August 29-Spotlight On....
Horror & Sci-Fi Author Travis Heermann
Meet Travis Heermann, author, novelist, screenwriter, editor are just a few of the many hats that this talented writer wears on a daily basis. He is the author of “The Ronin Trilogy, Rogues of Black Fury” and the co-author of “Death Wind.” He has published multiple pieces in anthologies and literary magazines such as “Apex Magazine, Alembical, the Fiction River anthology series and Shivers VII, from Cemetery Dance.” These are just a few of his many achievements and I strongly encourage all my readers to check out his website when you have a time. I’ll leave a link at the bottom of this article.
He holds a Masters’ Degree in English and teaches science fiction literature at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. Travis also takes part in many writer’s conventions, both as a presenter and a participant. He has presented workshops on publishing and writing as such notable conventions as the Odyssey Writing Workshop, Pike’s Peak Writers Conference and Colorado Gold Writers Conference.
Travis is also involved in the Horror Writer’s Association Mentor program and was recently assigned to be my mentor, when they recently accepted me into the program. In the past two months that I have had phone calls, emails and video chats with this talented human, I have already learned more than I thought possible. He is a very down to earth person and speaks with humor and intelligence.
He’s an accomplished author and freelance writer with more than 16 books published and he’s learned a great deal about the self-publishing industry that he has been very willing to pass along to a new author such as myself.
I was very excited to see his responses to the Dark Dozen Interview and I hope you all enjoyed it too! It's great to be able to sneak a peek into the person that a horror writer is, underneath the words that they write. We truly are a rare breed in the things we write and take a morbid interest in, but deep down, at our core, we are the same as everyone else.
Take a look at Travis’s website in the link below to read more about him, see his books and maybe purchase a few new great reads to add to your collection.
I am including the Horror Writers Association link as well if anyone would like more information about them and what they do.
Sept. 5-Spotlight on...
Horror Podcast Creator Soren Narnia
The man. The myth. The mystery.
Soren Narnia is an excellent writer, narrator, story-teller and pod-caster. If you were to google him, chances are you will find many things that he has written, podcasts that he has produced and you will also find his Patreon page at some point in your search, beyond that however, there is not much to find on the man, not on him personally. His online presence is very slim, relating only to his stories, his books, his podcasts and then only at a bare minimum. Going by that simple knowledge, I will say that he clearly values his privacy, a fact which I will respect within this article.
Although, just for bragging rights, I will say that I do know his real name and have had the pleasure of corresponding with this elusive artist for several years now. I find him quite delightful to talk to, and he is always very gracious and genuine. He has quite the sense of humor which quickly becomes apparent if you belong to his Patreon. This is a talented author that does not seem to take himself too seriously.
Soren is the creator, producer and only writer for the "Knifepoint Horror" podcast. This series has been running for about ten years now, and he also is the creator, producer, and writer for another podcast known as “Those Snowy Nights You Read to Me, They’ll Never Be Forgotten.” Both podcasts are seriously fantastic in their own right and you should go listen to them now. Yes, right now. This article will be here when you get back, or at the very least, in the archives!
That is how good these stories are. Soren’s podcast is unique from other podcasts in several ways. For one, it’s a one man show. Soren writes and narrates each story. There’s some sound, some music filtering in, a few other sounds for effect, if or when needed but not overly so and not for every episode.
Secondly, he does not seem to pressure himself into producing a show on any type of deadline. He will often go weeks without a story, but when he releases one, it is just as epic as the others. For whatever he may sacrifice in quantity , it is more than made up in quality. For me, when I see a new episode from Soren in my podcast feed, it's not just a show, but an event! It's exciting, because it's unexpected!
Third, he sets the atmosphere effortlessly with just the sound of his voice, which in itself is truly mesmerizing. It’s calming and soothing and at times, unnerving. Soren’s podcast is very much like having an old friend over for a drink by the fire, during which time he proceeds to tell you of his latest adventure.
You can almost hear the crackling of the fire in the background, almost feel the condensation on your cut crystal glass of scotch on the rocks as you hold it loosely in one hand, almost forgotten, so caught up you are in the intensity of the tale.
Some of my favorite episodes on "Knifepoint Horror" are titled as follows: “The Crack, “Impound”, “Fields” and “Outcast”. Those are just a few of his many shows that I have listened to, more than once.
I have spent hundreds of hours over the last few years listening to horror podcasts and I have 5 shows that I now devote my time too. Knifepoint horror is one of my top three choices. I especially love listening to his shows late at night, in the quiet dark, when I can be totally immersed in the story.
Soren has also published more than 30 books and many of those can be found on Amazon. Those books include some collections of the "Knifepoint Horror" podcast episodes and some of his longer stand-alone stories, including “3:13 am” and “Town with a Tranquil Name.”
I would strongly encourage all of my readers to discover "Knifepoint Horror" for themselves and once they are properly acquainted with this unique show and this mysterious gentleman known as Soren Narnia that you go forth into the wilds of the internet and discover his books on Amazon, his Patreon page and the many fun-filled posts there. He can also be found on Twitter.
Sept. 19- Spotlight On...
Horror Author Dan Soule
This week’s spotlight is on author, Dan Soule, whom hails from Northern Ireland. I have recently made his acquaintance, first as a new reader, then as a fellow author in the horror industry. He is a quite charming fellow and pleasant to correspond with and is becoming one of my favorite new authors in the horror industry. If you were on the website over the past two weeks, then perhaps you also saw the review I did on his new novel ”The Ash”, which was an awesome story. If you haven’t read the review, I encourage you to do so and then check out the book for yourself. You won’t be sorry!
If you browse the internet for Dan, you will discover that not only is he an excellent new horror author but that he is also Dr. Daniel Soule, holding a PhD from the University of Glasgow, and works as a course director for the Professional Writing Academy. He is also the director of Grammatology, which is a training organization specializing in supporting academic researchers as they write and publish. Dan has more than 10 years’ experience of academic and research-writing training in universities and other research institutions.
Dan has been both a research fellow and a lecturer for more than five years at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Dr. Soule is a published researcher with a monograph and various research papers and is a creative writer with many stories, poems and essays and reviews to his credit. (profwritingacademy.com) Dan’s education and professional career spills over into his creative work, which leads to smart, creative storylines, concise writing and dynamic characters that you can’t help but relate to and root for. This makes his stories that much more enjoyable for me because his tales are not culled from the typical horror plots that many of us have become used to and allows for more complex twists and turns on each page.
One such example of his great storytelling is Dan’s debut novel, “Neolithica” that has been turning heads in the horror community and has been very well-received. According to a review on storgy.com, “Neolithica is a horrific masterpiece!” Reviewer Jeffrey Ross states that it “is a masterful meditation on horror and grief-a cult horror smash, which conjures up the very best from Hutson and Herbert-a terrifying must read for all horror fans!” (storgy.com)
Dan has two short story collections available for free, “Night Terrors” can be downloaded from his author website at www.dansoule.com. “In Tooth and Claw” can be found on Amazon, Apple Books, and Barnes and Noble. Both volumes contain a nice mix of his earlier stories that were first published in various magazines and will allow you a nice peek into his mind and creative process before going on to read his full length novels which include the aforementioned “Neolithica”, “Witchopper, and the newly published “The Ash.”
I personally have read and reviewed “The Ash” and I am working my way through “In Tooth and Claw” and “Witchopper” and I can admit that I am enjoying both very much. You can find reviews on both of those novels here on my website in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that. You can find more on Dan Soule on his website, where he shares a bit more via his blog and by signing up for his newsletters. He also reviews horror books as his time allows and you can read those reviews on his website as well.
Check out more at www.dansoule.com and grab your copy of “The Ash” or his other books, now on Amazon!
Sept. 26-Spotlight On...
Jon Grilz & the Creepy podcast
Today’s spotlight is on the Creepy podcast, which was created by writer Jon Grilz from Minnesota. The podcast began in 2017 and now holds almost 500 stories in its catalogue. Jon started the Creepy podcast in February of 2017. The premise behind the podcast is to narrate the scariest creepypastas in the world. For those that are not familiar with the term, a creepypasta is basically a scary or creepy urban legend, which may or may not have happened. These legends and stories are generally found on the internet on various horror sites. Some of the stories do come directly from fans of the show, while others come from the creepy subreddit on reddit.com. Still more come from the creator himself, Jon Grilz, the man behind the podcast.
If you search the internet for information about Jon Grilz, you will find out that he is an author and novelist, with many of his written works available on Amazon. He holds an undergraduate degree in English Lit from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and an MFA in writing from Hamline University in St. Paul. Some of his stories have been featured on the “NoSleep Podcast”, “The Lift”, and “The Wicked Library.” You may have even heard his voice on other podcasts such as “Tales to Terrify”, “Pseupod”, “Sirencide” and several other podcasts. (simplyscarypodcast.com/featured author page)
You can also find the podcast online as part of the Bloody Disgusting network, on its own page at Creepy.com and you can also sign up as a Patreon of the show and help support it through a small monetary donation every month. Jon stays very active on the Patreon site and often responds to most comments and private messages. The Patreon site currently carries a little over 2,000 patrons and they are treated to several tiers of rewards based on their donations not to mention extra episodes of short stories and some really awesome full length stories.
The Creepy podcast is not just a man and a microphone. This is a full-featured production including music and sound, and very talented voice actors including Danielle Hewitt, Nate DuFort, Rob Weeks and Alicia Atkins, just to name a few. These voice actors truly take on the personality of the story and set the tone for it, drawing you in to the creepy tale they have to tell like a best friend telling you about the horrifying dream she just had, with the quiver in her voice that is all too real for you to be able to laugh at her.
If you have never listened to Creepy, you should. Now is a great time to add them to your podcast list as the annual “31 Days of Horror” is about to kick off! This yearly event of the podcast features a new story for every day in October, plus some bonus episodes for Patreon’s! A typical Creepy episode runs about 22 minutes with some shorter shows and some that are much longer, with some episodes running close to an hour. With the amount of episodes they produce each week, you are sure to find something to fit that quick car ride to the drugstore, or your 30 minute after dinner walk.
I have mentioned the Creepy podcast a few times on my website in my blog and forum discussions and I cannot say enough great things about it. This is truly a unique show with some amazing stories. I love the 31 Days of Horror and often find myself listening to those stories multiple times throughout the year! I am a Patreon of theirs and plan to be for a long time to come. I strongly encourage my readers to give them a listen. You won’t be sorry!
Oct. 3-Spotlight On...
Horror Author Jeff Strand
I cannot say enough good things about Jeff Strand or his books. I first stumbled across his books about four years ago and have been a devout fan ever since. His characters are relatable and well-written, his stories are fast paced, with a great mix of horror and humor. He has great punchlines and his stories are just genuinely believable, relatable and enjoyable.
If you were to browse the bio on his website, you will find out much, much more than I could ever hope to put in this article. I strongly encourage you to go out to his website and read it. It’s very detailed and very funny. You will also discover that he is four-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of more than 40 books, both for Young Adult and Adults. The first book I ever read by Jeff was “Blister” which was beautifully written, and tragically horrifying. I loved everything about it and went on to read everything I could find by this terrific author.
Jeff was born in Baltimore, and his family later moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. His travels in his life have taken him to Kent, Ohio where he attended high school. He later attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio where he majored in Creative Writing. He lived in Arizona for a year, where he continued writing, and finally to Florida where he moved to be with his love interest and later on his wife, whom he just happened to meet at a Horror Convention in Atlanta. Jeff details his life quite thoroughly in his bio on the website and talks about his many screenplays that he has written, his failed projects, rejections letters and the many awesome novels that he has written and published.
When I read his novel “The Haunted Forest Tour”, I was astounded. I had never had so much fun reading a horror novel nor have I sat and laughed out loud at such a novel while reading it. For me, Jeff has redefined what horror can be. It does not have to stick to any pre-conceived notions of what other people think horror is or should be. It can be real-life situations. It can be funny, it can be sarcastic. It can be sad or tragic, all while terrifying you in the most disturbing sense. For me, Jeff blew the parameters apart for what a horror novel has to be and I began to really enjoy reading and writing horror again for the first time in a long time.
It was around this same time that I discovered Iain Rob Wright, and J.A. Konrath, and a few other horror authors that do not stick to the same old routine within the horror genre. I quickly discovered many new authors due to my new obsession with the works of Jeff Strand. I strongly advise that you read a Jeff Strand novel. You will re-discover horror and may find that you are enjoying it more than you ever have. Read “The Haunted Forest Tour”, “Blister”, “Ferocious”, “Wolf Hunt”, “Dead Clown Barbecue” and “Dweller”. Then keep going, there are tons to choose from and you will start discovering that you love Jeff Strand and his very unique and realistic style of writing.
Oct. 10-Spotlight On...
Horror Author Iain Rob Wright
This week’s Spotlight is on horror legend Iain Rob Wright. If you have not heard this name, then you really need to read this. Then you need to start reading everything you can by this man. Iain has published more than 30 books and is a mainstay in the horror charts. He has been a Kindle All Star multiple times.
When I first stumbled across his novels about ten years ago, I inhaled every book of his that I could find. I read and read and read nothing but his novels for at least 6 months! I was hooked. A fan for life, maybe even a super-fan! At one point, I offered to beta read for him a couple of times and have had the opportunity to correspond with Iain on a couple of occasions over the years. He has always been pleasant, polite, and genuine.
His emails are fun, well-written and usually include a free book as does signing up for his newsletter on his website (which currently gains you 5 free books! Yes, 5!). I strongly suggest you sign up. Again, you will not be sorry. His newsletters are a great way to get to know him and what he is currently working on.
As for Iain Rob Wright, he hails from the U.K. where he lives with wife and two children. He is a great family man and adores his kids. His newsletters often offer glimpses into his family life and they speak of real life for him and his wife. It’s not always promoting, all the time. He’s a true regular guy that is doing something he loves and truly appreciates his fans.
For example, back in March, when the true quarantines began to hit worldwide, Iain marked almost all of his books on Amazon down to free, in order to provide some relief and some enjoyment to his fans at risk of his own personal loss. In that weekend, fans downloaded his books almost 60K times! Though he did not do it for personal gain, He did it to help and his fans repaid the favor much to his genuine surprise!
Iain is humble, sincere and truly a great writer. One of the first books of his that I read was “Sam”. I couldn’t put it down. I followed that with “ASBO” and then “SEA SICK”. By the time I moved on to the “A-Z of Horror”, I was truly in love with horror again. Iain is the author of the “Hell on Earth” series and it is fantastic.
I simply cannot say enough about his stories. They will scare you. Some may make you cringe. All will make you uncomfortable. Get them! Read Them! Today!
Oct. 17-Spotlight On...
New Horror Author Paul Carro
This weeks' spotlight is on new horror author Paul Carro.
Paul was raised in Windham, Maine where he began his love affair with horror by writing creepy horror stories for his sixth grade classmates, which was fully supported by his teachers. Not surprising when the horror king himself, Stephen King, lives in Maine!
Paul left Maine to attend Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He focused his study efforts on film & TV production with a minor in literature. His senior thesis was shooting a video adaptation of a story from the Twilight Zone magazine. The story was “Preserves” by John Cohen. Horror film director, Rolfe Kanefsky, served as his DP on the project. That project became Paul’s calling card for LA, where he has spent most of his adult life working in TV and film.
Paul’s return to literature began with his debut novel, “Nolan Walker and The Superiors Squad”, which he calls his love letter to the comic book genre. Paul followed this novel by making a debut a horror with “The House” which I personally loved. He followed this with the release of “Roots of All Evil” which came out at the end of September.
The Salem Legacy comes next which is straight back to terrifying with a capital T. If you sign up for updates at paulcarrohorror.com, he will send you a free eBook detailing 3 true ghost encounters and a short story that will be part of a very cool unique project also arriving next year.
For more details, you can find @paulcarrohorror on twitter and a more personal look at his writing journey can be found at Instagram.com/theofficialnolanwalker.