it is understandable but one the other it is a terrifying thought.


Who was your favorite character to write in these books, either one, or why?

It was definitely Sarah because her situation as a member of Cathedral is complex. She is accepting of the skewed governance of Maslow’s Law, but is not completely compliant with it. As a character she is both selfless and selfish and it is the dichotomy of these traits that make her fascinating to write. Interestingly, I have readers who suggest she is a kind and caring person trying to endure in difficult times, and others who think she is a merciless survivor who is only looking out for herself. I feel I’ve succeeded in creating an interesting character when people come away with such strong, opposing views of the same person.


Name your top 3 most admired horror authors and/or novels and explain why?

In no particular order, I’d have to say:

THE FOG by James Herbert because it was the first true horror book I ever read (at the tender age of 11 years) and at that time was probably one of the most extreme in terms of content. There are scenes in that book that have stayed with me to this day.


I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson which is still as powerful today as when it was written back in the 1950s. With a unique premise, it is more about a man trying to find answers than the will to survive. I have always seen it as a hopeful book. I can’t talk about this book without mentioning the modern equivalent which is THE ROAD by Cormack McCarthy. A great, great literary piece, no matter how much the formatting tends to offend editors!


THE DREGS TRILOGY by Chris Kelso, mainly because it is challenging in terms of content and literary style, the transgressive nature of the narrative kept me as engaged as the horrors on the page. Kelso is a true talent and the fact he isn’t bigger on the literary scene is perhaps one of the biggest mysteries of the genre. I’m hoping time will tell a better story.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead?

John Steinbeck due to his wonderfully sparse, yet complex, narrative in books such as Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, and Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck had a way of controlling the narrative, immersing the reader in a complex blend of entertaining stories and pervading social commentary. I simply love his work. Although personally, I prefer Grapes of Wrath to East of Eden.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The supportive nature of the community - be that fellow indie writers, reviewers like your good self, and most certainly the readers.


What is your favorite Horror movie and why?

It changes between Alien, The Thing and An American Werewolf in London. Each of these films is a perfect storm of great, innovative film-making, brilliant script and high-quality acting.


What would you most like your fans to know about you?

That I’m eternally grateful for the support that they give my work. Without readers, writers are nothing. So, thank you!


What legacy would you like to leave behind?

That someone has connected with anything I have written. This is the true power of storytelling, to create something from nothing and have another person take a walk through it, enjoying it so much they want to stay for a little while longer. It’s a privileged position to be able to do that for someone.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I’m about to go into publisher edits of The SaMARITAN, the third book in the A Quiet Apocalypse series. I have also started work on the sixth book in the Beatrice Beecham supernatural adventure series for Crossroad Press and I’m hoping to finish my sci-fi horror novel HYMNS FOR DEAD STARS for Demain Publishing. There are more contracts in the pipeline, including an awesome hush-hush project, but I’m limited on what I can say at the moment.



Dave Jeffery's Bio:

Dave Jeffery is the author of 16 novels, two collections, and numerous short stories. His Necropolis Rising series and yeti adventure Frostbite have both featured on the Amazon #1 bestseller list. His YA work features critically acclaimed Beatrice Beecham supernatural mystery series. Screenwriting credits include award winning short films Ascension and Derelict.


Finding Jericho (Demain Publishing) has featured on both the BBC Health and Independent Schools Entrance Examination Board's ‘Recommended Reading’ lists and is an amalgamation of his 35 years of NHS Mental Health Nursing experience of working with service users who have suffered stigma and social exclusion due to mental illness. Books include Tooth & Claw, A Quiet Apocalypse, Cathedral, and Bad Vision.


Jeffery is a member of the Society of AuthorsBritish Fantasy Society (also as a regular book reviewer), and actively involved in the Horror Writers Association where he is a mentor on the HWA Mentorship Scheme. Jeffery is married with two grown up children and lives in rural Worcestershire, UK.

 

A Quiet Apocalypse

By Dave Jeffery

“A Quiet Apocalypse” shatters all expectations of the stereotypical end of days novels. I’ve read hundreds of them, that being my “thing” and all, not sure why but I digress. This story was unlike anything that I have ever read before and it opened up a whole new thought process behind what the end of days might actually look like. Gone are the theatrics of zombies chasing you; what do you do when the shit actually hits the fan? What might it truly look like?  Dave Jeffrey has created a world so startlingly plausible that the sheer terror of a reality like this one is enough to leave you awake night after night.  Perhaps that fact that we are in the midst of an actual global pandemic helped to drive this one home a bit more, even though it was published a full year before Covid hit. 


A virus, MNG-U, or Meningitis Unspecified has hit the globe, killing most of the population and rendering the rest deaf. There are new classifications in the world now, and they are not rich, poor and middle class.  You now have HARKS, which are the survivors of MNG-U, that can still hear, the HARBINGERS, which are those people that were naturally born deaf, and the Samaritans from nearby CaTHEDRAL, a faction of the newly-deaf that hunt for HARKS and HARBINGERS. 


If found, HARKS are enslaved and used to help protect the newly-deaf survivors while HARBINGERS are beaten, tortured and punished for bringing MNG-U into the world, which is now a baseless but widespread belief. 


Chris, is a HARK, being enslaved by a newly-deaf survivor named Crowley on his private farm. Crowley has maimed Chris in an effort to prevent any escape attempts and Chris can only hobble with a bad limp, while he does the farm work and other tasks that Crowley sets before him.  As if the daily chores were not enough, there is a never-ending battle to avoid detection by the Samaritans who would kill Crowley in an effort to capture Chris. They exist in a twisted sort of codependency, with neither able to trust the other. 


While walking the perimeter around the farm boundary one morning with Crowley, in an effort to create a false trail for the Samaritan’s dogs, they come across a tent and campfire and a HARK named Paul, who quickly kills Crowley and begrudgingly befriends Chris. Not willing to stay behind in Crowley’s farm, Chris quickly asks to go with Paul, who is headed to a place called “The Refuge” that Chris has been hearing about on an old radio he had found while during rounds. 


“A Quiet Apocalypse” follows the journey of the two men as they head towards ‘The Refuge,’ discussing some of their past lives along the way, while avoiding capture and conflicts with the Samaritans. It’s an emotional and shocking story that will leave you wanting more and will leave you wide awake at night, imagining the possibilities and the atrocities that Dave Jeffrey puts before us. Five Solid Stars. 

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CaTHEDRAL

By Dave Jeffery

“CaTHEDRAL” is the second book in the Quiet Apocalypse series. I found this book to be a little slower paced than the first book as it dives deeper into the background of the MNG-U virus and its global impact as well as into the creation of the city of “CaTHEDRAL” itself and how it functions. While slower, it is also deep and thought-provoking as you become introduced to Sarah and her thoughts on her new existence.  A newly-deaf, she is adjusting to this new way of life, as well as grieving her losses, which include her loved ones, and her music, all of which is now gone from this world. We get to know her through her memories and her inner thoughts on this life as she goes about her daily routine that is life in “CaThEDRAL”.


The governing laws within the city are based on Maslow’s Law, which focuses on the hierarchy of needs. When the needs for food, water, heat and safety are met, then the basic needs of the human condition are met, add in the need for comfort, love and desire then a flourishing populace is created. While forced relationships are less than desirable for the women of this city, the alternative of being forced or facing punishment is worse. The guise of Mate Month at least allows them some control over who they mate with each month. 


Each citizen also has a job assignment and in return they are given rations, safety and security; all needs are met, for the good of the city. Sarah has accepted that this is the new way, regardless of how she truly feels inside.  But then Sarah meets Paul when he is brought in as a newcomer and immediately feels something towards him, something new.  


Paul must learn the ways of “CaTHEDRAL” if he is to survive there, as mistakes are not taken lightly. When a HARBINGER is brought in to face punishment, he is shocked by the treatment of the deaf woman by the citizens of “CaTHEDRAL,” who have been taught that the HARBINGERS, those that were born deaf, were the ones that caused MNG-U to wreak havoc upon the hearing.  The newly-deaf are survivors of MNG-U and each one puts all of their fury, grief, and anger into their punishment of this single deaf woman. The HARKS, those survivors that can still hear, are treated almost as badly but are kept alive so they can use their hearing to help protect those that cannot. The HARKS are treated like slaves, kept harnessed and leashed at all times so they cannot escape. 


Sarah chooses Paul for her next Mate Month and begins to help him learn the ways of the city and why the laws exist, while feelings she’s never had before begin to develop. “CaTHEDRAL” tells their story as they both try to navigate within the confines of the city and their own secrets. 


“CaTHEDRAL” is a screaming example of what could happen when life as we know it, is gone and mankind breaks down to their most primal instincts. When humans succumb to fear, and base survival instincts, what might civilization look like? 


This is not a Zombie story, this is not nuclear war fall-out, this is a very plausible, horrifying look at mankind's demise. Beautifully written, deeply thought out, imaginative down to each visceral detail and brutal in its honesty. I was fully immersed in this story, invested in the characters and cannot recommend this series enough. 


Five Solid Gold Stars. 

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April 10, 2021: S. Feaker in The Rusty Chair!

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Meet Summer Feaker

Author of the "Haven Manor Trilogy"

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

As a child, around 8 years old, I would spend summers at my grandparents’ home in Idaho. My grandmother is a writer, and has written and published many non-fiction books that highlight her life growing up.

My grandparents lived on the farm and my younger sister was always outside helping with the cattle and moving pipe. I was always inside, watching TV, reading my Mom’s old diary’s (oops, lol) or writing short stories on my grandmother’s computer. In front of the computer making up stories has always my happy place.


Professionally, hell, I am not sure I have started yet. It is hard to see the big picture when you are in the middle of it. I started writing “Uninvited Others” last year in June. After the first three chapters had been completed, I just allowed it to sit and sit. I wasn’t even sure what kind of book it was going to be until October. At that time, I took a trip with my sister to some haunted sites and hidden graveyards. The inspiration from that trip catapulted “Uninvited Other” over to the horror genre. I was finished with the first draft in three weeks!


Why did you choose to write horror?

Horror is absolutely the most entertaining and unpredictable genre you can write. Zombies, ghosts, serial killers, aliens are all eerie and fun to write about. But, in horror, your best friend, the nice old lady next door, your spouse or your children can also be scary, sometimes more than the later.

Anything that provokes fear can be considered horror, and a good book should make you feel SOMETHING. Whether it be crying, the need to throw the book across the room, or forcing yourself to sleep with the lights on, the book has to have the ability to provoke a real feeling in the reader. I am much better at scaring people than I am making them cry! Though, there have been a few tears spilled over “Uninvited Others”!


Do you only write horror stories or do you cross-over into other genres?

Professionally, only horror. It is what entertains me, and what I am good at. I did start a story about my struggle with hyperemesis gravidarum in all three of my pregnancies, but that was just for me to vent the frustrations of what I endured during that time. Truthfully, even that story would probably be considered horror to most.

I only write horror, but I will read anything. I especially like a good thriller or sci-fi book. But who knows what the future brings! Maybe someday I will dip my toes in something completely different.


What was your idea or original concept for “The Haven Manor Trilogy”?

I had no concept or idea when I first started! I am the shining example of a “pantser”. I would just sit down write and try to follow the story. There are times I think “Hell… what if I did THIS” and write it in and let it play out. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. But I love a good twist out of nowhere!

I knew when I first started it, I wanted to show the two sides of a story. With Uninvited Others, the reader gets to see two separate points of view.


Reading through a “Scarlett chapter” the reader gets to see how Scarlett is viewing her husband and the scene around them, and then you jump to a “Jeremiah chapter” and realize that his view of his actions and circumstances are completely different.


For example…when they first arrive at Haven Manor, Scarlett is in awe of its beauty and brilliance of her new home. Once you hope over to Jeremiah you realize he notices the property hasn’t been well maintained and that just the sight of the property makes Jeremiah ill.

People around you are always seeing something different, and having their own emotional reaction to it. Once you get into Shadow Sleepers you see the same dynamic with Cee and Aaron. Each character has their own view of the story being told.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else?

Dreams are absolutely high on this list. I have the most vivid and insane dreams, and lucky for me I often remember them! The number of crazy creatures I have backlogged from my dreams could write hundreds of books.

I also highly suggest anyone interested in the history to check out any historical sites that offer tours. My trip with my sister included a few hot spots for hauntings. The Villisca Murder House, Squirrel Cage Jail and Malvern Manor all offered socially distanced/COVID safe tours last year. Our tour guides ALWAYS had their own ghost story, and hearing true accounts of something terrifying is the best inspiration.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead?

First off, my grandmother, Jean Schwieder. She took what she loved (genealogy, her family, her home) and wrote stories about them. I know her passion is the reason her writing is so beautiful. If I don’t love what I am writing, it sucks!

Then there is Colleen Hoover’s way of grabbing an audience and pulling your right into the story. Her method of pulling a reader in is something I always strive to do. Every time I pick up her book, I can’t put it down! I wanted to take what she does, and make it work into a horror setting.

Stephen King has always been someone I look up to. He can make a slow burn work; he can twist a plot to a point you had no idea how it got where it ended up. His book 11/22/63 really opened my eyes on how a story can develop.


What was your earliest experience with horror? Movie, book, a real-life moment or nightmare?

First, I vividly remember a nightmare I had as a child. I would say I was around three years old. My mother and I went to the bank to do “adult stuff”. Her bank always scared me because my mom would always have me sitting in a waiting chair while she would go up the teller. In my dream, she went up to the teller to do “whatever adults do in a bank” and I had my blanket held tight.


I looked down for a moment to admire the sucker my mom had grabbed for me to keep me quiet, but when I looked up all of the lights in the bank had slowly started to dim until it was pitch black. I remember calling for my mother and hearing the evilest Wicked Witch of the West cackle. Being the smart kid I was, I jumped off the chair I was in, took my blanket and made a makeshift for myself and huddled down. The cackling kept getting louder until it was right next to me. 


Then BOOM, the green looking witch pulled the blanket down from the chair and started laughing in my face. Well, of course I woke up screaming and ended up in my parents’ bed for the night!


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The ridiculous amount of support for indie authors. I was blown away with the community. I was welcomed with open arms. I would ask a question, which in hindsight feels so ridiculous, and I would get the most respectfully honest responses from authors all over the world.


Some have never published, some have hundreds of titles under their name, and I wouldn’t have known any differently because each person treated me with the upmost respect. Also, the indie publishers (especially my publisher D&T Publishing) are very different from the rest of the writing world out there. I was given feedback and advice I would have not found elsewhere.


Name your top 3 most admired horror authors and/or novels and explain why?

I have to say Stephen King, 11/22/63, or I would be lying to myself and everyone else!  Also, Aron Beauregard, The Slob…. or literally anything he writes. If you haven’t read anything by him you are missing out! His ability to pull you until you are completely invested, and then totally destroy his readers is unmatched.

And of course, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Being so ahead of her time with a story that just creeps you out and breaks your heart at the same time. She paved the way for horror as we know it today.


What is your favorite Horror movie and why?

Poltergeist! It is was one of the few horror movies we owned as a family. We watched it thousands of times and introduced it to our friends and gave them nightmares. A poltergeist story is so hard to tell, and they made it so fun. I also love the lore behind the movies and filming, which really blew my mind when I was older.


What legacy would you like to leave behind?

Hell, this is a tough one!

Regardless if these books continue to circulate long after I am gone, and whether they continue to be well received or not, I want my children to know that regardless of obstacles in your life, you

can do whatever you put your mind to. But that is only as long as you love what you are doing.


What would you most like your fans to know about you?

I want them to know all the ugly, because that is what makes an author a real person. First off, I was a shitty student. I had a horrible time in high school, I would rather drink than study and I have always struggled with self-esteem. Mental illness plays a big role in my family. Bipolar disorder, addiction, depression and anxiety are just a few things that my close family struggle with.


I was recently diagnosed with ADHD and I about laughed the doctor out of the office. I don’t think anyone I know would call me “hyperactive”. But, after a long conversation with my doctor about my childhood and my current everyday struggles it all started to make sense. Everything with mental illness is a learning process.


So here I am, a mother of three brilliant children, a wife to the most supportive husband I could ask for, and a sufferer of mental illness… out here writing horror books! I want my fans to know that I am far from perfect, but I love my readers and that is what keeps me going. I love reading reviews, bad or good, it just lets me know that YES, my book is really out there, and YES people are reading it.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

My first book Uninvited Others was the first book in The Haven Manor Trilogy. Just this week book two just released on Amazon!


Shadow Sleepers is the next chapter in the dark story of a property that does more taking than giving. And if it wants you, it’s going to get you! Shadow Sleepers totally throws the reader into a completely new kind of horror that Haven Manor has cooked up. I can’t wait to see how everyone responds to new characters and old characters colliding.

I am working on book 3 now, Empty Walls. It will close out the story of Haven Manor, in the most brutal way possible… or maybe not… haven’t decided on the ending yet :)


I am also working on a stand-alone, the working title now is Asleep in the Attic. I can’t step away from the haunted house genre! This will book is based in 1953 with my main character Josephine, a before her time independent, yet gullible young woman.


Summer's Bio:

S. Feaker is an avid story teller, lover of the paranormal and reader of the macabre. Married for eight years and a mother of three, living in rural Iowa she enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her family and exploring the unknown.

Born in Idaho Falls, Idaho currently residing in the small town of Hubbard, IA. She is currently working on an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice.

Her debut novel “Uninvited Others” debuted on Amazon in November 2020. In February of 2021 Feaker signed with D&T Publishing, who took Haven Manor Trilogy under their publishing name. Shadow Sleepers, the second book of the Haven Manor Trilogy, released April 9th of 2021. The third installment of the trilogy is due to be release in August of 2021.

In addition to paperback and eBook formats, D&T publishing is currently working with narrator Nathan Ludwig to bring Uninvited Others to Audible later this year.

 

Shadow Sleepers

By Summer Feaker

Published by D&T Publishing

Book Two of the Haven Manor Trilogy. 

Another great installment in the “Haven Manor” trilogy! I can honestly say that I was excited for this book to be released. I love a good haunted house story and for some reason, there is nothing better than a haunted mansion! Summer did an outstanding job with her debut novel, “Uninvited Others” as she told us the tale of Scarlett and her family as they moved into the manor and its many secrets.  

In “Shadow Sleepers'', the tale continues with Scarlett’s grown daughter, Cee, and her new husband, Aaron, who also happens to be an up and coming architect. Cee and Aaron are expecting a baby and Cee has been left the manor land as an inheritance from her Uncle Erik. Against her mothers wishes and many warnings, Cee and Aaron head for the old estate, hoping to make use of the old cabin as a temporary home until Aaron can build them a new home on the property. 

When they arrive, they are surprised to find the old housekeeper, Emily, waiting for them on the steps of the very well-maintained cabin, which Emily has fully stocked for them. 

Ecstatic with this turn of events, they thank her and begin to get settled in as Emily takes her leave. 

Aaron is drawn to the property and to the ruins of the old manor from the very first night. As Cee settles in bed, he finds himself wandering the property, envisioning the manor as it could be again, seeing it take on new life through his skilled eyes. He spends most of the night drawing up blueprints before falling asleep and succumbing to a ghastly nightmare. Cee wakes up in the wee hours of the morning, also from a horrid nightmare and cannot find Aaron anywhere in the small cabin. She finally finds him outside, asleep near the old pond, covered in dirt, with severe lacerations on both of his hands. 

Scarlett is waiting for them at the cabin when they return from the hospital later that afternoon, having taken care of Aaron’s injuries, and Cee angrily confronts her. Scarlett and Cee have a strained relationship as Cee blames her for their lives after Haven Manor and for the death of her father, but Cee does not know the whole truth, but she is about to find out. 

“Shadow Sleepers” pulls you in from the first night and does not relent at any point throughout the book. The Manor is a living breathing entity and it means to rise again, at any cost. Summer Feaker puts the reader through nightmare after nightmare as she drives the story to its conclusion, but even the end of this installment is not the end of the story. Summer leaves you hanging at a crucial moment in the book and it’s expertly done. I cannot wait to see how this story ends and I am giving “Shadow Sleepers” another five stars.

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Uninvited Others

By Summer Feaker

Published by D&T Publishing

Book One of the Haven Manor Trilogy

Uninvited Others is the debut novel by Summer Feaker. This is book one of the Haven Manor trilogy and it is off to a great start. Uninvited Others is a lush, gothic ghost story set in modern times. A small family has their lives uprooted when the beloved grandmother passes away, her last wish being that her son, Jeremiah, move back home to the family estate to help care for his father. Against his better judgement and the wishes of his young family, he packs them up to move to Haven Manor. His loving wife Scarlett knows nothing of Haven Manor or the family’s money, not to mention the heavy layers of secrets that begin to unravel before they even reach the manor.  


When they arrive, Scarlett can hardly believe her eyes as the gates open to reveal a beautiful country manor estate, framed by gardens, fountains and shadows. Emily, the family’s loyal and long-time housekeeper, is there to greet them, her tone icy and formal. Byron, the family driver, also loyal and long-standing, is a kindly man that is incredibly happy to see them, as happy as Emily is cold. Erik, Jeremiah’s troublesome brother, is also sharing the manor with them, along with their father Charles, who seems happy and healthy. It quickly becomes clear that something is not as it seems with this family, or with Haven Manor. Scarlett is determined to find out what is going on in the shadows before this place can destroy her husband, her children, and her marriage.  


With dynamic writing and relatable characters, the author introduces you to a charming family that you cannot help but root for as increasingly sinister secrets are revealed. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, from the setting and the descriptions of the manor, down to the intrigue and mystery surrounding the characters and its secrets as they were revealed. I did not find this story to be predictable at any point, which is a common issue for many ghost stories and haunted house tales. I found this entire storyline to be original, haunting, and chilling. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series as well as more books by Summer Feaker. 

Solid Five Stars.  

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April 17, 2021:
Meet E.F. Schraeder

Author of "Liar."

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I’ve had the impulse since I was a kid, from the first slasher stories I wrote about my classmates in grade school to today. In grad school I had a chance to work with some poets and nonfiction writers I’ve long admired, and that influenced my decision to make more time and space to devote to writing. 


Why did you choose to write horror?

Horror was my first favorite genre, so when I started writing stories those were the kinds of themes and ideas I wanted to explore. 


Do you only write horror stories or do you cross-over into other genre’s? 

I usually stick to horror, though I sometimes bridge into mystery. Most of my stories include speculative elements, so there is some cross-over when I venture into other genres.


What was your idea or original concept for “Liar”?

I lived off the grid in New England briefly, and that’s where the concept took root. The idea was to use the patterns of a haunt to explore themes of believability, isolation, and vulnerability. 


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else? 

A little bit of everything. In real life, I like to imagine what kind of alternate world elements or scenarios could influence a situation. What would turn this moment into a creepy story? 


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

It’s very hard to pinpoint a single author who inspired me most — there are quite a few. That said, the vivid emotional resonance of the poet Anne Sexton has been a constant inspiration. 


What was your earliest experience with horror? Movie, book, a real-life moment or nightmare?

My mom introduced me to horror with a scary record — a Spooky Tales kind of thing. I wish I could recall the title! My favorite was a reading of Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart,” right down to the classic thud-thudding heart sound effects. For movies, I’d have to say staying up as a kid to watch late-night Vincent Price movies.

What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

I absolutely love going to StokerCon and other horror events. In part because it’s wonderful to meet authors I admire and enjoy reading, but it’s also incredibly fun being part of a community that loves horror as much as I do. 


Name your top 3 most admired horror authors and/or novels and explain why? 

It’s tough to narrow to three...In fiction, I love writers that balance scares with heartbreaking characters. Shirley Jackson for so many reasons, perhaps most of all for Merricat Blackwood. Kaaron Warren’s mind-bending work is always irresistible, too. In Slights and The Grief Hole (and others) readers find something chilling, strangely sensitive, and very surprising.  John Ajvide Lindqvist’s characters are also quite compelling. These authors all strike between exquisite and terrible to create truly beautiful, often painful stories.


What is your favorite  Horror movie and why?

I have far too many favorites to pick one, but the Ginger Snaps trilogy would be on my shortlist.


What legacy would you like to leave behind?

That’s so cosmic... I hope to continue to chase stories and poems until the ink runs dry and that folks who enjoy them can find them.


What would you most like your fans to know about you? 

Other than that I’m excruciatingly shy? (snicker) Maybe that I’m an avid animal advocate with a house full of rescues, so readers can trust one thing about my stories: the dog will always live.   


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I’m currently working on a supernatural mystery featuring a queer YA lead character — armed with Krink markers, she’s an aspiring graphic novelist and amateur sleuth. It’s planned as a short series, which will be new territory for me.


E.F.'s Bio:

E. F. Schraeder writes about not quite real worlds and believes in ghosts, magic, and public schools. A rustbelt native, Schraeder is the author of Liar: Memoir of a Haunting (Omnium Gatherum, 2021), the story collection Ghastly Tales of Gaiety and Greed (Omnium Gatherum, 2020), and two poetry chapbooks.  Schraeder’s work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Pulp Modern, Mystery Weekly Magazine, and other journals and anthologies. A 2019 Semi finalist in Charlotte Mew Chapbook Contest, Schraeder studied literature and humanities in graduate school and holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. and MLIS degree. For news about Liar, visit Omnium Gatherum https://omniumgatherumedia.com/main/2021/2/release-day-is-here-for-liar-memoir-of-a-haunting; for general information, visit http://www.efschraeder.com/resources/.

 

Liar

by E.F. Schraeder

“Liar” by E.F. Schraeder is a chilling account of the events that happen to a young woman that moves to an off-grid cabin in the woods in the heart of Vermont with her partner.  Having a deep desire to escape the city and the judging looks of neighbors and strangers alike solely based on their lifestyle choices, they begin looking to move to a more rural area. A welcoming small town where they can be accepted, and live and work in peace. 
Rainey Winter is an online college professor that works remotely and her partner, Alex, travels most of the time for work, neither of them need to be tied to any one city or state. As they begin looking for houses and towns, Vermont begins to pop up again and again, so their house hunting takes them to the lush, green mountains and forest of New England. 
When they finally come across “Sugar House” set back in a valley by itself, surrounded by forest and a grove of Aspens, they both feel the pull of the house, the welcoming vibe, the charm of the cabin and soon an offer is made. 
Rainey only desires to be left alone to work in peace, to live with her partner and to finally feel at home in her environment. Sugar House is perfect. They get settled in, learn how to run the home from its off-grid set up including an independent solar grid and begin acclimating themselves to their new home. But no one prepared Rainey for the silence, once Alex leaves for work and family obligations. No one told Rainey how the Aspens seem to speak in a language all their own, whispering in the shadows, telling secrets that only Sugar House knows. 
Rainey finds a hidden  journal and begins to read the ramblings of someone from long ago, someone that speaks of something hidden between worlds, a world within a world, a doorway where none should be. Isolation, fear and paranoia begin to set in as Rainey reads more and struggles more with the loneliness. A chain of events unfold that Rainey and Alex both are left struggling to understand or explain, but something exists within Sugar House, something haunting. 
This was a slow burn full of anticipation and mystery. I really enjoyed the pacing and the build-up of this story and thought that it was really well-written.  The characters are full of emotions, quirks, and insecurities that anyone can relate to and they each deal with their issues in their own way. I am giving this 4 out of 5 stars.

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The Gates of Chaos Anthology

May 15, 2021 Interview Series

See below for the awesome interviews with the authors from "The Gates of Chaos" anthology.  This is an awesome 4 star worthy collection of incredible short stories by some of today's best authors. The series begins with editor and publisher Scott Dyson and ends with author Chris Stenson.

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Scott Dyson

Publisher of "The Gates of Chaos"

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I have always wanted to write, but never thought it was a viable goal until the advent of self-publishing around 2012.  


Do you only write horror stories or do you cross-over into other genres? 

I also write thrillers and post-apocalyptic stories, and sometimes I touch on science fiction in a few short stories and one longer work.

Where do you draw most of your inspiration from? Real life events, dreams, bits of movies?

Bits of movies and other books.  I often decide I want to tell a story “like” something I’ve read, and then I start on that path.  Most of it comes out having a horrific slant to it.

At what point did you decide to get into publishing? And what was the driving factor behind that decision? 

Deadlock Press is my publishing company, and as a business-oriented person, I set it up as soon as I decided to self publish.  THE GATES OF CHAOS is the first project for Deadlock Press that wasn’t only my own work.

Do you only publish personal projects or do you consistently accept submissions?

I don’t accept submissions at this time.  Maybe someday that will change.

How did “The Gates of Chaos” come about?  What was the original concept and what was your favorite part of putting this together? 

A member of Horror Writers’ Net suggested it as a project to bring the writers’ group together, and illustrator and group administrator Will Jacques said that he’d illustrate the stories.  Group members suggested themes, and the one that stuck was the one that became the title.  The subtheme of “Stories Written During The Pandemic” is loosely adhered to in most of the stories, though some use it more integrally than others.  I took the reins when it appeared that the idea was going to die on the vine. 


Do you have a personal favorite story in this collection, if so, why is it a favorite?

I’d have to say it’s BT Noonan’s “The Tunnel.”  It strikes all the right notes for me.  It’s well-written and haunting, and it transcends the horror genre, I think.  


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

It has to be a combination of Stephen King and Richard Laymon.  I think they’re very different writers, but they both make me care about their characters and settings very rapidly in all of their stories.  


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

It has a great community, one which I’m just starting to become a part of.  People like Joe X. Young and yourself are so supportive of other writers’ works.  I wasn’t sure that was the case until recently.  

What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I have several going, but the one I’m most excited about is nearing completion.  It has its roots going back to a forum on Delphi Internet Forums in the early 90’s.  A writer named Alan Mietlowski (the Bookhound) proposed a shared world in which any of us could set stories, called Addison Falls.  Sadly, Alan passed away many years ago.  I took two of Alan’s characters and began constructing a story around them, and it currently stands at a bit over 60,000 words.

Scott Dyson's Bio:

I am a full-time dentist, a husband and the father of two college-aged boys.  I live in a suburb of the great city of Chicago, Illinois, and I have a BA in Chemistry, a BS in Dentistry, and a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.  I’ve published eight novels, novellas and short story collections, including RECIPROCAL EVIL and THE INN.  I’m probably most proud of my novella ODD MAN OUT, which grew out of a 1600 word short story.  I have also had four short stories accepted for publication in anthologies or newsletters, including QUANTUM ZOO and most recently DEAD HOUSE.  I love (watching) sports, movies, hanging out with my boys, and of course, reading.  

www.scottdyson.com

 

James Miles

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I grew up in a household of hardcore readers, so writing was just a natural love of mine. I first became a professional writer last year after years of writing as a hobby.

What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

My original concept is what ended up on page, the influence of Poe seemed perfect for a story about the ensuing madness brought on by the lock-down.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else?

Dreams, real-life and just letting my mind wander influence my stories. To be honest it’s hard to pinpoint where my ideas come from, I believe a lot of it is because I read non-stop and spend a lot of time lost in my head.

Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead?

Robert E Howard and Richard Laymon are my two biggest influences.

What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

My favorite thing about writing horror is being able to play in the inner darkness of my imagination.

What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I am currently writing a horror novel that blends haunted house horror with a splatter-punk serial killer horror.

James Miles Bio:

I am a father of two originally from Nottingham, but I now reside in Derby with my family. When I am not being a dad and introducing my kids to the wonderful world of books, I am dreaming up tales of the macabre. When I am not reading or writing, I enjoy boxing and walking.

I can be found on my Facebook (Facebook.com/jamesmiles) Or Twitter (JamesMiles)


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Brianna Van Riet

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

 At this point I can’t call myself a professional writer, as I only have a few casual publications under my belt. I’ve always wanted to be a writer though, and have been writing horror fiction since the moment I was able to put a story together as a child. 


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

Before we moved our family into the home we currently live in we were renting a very rundown little house. At the end of our time there we were battling a horrifying rodent infestation, and at my most frustrated, I pictured the house as having survived an apocalypse since that would be the only acceptable excuse for its condition. I imagined a squatter on the landing with the chain of a dog in one hand and a machete in the other, and my brain whispered “...What if it wasn’t a dog?”... 


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else? 

 I have an extremely overactive imagination that always finds the potential for horror in everyday situations. I’m most often struck by inspiration when something makes me feel uneasy, but I’m also definitely inspired by the rare piece of fiction that I find genuinely unsettling.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

This is a tough question! I think I’m probably most influenced by the writing of Ramsey Campbell. I’ve never encountered another writer that so consistently evokes an atmosphere of “creeping dread”, which I find to be extremely effective as a reader and inspiring as a writer of horror.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

 I love the community. This genre attracts such a wide range of personalities and brings them together over a shared, niche interest. I’m so excited on the rare occasion that I discover that a client of my day job shares my love of horror. 


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

 Nothing at the moment, I’m in a block. However I was recently a guest on the Blood Read podcast discussing "The Woman In Black", and it was such a great experience. If you enjoy listening to horror nerds talk about horror fiction, I highly recommend having a listen. 

Brianna's Bio:

Brianna was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, where she lives with her family and menagerie of pets. Her work has been featured on the "Scare You To Sleep" podcast, in "Femmeldehyde" magazine and in the anthology "The Gates Of Chaos".

 

N.M. Brown

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

When I was in 9th grade, I had a nine-week Creative Writing class with Mr. Rick Ryan. I remember writing the darkest stories and my classmates and teacher loving them. One of my poems titled ‘Black’ was even featured in the school’s literary magazine. After that, I let writing

go for a while to pursue other interests. I didn’t pick it up again until I was 32, and I honestly won’t ever look back. It’s not something that I see myself ever giving up.


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

I wanted to write about something that included all of the details of what is our world’s new normal while inadvertently avoiding mentioning being sick. I think my ‘Mask’ story does a pretty good job of that. It captured a mother’s fear that we have all faced with our children and these new changes, however her worries weren’t actually about the virus itself.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else?

I draw so much inspiration from my family and all of the anxieties that come with that. The worst case scenarios that used to plague my head have no power anymore once I put them in print.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead?

There are honestly too many to name. I know that’s the vaguest answer possible. I have gathered the greatest of inspiration from anyone from Nicholas Sparks, Steven King to C K Walker.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The sheer kindness and unity of the community has always been my favorite aspect of the genre. Quoting Angelique Fawns of The Horror Tree: ‘It’s almost as if we get all of our anger and darkness out in print (on paper), leaving only positivity and sunshine behind.’

What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I am involved in two more collaborations, "13 Feasts" and "13 Families" that I am very excited about! I also have more plans for podcasting as well as taking on new responsibilities at my job with the "Chilling Tales for Dark Nights" network.


N.M. Brown's Bio:

N.M. Brown is a Florida native, wife and married mother of three who sheds light on dark corners of the mind that we like to hide. She's just released her first solo anthology called Origins of Delusion which is available on Amazon. Her passions include soap making and spending time with her boisterous family.

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Jesse D'Angelo

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I’ve been writing ever since I was a little kid. I grew up in a family of writers and filmmakers, and I guess I just wanted to be a part of that and do it myself. I first started getting paid when I was about 20, writing a spec script for a producer, as well as providing notes for screenplays, judging contests, etc.


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

I have two stories in the anthology, “4300 Tennessee Ave” and “Long Story Short.” For the first, I was inspired by an old, spooky house near me, and so I wanted to do my take on a haunted house story. For the second, I was inspired by all the ridiculous and pointless arguments people get into on social media, and wondered what would happen to a person if they took that to the extreme, and one little post ends up ruining their life.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else?

Everything. Life, love, movies, music, books, dreams, nature, technology… Everything. I want my palette to be as broad as possible, to be able to draw inspiration wherever it may strike.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead?

Early on I probably would’ve said Poe or Stephen King. Now I would definitely say my favorite author is Robert McCammon. He writes the kind of books I like to read, and the kind I’d like to write. He’s just so damn good.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

In Horror, you’re out to get a visceral reaction from people. To scare them, to disturb them, to creep them out. It really gives you license to push the envelope, explore the depths of your own imagination and see how far you can take it.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

As this is being posted on Saturday, May 15, I have my first three books being released on Amazon the very same day. I am releasing “Lady Of The Lake” and “Skinner,” both novels, and “A Collection of Tails,” which is short stories. I don’t have links as of yet, since they’re not up,

but anyone can just go to Amazon to look them up by title. I also have a YouTube channel where I do a show called “Storytime With Jesse,” if anyone wants to check that out.

Jesse's Bio:

https://www.facebook.com/JDAuthorArtist

https://twitter.com/blackbirdsdance

Jesse D’Angelo was born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, working as both a writer and an artist in the film and television industries. His credits include “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” “Species,” “Hellboy,” “Underworld,” “The Cave,” “CSI: New York,” “Kingdom” and “Ancient Aliens.”

He currently lives in Chattanooga, TN, with his lovely fiance and is focusing his efforts on his book publishing goals. He has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, makes pizza from scratch, is the proud father of three feline daughters and gets teary-eyed when he watches cheesy 80’s movies.

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Nelson Hurley

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I suppose I’ve always wanted to be a writer in one way or another. It’s a cathartic experience to be able to pull the ideas and thoughts from your own mind and give them a physical space to exist. It’s almost like giving a sort of life. However, I don’t know if I would say that I’m a professional writer. Yet.


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

"Obtrude" was inspired by the oppression and fear that the virus instilled in the population when it spread uncontrolled throughout the globe. As people's lives were interrupted and the contagion grew people felt their world slowly shrink until the danger felt like it was just outside.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else?

Other stories, dreams, and strange pieces of my own imagination. I have always been a touch macabre in my thoughts and ideas, so writing and creating with these influences feels natural to me.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead?

I know it’s everyone’s answer, but H.P. Lovecraft is a huge inspiration for me. He tends to get lost in the details, but he is the father of cosmic horror which is something I greatly enjoy. I love the idea of the universe being so bizarre and horrifying that it could drive us to madness to understand it.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

Everything: the books, the films, the games. I’ve been a fan of all things horror since my mom introduced me to the 1979 classic, Alien. I’ve been all about horror ever since.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

A few short stories I have planned out that need a lot more work before I ever think about publishing them, but a few more that I’m satisfied with. I usually write about things that interest me, or that I find scary which can make it difficult to find somewhere to submit that's looking for the exact theme and word count that I have. This doesn’t really bother me though as I’d rather write what I want to write about than try to match someone else’s guidelines.


Nelson's Bio:

I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but I currently reside in Odessa, Missouri. I am married to my beautiful wife, Autumn, and we have one child named Damian. Yes, I got to name him. "Obtrude" is my only story published so far, and I am very excited to have worked with everyone that was a part of the Gates of Chaos anthology.

 

A.M Dodds-Wade

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I can’t say there’s a definitive moment that I wanted to become a writer. I always loved telling stories and at some point in High School, I tested my writing skills as a special project and I felt I had a natural inclination to the process. I stopped writing for a period when I didn't finish college more than a decade ago, so writing professionally is recent. In 2020 while on furlough, I picked up writing and school again to finish my BFA in Creative Writing.


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”? “Time Out in the Long Weekend of the Long Year” came about as practice to write more unique character voices. I also wanted the bad guy in a horror story to be a human that, in ways, out monsters a monster. The Texas setting came about from my goal to write a horror short story set in every US state for a collection.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else?

It’s so random. Most common thing is I come across a story, book or film and I like to spin it up. “Time Out” sort of does that with a story I read about how oppressive time out was to a boy. Sometimes I start with a title, sometimes a dream, something said on NPR or often prompts and themes for open calls.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead?

Shirley Jackson is who I would love to write more like. Her tone and her dialogue is fierce, natural yet quirky and beautiful. She’s not regularly thought of in horror circles, but her stories have a punch that few authors ever manage.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The catharsis. I have a unique full time job in the theme park industry in Orlando where stress builds, so writing strange and dark things balances out the bubbly atmosphere at my job. I also love how broad and wide the genre is over various mediums, so discovery of new things is wonderful.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention? I just had a poem published in 3 Moon Magazine that’s a part of a book of grotesques I’m working on, so please check out that wonderful magazine. For now, working on the collection of horror shorts set in every US state and starting a murder msytery, but nothing else immediate.


A.M. Dodds-Wade's Bio:

Adam Michael Dodds-Wade lives in Winter Garden. He is a baby writer with only a few things in really obscure university lit magazines and collaborations (HUMID and Pen and Pigment if you had to know) and poetry in 3 Moon Magazine. Follow A.M. Dodds-Wade at https://www.facebook.com/AMDoddsWade twitter.com/dodds_m, and https://www.instagram.com/a.m.dodds_wade/ to join him in his writing journey.

 

Rob Harman

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I've had a compulsion to tell tall tales as far back as I can remember. Perhaps I envied the power of the story and sought to steal a little of that fire for myself.


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

I've been fortunate enough to have 2 stories included in this volume. The first ('4 brothers, 3 sisters') was inspired by a bizarre series of seemingly supernatural coincidences that I experienced in the Philippines, which is now my second home. I go into more depth about this in the blog for our book. My second tale is a modern retelling of the Faust myth- beware the small print!


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else?

Like the magpie I steal from just about every source possible. But ultimately it is the tale itself which dictates itself to me.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead?

As a child I was fascinated by fairy tales, even more so once I learned to look beyond the sanitized Disney-fictions to discover these dark origins for myself. And, of course, our father Poe. Later I read almost everything by Ramsey Campbell and Clive Barker, both wildly inventive, totally chilling and occasionally hilarious. I continue to return to Ovid, Shakespeare, Kafka and Nabokov- all Masters of both horror and humour.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

I love exchanging ideas, good, bad and indifferent, and it's often only after lively debate with other creative types when I become aware which particular category a certain idea might fall into.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I've recently had the good fortune for my novella 'Night of the Succubus '(gangsters vs a vengeful female demon) optioned by a film production company, along with being in talks concerning the tv adaption of my Victorian period-piece horror series 'Reverend Richards investigates'. My current novel 'Three Colours Dead ' (a latter-day version of the Biblical story of Job set amidst the Contemporary Arts Scene) is looking for a publisher.

Rob Harman's Bio:

Rob Harman was born and bred in London and divides his time between there and the Far East. His first published novel 'The Donors ' (a dark comedy based on the Seven Deadly Sins) is available on Amazon and in select bookstores.

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Tim Eagle

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

In 1987, I found a book titled Misery, by Stephen King at my grandmother’s home. I read it, and was hooked on horror. I instantly wanted to be that stalked author, and tried my hand at writing. I wasn’t good, but years and a lifetime passed, and in 2009, I started submitting my short stories professionally. I landed Symptom in Morpheus Tales Magazine #5. I trunked my two novels that were shit, and stuck to short stories before beginning another novel.

What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

My idea came when Jim Falcon, my nom de plume, was in Tim Eagle’s (my) head. I was working retail with a guy I couldn’t stand. He was misogynistic and angry all the time. He told people, his wife degraded the job, which was natural, it was retail. That negative, dark person lived inside my brain. His character, Sabre, spewed out during the pandemic and finally got his spot on the page when I wrote Vasectomus.

What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else? 

Life, travel and people inspire my ideas. I raised seven kids, I needed to escape, and my writing helped do just that.  I love talking to people. People are always the story, even if I hate them.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

This is going to sound cliché but, hey, I guess I’m entitled to some cliché…I’m taking a deep breath, and,  go…King, Koontz, Barker, and a heavy dose of Poe in my younger years.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The people I connect with here at Uncomfortably Dark, and in some of the groups I’ve stumbled into.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I am working on my novella(s), Benson (unknown subtitle), Krae, and Euphorbia, are all tentatively titled novellas.

Tim Eagle's Bio:

Tim Eagle is an author who lives full time on the road, with his wife, Maria and their dog Cocoa. He grew up in Michigan and is inspired by the dysfunction, insanity, and nepotism of small town America. 

His works include: Symptom (Morpheus Tales #5 2009), Blood, Dreams & Tears, Life Ship, and Full Shade 

Find links to all his writing at: http://www.timeagleportal.blogspot.com 

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Florence Ann Marlowe

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally? 

I’ve written for as long as I can remember. My grandmother taught me to read when I was three and I just started rewriting stories when  I didn’t like how they ended, usually with me showing up at the last minute to save the day. In high school, I started writing horror fiction when I ran out of good stories to read. I didn’t start writing professionally until the year I graduated from college.


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”? 

I think the most terrifying thing is to lose all control and we have never been so out of control as we have during this pandemic. “Dancing with the Dead” was probably inspired by a scary episode of Fraggle Rock. The Singing Cactus that could hypnotize you and turn you into a singing zombie gave me nightmares. This pandemic is a living nightmare.. I couldn’t think of anything more horrible than a virus so contagious that the merest touch would change your whole life with no hope for return.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else?

Dreams often inspire me. I guess my own fears and night terrors feed my creativity. I’m a very visual person and often I’ll get this image in my head and next thing I know a story will unfurl and I’m helpless to stop it.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead?  

I have to confess that I pretty much owe my writing career to Stephen King. I had written a short story for my 7th grade English class and  Sister Joan Anne had scrawled her criticism on the front page of my story.DO NOT USE CONTRACTIONS WHILE WRITING. I was confused because I used contractions in dialogue. That night my cousin had left her copy of Stephen King’s NIGHT SHIFT. I brought the paperback to class the next day and announced, “this guy writes the way I want to write.” Sister responded with, “That’s not writing, that’s pulp.” I didn’t care. King became my mentor.

What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry? 

I love scaring the crap out of people. I’ve gotten the best reviews. People have said, they got chills, they got nightmares, they were reduced to tears. Who can ask for more than that?


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention? 

I’ve finished a novel that I am shopping around for an agent to promote. It’s about an international paranormal research society called the House of Phoenix located in Philadelphia. The main character is their newest recruit, a young woman with psychiatric powers. It’s fun and creepy and I love my characters.


Florence Ann Marlowe's Bio:

Florence Ann Marlowe was born in Hoboken, New Jersey and has lived from one end of the Garden State to the other. She graduated from Montclair State University with a BFA in Theatre and a writing certificate from Seton Hall. Marlowe was a news anchor for a local radio station, WRNJ, for eight years before becoming a professional fiction writer. She has short stories published in more than twenty-six anthologies. Her collection of short stories, The Demon Next Door is available as an E-book on Amazon. Marlowe currently lives on a small farm in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. Rumor has it that the Jersey Devil is her neighbor.

 

Brian T. Noonan

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

Until the age of fifteen or sixteen, when I started playing music, I was all about stories. Books, comics, movies, I had a natural inclination to create. In 2018 my music career stalled. Fiction seemed like the next logical step. I had always written for catharsis, I just decided I would get serious about it.


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

My wife and I were watching Ken Burns’ Vietnam doc. There was a vet talking about how he can’t sleep without a nightlight because of the flashbacks. At another point in the doc, they talked about “tunnel rats,” the soldiers who crawl through the miles of tunnels to find weapons, maps, information, and drive out enemy soldiers. That writes itself.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else? 

In a broad sense, people. Humans. Specifically, human psychology, and the manifestation of experience. The phenomenon of projecting your inner demons out into the world. Giving desire, fear, anger agency to manifest. 


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

As far as inspiration, Poe. It’s cliché, but true. Poe was the first serious literature I read, and he’ll always be my favorite writer. Most impactful on my writing would be Steve Rasnic Tem. In my opinion, he is the finest short story writer in speculative fiction. 


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The sense of comradery and fellowship. There’s a strong willingness to encourage authors rather than treat them as rivals. I suppose it’s because we’re all fans as well. We’d all like to see someone succeed at creating something cool, just so we can enjoy it.

What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I’m building a catalog of short stories that I can develop into a collection, and peripherally outlining a novel. Once I have a clearer picture of the whole story, I’ll put most of my writing time into my first novel.

Brian T. Noonan's Bio:

Brian Thomas Noonan was born in Milwaukee, WI, and currently lives in Madison, WI. He is a musician and songwriter as well as a fiction writer. His stories have appeared in Dark Elements Magazine and Ankh Quarterly. He can be contacted at https://www.btnoonanfiction.com/

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Wayne Hortshorn

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I don't know about professionally, but I've been writing compulsively for years and years. I was given a copy of the Chrysalids by John Whyndam when I was ten or eleven, I've been lost to it ever since.


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

It was my wife's idea, it's how she feels leaving the house to exercise, I added in a few extras but it's just her experience.


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else? 

Definitely real life, I haven't met a human who doesn't have a great story in them, or a terrible one, either way, real life.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

There's a long list, Irvine Welsh, Bret Easton Ellis, Cormac McCarthy, but the first writer who got really under my skin was W.S.Burroughs, took me a long time to wash that style out of my hair. 


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

It's the humour, I have a dark sense of humour and in Horror there's a place for that.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I'm finishing up a crime novel about a pair of adrenaline junkies who steal art to better themselves.

Wayne Hortshorn's Bio:

I was born in a place known colloquially as Lavghanistan, in the town of Albury, Australia on the NSW and Victorian border. Now I live in the Dandenongs outside of Melbourne. I've been published in "Breach" magazine and written for the horror website "Truly Disturbing".

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Valkyrie Kerry

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I have written since I could read. As a child, I wrote Gerry Anderson fandoms, particularly regarding Stingray. My interest in horror developed, and by the time I was 13, I had written my first short story "Armageddon" and a non-fiction review of Montague Summers’ "The Vampire: His Kith and Kin". The former story placed the protagonists within mirrors reflecting their own personal hells. My English teacher was less than impressed. The latter was published by Allen Gittens in "For the Blood is the Life".  Subsequently, I studied several degrees, including English, and worked on dark poems and short stories. I have been published in Soft Cartel, Wicked Words, Peking Cat, Tiger Shark Magazine and Short Break Fiction, among others. "Ultimate Horrotica" is the title of my best-selling collection and contains my darkest pieces.


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

I have a strong interest in psychological horror and completed my Masters in the social sciences. Perhaps this is due to having a personal diagnosis of bipolar. One of my series examines bipolar as a range of feelings personified. Equilibrium builds on this conveying the fine line between paranoid insanity and true, covert victimization. It is a story presented by me as an author and interpreted by the reader, very much a two-way process. It poses the question; what is insanity?


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else? 

My stories build on dreams, emotions, traditional horror tropes and the horror of the human condition. That intense interest in horror led me to partake in online Role Play Games. I play Mads Mikkelson’s Hannibal Lecter. This is an important point in my life as writing led me to meet my co-writer Brett Dyer who writes Dexter. He asked me to write together, and we have an ongoing Hannibal and Dexter fan fiction. Brett developed the narrative, making it more complex as the weeks progressed. He was living in South Africa at the time, whilst I was in Ireland. Last October, we moved in together. He flew 6000 miles, taking a leap of faith. We are now engaged and planning our first joint novel. Psychological horror, of course.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

Don Everett Smith Jr, the editor of Blood from a Tombstone, likens my writing to Poe, which is interesting as we have used Poe a lot in our psychological horrors. I particularly like the claustrophobic elements of Poe, the idea of being stuck in a personally designed trap. The hubris that inhibits release, and the underlying fear of death and decay.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

Every vocational aspect of my life is linked to the genre. I watch horror, I am a horror fan and collector, I write horror, I draw horror, I photograph horror models (usually unsuspecting family members who I dress up), I role-play horror and I am doing my PhD in the horror genre at NUI Galway. It is a genre that I enjoy so much that there is not one single that I can easily separate from the others. I even have a Jason Voorhees tattoo. 


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

I am on the final draft of my erotic horror novel "Kane", and am tying up this academic year of university. There is a fine line between my role playing and fan fiction hobbies and the basis of my research. My research examines the narratives and mythologies created through fan works that enhance the mighty aspects of the slasher icons. As part of our RPG Legacy Tales, I play Jason Voorhees and Brett plays Ash Williams. Horror is more of a lifestyle with various elements than a career choice or interest.


Valkyrie Kerry's Bio:

Valkyrie Kerry is a horror author, artist and academic based in Ireland with her fiancé fellow co-writer Brett Dyer. Kerry, a multi-graduate, researches horror at NUI Galway and writes within an RPG group, ‘Legacy Tales.’ Her other interests include Egyptology, Mythology and Psychology. Her books "Ultimate Horrotica" and "Voorhees" are international bestsellers.

 
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Chris Stenson

What made you want to become a writer and when did you first begin writing professionally?

I escaped the hardships of everyday life of childhood in books. I disappeared into my imagination; characters became my friends. In third grade, I decided I wanted to become a writer. I wanted to build worlds where other kids could disappear. A place where they could feel safe for at a short period of time, protected from the harsh reality of life. In reality, I took the human monsters of my childhood, and brought them to life. In doing so, I was able to expose them for what they were. 

I quit writing for twenty plus years until my daughter found my writing and a novel I had started in college. She convinced me to start writing again and pursue my dreams, passions, and finish the novel I always wanted to write. 


What was your idea or original concept for your story in “The Gates of Chaos”?

"Two Bobbies" started as a 250-word flash fiction writing assignment for my writing group (Moorhead Friends Writing Group). I always thought it should be expanded and The Gates of Chaos Anthology gave me the chance. 


What most inspires your ideas for your stories, real-life, bits of dreams or something else? 

Real life and ideas seem to come to me while reading or the early morning walks with my dog.


Which author has most inspired or impacted your writing style, alive or dead? 

Stephen King, Robert McCammon, John Saul. I like great story tellers.


What is your favorite thing about being in the Horror industry?

The writing community in general is welcoming and supportive.


What current projects are in the works that you would like to mention?

My debut novel, Sins of the Mother, will be released thru Sage’s Tower Publishing sometime in late 2021 or early 2022.

I am currently editing the second book in my series Sins of the Father and just finished the outline to book 3 Sins of the Book.  I am also working on a couple of short stories for other horror anthologies.

Chris Stenson's Bio:

I was born Veblen, SD and currently live in Moorhead, MN. I have a degree in Accounting with minors in economics and creative writing.

At a young age, I had success winning young author contests which gave me the opportunity to attend several regional and national conferences. My love for writing continued throughout high school and while in college I started writing my current manuscript. Marriage, work, and fatherhood put the novel and my writing on hold. While packing to move, my daughter found my novel and convinced me to finish what I had started. 

I started and lead a local writer’s group. We meet every two weeks, and monthly, we have a nationally known authors speak. 

Facebook Pages: 

Chris Stenson- Author @stennycauthor

Moorhead Friends Writing Group @moorheadfriendswriting

Twitter: @c_stenny

Instagram: stennycauthor

Website: www.chrisstensonauthor.com

 
Person at Night with Smoke

Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence.

Edgar Allan Poe